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Author Topic: Follow-up on Heathrow & UK airports  (Read 9946 times)
marty m
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« on: November 25, 2007, 07:19:01 AM »
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If you want to understand the background for this thread, please read my original posting and the other thread:

"Avoid Heathrow Airport in London UK at all costs, Allow only 1 carry-on - rigidly enforced"

Background:  Most of us must carry two bags on the plane, one with expensive camera gear, and the other with a laptop.  We are forbidden to do that at Heathrow -- even if you are only changing planes.  You will be forced to get out of the line, pass through customs, and check either your camera gear or your laptop.  By then you'll also miss your connecting flight.  

As I originally said, AVOID HEATHROW AT ALL COSTS if you must travel with two carry-ons as are allowed everywhere else in the world.  STAY AWAY FROM THE UK, AND DO NOT FLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS, UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE CAUGHT IN THIS DRAG-NET.  

As the below update reveals, many others are avoiding Heathrow for the same reasons I provided in the original thread, and the pressure on the British Govt is beginning to have an impact.

Before providing the update, let's all agree to keep this thread on the topic of the carry-on policies of Heathrow and the UK and how that relates to all of us as traveling photographers.  So let's try to avoid digressions about street crime, terrorism, or any ethnic comments.  So hopefully this thread won't be closed as well.

Here is the update.  NOTE -- READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END FOR AN IMPORTANT UPDATE TO THIS UPDATE!   This is from the blog The Cranky Flier, and am providing his report verbatim.  (I highly recommend The Cranky Flier for anyone who flies on a regular basis as it provides excellent updates on airlines and airports.)

*******************

VERBATIM FROM THE CRANKY FLIER:

  Big News . . . in the UK . . . About Carry-Ons

You thought the big news was about a Delta/United merger? Nah, that’s not news . . . yet. Airlines talk about mergers all the time, and until I see an actual proposal, I’m not going to bother worrying about it. So far we have a hedge fund that has money in both airlines and wants to see them combine. They’ll make them a ton of money, and then it will turn into a huge mess for the airlines afterwards. This is all assuming that it actually happens at some point, and I’m far from convinced.

So for now, let’s focus on real news. This is coming from the UK. No, I’m not talking about the BA ghost flights. I’m talking about the end of the one carry-on rule at UK airports!

Now, don’t get too excited just yet. My exclamation point is a bit premature. If you’re flying today, you won’t see a difference, but change is coming. According to the BBC, on January 7 of next year, the requirement that airports only allow one carry-on bag through security will be eliminated. Now sadly that doesn’t mean that you can bring the standard 1+1 (purse, briefcase, etc) that you’re allowed in the rest of the free world right away. Each airport has to work to make the change.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said, “We are inviting each airport to submit plans to take advantage of new technology, operational innovations, and unexploited capacity in the system to make a real difference to passengers as soon as possible.”

Blah blah. When will it happen?

The assumption is that UK airports will have all applied to do this within a few months, but there’s no indication how long it may take to get it approved. And really, most of the world outside of the UK just wants to know when the London airports (especially Heathrow) will change, since those carry the bulk of passenger traffic. Once that happens, people will have one less reason to avoid flying through London.

UPDATE Nov 19 @ 316p: Musings of The Global Traveller came across an article saying that BAA, which runs many of the UK’s large airports, won’t have the ability to take 2 carry ons per passenger at any airport. They will, however, allow First and Business class passengers to carry on a second bag at Heathrow. That’s it. Booooooooo! No wonder people hate BAA. Keep avoiding LHR for now . . . .
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Kagetsu
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2007, 05:11:41 PM »
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I can't say I've ever travelled to the UK, so haven't had the misfortune of travelling with BAA... however, I've been to Frankfurt and after waiting an entire day for the club lounge to open (AKA Qantas club, but run by BAA) it eventually did about four hours before my flight, and was left to choose between garbage service, and zero entertainment facility outside of the club.
I'm also avoiding Fankfurt airport from now on for that reason when I travel to Europe... That said, most Europe airports I've been too are similar.

BTW. If you're travelling into Croatia, they're great with carry on and suitcases... I managed to check my 35kg bag all the way from Zagreb to Darwin (australia) without excess... The only thing you need to be careful of is that they don't forget your bags. I found my bag sitting on the runway at one stage.  while waiting for my next flight to Pula (Croatia).
Also had my laptop bag, and camera bags (2 of).

EDIT: So BAA are basically saying they don't want to accomodate or simply can't accomodate the extra single bag?
I think I'd rather fly into France, and get the train, or ferry.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2007, 05:13:04 PM by Kagetsu » Logged
kikashi
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2007, 04:04:36 PM »
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[/color] if you must travel with two carry-ons as are allowed everywhere else in the world.  STAY AWAY FROM THE UK, AND DO NOT FLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS, UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE CAUGHT IN THIS DRAG-NET. 

I'm still at a loss to understand why you think this has anything to do with BAA or BA, or why flying out of the UK with a different carrier will make the slightest difference.

The rule allowing one item of hand baggage is government-imposed. You can fly with Lufthansa, Qantas or Air Khazakstan if you like, out of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or Bognor: you won't be allowed to take more than one bag (and a small, transparent plastic bag containing your lipstick and hair gel) onto the plane.

Sooner or later the government will realise that its oft-repeated mantra, "We will not give in to terrorists" would be better phrased as "We have given in to terrorists, by grossly inconveniencing every member of the travelling public with our ridiculous rules". Until then, we're all stuffed.

Jeremy
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Sunesha
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2007, 06:23:54 PM »
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I was in London for about 3 weeks ago. It wasnt so hard. I have hardcase bag and packed all into it. 8 lenses, tripod, laptop and a camera. I cant remember the brand but is made to fit the handbagage requirements. My old man bought it as present as he travels 2-3 times a month in europe.

I flew with BAA and Scandinavian air lines.

I had no big problems.

If I want waste my time I go to USA and land on JFK. Maan thats takes alot off times sometimes. Also I feel like illegal immigrant.   I remmember my friend that is swedish citizen but have Lebanese hertiage was really hasseld. Maybe they thought he was some kind of terroist. Myself was just suspect off beeing friend with arabic looking. But guess my blond hair and blue eyes helps alot.

I fly about 10-15 times a year. I gotten used to different stupid rules like 100ml rule.

After all it isnt such hard to adapt to one rule.

When used to work with expensive studio/tv audio recording gear wish often had value over 500k dollars. We always sent it with DHL or other couriers to the location. I would recommend this option as it insured.

But as private person better go look for special made bags. If you travel with friends pack stuff with them also. The last time I was in Cyprus I put 3 lenses in my jacket. Worked nice. Just put the jacket on exray machine band.

One thing learnt about flying in this paranoid days is to follow this points:
• fly without belt on my pants
• Have shoes that is easy to take off and on, some US airports make you put them off.
• No watch
• Have all my passport, keys and other objects in my handbagage
• Pack my computer and camera in easy access as some airports check if you can turn them on. You have turn on them yourselves. As they are afraid off bombs I guess.
• Have a vest or jacket with big pockets so you can disturbute it easy
• Have all liquids in my plastic bag. Once my lens cleaner was thrown away no idea. It wasnt allowed.

In sweden we had alot screaming about the air security after one off our most famous documentary program leaders made a full show how you can kill and hurt people anyway on planes.    After concluding the program, the best way to protect people was to check in a day before flying and get provided clothes by the airport, hehe.

If you fly alot you get used to all the stupid ideas. They change the rules so often, I used to get pissed off alot. But I am used that I am getting treated different on airplanes.

I dont think Heathrow is any diffrent to any other airports in world. They are thou very fast to process people. Which I like. I hate to beeing stuck in ques. Last time in london it took me 25 minutes from getting off plane from sitting in a taxi. Thou I was only in london for 4 days so I took all my stuff in the handbagage. Which they didnt weigh. If they done that it would weigh 23 kilos ;-)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2007, 06:26:25 PM by Sunesha » Logged

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matt4626
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2007, 06:09:42 PM »
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It well might be the government but the bottom line for me is: avoid London.
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NBP
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2007, 05:34:32 AM »
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By the way, if anyone is still unconvinced that these 'security' measures in the UK are a load of  cynical bollocks, then why are they now charging £1 for a clear plastic bag for small items of liquids at Luton Airport and not at City Airport?
Think about it - (those that know these airports and the customers who use them respectively)

I am also not allowed a small plastic bottle of contact lens solution, but as soon as I'm through security I can happily buy from duty free, 1 litre of flamable alcohol contained within a nice big glass bottle & take it on board with me.


Sorry, rant over. As you were.  
« Last Edit: December 05, 2007, 05:35:17 AM by NBP » Logged
marty m
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2008, 08:28:57 PM »
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Sanity appears to be returning to the British Govt and their airport authority.  I'm sure that this revision to the one carry-on policy is being made due to some loss in tourism and visitors, and probably also some loss in business to any airline that uses Heathrow to a large degree, such as British Airways.  None of us have any influence on the British government, but a loss of business, however small, to British Airways or the British tourism industry would cause them to scream loudly, and they do have influence on govt policy.  That appears to have happened --

An update from the blog "the Cranky Flier" -- quoting verbatim:

Happy New Year! Drink a little too much last night? That’s what I thought. Grab a cup of coffee (or a Bloody Mary), and hopefully I can take your mind off that pounding headache.

A month and a half ago, I noted that the UK would begin allowing airports to permit two carry-on bags per person. The big question was . . . which airports would be ready in time for the January 7 launch?

Well, we’re less than a week away now, and the news is mostly good. If you’re flying to London/Heathrow, two carry-ons will be allowed. That’s very welcome indeed, and it goes for London/Stansted, London/City, Manchester, Aberdeen, and Birmingham as well. Unfortunately, London/Gatwick and London/Luton aren’t on the list so you’ll probably want to avoid them if you were hoping to not check bags.

The rest of the airports that will begin allowing 2 carry-ons on January 7:
Benecula
Cambridge
Cardiff
Inverness
Islay
Kirkwall
Plymouth
Prestwick
Southampton
Southend
Stornaway
Sumburgh
Wick
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kikashi
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 03:48:43 AM »
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Sanity appears to be returning to the British Govt and their airport authority.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=164488\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Not that it matters particularly, I suppose, but BAA (British Airports Authority) is not "the British Govt"'s airport authority. It was an independent, publicly-owned company and was taken over by a Spanish company (Ferrovial, I think) about 18 months ago. It owns and runs seven of the UK's airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It owns only one (Southampton) of the airports mentioned in the article you quote, all of which are tiny.

[edit: sorry, I was looking only at the list and not the text. BAA owns Stansted, Aberdeen and of course Heathrow as well. Aberdeen's small.]

Jeremy
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 03:27:47 PM by kikashi » Logged
Kevin Gallagher
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 04:21:56 AM »
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This popped up today from our friend at crankyflyer.

The Cranky FlierJan
1st19 UK Airports to Allow Second Carry On
Happy New Year! Drink a little too much last night? That’s what I thought. Grab a cup of coffee (or a Bloody Mary), and hopefully I can take your mind off that pounding headache.

A month and a half ago, I noted that the UK would begin allowing airports to permit two carry-on bags per person. The big question was . . . which airports would be ready in time for the January 7 launch?

Well, we’re less than a week away now, and the news is mostly good. If you’re flying to London/Heathrow, two carry-ons will be allowed. That’s very welcome indeed, and it goes for London/Stansted, London/City, Manchester, Aberdeen, and Birmingham as well. Unfortunately, London/Gatwick and London/Luton aren’t on the list so you’ll probably want to avoid them if you were hoping to not check bags.

The rest of the airports that will begin allowing 2 carry-ons on January 7:
Benecula
Cambridge
Cardiff
Inverness
Islay
Kirkwall
Plymouth
Prestwick
Southampton
Southend
Stornaway
Sumburgh
Wick
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2008, 09:32:20 PM »
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Don't hold your breath expecting any sanity on this issue from British Airways any time soon. They are just as bad as their governing Ministry of Transportation. Here is an exact statement of their new policy:

•   One bag no bigger than 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches (56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm), including wheels, pockets and handles;
•   In addition, one briefcase or laptop sized bag.

Contrary to the nonsense in the first bullet, most of the world’s carriers do NOT include wheels, pockets and handles and they allow the smallest dimension to be 10 inches. Here is a statement from one of the major manufacturers of photographic equipment carry-on bags based on their extensive research into international airline practices (“Think Tank Pro”):

“The Airport Security roller is actually the same size as our Airport Addicted backpack, except it has wheels and feet on the bottom. (Airlines and luggage companies measure the size of the bag excluding the additional length created by the wheels and feet.) The well built roller fits inside almost all aircraft overhead bins.”

Lowepro, one of the world’s foremost manufacturer of such bags dimensions its advertised airline compliant bags in the same way. Delta airlines for example allows the smallest dimension to be 10 inches as well.

The issue here isn't about 0.15 inches. It's about a mindset. It's about foolish management which frames regulations in a manner designed to send signals to their ground staff to be mean and stingy to passengers whose baggage straps won't fit into the metal frame along with the rest of the bag.

This is the kind of mindless, petty, insufferable nonsense to which British Airways is content to subject its passengers, notwithstanding the oft-repeated hogwash from the CEO that his passengers' comfort and convenience is one of his top priorities.

I think it preferable for anyone who values their sensitive and expensive equipment to continue avoiding both British Airways and Heathrow Airport until there is real evidence of common sense and flexibility there.
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2008, 10:58:35 PM »
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At the same time as the relaxation of the bag ruling.

Another sneaky “tax” has been implemented. Under the guise of Health and Safety.
As it is only a recommendation.

*Overweight bags effective November 2008
In accordance with the UK Health and Safety Executive’s recommendation on the maximum weight for checked baggage, British Airways has introduced a limit of 23kg (51lbs) for any single checked bag as part of your free baggage allowance.

We understand that there are times when you will need to exceed this limit. Therefore, from November 2008, a flat fee of £25 GBP will be applied to bags weighing more than 23kg (51lbs). This charge is to cover the additional handling that bags weighing over 23kg (51lbs) can attract.


I believed all baggage transit through the Airport was via automated conveyor belt, then into containers for loading into the airplane. The only time it is touched by airport staff is to carefully stow it in the containers or throw it onto the carousel, so does this now mean that additional handling will mean 2 operatives will have to swing heavy baggage with a hefty 1-2-3-GO !
 

Until this charge is implemented, we will continue to accept a single piece of baggage weighing up to 32kg (70lbs) without charge.

Please note that we will not accept a bag heavier than 32kg (70lbs) as checked baggage.


Source
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/bagchk/public/en_gb
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Christopher
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 03:31:44 AM »
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I don't think it is that bad as some people say it is. I'm flying quite a lot out of LHR and had never problems. Just use a bacg which has the maximum size or is a little bigger and nobody will ever say something. I travel through London nearly once a week for 2 years now and never had a problem. Yes it is more annoying than for example Munich, but you are getting used to it.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2008, 04:38:23 AM »
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I don't think it is that bad as some people say it is. I'm flying quite a lot out of LHR and had never problems. Just use a bacg which has the maximum size or is a little bigger and nobody will ever say something. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167275\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I had to argue my case [ho, ho] at Heathrow with 3 different officials as my bag was just that, a fraction too big.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2008, 04:59:22 AM »
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Don't hold your breath expecting any sanity on this issue from British Airways any time soon. They are just as bad as their governing Ministry of Transportation. Here is an exact statement of their new policy:

•   One bag no bigger than 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches (56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm), including wheels, pockets and handles;
•   In addition, one briefcase or laptop sized bag.

Contrary to the nonsense in the first bullet, most of the world’s carriers do NOT include wheels, pockets and handles and they allow the smallest dimension to be 10 inches. Here is a statement from one of the major manufacturers of photographic equipment carry-on bags based on their extensive research into international airline practices (“Think Tank Pro”): Delta airlines for example allows the smallest dimension to be 10 inches as well.

The issue here isn't about 0.15 inches. It's about a mindset. It's about foolish management which frames regulations in a manner designed to send signals to their ground staff to be mean and stingy to passengers whose baggage straps won't fit into the metal frame along with the rest of the bag.

This is the kind of mindless, petty, insufferable nonsense to which British Airways is content to subject its passengers, notwithstanding the oft-repeated hogwash from the CEO that his passengers' comfort and convenience is one of his top priorities.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166843\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'm not defending BA here, but you are attacking completely the wrong target. The people who decide whether your bag goes on are the Airport security staff, who are nothing to do with BA or any other airline that flies through whichever airport. And BA let me check in and board their plane no problem with the bag that security were being particularly anal about.

As for going on about the 10 inches versus 9.85 inches, again you've missed the point it's  10" versus 25cm, as in Europe we use modern measuring, not that stupid old fashioned Imperial nonsense.   They are hardly going to recommend a size of 25.4 cm for the smallest dimension, it's simply rounded off and being less than 0.5 one rounds down. I'm not pleased that it made it slightly smaller, but at least there is a logical reason for that particular sizing. It could simply be that the US has rounded up to 10" from the metric size of 25cm.

If you want to have a go at an airline and baggage nonsense, Easyjet were bragging about have the best carry on limits of any carrier in Europe despite having a smaller dimension allowance than BA. As as for the ripoff merchants at RyanAir, spit!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2008, 07:02:53 AM »
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At the same time as the relaxation of the bag ruling.

Another sneaky “tax” has been implemented. Under the guise of Health and Safety.
As it is only a recommendation.

[
Source
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/bagchk/public/en_gb
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167234\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It read more like a done deal to me. Regardless, what we need to understand is that fuel prices have increased considerably, terminal 5 is going into operation, and the USA is heading into an economic recession which threatens discretionary travel - and more and more business travel is becoming discretionary with Skype and broadband internet eliminating the need for a lot of travelling. Quite a number of airlines are staring into a bleak 2008, so the more commercially aggressive of them are looking into any ways they can imagine to increase revenue without actually raising fares and turning off more passengers. So we will continue to see "sneaky" ways of making travel costlier. It is of course convenient for BA to have another party they can finger while they do this.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2008, 07:11:37 AM »
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I'm not defending BA here, but you are attacking completely the wrong target. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167284\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No I am not attacking the wrong target. All these folks work together behind the scenes and BA has a tremendous amount of clout and a lot to say about what happens in Heathrow Airport. Make no mistake about it - and they are the front line losers when people avoid using them or passing through the UK altogether. While the content of a carry-on may be controlled by governmental authorities, as it should be these days, the sizes and weights of carry-on luggage are determined by the airlines in collaboration with others. I'm not making an issue about 0.15 inches of bag width - but truth is when converting between cms and inches they could just as easily round-up as round-down; but they chose to round-down. I'm pointing out a mindset which needs to be loosened-up so traveling photographers can use the place without stress and fear.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2008, 11:53:01 PM »
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I'm not defending BA here, but you are attacking completely the wrong target. The people who decide whether your bag goes on are the Airport security staff, who are nothing to do with BA or any other airline that flies through whichever airport. And BA let me check in and board their plane no problem with the bag that security were being particularly anal about.

As for going on about the 10 inches versus 9.85 inches, again you've missed the point it's  10" versus 25cm, as in Europe we use modern measuring, not that stupid old fashioned Imperial nonsense.   They are hardly going to recommend a size of 25.4 cm for the smallest dimension, it's simply rounded off and being less than 0.5 one rounds down. I'm not pleased that it made it slightly smaller, but at least there is a logical reason for that particular sizing. It could simply be that the US has rounded up to 10" from the metric size of 25cm.

If you want to have a go at an airline and baggage nonsense, Easyjet were bragging about have the best carry on limits of any carrier in Europe despite having a smaller dimension allowance than BA. As as for the ripoff merchants at RyanAir, spit!
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


BA = British Airways - The Airline
BAA = Ferrovial - (formally = British Airport Authority) = Airport security staff


Do Samsonite / Delsey / Carlton / TravelPro manafacture 2 different size bags?
Imperial and Metric? I am sure the factory- probably in China, only makes 1 size.http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_images/1/folder_post_icons/icon1.gif
[a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_images/1/folder_post_icons/icon1.gif]http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_...icons/icon1.gif[/url]
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2008, 07:29:51 AM »
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BA = British Airways - The Airline
BAA = Ferrovial - (formally = British Airport Authority) = Airport security staff
Do Samsonite / Delsey / Carlton / TravelPro manafacture 2 different size bags?
Imperial and Metric? I am sure the factory- probably in China, only makes 1 size.http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_images/1/folder_post_icons/icon1.gif
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_...icons/icon1.gif
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167736\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Willow, yes thanks for the reminder - I think many of us are well aware of the roles of BA, BAA and the UK DfT, but it is good to keep that in mind for these discussions.

As for bags -  numerous factories make all kinds of bags with different sizes and features. Some of them (Such as Think Tank Pro and LowePro) advertise which models are airline-compliant. It's frustrating to buy one of these bags and find out five days later that the bean-counters in Heathrow airport could prevent us boarding one of them because a handle or a harness may not fit with the bag in the metal frame. That is what BA's new regulations mean. No matter who is responsible for what in that airport, it should not be beyond human intelligence to organize a system that has a bit more flex in it than what they are demonstrating. Anyhow, until there's clear evidence of sanity prevailing there, keeping away from it remains my preferred, though regretted, option.
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« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2008, 07:34:19 AM »
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No I am not attacking the wrong target. All these folks work together behind the scenes and BA has a tremendous amount of clout and a lot to say about what happens in Heathrow Airport. Make no mistake about it - and they are the front line losers when people avoid using them or passing through the UK altogether. While the content of a carry-on may be controlled by governmental authorities, as it should be these days, the sizes and weights of carry-on luggage are determined by the airlines in collaboration with others. I'm not making an issue about 0.15 inches of bag width - but truth is when converting between cms and inches they could just as easily round-up as round-down; but they chose to round-down. I'm pointing out a mindset which needs to be loosened-up so traveling photographers can use the place without stress and fear.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=167295\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Never had problems with BA itself. Yes on LHR BAA is really anyoing, but BA itself is my major flying company and I think there service is great. A lot better than what I'm used to through Lufthansa and believe me BA has not as much to say as you might think. I'm really flying often and I never had to check in my carry on, even though it is a little bigger and certainly way to heavy.
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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2008, 07:40:01 AM »
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Christopher, yes, I agree, BA service is generally first-rate. I've been flying with them a lot during the more active years of my professional carreer. And for regular business travel I have only good things to say about them. The airport itself is a dfifferent story, but Terminal 5 may correct much of that. The discussion here is about one specific issue that has a recent genesis and evolution, and for a traveling photographer could be a real deal-breaker despite all the other good things.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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