Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Heathrow trialling pre-booked security slots

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Heathrow has launched a six month trial which will allow passengers to pre-book a slot to go through airport security.

It’s not clear if this is necessary, especially as Heathrow itself says that the majority of passengers cleared security in under five minutes during the summer peak this year. There seems to be a view that it has value for infrequent flyers.

The trial is initially restricted to passengers flying with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic from Terminal 3.

Heathrow Airport security

There will be a dedicated security lane which can only be used by passengers who have pre-booked a slot. The service is free.

You have a 15 minute window either side of your slot to enter the queue. One issue is that the cut-off times seem excessive – you must clear security at least 90 minutes before a long-haul flight and (when short haul flights are eventually added) at least 60 minutes before departure.

If you want to try it out and have an upcoming flight on a qualifying airline, you can book a slot here.

Comments (79)

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

  • Paul says:

    What I always find odd about discussions about passengers flows is that everyone seems to always be surprised at what time people turn up. No one more so that the airport operator!
    Firstly the number of movements / seats per hour is controlled by ATC and HAL and they will know a year out what the maximum flow inbound and out bound will be, not per day – but every 15 minutes! Their historical data will provide details of load factors and they will know of special events and holidays which can be used to further finesse the numbers expected. What they cannot predict is weather, strikes or BA’s IT failures.

    There really is no excuse for long delays at security if the airport operator has done their job, recruited the staff and ensured facilities are operational.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      If I know there is going to be a 30 minute ‘bulge’ in when passengers arrive, it’s inefficient for me to increase staff for that period. So, I would make the calculation that we will just have longer queues at that time.

    • Mike says:

      Lots of airports only predict on a daily basis with their WFM solution then breaking that down into worker shifts. It’s perfectly possible to predict turn up in 15 minutes intervals given modern data science techniques. One disconnect is airlines mostly don’t share their booking data (so the airport would get an advanced view rather than relying on the historical figures in their AODB), even in the absence of this, it is perfectly possible to predict daily passenger numbers within 1% of the actual number, with a lower accuracy for the split into 15 minutes intervals.

  • Lady London says:

    Yes, Government seems to have forgotten airports and their services are now privatised and so are their profits.

    Therefore if lack of ground agents, gates, baggage handlers, or other services an airline pays to use connected with an airport fail to perform for whatever reason then the airline should remain fully liable to the passenger and it should be up to the airline to recover its losses or absorb losses or whatever passenger costs or compensation to passengers or anyone else they incur. That chain of supply belongs to the airline and its problems should not be dumped on passengers.

    The problem is that Border Force is not privatised? Is it the same for NATS?..So the principle of government services generally being protected from compensating for their failures,.so far as I can tell, must be applying?

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      Do you really want a function like Border Force contracted out?

      NATS is a hybrid public provate company with 49% state owned and operated as essentially a private company.

      • Lady London says:

        I’d settle for NATS being liable for service shortcomings then.

        Doesn’t Border Force outsource anyway? Didn’t their staff strike about that?

      • ken says:

        Plenty of contract staff used by Border Force.

        Its just that the majority are in sea ports or guarding detained migrants.

  • Nick says:

    Bits so I can get away with OT… does anyone have experience with Amex/Hilton offers in European countries not on the list? Don’t want to pay the FX fee but if it’s likely to hit the target anyway…

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    We (in Scotland) now try and avoid London airports wherever possible.

    Ironically, since we are cheapskates and Heathrow is at capacity, this perhaps benefits BA since they can sell “our” seats at higher prices!

    ps. Big issue for NATS is staff training and retention, and increased load on services from all sorts of new innovations, such as drones.

    • His Holyness says:

      You must be devastated you won’t have the chance to perch your behind on one of BA’s ripped lounge chairs in EDI then?

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Have to say, your holiness, the BA lounge view of the car park is not my favourite view either!

  • Rich says:

    I thought they’re weren’t going to be any queues when T5 opened?

    • Lady London says:

      Yeah Doha Airport has that huge bear thing dominating the terminal. Terminal 5 should have been built with a large pink pig suspended from the ceiling with a piece of hold luggage hanging from onr trotter.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.