British Air / Alitalia connection gamble

Old Sep 11th, 2004, 08:29 PM
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British Air / Alitalia connection gamble

Five of us are leaving for Italy on Tuesday. We fly from Phoenix to London on British Air and then fly to Milan from London on Alitalia. We have a 3.5 hour layover.

On top of the latest mess with Alitalia, I've also heard of the mess BA has had lately with their luggage delays. I spoke with BA today and they assured me that this situation has been resolved.

My question is, do you thing it is a gamble to check my luggage from Phoenix to Milan? BA said they can do this providing I show them my connecting ticket to Milan on Aitalia. The alternative would be to claim luggage in London and then recheck on Alitalia. I'll have the time for this but I'm wondering if it is unneccessary.

I just don't want to be without luggage.

Thanks for the opinions.
MarkY is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 09:45 PM
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You will be cutting it extremely close to arrive at Terminal 4, clear immigration, collect bags, transfer to Terminal 2, and recheck with Alitalia, in 3.5 hours. I think the chance of you and your luggage not making that is even higher than if you just check your bags through and do the airside transfer.

If you don't want to be without luggage, then don't check it at all, and use only carry-on. Or pre-ship your stuff to Italy.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 09:57 PM
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Ditto above. I'd make my gamble that the airlines can in fact handle the transfer better than you. And 3-1/2 hours at Heathrow is not all that long as described above (especially if your flight lands late or has to wait on the tarmac for a gate space or find the pull-up-stair as happened to me a few weeks ago).

I would take an extra set of clothes, toiletries, eyeglasses, meds, anything truly essential packed in your carry-on bag. If the suitcases don't arrive on the same flight you do, likely they will get there shortly and you can arrange to get them to your hotel.

Carry-on only is a great idea but realize BA is very strict about both size and weight. I believe it is 22" (no problem) and 13 lbs. (problem!!).
suze is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 11:14 PM
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If you want to go to Windsor Castle during your stop in London, 3.5 hours is a bit tight, but doable.

Otherwise, you've very little to worry about. Except the wrong-headedness of your fallback plan.

What Alitalia mess? If you mean their possible bankruptcy, that'll happen (or not) whether you've 200 seconds, 200 minutes or 200 years to change planes. And collecting your luggage at Heathrow won't affect that one iota.

As for collecting your bags - and therefore having to go through Immigration to do so, as well as then having to take the train to T2, check in from scratch with Alitalia and fight your way through T2 security - words fail me.And, BTW, if your incoming flight's late, 3.5 hours might well be tight for this inexplicable masochism.

The likelihood is you will be in the T2 departure area about 2.75 hours before Alitalia's scheduled takeoff time - ie while the plane is still waiting for takeoff clearance from Milan. And your bags will be waiting at T2 too.
flanneruk is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 11:47 PM
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I would check my luggage through and have something to wear in my carry-on as a back-up.

My previous "delays" at LHR have always involved WAITING for my checked (TO London)luggage to be off-loaded.

If I hadn't had to wait for that in order to get through Immigration/Customs it would have been a breeze.
TopMan is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:10 AM
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I'll top this post and reiterate, let the airlines do their best. Mark, you say "I'll have the time for this..." but you really don't know that for sure. There are nearly endless variables on the timing here.

What if your bags are delayed and then you are stuck in Heathrow waiting because you need to manually transfer them yourself, instead of being on the plane to Milan?

Check the bags thru, hope for the best, sort it out in Milan if necessary.
suze is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2004, 04:30 PM
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Unfortunately, I think it is a gamble to check your luggage straight through from Phoenix to Milan. Our luggage was lost for nearly two days ( one month ago) when we tried to check it straight through from New York- Nice, France.

I know that BA was having terrible labor and weather-related problems, but this didn't seem to be an isolated BA incident. Other travellers we commiserated with said their luggage had been delayed too, on other airlines, all different destinations.

Just make sure you have everything you need for a day or two in a carry-on. All of our bags showed up intact, but we hadn't planned well for it!

Weadles is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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I just returned from Italy. We had a flight to Heathrow on American, and then transfered to Alitalia. We checked our bags straight through both going and leaving with no problems whatsoever. Heathrow makes connecting flights, even on different carriers, a breeze. Just follow the signs for "Flight Connections" and you'll get a new boarding pass for your 2nd flight right after you clear security again. It was no nice not having to deal with our checked bags in the interim.
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