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Has Heathrow scrapped Fast Track security for oneworld Sapphire cardholders?

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In August 2013, the rules for using the Fast Track security lanes at Heathrow were changed.  If you were flying on British Airways, American Airlines or Iberia, you were allowed to use Fast Track if you held a Sapphire-level (mid tier) status card from any oneworld alliance airline.

It is worth noting that this was a special benefit arranged by British Airways for itself and its key partners at Heathrow and was not general oneworld policy.

Cathay A350-900

I have received two emails in the last couple of weeks from readers which makes me think that this policy has been changed.  Both readers had been turned away from the Fast Track lane in Terminal 5 when they flashed their Cathay Pacific Gold card.

If you are a oneworld Emerald (ie top tier) cardholder then nothing has changed.  You will still get Fast Track security at Heathrow Terminal 1, 3 or 5 when flying with specific oneworld airlines.  This is outlined on the oneworld website here.  Terminal 4 is not listed for some reason which is unfortunate if you are flying with Qatar etc.  For some reason Terminal 5 only lists British Airways as a participating airline but I assume Iberia flyers would be OK as well.

The impact of this change is ONLY on oneworld Sapphire cardholders who must now join the general line.

I imagine that this is a cost cutting measure by British Airways as Heathrow makes an additional charge for every passenger who uses the Fast Track line who is not travelling in Business or First Class.

Oddly, although I cannot find the exact page now, it is possible to download the contract the airlines and American Express (for Centurion and Corporate Platinum cardholders) must sign from the Heathrow website!

Comments (43)

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  • Lady London says:

    When departing, T5 staff nudge you to use the machines rather than manual entrance to the xray queues. I then just look to see how busy fast track is over on the left hand side, as compared to all the other non-fast track lines that have the same or smaller number of people waiting than fast track, and choose if I can be a$$ed to walk down to fast track or just take any line. I don’t travel at peak periods though. At peak periods access to fast track might be much better.

    When landing at T5 longhaul, many times since February I have been turned away from Fast Track immigration even showing my BA Gold card. The explanation given was that I had a UK passport so was not eligible for Fast Track.

    One thing that does constantly annoy me at T5 immigration is that when I land most of the desks seem to be serving non-EU and non-UK passport holders. There are always very few desks open for us and the queues can be horrendous taking ages. the many desks open for non-EU and non-UK seem to have far fewer people waiting for them and they do seem to move reasonably quickly while all the UK and EU passport holders wait in the much longer queues. The machine passport readers have helped that greatly but the bias does seem to be against UK and EU when it comes to queuing….. winge 🙂

  • Shaun says:

    My Cathay gold card was happily accepted at terminal 5 on Tuesday on my heavily discounted Avios redemption ticket in BA economy!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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