BAEC Bronze members now allowed Priority Boarding

When I was at Heathrow last Sunday, heading back to Germany to start my US trip (yes, I know …..), something caught my eye. As I joined the Priority Boarding line, my eye glanced at the blue board and I saw that ‘Executive Club Bronze’ was listed as an eligible card.

It had been a long day, so I filed it away under ‘I’m not sure I knew that’ and promptly forgot about it. Then, yesterday, British Airways made an official announcement about it. (Darn it, there went my world exclusive ….. need to pay more attention!)

Business Traveller has full details here including this quote from BA:

“Given how much our premium customers value priority boarding, we’re delighted to offer this same privilege to our Bronze Executive Club members.

“We believe it will give our Bronze cardholders greater recognition and encourage Executive Club loyalty, as well as give them a head start on every flight they make.”

Now, my initial reaction is that this is just getting silly. Remember that Bronze only requires 300 tier points, so you can pretty much get it with one return Club World flight. (My 2-year old is on 280 tier points after our Dubai flights at Easter.)

I’m sure BA has done the maths, but they must now be in a position where over 50% of the passengers on some flights will have priority boarding! Add in the fact that you can also check in at Club desks as a Bronze and you can see it getting like Fast Track security – a place where it is quicker to join the ‘nobody’ line!

In practice, of course, I assume BA has run the numbers and it does make sense. Let’s see ….

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Comments

  1. Geoggy says:

    “These people” . Lol ! Good morning from a BA Bronze!

    • No offence implied!

      :-)

      I will be Bronze myself in 3 months, but I will now claim my Cathay card from Amex!

      I have edited the text, though. I am writing stuff in quick bursts out here in the US – I wrote that piece in the Admirals Club at Logan yesterday – and the usual editing process is not happening.

  2. Johnny5a says:

    lol – we get priority boarding for next 8 years … with children :-)

  3. Phillip says:

    Maybe the maths is telling them they need to clear some of the non-premium lines! More than anything, though, I assume this is to make up for those tier level changes for non-UK residents, where you could previously attain silver with 400 TPs and receive all the priority perks. It is coming up to two years since the change which means those that managed to renew the first year using the old tiers now have to earn more if they want to maintain the same perks or go down a tier (or two).

    To be quite frank, I’ve always felt BA does a bad job in either having priority lines at all, or when they do, policing them. That said, I was very impressed to see them use a completely separate gate for boarding premium passengers recently at LCA airport.

  4. Cathay lets Marco Polo members (ie BA blue) board first

    There is a fee o join MP though.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      CX Marco Polo Green usually cost US$50 to join and you “ordinarily” need 4 sectors just to renew each year. (The renewal criteria isn’t always strictly enforced by CX though, as I understand).

      Given that even the basic level membership cost a small fee and there is a renewal criteria each year, it is understandable that CX will accord some sort of benefit like priority boarding for their own flights.

      Sir Stamford

  5. Dominic says:

    I do agree it’s now a nonsense, already on many of my flights you can see 25% of people with priority. But equally I usually fail to see the issue: boarding rarely takes that much time anyway and you have an assigned seat.

    The only issue is that of hand luggage space in ET flights, but you do have to ask if it’s absolutely the end of the world to be separated from your hand luggage for a few minutes.

    Personally I now always spend a few extra minutes in the lounge and try to be last on, rather than first!

    • Richie says:

      Me too, most of the European flights I take are empty anyway, Iv flown lhr-bru 10 or so times this year and Iv never seen more than 50% load. 1 month ago there was 7 of us on an a321

      • Wow – all my EDI/LHR flights and some Euro ones (e.g ATH, PRG) have been rammed to the gunnels! :-)

  6. Lady London says:

    Reminds me of a time when Ryanair called for priority boarding on a flight to Biarritz to start and 95% of the flight (including familieis with ‘children’ aged about 14 but six feet tall and entire “extended” families” stood up to board.

  7. ankomonkey says:

    I flew EWR-LHR last Sunday – so prior to this announcement – and the priority/fast track boarding queue was already longer than the normal queue. I was invited forward to the empty normal queue as, at one point, there was a queue for fast-track and nobody for normal boarding.

  8. Dark Horse says:

    I have it on good authority that Bronze card-holders will get their “priority” boarding after First and Club pax – and, by implication, Gold and Silver card-holders – which presumably means 3-stage boarding.

    • Don’t think so, because the blue board encourages Bronze members to queue next to it!

      • Precisely. Indeed at LHR there’s no checking of status whatsoever for either priority boarding or fast track security as those aspects are handled by BAA staff, not BA staff – you only see the BA staff member at boarding once you’ve already gone through the photo check element.

        This does seem to be a bit of a devaluation too far, especially with them pushing more hand baggage only fares (and the general slowness of getting checked bags out anyway) – I find that priority boarding is pretty important to be able to get overhead bin space! (it’s not helped by some folk leaving bags in the overhead bins at the front when they’re sitting many rows back!!)

        • Sir Stamford says:

          “This does seem to be a bit of a devaluation too far”

          As a BA Gold member, I dread to say this. It is perhaps a devaluation for the higher tier members but certainly an enhancement for the BA Bronze members. Given that there are probably more BA Bronze members travelling in economy, I suspect this is a commercial led decision.

          Sir Stamford

    • AusTraveller says:

      Agreed with Dark Horse. Generally BA’s way is to allow Bronze’s to board but only after they’ve made the boarding announcement for F/J and OW Emerald/Sapphire members.

      I wouldn’t really couch this as BA being ridiculously generous – it’s been a long standing OW soft/unpublished benefit that OW Ruby members are allowed priority boarding it was just never announced over the PA… this is especially since, in my experience, most boarding gate attendants just look for the presence of some OW status as a sign to permit you to board in the J queue!

  9. invicta says:

    I just think this is to harmonize their priority boarding process with other OneWorld carriers. American Airlines has always allowed Ruby to have priority boarding, ableit in a staged process. AA have the boarding group boldly printed on the boarding card to stop too much abuse though. http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/boarding.jsp

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Maybe for AA, CX, MH but I don’t think it common benefit for Oneworld Ruby to get priority boarding.
      http://www.oneworld.com/ffp/oneworld-benefits

      Have a look at Qantas, Air Berlin, JAL etc – none of their equivalent Ruby levels provide priority boarding as far as I am aware. Even Iberia Plus doesn’t offer this at the moment.

      Sir Stamford

  10. We only did our first business class flight last October, luckily at bag drop we obviously looked clueless as the check in lady explained that we should wait in the lounge until about 30 mins before then get on last. It seemed to work very well for us.

    On a slightly different note I’ve just used our first 241’s for a booking to Miami. Could only pick up 2 seat in First and 2 in Business, I would like us to all be in the same cabin, should I be checking BA.com daily for more seats coming up. Any particular time of day? It’s not desperate as my girls are late teens so could sit in business together and behave themselves. Also if I wind up with the choice how much better is First?

    • Depends if you get Old First or New First. If its Old First then the TV is probably bigger in Club World! For me, the real value of F is if travelling alone as you can get a solo seat – something not possible in CW.

      Food etc is better than CW although still not on a par with Lufthansa, Swiss etc. You’d be able to get all 4 of you into the Concorde Room at Heathrow although, again, that it is not an experience on a par with, say, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

      Keep an eye, seats may open up. Even if they only open up 48 hours before you can still switch.

      Miami is also a rumoured A380 route, so if you’re not flying until, say, next March or later you may even get one of those.

  11. What is the point? Passengers sitting in club putting their bags away and the getting them out again whilst the bulk of passengers (you know, the ones down the back) have to wait whilst they faff around, which holds up boarding
    Boarding should be FIRST (class), Families with small children, and those that require more time, then seat rows, which would prevent the scrum.
    I don’t like the way some card holders sitting in economy abandon their often over-sized roll-ons in CE (Club Europe) overhead bins either, as this often also causes space problems.

  12. Priority boarding is just not of interest to me. As long as I have an allocated seat, i’m going to end up there whether I board first or last. As a nervous flyer, that’s good bar time wasted. Luggage? If you have so much luggage that it wont fit under your seat, then do us all a favour and check it, you selfish pigs.

    • I think that’s a bit OTT. It’s perfectly possible to have a small piece of luggage well within hand baggage regs that won’t fit under the seat – or will fit under but then reduces your legroom.