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Another travel rant; gate-checking pushchairs

34 replies

KateandtheGirls · 09/08/2004 20:16

Great idea, right? You get to keep the buggy right up until the moment you get on the plane, and then when you get off the plane it's right there waiting for you.

At least that's always been the way it worked until our recent flights with British Airways. I took the buggy to the gate, but when I got off the other end in Gatwick they told me I had to collect it at baggage claim.

So there I was, by myself, at 7am after an 8 hour overnight flight, with a sleepy 4 year old and a tantrum-throwing 2 year old who'd just had to be woken after 3 hours sleep, not to mention trying to carry a car seat and a carry on bag, battling my way through immigration at Gatwick airport WITH NO PUSHCHAIR. Not fun.

And it was just the same when we arrived back in Florida.

Is it just British Airways who does this? And why?

OP posts:
lou33 · 09/08/2004 20:19

It happened to us a few years ago too, not with BA. I had dd1 aged 9, dd2 aged 4, ds1 aged 2 and ds2 aged 4 m, we had to struggle with no help, and waited ages and ages for the buggy to finally arrive (which arrived in a totally diff place to where we had been told)

Joanne69 · 09/08/2004 20:25

My personal experience of this is that it has never happened and I have never flown British Airways. Have only flown twice with 2 kids under 2, both times have kept the buggy right up until we board, both times the buggy wasnt waiting for us when we got of the plane and we have had to pick the buggy up from baggage reclaim. The last time with Air Malta they couldnt actually find the buggy and we had to wait 40 mins. Not pleasant as just as we landed my 5 month old dd filled the biggest nappy and both me and dd were covered.

Going to Australia in October and not expecting to get the buggy until we get to baggage reclaim. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised this time.....

KateandtheGirls · 09/08/2004 20:26

Maybe it's a Europe vs. US thing? I think that since I have had a pushchair I've always flown Continental or another US airline.

OP posts:
whizzz · 09/08/2004 20:32

We flew with Iberia (manchester - barcelona)last year & the buggy was checked into the hold with out baggage on the way there but on the way back we kept it up to the gate & it was put into a locker in the cabin. I don't know why they don't stanardise these things !

sammac · 09/08/2004 20:37

We flew with KLM last month to Miami and back and had no problems with keeping/getting the buggy until......we arrived back into Glasgow. Was fuming, despite Amsterdam having faxed that the buggy to be at the gate. Their attitude- couldn't care less. Most scheduled airlines seem to be okay with it, but when using charter it is never at the gate, always on the belt.

jsmum · 09/08/2004 20:47

Was looking into this recently since planning first flight with DS. The BA site says the following:
Note: London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports have already advised us that, due to the volume of flights and passengers that use the airport, they are unable to deliver children's pushchairs at the aircraft side. It must be collected from the baggage ariivals hall.

So think it may be an airport thing rather than an airline thing !

Joanne69 · 09/08/2004 21:31

Makes sense as both times we have flown into Heathrow. Doesnt account for are outbound destination though. It just seems to cause more confusion with us trying to get the buggy as we get off the plane so dont think we will bother again. And interestingly both flights have been with schedule airlines.

lou33 · 09/08/2004 21:37

Mine happened in Stansted!

maretta · 09/08/2004 21:43

I flew with BA a couple of weeks ago and they let us put the buggy in the overhead locker.

mckenzie · 09/08/2004 21:56

we flew with Easyjet in Marcha dn took the pushchair to the plane in Lyon coming home and when we landed at Stansted we could see the pushchair, on the tarmac not 20 feet from where we were standing but on the other side of the plane. We asked if we could have ti and were told 'No, collect it with your baggage'!! It was about 9pm but luckily there were 2 of us and DS had slept for ages in the afternoon and so wasn't tired and grumpy. But honestly, how was that for jobsworth. To make it worse, when we got to the baggage reclaim the pushchair never appeared and we were told it must have been left in Lyon. I told the chap that we'd seen it on the tarmac at Stansted and he made a phone call and came back with 'it must have been left in Lyon'.
Never mind, when we got it back eventually it was so badly damaged that they had to give us a brand new one!

Yorkiegirl · 09/08/2004 21:58

Message withdrawn

Grizzly · 09/08/2004 22:13

On a recent trip to Malaga from East Midlands the buggy was collected at the gate on departure, went in the hold and was delivered with the baggage on landing. It's an awful long way from gate to baggage reclaim in Malaga. Fortunately not a long flight and there were two of us - dh carried ds who was a hefty 7 month old at the time.

Linnet · 10/08/2004 00:18

Maretta, where did you fly to with BA that they put the buggy in the overhead locker? Was it an International flight or an inland British flight?

I don't like British Airways and I try not to fly with them if I can possibly help it because of what happend to us one time we flew with them. I posted this on another thread here but we flew with BA once Glasgow to London and back again and we were told, on the London to GLasgow flight that we could keep dd's buggy( she was 1 at the time) with us up to the gate and that they would put it in the wardrobe? on the plane with us not in the hold. This didn't happen though, we got to the plane and they told us it had to go in the hold, when we pointed out what we'd been told at check in the air steward said that information was wrong. While she was telling us this a little girl with a dolls pram, yes a dolls pram with a teddy in it was entering the plane and her dolls pram was put in an empty aisle not in the hold. I pointed this out but was still told that our buggy had to go in the hold but that they would make sure we got it back straight away when we landed in Glasgow. This did happen but I think it was just because we made so much fuss. They also wouldn't let us put the Kilts that we had with us in the overhead lockers they also had to go in the hold, although they had been in the overhead lockers on the way down! we'd been at a wedding in London and the whole weekend was spoilt by this experience.

Sorry rant over didn't mean to go on and on about it.

bloss · 10/08/2004 04:19

Message withdrawn

StickyNote · 10/08/2004 07:47

Have to say I always flew British Airways to and from South Africa because they DID let me have my pushchair at the door, sometimes from the cabin, other times from the hold. Virgin didn't, which was why I only flew with them once.

Sounds as if it depends on the crew/airport which is no help whatsoever when planning a trip.

LIZS · 10/08/2004 07:57

easyjet did this once to us at Gatwick - we arrived at 11.00pm with sleepy 4 yo and 1 year old. We had to carry both of them miles through to baggage hall, not sure what would have happened had I been on my own with them. However I was under ther impression that this was BAA policy rather than individual airlines.

Blackduck · 10/08/2004 08:06

Easyjet made us check it in to the hold, but when we went to Turkey with Sunsail you took it to the gate, and it was on the tarmac at the bottom of the stairs when you got off the plane! Agree with everyone here, why can't all airlines do it the same way! And it p*sses me off even more when they make you check your buggy cos its 'too big' and then half the passangers on the plane are carrying 'hand luggage' the size of a family suitcase!

lou33 · 10/08/2004 13:26

Please tell me it will be different with ds2's wheelchair! The airline told me it is stored in the plane and not the hold, but now I am getting worried at having to carry him, and deal with 3 other tired ones, plus hand luggage and a dh with a fear of flying!

LunarSea · 10/08/2004 14:20

I've known BA to not only not have the buggy when you get back to the gate, but insist you check it in with your bags so you don't even have it to get to the gate. And to add insult to injury by charge you excess baggage for having the temerity to have a buggy at all, pointing out that their t's & c's only say that it will "usually" be carried f.o.c. Thank goodness ds is big enough to not really need it now.

Lou33 - I'd insist on one of those noisy golf-cart things if they can't get the wheelchair to the door.

lou33 · 10/08/2004 14:24

Lunar, the airline said they have organised disabled assistance for us all the way through, but I'm starting to worry now, after reading all these posts!

Galaxy · 10/08/2004 17:39

message withdrawn

lou33 · 10/08/2004 20:07

I haven't yet, I've been a bit snowed under by things, but we aren't going until end of Nov, so will get onto it soon. Thanks for your help btw.

fairydust · 11/08/2004 12:24

lou you need a letter from your doctor starting your ds has cp that way they can't not get his wheel chair there for you -

we had this trouble last yr on the way out to malaga they didn't provide us with assistance as we didn't have a letter proving dd's condition we phoned dd doctor once there and he faxed us one and it was all plane sailing on the way home.

we'd also prebooked assistant at the travel agent before going but that didn;'t make a difference


Azure · 11/08/2004 12:59

I think it depends on the crew, the class you travel and how busy the plane is. I've flown three times with DS (2 BA, 1 BMI) and the only time the buggy has been waiting by the door was when I flew business class to the States and they put it in the wardrobe. By the envious looks of the other people flying with children (in economy) I gather they didn't do it for everyone.

lou33 · 11/08/2004 13:26

Cheers FD

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