Business

British Airways 'worst airline for baggage problems'

BA passengers at Heathrow Terminal Five
Image caption BA strongly disputes the survey's findings

UK passengers travelling with major airlines experience the most baggage problems when flying with British Airways, a survey has claimed.

One in 3.8 BA passengers have had their luggage lost, damaged, or delayed in the past five years, said the study by insurance company LV.

BA said the figure was "complete rubbish".

The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) found BA's baggage care was low in its last survey, although this was in 2007.

The AUC's figures put BA second worst in terms of its baggage performance after TAP Air Portugal. However, these show the bags of just 2.6 passengers in 100 were delayed - although the data does not specify whether bags were lost or damaged as well as delayed.

Also, in 2007 strict new security rules were being enforced, limiting the number of bags allowed in the cabin to one - something that put an extra strain on baggage handling systems.

The AUC says it can no longer collect reliable figures, not least because airlines are under no obligation to give them out.

LV said that its survey of 2,007 passengers showed that Virgin Atlantic was the next worst performing.

It said one in 8.3 Virgin passengers reported experiencing luggage problems.

In third place was Dubai-based Emirates, with one in nine passengers claiming to have been affected, followed by Easyjet, one in 11.1, and Ryanair, one in 12.5.

'No evidence'

The survey said that overall 29% of UK air passengers had experienced a baggage problem during the last five years.

"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a quarter of BA passengers have experienced lost or delayed baggage over the last five years," said a BA spokeswoman.

She added that the airline's baggage performance had "dramatically" improved since Heathrow Terminal Five opened in 2008.

BA was beset with baggage problems at the terminal in its first days of operation.

Continuing strikes

BA's poor showing in the survey comes as the airline's striking cabin crew workers return to work for just one day on Friday before the third five-day walkout begins on Saturday.

Members of the Unite union are taking industrial action over pay, working conditions and staffing levels.

They also want to see travel perks reinstated for striking workers, and disciplinary action against others called off.

The two sides appear to be no closer to reaching an agreement, and Unite has threatened to ballot for further strike action in July.

The strike is costing BA £7m per day, and has hit passenger numbers, which were down 14.2% in May.

If the strike from Saturday does go ahead, BA says it aims to operate 80% of long-hall flights from Heathrow, and 60% of short-haul services.

Its departures from Gatwick and London City airports continue to be unaffected.

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