Monday, 9 March 2009

Action needed to speed up airport baggage collection

Tough new measures must be introduced to prod airlines into cutting he time they take to deliver bags to arriving passengers.

That is a key conclusion to be drawn from a report published today by the Civil Aviation Authority on passengers' experience at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports.

While a recent survey by the Authority found 75% of travellers waited less than 20 minutes, an unacceptably large proportion (16% - or nearly one in six) waited for 21 – 45 minutes and and unlucky 4% had to hang around for even longer.

Passengers at Stansted or those flying with a no frills airline were most likely to receive their bags in less than 20 minutes. More passengers travelling through Heathrow said that baggage
reclaim was what they liked least about the airport (10 per cent as compared with
seven per cent at other airports).

Typically, airport operator BAA provides the facilities for baggage despatch and collection, while airlines do the handling themselves. This means delivery times to carousels are not covered by the “service quality rebate scheme” under which carriers get money back from BAA if its performance is not up to scratch.

Today;s report says and inconsistencies in baggage data shows that its handling is not as closely monitored as required.: It adds: “BAA found it difficult to influence the airlines to improve their performance on baggage delivery and voiced concerns over the lack of incentive airlines have to improve baggage delivery as compared with the pre-departure experience (where punctuality is a major airline concern).”

BAA agreed that procedures could be developed to improve baggage delivery standards and that its own records of baggage delivery reports should be improved.

One way to ensure passengers were not made to endure horrendous delays after sometime long flights would be to penalise airlines (or airport operators if the hold ups were deemed to be their fault). Another would be to force them to compensate their customers

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