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British Airways announces the new First Class bus

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You know the yellow ‘Priority’ tags that British Airways puts on your suitcases when you travel in First Class, Club World or Club Europe?  They don’t do anything.  Nothing.

British Airways has at least now come clean about this, with the launch of a new ‘First for First’ service.

Here are two new services which are being trialled – so don’t get too carried away – at Heathrow:

A dedicated bus for First Class passengers landing on a remote stand

9% of British Airways flights land on remote stands at Heathrow and require a bus transfer to the terminal.

A dedicated First Class bus will now be waiting for long-haul flights.  Other passengers will be blocked from leaving the aircraft until First Class passengers have been driven away.  BA estimates that this will save 10 minutes.

It will NOT be the bus below, which is the bus that Emirates uses for First Class passengers.

Emirates shuttle

I have also reviewed the Qatar Airways first class bus (!).  I doubt it will look like that either ….

Priority baggage handling for First Class passengers

Yes, BA will genuinely be offering priority baggage services to First Class passengers.

Obviously this comes with caveats:

It is only a trial

It only applies for flights from New York JFK, Los Angeles, Dubai and Johannesburg into Heathrow

First Class bags will all be placed in the same container which will be loaded last.  This means that it will be the first container unloaded after landing.  An area will be cordoned off next to the luggage belt and the First Class bags lifted off by a staff member and placed there for collection.

This is clearly beyond the scope of the baggage handlers at Heathrow so it won’t be happening on your outbound flight.

We shouldn’t be too cynical, of course, as positive change is generally the result of many small incremental steps instead of one ‘big bang’ event.  BA does tend to take very small steps though …..


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (107)

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

  • Tarka says:


    Your experiences of BA lately matches others that I read about on Flyertalk and I have also experienced some of what you talk about. Is it possible for you to fly wth other airlines at all? I have been slowly trying out other alternatives such as Brussels Airlines, Swiss, SAS and even Air Europa to Madrid. I might just have been lucky but so far (touch wood) they have all been better experiences than BA.

    I have a BA to Brussels soon and am actually dreading it (it will probably be ok) with the amount of GCH and Priority boarders on this flight and me with my wheelie case, will I get it in an overhead locker or not?

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

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