British Airways has rightly come in for major bashing the past few days with rumours of Buy-on-Board circulating (and my thoughts on this are coming soon).
But occasionally, BA can make the effort to improve the passenger experience. For its next trick, it is to launch a new facility at Heathrow Terminal 5 – called “The First Wing”.
The First Wing Check-in Zone – Image, British Airways
The First Wing – British Airways
The First Wing security lanes – Image, British Airways
The First Wing will provide access from the First Class Check in to the lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5, without the hullabaloo of going through the normal security lanes, then through to the shopping complex, and finally hitting a lounge.
The First Wing will feature two extra security lanes to help to get through Heathrow a little quicker.
Once through security, you’ll be able to access Galleries First and The Concorde Room – saving the long hike.
At the moment, Concorde Room customers can use the “secret white door” as they clear security at the South Gates at Terminal 5. Everyone else has to do the rat-run.
Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, states:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Heathrow Airport to deliver a new dedicated security entrance, direct from check-in to our lounges.
Terminal 5 is our flagship home and The First Wing will significantly improve the airport experience for our premium customers.”
Meanwhile Mark Jennings, Heathrow Airports’ head of premium services and fast track states:
“We are excited by the prospect of extending our Fast Track product in Terminal 5, which underpins our commitment to improving the experience of our premium passengers and supports our vision of providing the world’s best airport service.”
No numbers have been released to indicate how much British Airways is paying for this facility, or how much Heathrow Airport might loose with all these premium passengers being diverted away from the shopping facilities in Terminal 5.
Onto the more important things – when will The First Wing open? British Airways and Heathrow Airport are aiming to open it April 2017.
Even more importantly, access to The First Wing will be restricted to the following passengers
- British Airways First customers
- British Airways eligible Executive Club Gold and above
- oneworld Emerald customers
There has been plenty of negative press about British Airways (and trust me – I’ve got a pile of it in my backlog), be it cutting the in-flight experience, reducing second services to Fun-Sized Mars bars, considering Buy-on-Board… and so on.
Maybe this is a step in the right direction. One step forward.
But I dread to think how many steps backward are to come.
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