How many BA passengers with status use Terminal 5 in a day?

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A Head for Points reader was passing through Terminal 5 over Easter when he found a copy of the daily British Airways ‘Premium Brief’ document on the floor, so he sent me a photo of it!

It is for a Saturday, so it is not representative of a normal business day.  The proportions are interesting though.

The long-haul load factor was a hugely impressive 96%, although that would have been skewed by holiday traffic as it was the Saturday after the schools broke up.  Short-haul was over 80%.

BA Bronze card

The number of card holders in Terminal 5 on that particular day was:

Premier:  55

Gold:  2,982

Silver:  2,416

Bronze:  2,081

The proportions here are interesting.  There are, obviously, substantially higher numbers of Bronze members compared to Silver and Gold.  However, by definition, a Gold flies more than a Silver and a Silver flies more than a Bronze.  This is why Gold card holders was the highest % of status passengers.

It is also gives you a glimpse into the number of people using the British Airways lounges.  On that particular Saturday, there were 5,400 people able to access the lounges via status.  These could all bring a guest.  There would also been oneworld status members who could use the lounges plus non-status passengers flying in Club World, Club Europe or First.

It is very easy to see how 10,000 people could have passed through the British Airways lounges in Terminal 5 on that particular day.

These numbers also given an insight into why priority boarding is now so chaotic.  Allowing Bronze members to have Priority Boarding added about 40% to the number of people who were allowed to use it on the back of their status, which is why some flights have very few people on them who do not qualify for it!

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  1. CapeCam says:

    Raffles – I have seen these documents several times on the desks at the 1st check in area at t5
    The figures you show are pretty representative of Both Weekday and Weekend. Easter and bank holidays may tweak it a bit. Every one of these I have seen show more gold than silver travelling on any given day and I have seen some days where premier cards are in single digits. It always worried me that golds were exceeding silver, and that at some point they was going to have to be a “correction” to make it harder to achieve gold. Interestingly it doesnt distinguish between regular Golds and Gold GGL. Of course it does not include One World Partner Pax with status.

    • Think Square says:

      I wouldn’t worry that there are too many Golds. They just travel more – some of them a lot more.

      I maintain Silver, but your chances of seeing me in a T5 lounge are minimal. Thanks to Little Red, I think I’ve only travelled through T5 once in the past year.

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        I miss Little Red so much. Given I work 1 mile from Heathrow, it was wonderful being able to leave work and within three hours, be at my folks in Lancashire 🙁 And the cost was always consistent, unlike BA. They wanted £300 return LHR-MAN last week 🙁

        • Head on over to the flyertalk virgin forums, a handful of us are contemplating being on the last little red flight for old times sake

  2. Goodness that’s why you can never get a seat in the First Lounge!

  3. Hingeless says:

    55 premiers is interesting – on a saturday.

    • Robert says:

      My thoughts exactly…

      Anyone know how many Premiers are out there?

      • Steven says:

        I think there are 1500, can’t remember where i saw that figure, or if it is correct.

        • I’d guess there must be more that 1500, unless around 3% of all premier members were flying that day?

          Really interesting article – thanks Rob

  4. 96% load factor the Saturday after the schools break up is not a surprise nor is it an indication of good levels of premium traffic, it simply means that the booked level of passengers across the day was equivalent to 96% of the total available seats. There will have been huge numbers of upgrades.
    Transfer traffic will also have made up a significant part of the total number.

    I travelled out on the 8th late in the evening and Galleries North was deserted. I was the only passenger on the balcony. Moreover my flight had no more that 30 people on it and the terminal over all was very quiet. Still, boarding was a scrum and we left late.

  5. Metatone says:

    I don’t find non-priority boarding that stressful. What’s always a real improvement when travelling with Mrs M (who has Bronze) is the priority check-in desk. I do look forward to a Priority Pass lounge in T5 – but at the same time, I don’t actually spend that much time in T5 on an outward leg, so a drink and a wander around the shops often does it for me.

    • I think the real value of priority boarding is when flying shorthaul economy since if you board a full flight towards the end you’ll struggle to get any overhead locker space. Will be interesting to see whether BA’s attempts to make hand baggage only fares less attractive will have any impact on that….

  6. AndyGWP says:


    50k “Supplementary Cards bonus points” have just hit my account in one big hit! 🙂

    Cards in question were ordered in groups, and were activated on:
    20th February
    25th February
    5th March

    Can cancel Platinum now!… Cheers Raffles!

    • What's the Point says:

      All my 50k posted today as well!
      Thinking about keeping it for the moment, see if any decent promotions come up.

      • AndyGWP says:

        I say they hit my account, but it was actually my wife’s Platinum card / account (she likes the benefits / perks of Airmiles, but doesn’t like the management / earning 🙂 )…

        I suspect she will soon be referring me for a Gold card 😉

    • Laurence says:

      Urrgh! 90 days have now passed since my cards were activated and still nothing, contacted customer service 3 days ago and still nothing. Not the greatest service considering the £450 annual fee!

      • AndyGWP says:

        To confirm, I never committed any spend, or did anything to any of the cards beyond activation. Sounds like yours should definitely have posted too, as we had done the same thing.

        • pauldb says:

          I only activated (and spent) on one of the three I applied for, and all three posted overnight.

        • I didn’t even activate any or spend on any 😛

          • Laurence says:

            Sorted. After calling again and mentioning the word ‘complaint’ the 50,000 points were in my account in minutes. Also got £20 credit to my account for my trouble. Now time to use them on some Cathay flights before the devaluation!

    • Got my statement for the BAPP yesterday and there was a bill stuffer in there – current promo is 500 Avios when you add a supplementary card to the BAPP… no comparison to the Platinum offer!

  7. Your 40% stat is only going to hold if there are…

    No other OW status passengers
    No one flying in J or F
    No one flying on a Business UK ticket

    You’re not in politics, are you?

    • pauldb says:

      It says “added about 40% to the number of people who were allowed to use it on the back of their status”. It should say BA status perhaps but it’s basically accurate.

  8. Guess it’s no surprise that the spa in both outbound and inbound lounges in T5 always has a >2hr waitlist

    • But that’s also because half of the showers at the south lounges are out of use since October and waiting for refurb, but wait, there is no money.

  9. excuse my ignorance, but what is a 96% load factor? Does that mean that 96% percent of seats were sold?

  10. Also, another question that is very loosely related:

    I’ve booked those amazing Qatar flights to Bangkok in business: 560 tier points. I’ll use BA to fly me from London to Amsterdam and make one of the legs CE, to get me over 600 tier points to earn Silver. I don’t have any other BA (cash) flights planned this year. Part of the reason for doing this was because I have two long-haul CW redemptions later this year and so I’m saving £600 on seat booking fees by earning silver…. but will I actually earn silver? I’d assumed that the Qatar flights would be eligible to count towards the 4 flights requirement, but this isn’t the case, is it?! Bugger!! I need to find some mega-cheap BA flights asap.

    • I believe you’re correct – you need at least 4 sectors with BA (though I’m not sure whether that is BA metal or whether BA codeshares count).

      It is also where it becomes a real b****r that the minimum ET tier points earning is dropping from 10 to 5 per sector. 4 sectors at 10 points each would make up the difference without having to book a leg in CE.

      • If you haven’t booked the AMS flights yet, so long as you book 4 x economy sectors before the 28th April you should still get the 10 per sector minimum though which would save on having to book the CE (unless you want to for other reasons of course)….

        • I was going to book one leg in CE anyway as the additional cost (about £30) is worth it to have the baggage allowance. (If you book one leg in CE, you get the 2-bag allowance for both legs). So I guess there is no real rush to book them before April 28th, as I simply need additional eligible flights rather than additional tier points (once I’ve reached status, I really don’t see the point in earning more tier points)

          I’ll have to have a look for some super-cheap hand-luggage only fares, and find a destination for a weekend away!

          • I regularly fly London – Barcelona for around £30, HBO.

          • Perfect – thanks! The trick will be selling this to the wife…. I convinced her that we had to take the Qatar flights on the basis that they “almost paid for themselves” with the silver status we were getting…. I might treat her to a surprise weekend in Barcelona then, rather than admit that I got my maths wrong with the Qatar booking!

          • It might also be worth looking at whether booking flights to another OneWorld airline scheme (e.g. Qatar) would get you the Sapphire status without having to book the extra flights. I don’t know if it would, but if the main aim is free seat selection particularly on redemption flights (where you won’t be earning anything) it really doesn’t matter whether the status is with BA or any other OneWorld airline.

          • Sorry assigning (not booking) to another OneWorld scheme….

          • Would mean your Qatar/AMS flight miles earnings would go to that airline scheme as well though…. what would Iberia Plus get you in the way of status on those flights?

    • Two day trips to Jersey should do it! Or couple of nice cheap city breaks on y

  11. Bit off topic: – I cancelled my BAPP card yesterday after earning the companion voucher. As I was on the phone to AMEX the fella on the other end mentioned that I won’t be able to use the companion voucher unless I pay for the tax with a BA Amex. Is this true? I was under the impression that I could use any AMEX card i.e. my Platinum?

    • Not sure if this helps but I did as yourself after earning the 241 voucher.
      When it came to using it, BA web site brought up my cancelled BAPP card, but I changed payment method to my wife’s BAPP card and worked fine. I cannot imagine changing to use an Amex Platinum card would make any difference.
      However you could test this by making a dummy 241 booking as far forward in the process without actually clicking on payment, and even then you have 24 hours to cancel for a full refund of cash & voucher, as I recall.

    • Raffles has always said once you use any amex to pay taxes and fees you are ok. He also advocates and we have always done this, that you drop down to the free ba credit card to maintain your voucher until it is used. That’s kind of standard practice on this site, I gather. But the dummy booking is a good idea, but def feels better holding on to the free card. Just means you can’t churn but small price to pay to hold on to your 241.

      • Amex Anon says:

        There doesn’t appear to be a hard link between the voucher and your BA card. I qualified for the voucher but it didn’t credit automatically. Amex had to ask BA for details of the vouchers I’d been issued in the past before they could ask BA to credit a new voucher. At first amex were claiming that a previous years voucher was the current one and they had to go back to BA to get more information to sort that one out.

        Eventually amex asked BA to manually credit me with a voucher and then a few days later I got a 2nd! 2 vouchers for £10k spend 😀 I’ve now used both of them without issue!

      • Amex’ advice is to downgrade to blue until you’ve taken the flights. I was even told that I might as well cancel after that and wait six months and sign up again. You have to hand it to Amex CS, they really can be very good.

        • Well this is actually my second 241. The first one I earned was last year and I cancelled my card but maintained my voucher. I then, out of coincident reapplied for the BAPP after 6 months and used that card to redeem my original 241 voucher – guess I should have tried it using my Platinum first.

    • Andrew says:

      Just a few days ago I paid the taxes on my 2for1 booking using my Lloyds Amex. In the introductory period it pays 2.5 Avios per £ rather than the 2 the free BA Amex would have.

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