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British Airways will let you check in luggage on the Heathrow Express airport platforms

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British Airways is launching a new bag drop service on Monday, in association with Airportr.

Long-term readers will know that Airportr offers a home baggage collection and delivery service – they will come to your home, take your suitcases off you, take them to the airport and check them in on your behalf. You don’t see your luggage again until your arrive at your destination. We reviewed Airportr here.

The new service is a little confusing. I can’t decide if it genunely offers something useful. Make up your own mind.

Airportr British Airways Terminal 5 partnership

From Monday, if you take the Heathrow Express train to Terminal 5 (which immediately eliminates over 90% of passengers), you can check in your baggage on the Heathrow Express platform at the airport.

The service is only available between 5am and 10am.

It is also only available to passengers who are able to check in online. This knocks out even more potential users, since online check-in is not offered to any destination which requires travellers to show covid test documentation on arrival.

That said, British Airways passengers flying to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, can now upload their negative Covid-19 test result and other documentation directly into ba.com for verification before travel.

I’m not sure if passengers using the VeriFLY service can check-in online although, outbound, this is only valid to the US, Canada and France anyway.

How does the Airportr bag drop service work?

You will be handing your luggage over to Airportr staff, not British Airways employees. Airportr will be responsible for checking it in and dropping it into the Heathrow baggage system. Airportr staff will “seal and secure” your luggage, which may also be an issue if you would actually prefer your luggage not to be sealed up.

You will be able to track the progress of your suitcase via an app.

The only benefit appears to be that you can avoid any queues at the bag drop desks. BA says that you can “move through the airport without the hassle of carrying luggage” but there are multiple lifts from the Heathrow Express platforms to the departure hall.

Is there a market for this?

The market for this new service is a very limited one:

  • Heathrow Express passengers
  • … travelling between 5am and 10am
  • … who are flying on one of the routes which currently allow online check-in

You also need to be happy to hand over your luggage to a third party when you could simply hop in the lift and drop it yourself at a desk.

Most usefully, remember that British Airways offers their ‘twilight’ baggage drop service the night before travel from Heathrow Terminal 5. You can drop your bags off between 4pm and 9pm on the day before you travel.


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Comments (79)

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

  • Will in SFO says:

    Things going almost full circle….who remembers when Paddington had proper check in desks- weren’t they located in what is now The Lawn area which is home to Boots, M&S and Sainsburys now. We must be going back to about 1998.

    Didn’t take Network Rail/BAA (as it was) long to realize the space was much better served by being home to retail outlets. IIRC the plan at the time was that similar check in desks would be installed at Liverpool Street for Stansted and St Pancras.

    • Harpo says:

      And there was one at Victoria just in front of the Gatwick express – went after 9/11 IIRC.

    • Will says:

      Hong Kong still has this. You can check in in the city centre and drop bags, get your boarding pass, spend half a day mooching around HK, then make your way to the airport later already checked in with just hand luggage.

      Just a shame you can now be in prisoners by the CCP there for simply questioning why it is no longer independent from the CCP rule.

    • flyforfun says:

      Me! I remember this!! I used to work down the road and it was fantastic to drop my case off before work and then just go straight onto the HEX after work. HEX was only about £7 to £10 iirc, and there used to be lots of discounts with the Heathrow Shopping card too.

  • John says:

    You could travel to T2/3 and take the Heathrow express to T5

  • Lou says:

    This would have been super useful when I used to live that neck of the woods. Get rid of the bag, and then run errands before heading to the airport. I would see it as handy if you’re staying in a hotel near Paddington, and want to get rid of your case after checkout for an evening flight

  • Andrew says:

    What a ridiculous idea!! All it saves you is taking a lift upstairs with your luggage. If the service was at Paddington and available any time on the day of your flight as was the case years ago and in places like Hong Kong it’s useful. But this is pointless. It’s odd that all the travel blogs have picked up BA’s press release on this and giving them free publicity for something so useless.

    • Genghis says:

      Yes, the one in Hong Kong is useful. Drop bags to explore the city for the rest of the day and if travelling BA means you don’t have to wait until t-3h for check in desks to open so can have more time in the lounges.

      • Steve says:

        Yeah, it’s the same in Seoul. You can drop your bags at two big stations in the city center in the morning and you have still some time to wander around for a few hours.

        I never understood why London doesn’t have this. It would solve so many problems (cramped tube to the Heathrow etc).

        • Jonathan says:

          “I never understood why London doesn’t have this.“

          It would be very expensive in manpower & transport costs. Bags would need shifting very regularly to accommodate different flight times or you restrict it to eg. minimum 4 hours pre departure & hugely restrict uptake. Then there’s security issues.

          It would be a great service but airlines won’t pay in era of race to bottom (even pre-Covid) & nor will enough passengers.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I disagree. If it’s at a train station which already serves Heathrow it’s a storage carriage at the end with every service and someone to load/unload.

            Security shouldn’t be an issue as many other countries manage it.

            My best guess is one they decided on these service cuts years ago they have lost the infrastructure at both ends to make it feasible. (Unless cargo already arrives by train at Heathrow)

      • Sam G says:

        I’m a bit confused, isn’t this what this is ? Drop off your bag at Paddington in the morning after you check out of your hotel say and then go to T5 security directly later that day. I find this v useful in HK

        There wouldn’t be any point really in doing this and then getting directly onto the train

        • AJA says:

          But the drop of is at LHR T5, NOT Paddington so you still travel with your luggage.

          This is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Or more accurately the wrong solution to a problem that could exist. And in my best Dragons Den voice, for that reason I’m out.

        • Andrew says:

          Nope. It’s just saving you that HUGE journey up the elevator shaft to departures and that HUGE walk across the concourse to the bag drop desk.

        • Sam G says:

          Ohhhh LOL that’s ridiculous! How is this newsworthy

          Makes a bit of sense that they’re adding another peak time option but nothing to shout about

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Me thinks there are two drivers here – firstly airportr quite obviously has all the capacity in the world right now given air travel collapsed after they had just got going (bag of crap though their service is anyway but that’s another story.)

      Secondly, while there’s little demand now it will grow so this is an organically soft launch of sorts, allowing them to test the market and adapt operations without, as is often the case, having to throw themselves into the lions den of a full service from day 0

      If it fails it’ll be inexpensive but at least it’s something for now…

      • Jonathan says:

        I think it’s basically about driving awareness of Airportr. I found them very useful & pricing very reasonable when I lived in central London. None of my friends/colleagues had ever heard of them though.

        Not had opportunity to try them since I left London but I believe the pick up options are significantly less than within M25.

    • ABS says:

      Have any of you seen the queues at T5 lately? You’re talking over 1 hour on some occasions.

  • Chaz says:

    That has absolutely nailed a problem that didn’t / doesn’t exist.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Agreed – ‘take your bag all the way to the airport, and we’ll take it upstairs in the lift for you’ 😂

      • Dubious says:

        Ah but surely this is just following the lead of hotel porters. You drag your bag all over the world and then they want to take it the last 50metres from the hotel lobby to your room, usually via a lift… and usually requiring you to wait around in the room for a while until they show up.

  • Simon B says:

    Bring back the days of BA Baggage Check-in at Paddington Station! I found that genuinely useful until it was axed

  • Tom says:

    Not to pile on, but I also don’t see the point of this, speaking as someone that has actually used the Airportr service in the past. I imagine most people that will even know about this service will be frequent flyers who have access to a priority desk which reduces any benefit even further. A very odd service which BA must be subsiding to take the pressure off check in desks at peak times or something.

  • Jmac says:

    Aside from it being useless, is it also chargeable?

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