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Changes to British Airways Club World and Club Europe check-in at Heathrow Terminal 5

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British Airways has announced some (positive) changes to the Club World and Club Europe check-in process at Terminal 5.

From 9th November, check-in for Club passengers will move from Zones G/H to Zones A/B.

Bronze member of the Executive Club will also be able to use this area, as well as Silver members.

Changes to Club World and Club Europe check-in at Heathrow Terminal 5

BA promises that there will be more space in the new area. There are also two practical advantages:

  • it is directly opposite the T5 entrance from the tube, Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express, saving you the long walk down to the south end of the terminal
  • North security is larger than South, and you also have the separate Fast Track area near the north end of T5 which is often ignored by passengers

If you are a Gold member travelling alone or with only one guest, you will find it easier to continue walking down to the south end to use the First Wing security and check-in area with direct access to the Galleries First lounge.

If you are a Gold with 2+ guests then you can’t access the Galleries First lounge. If you arrive by tube or train, you need to decide whether to use the new Zone A/B area directly in front of you or take the long stroll down to rhe First Wing to check-in and then double-back to South security.


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Comments (102)

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

  • Ralph says:

    WA RAK renovation is further delayed until 16 December. Originally the closure was supposed to be until 30 September. Being closed for much of the UAE Winter period (high season) must hust.
    Unfortunately, we have a stay at the end of November which cannot take place. Not impressed by the hotel’s communication on this regard.

  • dougzz99 says:

    The ‘separate’ Fast Track which is clearly signed and not in any way secret exits you next to general security. The snake queues are frequently controlled by staff who don’t care who came through fast track and who didn’t. They then move the access points to even out the flow to the scanners. It’s a poor experience. After it was mentioned again recently I made a point to use it recently. Only two times, but it’s as useless as I remembered. The recent suggestion it’s an improvement on the FW security experience is wrong in my experience.
    If you want to use the First Lounge there’s also the walk through the terminal to the north end, something much easier to achieve land side than air side.

  • James says:

    Intercontinental RAK is amazing, been twice since it opened and will for sure be heading back there. The value on offer is superb.

  • Stuart says:

    Fast track this morning was ridiculously slow, directed down the normal channel, again it was like it was the bloke on the x ray machines first day and all the travellers seemed to have never been through airport security before. I ‘love’ how shocked people are when they have to take liquids and laptops etc out of their bags

    • Harry T says:

      This is the quintessential airport experience post covid. Apparently a couple of years of not catching planes was enough to turn most folks into brain dead cretins!

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      I felt for a while people had an excuse as they found the testing before travel process stressful so then lost their marbles at security. However my patience has long since worn thin. The infamous MAN security experience does passengers no favours by trying to overload trays with stuff which inevitably the scanners can’t see. I have to stand my ground against the staff there when using 3-4 trays to achieve a one and done pass through the scanner.

    • NorthernLass says:

      Americans often aren’t used to this as they don’t have to do it in US airports and many of them never seem to consider that not all countries do things the same way!

  • Lemeng says:

    Oh no! I always arrive by train having checked in online and use the north fast track which is less busy than south. Now it’s going to be busy there and less quick for me. Ah well, first world problem…!

  • Paul says:

    Not mentioned – North security is also the transit security point – (unless something has changed! I am only ever a T5 originating passenger) and the primary reason for avoiding it was that it processed all the transit passengers. This led to a lot of congestion and fast track, once through the separate entrance, was simply part of the mayhem.
    It made sense to use this entrance if flying domestically due proximity to the lounge but I don’t think I have ever used North fast track and not simply joined the masses once passed the boarding pass scan.

    The real issue is that the building is no longer being used as designed. There was no plan for dedicated checkin desks other than First. There was no plan for miles of barriers. The original concept was to check in at home arrive and drop bags at any desk. Fast track security was then a differentiator. The flow was from street to security in a straight line though Heathrow’s penny pinching did mean almost everyone on public transport arrived at the north end
    What has happened is that dedicated desks were created – without enough staff – leading to the need for barriers, leading to queuing and congestion. Other airlines were allowed in requiring dedicated space and separate processes, causing more congestion and queues.
    If used as designed T5 would be a very different experience but the marketeers, brand gurus and bean counters trumped operational management, the latter then being got rid of.
    This new process will be fun to watch if not actually to experience!

    • John says:

      I always thought that transit security dumped into the south queue. Definitely curious which is right now.

      • ABS says:

        When the building opened, transit security ended up in the north end of the building. Around 10 years ago, Heathrow built a route from connections to security south with both operational so you will be sent to either depending on which one is less busy.

    • Dubious says:

      So you are saying that the original design did not fit the operational use case?

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      The concept was to check in at any desk. But people couldn’t deal with that concept and wanted dedicated desks for each cabin.

      Some passengers still expect destination specific desks. Take the couple a couple of months ago who were looking for BA specific desks for LCY at BER!

      The only other airline with a long term prescence other than BA is IB. And even then it was literally a handful of desks.

      Others were only there during the pandemic and given the reduced number of flights and passengers were hardly a major issue.

    • BahrainLad says:

      Before you lionise “operational management” they were the ones that completely fked up the opening, for weeks, and it was entirely right they were got rid of.

      • Paul says:

        The issues with the opening of T5 were many and varied. Crucially the lack of access to staff car parks as contractors were still there!
        The baggage system was not fully tested in particular for the receipts of bags from third party carriers. It is generally accepted that there was a perfect storm of calamities but the parking arrangements were not of BAs doing!
        The operational directors left within days but BA culled operational managers in large number 9 months later. They have never fully recovered from that.

        Not sure I’d accept that passengers expect a dedicated or flight specific desk. In any event most changes to use were driven by brands who wanted dedicated areas. Frankly most passengers don’t care where they check in Most do it online and simply want to drop bags. If the building were appropriately staffed it would not be an issue

    • ABS says:

      The barriers have thankfully (generally) been removed and they now only exist for Club check in desks. All of economy has the flow forward concept the building was designed for as they’re all self service bag drop, Club also has a self service option which is far quicker than using a desk.

      • Jack says:

        I would much prefer to speak to a human than use a machine that most likely won’t work anyways not everything has to be automated human contact is vital in life . I have never waited long in the club zone at all

    • Jack says:

      What was the plan when it was designed and when the terminal opened is completely different. It was never going to be the case that everyone would check in online for a variety of reasons and some people do not want to or cannot ie for documents checks . You must also bear in mind terminal 5 opened 15 years ago personally there is nothing wrong with the layout . There is still dedicated desks for each class of travel and moving it to the North end makes much more sense as it is nearer all the transport connections such as the heathrow express

    • Jack says:

      The concept was to check in at any desk . The only other airline using T5 now is Iberia which takes up only a few desks so it is not really a major issue at all and never really has been . I personally and I’m sure many people do want to check in at the airport without having to use a machine and get everything taken care off there . How a building is designed when it’s built is completely different when it’s actually operational , terminal 5 has been open 15 years now

  • Chris H says:

    Another vote for intercontinental rak – I snagged a cheap rate just after it opened thanks to the tip on here. If you buy ambassador status they treat you very well (we got upgraded to an apartment) and as a gold or above on IHG they were giving 30% of F&B

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Totally forgot about the 30% discount at IHG properties in the UAE. It’s become the only place I routinely order fillet steaks 😛

  • AJA says:

    I’m another one that doesn’t think relocating Club check in to zone A/B is a good idea.

    I arrive by taxi and always tell the drive rto head to the far end as it is much quieter and easier to park.

    For some reason most taxis try to drop people off as soon as they enter the drop off zone so now it will be a scramble to stop somewhere.

    And once inside the choice of either using the smaller and usually crowded North Galleries Club or walking to the other end of the terminal to go to the larger Galleries South is going to be a difficult one, especially as my OH has difficulty walking. We usually request wheelchair assistance in the lounge as OH can manage a slow amble to the Galleries South complex but now I’m tempted to request it at check-in.

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