New British Airways hand baggage policy (ie less) and boarding plan announced

You may have noticed that British Airways has been carrying out a number of trials at Heathrow over the last few months to smooth the boarding process.

Fundamentally, there have been three issues (as I see it):

The introduction of the Bronze tier means that there are too many passengers who qualify for priority boarding.  On peak business flights the priority queue is bigger than the standard queue.

The introduction of ‘hand baggage only’ tickets has encouraged people to save money by not checking in a case and bringing a disproportionate amount of luggage into the cabin

The introduction of another two and a half rows of seats has added a huge number of extra bags on full flights

Overhead locker

This is what is changing:

Boarding 

Boarding will be done by cabin and by Executive Club status.  Non-status passengers will then board by seat row number.

Hand baggage

This is likely to be more contentious.

The size of your second piece of hand baggage is being cut.

Your second item must now be no larger than 40cm x 30cm x 15cm unless you are travelling in First or Club World on long haul.  There is no exception for Club Europe on short haul.  The previous limit for the 2nd item was 45cm x 36 cm x 20 cm.

The first item limit is unchanged at 56cm x 45cm x 25cm with a 23kg weight limit.

The second item MUST be placed under the seat in front of you.  It will receive a yellow tag at the boarding gate and must not be placed in an overhead locker unless you are sat on an exit row or in Row 1.

If you second item of hand baggage is larger than 40 x 30 x 15 then it will NOT be accepted onto the aircraft and must be placed in the hold.  Tough luck about that expensive new handbag you bought.

If your second item meets the size guidelines above then you are guaranteed to be able to take it on the aircraft.  If the overhead lockers are full, passengers will be selected to have their main piece of hand baggage removed and placed in the hold.

Implementation of these changes will be rolled out over the next few weeks.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

The £500 winner of our HotelTonight competition is ....
Hilton offering free Gold status after three stays - open to everyone
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. The amount of luggage that people take into the cabin is very annoying and probably not safe.
    It is especially annoying as we were recently charged excess weight on hold baggage although our two bags were within the sum of the limits for two people!

  2. Another smack in the face for Club Europe…

  3. The same thing happened on Lufthansa when they changed the short haul seats to ones with a 1cm thick backrest and packed in a few more rows. They soon had to control the hand luggage more strictly since they had added more seats but no extra cabin storage space (they also took out wardrobes to pack in extra seats). I don’t know how effective the policing of this was though, I cut my lufthansa flights from 20/year to about 2/year due to the micro thin seats.

  4. MrHandBaggageOnly says:

    One of my biggest frustrations with fellow passengers at boarding time are those who believe that (as they rushed on to the plane first) the space above their head is for their bag(s) and the space alongside that is for their coat.

    The number of times I see crew moving coats around is ridiculous. If coats are not placed on top of hand luggage they should be removed and shredded.

    • quote: If coats are not placed on top of hand luggage they should be removed and shredded.

      Awesome – I would volunteer to help with the shredding :)
      I’ve even seen passengers get annoyed when their coats are moved to make way for luggage !

  5. JamesWag says:

    Are they ignoring OneWorld status in the boarding process ?

  6. I don’t see the logic behind the reduction in size of the 2nd piece … since it has to be kept at your feet (absolutely fair enough) – surely reducing the size by a couple of inches is pointless ??

    btw, I’ve just measured my man-bag, and it’s well within the new size limit – so I’m alright jack !

  7. In addition to the above why don’t they load window seat passengers first? Seems a no brainer to me.
    Also a little slide message on the overhead bins when that says ‘Space’ to slide to ‘Full’.
    What do I know?
    Just a Gold for Life passenger!

  8. Yasminah says:

    When I travelled from LHR to TXL on Monday the boarding procedures were the same as usual. CE was not boarded first and there was the normal massive queue for priority boarding with those at the front of the queue heading straight towards the back of the plane (after leaving their bags in the overhead lockers in CE). Would be interesting to know if this new boarding process was being used at the discretion of the ground staff or whether it will be rolled out.