British Airways trialling pre-booked check-in times to reduce airport queueing

May 12, 2021

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British Airways is hoping to reduce the amount of time you spend queueing for check-in on your next flight from London Heathrow (LHR).

The airline will use technology from Qmatic for a trial for passengers departing from its home at London’s Heathrow Terminal 5. After booking a flight, eligible passengers will receive an email inviting them to participate in the optional trial. They can then book a check-in time at their convenience. On the day of travel, participating passengers will receive a notification their check-in time has arrived and can head directly to a dedicated check-in area, rather than joining general check-in queues.

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Anyone who does not book a check-in position prior to arriving at Terminal 5 may be invited to join a virtual queue on their arrival by scanning a QR code. They can then relax while they wait for their place, though this is unlikely to be in a luxury airport lounge or duty-free shop.

Passengers will need to wait for their time land-side, before passing through airport security. There are very limited areas to do this at Terminal 5 unless departing passengers head down to the arrivals area to wait and then return back up to departures to check-in.

Related: The comprehensive guide to the lounges in Heathrow’s Terminal 5

The ability to skip long queues is a key benefit for elite status members of the British Airways Executive Club and its partner airlines. Those without status may find this trial particularly enticing to avoid the thought of another long queue to check-in, drop bags or both, especially while trying to socially distance.

BA is the first airline to use Qmatic technology, which has proven popular in other industries to reduce queueing in 120 countries, such as public services like healthcare.

“The intelligent queuing solution will provide British Airways’ customers with the ability to add themselves to a virtual queue and see their position change in real-time, all from their phone,” said Jade Solutions, the supplier of Qmatic in the United Kingdom.

Related: 5 simple tech innovations that would revolutionise the travel experience

Featured image by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

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