The BA boarding process

Reply

Old Jan 28, 14, 12:49 am
  #1  
Moderator: Qatar Airways
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: LHR/NCE/DOH
Programs: BAEC GfL & GGL/CCR, QR Insider, SQ Gold, Mucci des Chevaliers des Bons Mots et Qui Savent Moucher
Posts: 7,238
The BA boarding process

Morning all,

I am fortunate enough to travel First & CE regularly, and although I appreciate this thread might be a recoil against the DYKWIA feed, I have a query.

I flew to JNB on Sunday in First, and upon arriving at the gate to board, was greeted by a longer queue for Fast Track boarding than for regular boarding! I am quite sure one of the reasons for this, is that those in CW/First (as well as BA Silver/Gold), namely those enjoying Lounge access, are all sent to the gate at the same time which creates a build up.

Now I could chalk the longer queue down to the fact the plane was an A380, but even travelling on smaller aircraft, the queue's are still a regular occurrence.

When you check-in, there are different counters for different classes and different BAEC cards. Thus, surely it should follow suit that, upon boarding, BA ought to create a secondary Fast-Track lane for First & Gold passengers.

Now before people critique this post, and state that:

-Everyone arrives at the destination at the same time
-Boarding doesn't take 'that long', deal with it
-A 5 minute wait isn't the end of the world...

...I appreciate all of the above points, but BA promotes First as a premium product, and so surely that premium feel should not just be focused on a lounge and plane environment - the First experience begins on ground and yet the boarding process is little different from other passengers in lesser travel classes.

Am I alone in thinking this? Would it work? Is it a question of staff numbers?

M
msm2000uk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 1:15 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Glasgow / London
Programs: BA Gold (GGL/CCR), HH Diamond, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,318
I agree, it is annoying having to wait in line, but I think it's impractical to have yet more queues for different levels of fast track. I flew the same route in F just last week and I could tell from the number of people leaving the lounge that it was going to be busy, so I stayed there a little longer, then wandered down to the gate via the shops. By the time I got there the fast track queue still had a few people in it, but the standard queue was empty, so I went through without waiting. As it happened, we were bussed to the gate, so it didn't make much difference.

To be honest, I'd much rather BA spent some money developing the lounge in JNB. It really is quite poor! The F lounge is always over crowded and the quality of food is very low. It's one of those routes with more GCH than SCH, so I think they need to re-design the lounge and take that into account.
Filthy Monkey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 1:22 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: London, UK
Programs: Starbucks Rewards GOLD
Posts: 1,406
This is also my experience on most of the flights I've taken lately across a few different airports.

I think this is down to the fact that Priority boarding is now open to Gold, Silver, Bronze, First, Club or if you own a cat or know someone who owns a cat.

Priority boarding is so 2013.
mario is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 1:48 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold; FB Silver; SPG; IHG Gold
Posts: 1,838
Offering priority boarding to Bronze is the problem. As a Silver I obviously feel a deep rooted entitlement to priority board, though no doubt the Golds out there will think differently .

On a serious note, I too sometimes wonder whether priority boarding is a misnomer. I find that boarding from gate 24 at T3 for the VIE service priority boarding means you get to go on the bus first, but then everyone else bundles onto the bus after you and you end up on the plane after everyone else. Not the end of the world, but hardly premium service.
South London Bon Viveur is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 1:58 am
  #5  
Moderator, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges, and Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold; Flying Blue Life Platinum; LH Sen.; Hilton Diamond; Kemal Kebabs Prized Customer
Posts: 37,619
I know some people like to settle down and get relaxed before the hoardes start rampaging on board down the back, but it really doesn't make sense at T5 if you are in First, CE and CW. With very few exceptions you are unlikely to have luggage issues (and if you did, they would be caused before any boarding....).

The way T5 works is that they can't close boarding before T-20. So if you sail in at T-22 you'll find an empty gate on longhaul (and sometimes shorthaul too), and you can walk in unimpeded. You simply time your departure from the lounge accordingly. You can get to any T5A gate within 6 minutes from the Concorde Room, 13 minutes for T5B and 16 minutes to T5C.

If you turn up early, you just add to Sheer Weight Of Traffic (SWOT), which is often re-intepreted as "everyone but me".
corporate-wage-slave is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:00 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London
Programs: BA Bronze
Posts: 1,054
The aggressive jostling in the fast track bundle ( the free for all bit before you actually get to the taped lane itself) is a great place to observe human desperation.

Older generation and business travellers turn into a kind of primitive hunter/gatherer type (where the prey is God knows what - so you can feel special in a special queue?) whilst trying to maintain a poker face of not being too bothered.

Pathetic, but compulsive viewing.
Lioneye is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:06 am
  #7  
Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: UK/Las Vegas
Programs: BA Gold (GGL/CCR)
Posts: 12,074
Originally Posted by Lioneye View Post
... so you can feel special in a special queue?) ...
Why do you say this?
Tobias-UK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:08 am
  #8  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 18,692
Come on BA. Fast track boarding. Sort it out. Please!!

Travelled GLA-LHR again this morning, unusually for me with just a paper and electronic devices in tow. Liberated of hand baggage I thought I'd indulge myself with an extra 4 minutes in the lounge before making my way to the gate. A good espresso should never be rushed.

Fast track boarding was a mess as it is, without exception, every time I fly out of GLA. No policing and queues disproportionately long, so I rarely bother nowadays.

This morning though I stuck with it (for the benefit of science) and why not since I had no pressing need for overhead locker space. Here is the outcome of my experiment...

I was amongst the last dozen to board. Are you surprised?

The long queue ahead of me inched forward at a snail's pace while the much lighter, more nimble general boarding line filed past the podium and into the air bridge. Those that followed me across the threshold were the very same passengers who shuffled behind me in the fast track queue.

I'm of the view if BA cannot manage priority boarding effectively, it would be a kindness if they just withdrew it.
Prospero is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:11 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: LHR
Programs: HH D,CC,SPG,AZ: Gold;BA Silver, TK Elite
Posts: 809
The best priority boarding asset?
Infants
papyPiHi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:12 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 21,902
Originally Posted by Southlondonbonviveur View Post
I find that boarding from gate 24 at T3 for the VIE service priority boarding means you get to go on the bus first, but then everyone else bundles onto the bus after you and you end up on the plane after everyone else. Not the end of the world, but hardly premium service.
Ditto HEL
LondonElite is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:13 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Brighton, UK
Programs: BA Gold, IC Ambassador, HH Gold, SPG Gold, Fairmont Platinum
Posts: 3,153
Interesting to see whether departures from JNB on an A380 are bused.

When I flew in F a week ago (on a 747) the fast track just dumped you on the bus with everyone else, so fairly pointless.
FrancisA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:19 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Chester le Street
Programs: BA Executive, Virgin FC
Posts: 308
Just to add to this - 1st time in CW coming up Thursday but the thought occurs to me that what is the point of priority boarding if everyone comes through the cabin anyway? You can't be spending the time arranging things in your bag / overhead comfortably if people are pushing past you with their bags?

Last time I flew VS was in UC and they had two airbridges one for UC only and the other for everyone else (including G & S CH flying in other cabins). Made for a lovely, exclusive boarding experience.
Hands Mensing is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:22 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London
Programs: BA Bronze
Posts: 1,054
Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
Why do you say this?
Some of the desperados observed would rather seeth in an unpleasant overcrowded "fast track" queue than join the great unwashed.
Lioneye is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:26 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Programs: Mucci, BA Gold, PS, HHonors Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 5,867
Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
No policing and queues disproportionately long, so I rarely bother nowadays.
This is the problem. I am not sure if an extra member of staff would be required to police the fasttrack line but without one the whole concept does not seem to work. No matter how big a sign they put up at the gate people still intuitively rush to where there is a shorter queue. Plus, many people (at least this is my observation for KBP flights) have no idea what Club Europe stands for nor are they aware what all this OneWorld and BAEC nonsense is...
The CE check-in line at KBP is policed and it is never long (there is no priority boarding).
Andriyko is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 14, 2:27 am
  #15  
Moderator, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges, and Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold; Flying Blue Life Platinum; LH Sen.; Hilton Diamond; Kemal Kebabs Prized Customer
Posts: 37,619
Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
I'm of the view if BA cannot manage priority boarding effectively, it would be a kindness if they just withdrew it.
Maybe priority boarding is like priority baggage tags? You have to offer it to people who ask/"need"/demand it. Whether it makes any difference is entirely beside the point.

GLA I think has particular issues. They lost the direct lounge boarding (for good reasons) and haven't found the EDI way of life yet. It's only for a few early flights, the later services are much more civilised, even for Glasgow.
corporate-wage-slave is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread