Six Hour Delay: BA Held My Passport Hostage in Dubai

My friend left his passport in the aircraft seatback at 0800 March 30 2023. Flt. 105 LHR-DXB. An unfortunate act, to be sure, for which he takes full responsibility. But BA made things worse: he realized that he didn’t have his passport while on the Arrivals train at DXB. Once on the train, it is impossible to return to the gate without setting off alarms. There were no BA personnel available upon exiting the Arrivals train. At DXB immigration, likewise there was no BA staff available. We advised DNATA staff who called BA.

(Even though we could not leave immigration for lack of a passport, I later learned that there are no BA employees tasked with dealing with customer service baggage issues in the baggage claim area of DXB. You outsource this function and these third-party employees are not authorized to leave the area to go to BA gates.)

BA initiated a search for the passport, which was found at 0900. BA did not, however, arrange to bring the passport to the Immigration hall. Keep in mind that returning to the gate was not possible.

1000 and no response from BA, besides, “We’re busy.”

1100 and no response from BA, besides, “We’ll get to it.”

In the meantime, we were treated to exclusive seats on the bench reserved for criminals and other potential deportees, subjecting us to humiliation.

1200 and no response from BA, besides “We’re busy.”

1300 and no response from BA, besides, “We’re busy now.”

1400 Passport finally delivered.

I’d like to know why you think this is acceptable behavior.

I’d like to know why BA staff felt that it was appropriate to make us wait for six hours. I’d like to know why BA has no staff available airside or landside at DXB. BA closed its office at DXB during the pandemic. DNATA staff advised that in case of an emergency, they have no way of reaching BA.

I’d like to know how you can possibly believe this behaviour is consistent with your airline’s purported high standards.

I am truly shocked by this, and I doubt it is the first time something like this has happened.

Case No. 24675455