Why avoid Heathrow Airport or British Airways for your connecting flights?

I had heard this from many but still I booked my return flights from Austin to Delhi with British Airways. My Flight from Austin was late but still there was scope to catch the flight at Heathrow, as there was enough gap.     When my flight from Austin to London landed at Heathrow, the pilot announced that there is lot of traffic on airport and people with connecting flights should move fast to appropriate gates. I almost ran and when I reached the security gates, all of us were being redirected to a machine for scanning our boarding passes. As I scanned my boarding pass, I received a slip like what you see below :

I had heard this from many but still I booked my return flights from Austin to Delhi with British Airways. My Flight from Austin was late but still there was scope to catch the flight at Heathrow, as there was enough gap. 


When my flight from Austin to London landed at Heathrow, the pilot announced that there is lot of traffic on airport and people with connecting flights should move fast to appropriate gates. I almost ran and when I reached the security gates, all of us were being redirected to a machine for scanning our boarding passes. As I scanned my boarding pass, I received a slip like what you see below :

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The ticket says - "We cannot check you in. Acceptance is closed. Please seek assistance." and the flight had to take off after 1.5 hrs. We had no clue about the main reason, if flight can cancelled, overbooked or something else.      Most of the folks scanning their boarding passes were getting this slip, so we thought of checking again is machine is working fine or not :). Then the lady who was assisting at the machine smiled and directed us to  the queue for further assistance.     Now we got into the line which was extremely long and it took me 3.5 hrs to reach the counter. During this time, I had done my research about which flight I want. They got me booked in Vistara Fight which was after 6 hrs. I asked if I need to pick the bag from somewhere and the person at counter said that bag will be moved to my new flight, so I can go to the other terminal from where this flight goes.     As I came out of the counter, now I was worried about my check-in bag. So to ensure that it safely reach Delhi, I started figuring out about Vistara counter on heathrow. Almost no one knew about it. Then I took bus to terminal from where flight had to take off. There I could see counters of almost all airlines but nothing for Vistara. Asked multiple people and I got an answer that they don't have any counter. One of the airport officer told to me that there is small counter near gate no 1.    I went to Gate no 1, which took 20 mins for me to reach as I was around gate no 28 on this terminal. I couldn't find the counter there. I asked few people around Gate no 1 and they confirmed there is no such counter of airlines here.     Same back to main area of the terminal where all other airlines have counters. Met a gentleman, who shared some insights. He mentioned that on most of the days, flight goes from Gate no 23 and Visatara has no other office. You can wait in front of that gate and when Vistara staff arrives, you can ask them about baggage. He also assured that usually airlines take care of checked in baggage.     Now, I took a break, ate something, charged my phone and came back to Gate no 23. Sat there for few hours and finally Vistara staff arrived and helped me. All this ended well but the whole time anxious and Heathrow airport makes to feel more anxious. Imagine an announcement an hour ago that flight is going from other terminal now. Going from one terminal to another easily takes 45 mins.     So the bottomline is that you are opting for connecting flights, avoid Heathrow airport and British Airways.


The ticket says - "We cannot check you in. Acceptance is closed. Please seek assistance." and the flight had to take off after 1.5 hrs. We had no clue about the main reason, if flight can cancelled, overbooked or something else.  


Most of the folks scanning their boarding passes were getting this slip, so we thought of checking again is machine is working fine or not :). Then the lady who was assisting at the machine smiled and directed us to  the queue for further assistance. 


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Now we got into the line which was extremely long and it took me 3.5 hrs to reach the counter. During this time, I had done my research about which flight I want. They got me booked in Vistara Fight which was after 6 hrs. I asked if I need to pick the bag from somewhere and the person at counter said that bag will be moved to my new flight, so I can go to the other terminal from where this flight goes. 


Related Blogpost - How I got Free entry to Malaysia with USA Visa


As I came out of the counter, now I was worried about my check-in bag. So to ensure that it safely reach Delhi, I started figuring out about Vistara counter on heathrow. Almost no one knew about it. Then I took bus to terminal from where flight had to take off. There I could see counters of almost all airlines but nothing for Vistara. Asked multiple people and I got an answer that they don't have any counter. One of the airport officer told to me that there is small counter near gate no 1.


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I went to Gate no 1, which took 20 mins for me to reach as I was around gate no 28 on this terminal. I couldn't find the counter there. I asked few people around Gate no 1 and they confirmed there is no such counter of airlines here. 


Same back to main area of the terminal where all other airlines have counters. Met a gentleman, who shared some insights. He mentioned that on most of the days, flight goes from Gate no 23 and Visatara has no other office. You can wait in front of that gate and when Vistara staff arrives, you can ask them about baggage. He also assured that usually airlines take care of checked in baggage. 


Related Blogpost - Why to (or not to) prefer Air India over Emirates while flying from India to USA


Now, I took a break, ate something, charged my phone and came back to Gate no 23. Sat there for few hours and finally Vistara staff arrived and helped me. All this ended well but the whole time anxious and Heathrow airport makes to feel more anxious. Imagine an announcement an hour ago that flight is going from other terminal now. Going from one terminal to another easily takes 45 mins. 


So the bottomline is that you are opting for connecting flights, avoid Heathrow airport and British Airways.  

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