Monday, March 19, 2007

Baggage delays ... and a possible Olympic sport

Sitting waiting for the slightly delayed bmi flight to Heathrow, I watched as the ground staff struggled to get the luggage bins off the incoming flight and onto the wee trailers.

Done properly, it could be argued in as an Olympic sport played by a team of yellow-jacketed players. Lining up the ramp with the plan, lining up the trailers with the ramp. Spinning the bins around. Rolling them smoothly over the bearings from ramp to trailer. A team acting as one. Poetry in motion.

You should watch it sometime. It could be a real art form.

This morning in Belfast, it was more brute force and ignorance than art. Aggressively kicking unruly bags back into the unsecured bins. Getting bins stuck half way between the ramp and the trailer. A snaked queue of trailers awaiting the incoming bins to clear away to allow our luggage to be loaded up into the plane's hold.

Now, I've been standing at Heathrow's luggage belt for forty minutes. No bags dropped onto either conveyor belt for twenty five minutes. Then a trickle for a Tyne Tees flight appeared. But no sign of our bags.

Maybe if we could peer out of a window we'd see someone in a yellow jacket kicking and pulling to get the luggage out of our plane.

A bit wacky, but maybe bmi's ground crew need a performance coach, video playback to analyse weaknesses in their approach. Maybe they need a league table and a bit of competition between flights and airports to inspire a bit more accurate handling and faster times!

Our Belfast bags have finally started to spill out. It's taken over half as long as the flight itself to reclaim our bags. Taken longer that it will now take me to get from Heathrow to Paddington and onto Waterloo station.

Makes be feel good about getting the train to Brussels - no delays checking in your luggage and reclaiming it. And it saves having to bring an extra holdall just to carry the carbon footprint of a second short haul flight!

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