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Birmingham airport, three hour check in needed.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
CP wrote:
Just a quick question: Once one has checked in and bag dropped with TUI can I assume that the flight will not leave without you if there are delays in getting through security and to the gate?


IMV, TUI are pretty good. If they know there are problems with checkin/security/passport control which aren't of the passengers making, then they are usually fairly tolerant. They will know from red faced passengers huffing and puffing as they arrive at the door of the plane that things are going Pete Tong inside the terminal.

Offloading the bag on a short haul TUI flight is non trivial - the bags are hand loaded - basically manually stacked and then a net put over the top of them. If they have to search for one bag, then since the baggage handlers don't actually know what it looks like they have to inspect the luggage tags individually. Searching for one bag amongst 180+ other passengers luggage isn't far off being needle in a haystack stuff. They may find it straight away, or it might be the last bag.

So assuming they know there are problems elsewhere, TUI usually hold fire until about 1h30 after scheduled departure time. Then if a few passengers still haven't turned up when everyone else has they will start the offload process. Once the offload process starts they are very unlikely to stop it even if you do turn up before they've found your bag - particularly if you turn up carrying duty free bags, or carrying a Starbucks coffee, or looking like you've just been thrown out of the terminal 'spoons. I suspect the 1h30 thing is to try and ensure the plane is ready to go before the EC261 flight delay rules kick in at 2h00, but I don't know that to be fact.

That's not to encourage anyone to take the p155. If you try it on with any airline then don't be surprised if they enforce the letter of the rules/law. The days of pitching up at the airport 20 minutes before departure and expecting to get on are gone (sadly).
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Judwin, wise words
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
In addition to Judwin's great piece above I would just add maybe don't try this with a loco carrier, there's often very few bags on standard routes.

And airlines in the UK are not allowed to fly if a no show pax has a checked bag in the hold until that bag is removed (or certainly wern't when I was involved in aviation security)
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I flew Birm - GVA today, on easyJet.

Bear in mind it's a Thursday, so not the chaos of a Saturday or Sunday!

easyJet check-in opened 2hr45 before the flight. I know the exact time as I got to the airport slightly quicker than expected, and wasn't allowed to check in 3hrs before, but was told to come back in 15mins as that's when the flight would be open for boarding Smile

Very short speedy boarding queue - some people in normal queue, maybe 15-20 at that point. 2 desks open in total.

The girl doing the speedy boarding queue was clearly new and being trained (supervisor watching over shoulder). The number of bags I had was queried several times (1 hold bag, 1 ski bag). Repeatedly 'so you have 2 bags?'. I was getting nervous that they might insist I'd only paid for one as per @jebroni3_16, but it turns out she was expecting me to have 3!

'You've bought 3 but you only have 2?' 'Erm, is that a problem?' (I hadn't bought 3, she might have been thinking about the extra cabin bag?).

Anyway, all was well, though not exactly fast at the desk. And security was short in the normal queue, and empty with fast track. Only 2 machines running, but that was fine for the numbers at the time.

I'm not sure if it got busier later, as my flight was completely full. The biggest issue I saw was dealing with the cabin bags on the plane - the staff had to remove lots of jackets and smaller bags from the overhead bins in order to fit all other bags in. It did cause a short delay to departure.

I would definitely still aim for 3hours at the weekend, but be a bit more relaxed during the week, esp. if speedy boarding/fast track is an option.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Just a heads up for anyone traveling via BHX this weekend. Just seen an item on the local news. Slow traffic in the area today due to Crufts dog show at the NEC. Maybe allow a bit of extra time to get to the airport.
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Express Security......wow!
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I came through it a couple of hours ago. Makes a big difference.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Mind you, 2:30am alarm call was NOT good!!
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Done BHX this morning, huge TUI queue at 3.30am , but it was organised. Used the fast pass through security and we were sitting in spoons by 4.40am drinking coffee.

Issue now is that we’ve sat on the plane for over an hour waiting whilst some numpty has declared he’s left a lithium battery item in the hold luggage !

No issues with BHX airport - all good and I loved the fast pass through security. It’s like being a VIP!
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We are flying out next Saturday TUI to Verona 06:30 - I had a look at the fast pass but it requires an entry time. I have no idea how long the check in process will take. Assuming we join the queue at 03:30 what time should I estimate going through security at?

Edit: I just booked it and can now see there is a +/- 5 hour tolerance from the time booked.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sat 12-03-22 10:22; edited 2 times in total
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fixx wrote:
@jebroni3_16, that sounds very stressful! I'm glad you made it through - I hope the rest of your trip is a bit smoother! snowHead

Flew back yesterday. Arrived at easyJet bag drop at GVA fully prepared and expecting to have to pay for my hold luggage again.

Much to my surprise, Swissport agent checking me in had no problem accepting my snowboard (seeing as it was clearly on my booking and didn't have to be "added" as BHX agent suggested) or my small hold luggage because it was considered as part of my snowboard allowance because of its size and their combined weight.

I know skiers are allowed to split their allowance across two bags, but have never seen anything that suggested boarders could.

Anyway, now to get easyJet to refund me for the luggage on the flight out... Confused
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hmm. No obvious problems at Stansted this morning for the Ryanair flight to Turin. I turned up two and a half hours before departure and was airside in less than 20 mins. Fast -track security was nice but really it was not necessary. Bored now…
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
holte43 wrote:


Issue now is that we’ve sat on the plane for over an hour waiting whilst some numpty has declared he’s left a lithium battery item in the hold luggage !



I had the same problem at Verona last month ; how on earth they found the right bag I don't know !! (part of me did think it was just a new excuse to explain a delay....??)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Big queue at BHX for TUI at 11:00am this morning. In the snake and then all the way back to the Spar Shop.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Flew last Saturday, Birmingham to Geneva - we were pretty early, they were letting the GVA flight before us check in first (absolutely right), that meant we were one of the first to check in for ours, still was tight - security queue was huge, barely enough time for a sandwich between then and gate. Duty free etc empty as people rushing through. To be fair to them they were actively pulling last calls out the queue. We gave 3h and it seemed a bit close... Maybe a quarter of security places open, speaking to a guy there said they'd laid off a lot through travel lockdown and were struggling to recruit. Those working were trying their best! Definitely give yourself some time of flying this route. GVA > BHX much better but still busy
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Flew out from Birmingham yesterday and arrived 3 1/2 hours before the 6 am flight. There about 30 people in front of us in the TUI queue with check in opening at 3 am. By the time we'd dropped our bags the queue had become pretty large. Dropped ski off at oversize baggage for which there was no queue at all. Getting there so early was a bit of a pain but worth it as we able to avoid the worst of the queues and were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Are these problems at Birmingham just a weekend thing, or common at other times too? Jnr is flying out to visit me with a flight on Friday lunchtime. He’ll have his ski bag, but is flying into Barcelona which isn’t one of the more typical ski airports.

He won’t be cutting it fine anyway, but should he add in an extra buffer time?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The big queue at security I encountered 10 days ago was on a Friday afternoon so not weekend related
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Looks like 3 hours might not be enough for Manchester?!?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-60778493
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@johnE, thanks. Jnr’s train gets in at 10.13 for a 13.50 flight with Vueling. That should hopefully be plenty of time.
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Joined the TUI check in queue at 3:45 for a 6:30 flight. It looked much worse than it actually was. Took about 45 minutes to drop the bags off. Used fast track security which was well worth the £4. The queue was very bad but we bypassed the worst of it.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I'm getting worried about the number of people paying the bribe to jump the queue (called "fast track security"). It sounds as if it will make the normal queue longer forcing more and more people to pay the bribe until it becomes a normal expected expense. The extra income may encourage the airports to keep the queues long and make more money.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@johnE, we used it last Saturday and went straight through suggesting that not many people are using it. We didn't see anyone else using it.

I'm in a taxi on the way home now. Arrivals was very busy this morning. Big queue at passport control and long wait for baggage
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Flying from Birmingham to Geneva on thurs. 9am flight. Still 3 hours do you think ?
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@Snowysarah, Probably not on a Thursday. It is (usually) just weekends are busy
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Having flown out of BHX recently on a Monday lunchtime and a Friday afternoon flight, I'd disagree with @albob that's it's "usually (just weekends are busy)"

Admittedly, both flights were when I needed to prove vaccination status, which may not apply when you travel, but that doesn't change the fact that the security side of BHX is understaffed at the moment

Personally, @Snowysarah, I'd still allow 3 hours to lessen any potential stress, but it's up to you
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Jnr got his flight fine but he did observe that the majority of bags were being checked by security which made it a long wait to get through security. His flight took off half an hour late which meant he missed his bus from Barcelona to Andorra (annoyingly).
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Returned yesterday from Verona on TUI flight. Everything went just about to time until we landed at BHX at 12:05. The air bridge was not working so steps were called for and then someone had to be found to open the door! This took 20 minutes. Security was a breeze but then the dreaded baggage hall. Over an hour before our bags appeared and then we had to play hunt the oversize baggage which should have been right next to us on no. 1 but eventually appeared at a door by carousel 6 which is all screened off. Then to ice the cake the ANPR at car park 3 would not release us - I had the same problem at car park 4 in January.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@CP, I had the same problem with 'oversized' baggage back in January. Skis did not come off at the 'normal' spot next to the carousel, but in another area no member of staff had bother to tell anyone about.......
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albob wrote:
@CP, I had the same problem with 'oversized' baggage back in January. Skis did not come off at the 'normal' spot next to the carousel, but in another area no member of staff had bother to tell anyone about.......


Yes absolutely no information given at all and no obvious staff available to ask in the baggage hall either. Its quite shocking really, no customer service any any way shape or form. I only fly from BHX as my Son lives in Birmingham. Next year I will be looking to use Bristol and maybe even Gatwick!
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Poster: A snowHead
@CP, by next year I'd imagine Birmingham Airport will have managed to recruit and train sufficient staff again. As I understand it, the current issues are still the legacy of having to reduce staff during the pandemic.

Our oversized baggage also arrived through a door near carousel 6 on the 19th, but there was an announcement to say that.

(The ANPR didn't recognise our car on the way into Carpark 3 so we had to call for assistance and were issued with a ticket. On the way out, several cars were having issues exiting, presumably not being recognised by the ANPR, but our ticket worked fine. They've clearly got some issues with the system.)
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