British Airways is testing a new virtual queuing system to prevent travelers from gathering at check-in desks as the airline looks to revolutionize the post-pandemic flying experience.
The carrier is testing intelligent queuing technology from Qmatic that allows passengers to pre-book a check-in slot through a mobile app, which then notifies them when it is their turn.
BA is the first airline to use Qmatic, with the three-month trial on selected flights departing from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 optional for passengers.
Declan Pollard, British Airways’ head of Heathrow customer experience, said with many customers either travelling less frequently in the Covid era or not at all, the airline wants to explore new technology to “simplify the experience for them”.
“This technology means that our customers can plan their departure knowing that they have a personalized check-in time,” Pollard said.
We think this technology, coupled with digital travel apps, will help efficiently manage the flow of customers in the airport at any one time and give our customers reassurance.”
BA’s trial comes after Britain revealed its traffic light system earlier this month to resume international travel from May 17, with only a handful of destinations approved for quarantine-free movement, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to protect gains made by a rapid vaccination campaign.
However, the reopening of countries on the green list will increase passenger numbers at a time when Heathrow is already struggling with the extra Covid measures needed to process passengers flying into the country.
Last month, the boss of Heathrow Airport told UK government ministers unless they “get a grip” on delays at the border, planes will be diverted to foreign countries.