Travelling to Italy - Bureaucracy triumphs

British Airways and British Aviation Authority make a killing and cause unnecessary suffering to innocent travellers - shock news.

Cartoon image of bag

OK, so this isn't news, but it just confirms the worst of BA and BAA bureaucracy. Somebody's responsible and it just reinforces my thoughts around and the need to make those idiots pay for their idiocy when currently they get away scott free.

Had to leave Barcamp London 2 (the unconference) early and miss the whole Sunday, which put me in a bit of a grumpy mood, especially after no sleep. However, on arrival at Gatwick British Airways checkin, and repacking my bags as I normally do - put laptops and breakables into my hand luggage - they broke the news. Some idiot has decided you can only take one item of baggage in the hold, and one item in hand luggage. Any extras they will charge £60.

So I then had to empty my bags completely and find a way to get my whole electronics hard-case into my hand-luggage to avoid paying their stupid charge. it wouldn't fit in the small second bag I had for clothes. It would have been on BT expenses to cover this trip anyway, but there's no way I was going to have them actually benefit from screwing me and all the other passengers around like that without warning.

The result - they end up taking the same amount of luggage, but then I have to sit there sweating and re-packing my bags for another ten minutes to squeeze everything in. I then finally lug a heavy carry-on bag around with more than I need to - borderline hand-luggage. My bag was about 10 kilos UNDERweight. If I'd just brought a bigger bag then it would have been fine. Where's the common sense?

Initially I had luggage which was packed for my convenience, and I was ready to travel to Italy in a relaxed mood for my £300 ticket. By the end they had me fuming. I'm very tempted to go back and sell £10 bags for passengers to put their small bags into saving them the idiot charge, and making me some money at the same time.

This is how I imagine the idiot heirarchy coming up with this wonderful scheme...

Idiot 1 - BAA

We have 20,000 passengers passing through a day, with a total of 30,000 items of hand-luggage. To maintain the trucks, pay the salaries and maintain the whole baggage production line, it costs £1000,000 per day. So that's around £30 per bag. Adding on the mandatory 100% profit that means bags cost £60 each so we'll charge the airlines £60 per bag.

Idiot 2 - BA

Since bags cost £60 per day we could save up to 50% percent of the costs by reducing our passengers to half their current baggage usage.

Of course the collective idiocy of this is that most of the costs of running the baggage production line is the fixed costs and the logistics, and none of these costs are elastic. So if you half the number of bags, it just makes them twice as expensive each. It doesn't reduce the cost of delivering the service. But the idiots don't try to make sense of the world, they merely try to make sense of the twisted minds of other idiots.

My imaginary extra bag would have added probably 3 seconds to the day of an average baggage handler. If this is worth £60 I'd like to know what those guys are paid! The upshot of having all these idiots, internal markets and other shit is that the person who pays their wages, with their £300 ticket price, gets hot, sweaty and annoyed whilst confronting their idiot bureacracy.

Another tribe of idiots can be identified in the design of the travellers shopping area. The retail idiots (even, or perhaps especially, the ones selling wrist watches) consider it to be VERY BAD MARKETING to purchase a concession in any area where a clock is visible. The fact that this place is full of travellers who desperately need to know, with millisecond precision, just how much longer they can browse for another London Bus chocolate box, is lost on the idiot tribe. I'm sure the idea has been put forward many times - wouldn't it be useful to have a clock in this airport, and been personally blocked by the very highest qualified idiots of all.

While I'm whinging, I'd like to know why there is a conspiracy to remove all forms of charging plug from the range of travellers waiting areas, where they tend to sit with laptops which are discharged by the time they get on the plane, where mains power is an understandably rare commodity. I just don't know which particular brand of idiot is behind this. They're diligent though, personally filing down the plug fittings of all the cleaner's hoovers so that they can fit inside the especially modified plugs which are made available.

Big up to Southwest trains (Clapham Jcn-Southampton line) who have had the tremendous common sense to allow mains power under their train tables while travelling along at 100kmh, when BAA can't even set this up in a bloody airport!


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