Thursday, 23 September 2010

British Airways needs a policy on big umbrellas

I'm flying from Edinburgh to London on British Airways later today.

Only staying one night, and need to get across London reasonably swiftly when I arrive, so am aiming to travel as light as I can, i.e. take just a cabin bag, no hold luggage, so I don't have to wait at baggage reclaim.

It's pouring here in Edinburgh (least it looks like pouring to this soft Southern Sassanach).

No problem, I thought, I have a big umbrella.

But that umbrella's too big to fit in my cabin bag, so will I have to check it in, I wondered?

Nothing about umbrellas on BA's website. When I searched it on the word "umbrella", I got marketing dross about "lying under a palm-fringed umbrella". I don't think there are many of those in Edinburgh. Or London.

So I rang BA's customer contact line (having found the number at the bottom of a page that took me through various website searches before it would show me a phone number).

The lady at the other end was very polite BUT she couldn't answer my question.

She said that the airport staff would be able to tell me whether:
  • The umbrella would be classed as a "dangerous item", in which case I could carry it on board but would have to give it to the cabin crew to stow away during the flight, or
  • The umbrella would have to be checked in.
I'm not taking the risk of having to check it in and make myself late.

Nor am I taking the risk of potentially having to surrender my umbrella at the airport. It's one thing to lose my shampoo because it's in too large a bottle. It's another to have to dump a very nice strong umbrella.

So I'll just have to get wet.


UPDATE: I bought a cheap small umbrella to tuck in my cabin bag. Then saw a guy carrying a big umbrella on to the plane as hand luggage. Bother!


  1. Thanks for this. I'm going to very hot climes and am taking a small umbrella instead of a sunhat and was wondering if it was ok to take on board as I don't want to put luggage in the hold.

  2. I am travelling tomorrow to Portugal and bought an umbrella (big pointy one)for a friend and now I am not sure if I should take the risk of trying to pass security with it. As you said the airline website does not refer to an umbrella as a dangerous object so I assume it all comes down to how reasonable the security staff are in letting me pass with the umbrella.


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