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Traveler's Warning - British Air

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  • Traveler's Warning - British Air

    Just received this report from world-traveler friend. It this is indeed the case, all kenshi would be wise to avoid using British Air in any case:

    "BA’s baggage policy specifically allows sporting equipment to travel free. Their website even gives examples, e.g. Skis as one bag and boots in another, hockey sticks in one bag and kit in another. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to kendo equipment, mainly, I think, because it isn’t a common sport in the UK. Now, when we left London we managed to talk our way in. However, the girl at Narita check in was quite adamant and told us that BA in London had told Japan that they should not accept shinai bags as sporting equipment within the policy. Thus they systematically charge Japanese kendoka going abroad 75 pounds each way to check their shinai bag even though hockey sticks, archery bows, skis, tennis rackets, even bicycles travel free. This is a complete rip-off. Have you any idea what other airlines do? I don’t know myself but will check. Anyway, could you please warn Hirakawa-sensei and the Federation that this is going on and that they should avoid BA until and unless the issue is sensibly sorted. Perhaps a word in the right ear in Japan would provide resolution."

    If any other kenshi have had similar experience(s), please come forward and make report!

  • #2
    The latest in a long line of reasons to avoid BA!

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    • #3
      GO TO same name thread in forums. It will serve as the main thread for this topic. Just wanted to make sure it was seen in related category.

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      • #4
        Hmm, one of the reasons I've stuck with BA is exactly because they have a decent 'free sports equipment' policy. I bet that this is some snotty check-in girl who's having a bad day, rather than a BA policy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
          Hmm, one of the reasons I've stuck with BA is exactly because they have a decent 'free sports equipment' policy. I bet that this is some snotty check-in girl who's having a bad day, rather than a BA policy.
          Hi Jakob

          No, I have heard a rumour about this from somehwere else...

          Steve

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          • #6
            Well, I'll mail them and ask...

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            • #7
              have a decent 'free sports equipment' policy
              latest in a long line of reasons to avoid BA!
              In relation to both these, BA are indeed having a bit of a bad time, so may be the check-in in UK are up for being more accommodating.

              I've never had a problem with BA taking appropriately packed "toys" - they only asked "is it sharp or dangerous" - without laborouing its to hit people over the head with, I always say No. Smile, make no big deal - its helps.

              Japan side, might be a case of policy being different. I had the same thing once flying Virgin from the Japanese side (ie, no probs from London end), "huffed voices" at the Japanese end when they wanted to charge for the bogu bag (because it would've taken me a fraction over the limit) - I won (because there was a Y15,000 charge at stake) because of the "debating" going on and a queue of people embarassingly watching, to check-in too... sounds like the check-in clerk on day. (ps. same applies to Eurostar check in)...their definition of "sports equipment" and martial arts weapon... stick to the former, not the latter !

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              • #8
                It seems to me it would be cheaper to have a new shinai waiting at the venue, then give it as a gift before leaving.

                As an iaidoka rather than kendoka I have recently made arrangements to be able to borrow an iaito wherever I go abroad. Easyjet don't allow any knives in checkin baggage. BA charge for a sword case. Swiss Air is fine, but 30% of the time my sword case gets lost at Zurich airport. Denmark requires a special police license before travelling. And then, at any UK airport, any jobsworth that thinks you're carrying an illegal weapon, however much legally acceptable documentation you carry (BKA license, insurance etc) could cause you to miss your flight while you get it sorted out.

                The world is going mad.

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                • #9
                  That was something that I've always wondered. Traveling abroad with your swords, I mean.
                  I used to live in Brazil, and since domestic flights were never a big deal, I've never had any problem about it.
                  But then I came here to Japan, and I got really concerned about crossing the world with my swords.
                  Not to mention that terrorism thing going all around the world and people and authorities and all getting very concerned, mainly in airports.
                  So I left my shinais back there, gave them away, brought just my bogu.

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                  • #10
                    I'm flying with BA this weekend to Prague. Lets wait and see!. Personally I have never had any problems with any airline.

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                    • #11
                      I am also possibly returning to England with BA from Japan for Christmas with my bogu in tow so I will find out and let you all know. I hope so because they are doing some very cheap flights this Christmas.

                      As for Virgin, I returned with them last year and as long as you contact them in advance so that when you check in the person behind the counter knows, it shouldn't be a problem. However, they only allow one bag of sports equipment so my shinai bag counted as my regular baggage of which you can have many pieces provided they are not over 23kg.

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                      • #12
                        Just got off the phone with BA about taking bogu back to England from Japan. The news isn't good.

                        Their baggage policy is changing across the board from 7th October 2009. Before this date you would get your 23kg of regular checked baggage plus ONE piece of sports equipment with World Traveller (economy).

                        After 7th October sports equipment will be counted as your normal baggage allowance so that means that for World Traveller, you get ONE piece of checked baggage only. Also the size for sporting equipment will get smaller and change from 240x75x65 to 190x75x65.

                        Unless I can fit all my clothes, presents and essentials for a four week visit to the UK in my carry-on (not likely), it will cost an extra 180pounds each way in excess baggage charges.

                        regular suitcase - under 23kg - free
                        bogu bag - under 23kg - 90pounds (each way)
                        shinai bag - under 23kg - 90pounds (each way)

                        If you travel World Traveller Plus;

                        regular suitcase - under 23kg - free
                        bogu bag - under 23kg - free
                        shinai bag - under 23kg - 90pounds (each way)

                        If you travel World Traveller Plus and can put your clothes in carry-on;

                        bogu-bag - under 23kg - free
                        shinai bag (sports equipment - within the dimensions of 190x75x65) - under 23kg - free

                        If you travel World Traveller Plus and can put your shinai and bogu in ONE bag that is within the dimensions of 190x75x65;

                        regular suitcase - under 23kg - free
                        shinai and bogu bag combined - under 23kg - free

                        I repeatedly asked if shinai would be counted as sports equipment as was told that as long as it fits with the sizes it will be ok. One of the reps I spoke to knew what they were and the other didn't.

                        I would like to travel back to Blighty with BA so that I can use Terminal 4 (exclusive to BA) rather than that cesspit that is Terminal 3. However, for the extra money that it's going to cost I think that I will go Virgin. As I said in a previous post, if you inform Virgin before that you have sports equipment it is no problem - well it hasn't been in my experience. Their ticket is a bit more expensive than BA but will work out cheaper in the longrun.

                        Incidentally, the charge for taking firearms with BA is 50pounds each way.

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                        • #13
                          So it's probably cheaper to buy a shinai in the country your visiting (or borrow of course).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ArcticBlizzard View Post
                            So it's probably cheaper to buy a shinai in the country your visiting (or borrow of course).
                            That's something that I'll have to consider but as my first point of call to practise will be in London the day I get off the plane, and as I have no family that live there or know many people that do either, I think that it will be better to take them back with me.

                            I have airmiles with Virgin and have used them a few times before and they are good so an extra 50pounds is probably worth it.

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                            • #15
                              Have you looked into JAL? I've flown with them to/from the States and the service is good. Their luggage limit is also much higher than what I was allowed with United. Since they're a Japanese airline, I imagine they would be more helpful when it comes to kendo gear as well...

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