The entire world certainly knows about the shambles that has been the first week of London Heathrow Terminal 5. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and are still being cancelled and BAA/BA have a huge mountain of "lost" luggage to return to their rightful owners.
They're coming up with some very creative ways of getting through the backlog, but I think they're missing a trick or two that could save them time, money and a bit of face.
Unfortunately, neither BA nor BAA have been forthcoming as to exactly why there have been these problems, but the "ultra reliable" baggage handling system (which has an identical backup system, just in case the primary one fails) seems to be blamed for all the delays along with the odd smattering of lack of staff training and preparation on the first day.
BA keeps telling us that the baggage handling system is "generally working well" now and that 400 staff have been working overtime to clear the backlog, which sounds good. But then today they tell everyone they're shipping a huge load of bags over to Milan to be sorted and delivered by a private courier firm.
This is where I think BAA/BA are missing a trick, and could save themselves a packet. Why don't they use these thousands of stray bags to fully test the baggage handling system once and for all, and train their staff at the same time?
I don't know the inner workings of LHR's baggage handling or security systems, but it seems to make sense to me to use the 400 staff (or less) - after the last flight of the night has left - to "check" the bags in again, onto the baggage handling system, and get it to distribute the bags to the various locations within the airport, as normal, in preparation for the first flights to each of the destinations the next morning. The bags can then be bunged onto the first flights and sent on their way, along with the other passengers and bags on those flights.
This would really test the baggage handling system and get the bags back to their owners in a cost effective and timely manner. The bags would probably need to be sent on multiple flights to the same destination, but I know from experience, the mid-morning flights tend to be the emptiest, so there'll be loads of room for extra bags on these flights.
I'm probably missing something really important here, but can't think of it. I'm sure BAA/BA can't have not thought about this method.