Our issues center on Heathrow Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 transits, lost luggage, rushing long distances and poor assistance with wheelchair/special needs.
From our experience, we are concerned that the Olympics in 2012 will be a shambles, for anybody transiting through Heathrow. Our holiday was ruined by the fact that our baggage did not make the flight on both legs of our journey. BA should not permit bookings with less than a two hour transit, especially with baggage transfers through Terminals 3 and 5. On the onward journey, our schedule gave us an hour and a half to get to the Terminal 5 gate for Rome, but the flight was delayed by 10 minutes and there were additional delays in getting to the aerobridge due to congestion, which effectively left us with less than an hour to get there, including waiting for the bus, train and walking long distances. (I had contacted the cabin crew an hour prior to landing to see if we could move nearer to the front for landing, but they assured us that we'd have plenty of time.)
I literally had to run to make the next flight. My wife could not run for medical reasons, and I had to ask the ground crew to wait for her. The amount of walking involved was unrealistic after a long-haul flight of this kind. To make matters worse, our baggage did not make it to Rome, and as a result, we had to wait in the airport for the next flight, which was effectively a 3 hour delay. This meant that we missed our excursions for the day.
We wanted to avoid the same experience on the return trip. We had planned a short break in Singapore and we wanted to avoid our baggage being delayed again, so we tried to call BA. It was impossible to get through on several occasions. We contacted our travel Agents, Flight Center who told us that BA would not change the Aberdeen flight to an earlier flight without paying about 210 Pounds Sterling from memory, as 90 minutes was considered sufficient time for the transfer. We decided to take the chance, but ordered a wheelchair for my wife to avoid the stress (she has cancer) of a repeat rush between the terminals. The check-in staff at Aberdeen Airport were very helpful. They advised us that we would be met at Heathrow with a wheelchair and they even gave us a seat near the front to avoid delays in getting off the flight. While we were booking in our baggage, the check-in person told us that there was an alarm that stated that our baggage could only be checked through to Heathrow because the transit time was too short. She made a phone call and was told to check it through to Singapore anyway. We told her that we had made every effort to get an earlier flight, but was advised that we had plenty of time.
We got to Heathrow exactly on schedule but there was nobody to meet us. We walked to the information desk near the gate and they advised us to wait at the seats for a wheel chair, explaining how tight our connection was. 12 minutes later, one of the air hostesses came up to us and gave us a wheel chair and told us to hurry or we'd miss our flight. The attendant at the customer service desk told us that he had phoned through to Terminal 3 and that there would be somebody waiting for us. When we got to Terminal 3, we checked at the Special Assistance desk after getting off the bus. Nobody knew about us, and they had to organise a wheel chair. This took another 8 minutes. By the time we got through security, we only just made our flight, only 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
When we got to Singapore, we waited for our baggage. It hadn't made it (no surprises there) and we contacted the lost baggage department. They were extremely efficient. Apparently, this is a daily issue with Heathrow, and there were approximately 12 people with the same problem. It appeared that most (possibly all) had transited through Heathrow. They assured us that our bags would arrive the next morning. They actually arrived at our hotel room at 10:30pm the following night, and we had two nights in Singapore, so effectively we had them for the day we were checking out. My wife has a fuller figure, and it's almost impossible to get swim-wear for her in Singapore, especially with the 35 pounds we were given. We booked in to the Marina Sands Hotel, and one of the attractions was the infinity edge swimming pool on the roof. My wife never got to use that because of the baggage delays and the fact that she slept in on the final day.
So we're really not very happy with BA at the moment. The service on the flight was also mediocre. The highlight was the last leg to Australia, and the service was much better on this leg. It was a Qantas code share.
To end on a positive note, BA's coffee improved dramatically between the outgoing and return flights. On the outgoing flight, it tasted a bit like a mild detergent solution. It was the worst beverage described as coffee that I'd ever drunk.