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
This is what is changing:
Boarding will be done by cabin and by Executive Club status. Non-status passengers will then board by seat row number.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.