British Airways pledged to operate more than nine out of 10 flights from Terminal 5 over the weekend and hopes to raise the proportion over the coming days following the debacle at the opening.
It hit 87% of its schedule early this week and said it would reach 92% by Friday. However, a spokeswoman declined to say when passengers could expect a normal schedule and when everyone would be reunited with their baggage.
As Travel Weekly went to press, BA insisted most passengers were passing through the terminal without difficulty – as had a majority of the 200,000 who used it in the first five days.
BA said 20,000 bags remained at Heathrow, although airport operator BAA put the number misplaced at 28,000.
The BA spokeswoman said: “We are throwing resources at this. But as soon as you have bags without their owners there are security issues and it becomes time-consuming.”
She described the delays to departures as “manageable” after long delays on the first day.
Cancellations were restricted to services with high frequencies, said the airline, where passengers could be offered an alternative flight alongside the chance to re-book or
receive a refund.
BA insisted those flying into the terminal were experiencing few problems. “It is taking about 20 minutes to get the first bags into the arrivals hall and that is our target time,” said a spokeswoman. “There have been a lot of occasions in the past when we have not achieved that at Heathrow.”
A spokeswoman for Heathrow operator BAA declined to apportion blame and said: “Our concern is to work with BA to get everything sorted out. But the majority
of passengers are receiving a good service.”