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British Airways trials ‘queueless’ check-in at the T5 Arrivals Lounge

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Back in May, British Airways announced that it was going to launch a 3-month trial of ‘queueless check-in’, which would allow you to pre-book a check-in slot before you arrived at the airport.

This is now active, for those whose flights are taking part in the trial, using existing check-in desks in Zone E in Terminal 5.

This week British Airways has also trialled something different – using the Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge for pre-booked check-in for premium passengers. One of our readers gave it a try and reported back.

(EDIT: This article was updated during Friday with additional information supplied by BA.)

British Airways queueless checkin qmatic

The Arrivals Lounge check-in service was only being offered on a handful of flights this week.

Participants received an email from British Airways asking if they wished to participate and giving this online form to complete:

british airways queueless checkin

You could book a time slot to arrive at the Arrivals Lounge in Terminal 5.

If you have never been in the Arrivals Lounge, it is on the mezzanine level above the Arrivals Hall. This means that you need to be dropped off at Arrivals if arriving by taxi. If you are dropped at Departures then you need to double back on yourself which partly defeats the object.

On arrival at the lounge our readers was invited to weigh his checked luggage (apologies for the blurred image):

british airways queueless checkin

Once the weight was been recorded he proceeded into the Arrivals Lounge for a drink:

british airways queueless checkin

…. whilst someone checked paperwork and printed baggage tags and boarding passes:

british airways queueless checkin

Once the paperwork was complete, he wheeled his luggage back to the exit where the baggage handlers took it from him. He headed off to the Departures Level for security.

Is BA’s queueless check-in worthwhile?

Our reporter said:

“All in all it was a novel experience but, at 5am, I  could see no real advantage over checking in upstairs at a Club World / Club Europe check in desk. At busier periods it could possibly save time especially as you have a guaranteed slot.

Another drawback is that no one takes your luggage from you until the end of the process. You have to move your luggage over to the scales to be weighed, then on into the lounge and then over to the baggage handlers at the exit, all without any help. This was not an issue for us but for the infirm or those with a lot of luggage it could be problematic. All in all this is a good concept but it might still need some minor refinements.”

Overall, it seems like something that is worth trialling if you are invited – just make sure that you head to the right level in Terminal 5 or you may end up taking more time than using the standard check-in process. It isn’t clear how this trial will develop for BA, given that the Arrivals Lounge should be back in service for its original purpose once the volume of flights from the US increases.

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Comments (33)

  • Paul Pogba says:

    If you check in on an app when are you likely to be upsold an upgrade? Is this just a clinical document check and handover of baggage?

    • John says:

      Probably suitable for people at an on-site hotel who can guarantee their arrival time and want to guarantee their check in time too

  • Journeying John says:

    Why not just staff the regular checkin process adequately?
    Re-enable online functionality of customers?
    Provide enough resource (Systems not just staff) to be able to reliably answer the phone in under an hour?

    • Sean says:

      Exactly spot on. T5 is perfect for check in, it just needs staff actually sat at the desks checking people in. There are often queues with 5 BA staff stood at the start of the queue checking stuff which is going to be checked anyway. Just put them all on a desk and get people through.

  • Sam says:

    Where can you be dropped off at Arrivals level (and are you supposed to)? I thought it was all bus stops?

    • L Allen says:

      I was wondering that. You can’t drive through the bus / taxi level (technically but there are ways and I wouldn’t want to try it, just in case) and the only other way to access arrivals if driving to the airport is to go to the short term car park. That is currently chepaer, at £4.50, than a departures level drop off

  • Joe King says:

    What is point?

  • Peter Taysum says:

    I think this is another excellent example of where BA excels itself; doing something quite pointless for little or not benefit.

  • MYSELF says:

    Yeahhhh I’ll just head for J checkin or the F Wing if I’m flying first tbh.

    Seems like adding a layer of faff that’s unneeded, and has others have pointed out the staff and resources could be better deployed at the normal check-in areas

  • Michael says:

    Like other posters I am confused why they are doing this. It looks like the staff have less contact with customers so I wonder if it is used to allow a relatively “contactless” check in and a more protected environment for staff who may be clinically vulnerable?

  • john says:

    Maybe if you could use the showers it might be worthwhile? I’m assuming that isn’t possible?

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