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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.

  • David says:

    Is online check in available for Gibraltar? As double vaccinated travelers don’t need a negative test to enter.

    How does it work if you can’t check in online and have to wait until the airport? A mad rush to fill in the Gibraltar Passenger Location Form at the gate, as you need the seat number to complete the form?

    • Rob says:

      Worked fine for me the other week. As you say, I don’t know what would happen if you didn’t already have a seat allocated because of the PLF issue.

      • David says:

        Thanks. Off-topic but all of the old Terminal 3 flights (GIB, BUD, BCN, PRG etc.) are showing as departing from T3 again from Mon 26th July. But sources at BA tell me they have no plan to move back to T3 yet, and they’ll probably get updated a few days before. Keep an eye on your bookings!

    • Travel Strong says:

      OLCI always available for Easyjet. Haven’t heard of any issues with BA either.

  • Simon says:

    I would probably use this. There can be huge covid related queues upstairs at bag drop at the moment. You can almost guarentee Airportr will be instantaneous. Drop your bags then off to M&S / Boots for the stuff you’ve forgotten before security.

  • Nick says:

    Ok so two comments on this… first, it is (or at least was planned to be!) available at BOTH the HEx and LU platforms. So a reasonable chunk of the passenger base.

    And second, it’s deliberately planned to ease some of the queues at the busiest times in the terminal. Basically what’s happening now is that passengers on ‘easy’ routes who can verify docs and check in online are having to queue just to drop bags with all those who need docs fully scrutinising, causing pain for all. Hiring more staff is expensive and that of course goes onto ticket prices, so they’ve come up with an alternative method.

    BA deserves stick for a lot of things, and yes this one may also fail, but it came from a good place, and is genuinely designed to make things easier for passengers. I note it’s the same people ranting who also complain that they don’t innovate often enough…

  • Littlefish says:

    Yes – the article is not very clear.
    Reading the tea leaves it would appear you retain your bags at Paddington (yet, somehow having ‘checked’ them in). Then board the train with all your bags!
    So, almost a good idea but really needs a re-think. Apart from two days of publicity, I can’t think why BA would want to put its name to this.

    • Rob says:

      You don’t drop at Paddington. You drop on the platform at Heathrow.

      • David says:

        If you can’t manage it from the platform upstairs, would you be using the train to the airport in the first place?

      • Roy says:

        Is this a bit like the US notion of “curbside checkin” then (which I’ve never understood the point of, either)?

        • John says:

          Presumably your maid packs your bags and puts them in the taxi, then the taxi driver hands them to the airline, then the meet and greet service takes them to the taxi and the butler at the st Regis unpacks them for you.

  • ADS says:

    I wonder if passengers arriving into T5 will be informed what the bag drop wait time in the terminal currently is.

    If it was substantial, then obviously the Airportr option will be hugely more attractive.

    Maybe they could have a TV screen on the HEX platform showing a view of the bag drop queue !

  • Mike says:

    Was this article “sponsored” – I only ask as it doesn’t seem that objective – where as the comments were

    • Rob says:

      It started out as WTF but I toned it down, because two grumpy articles about silly BA ideas in the same week seemed a bit unfair given how things are.

      What probably IS sponsored is the service, by Airportr, since the BA press release was primarily about how great their chargeable door to plane service is.

  • John says:

    Wasn’t till I read the comments ok realised that the bag drop is at the AIRPORT end of the line. Really?! Now a drive up baggage drop…. That would be cool.

  • Sam says:

    I think a lot would first think it’s at Paddingdon’s platform, but no, it’s at Heathrow…where’s the point?

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