Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > British Airways | Executive Club
Reload this Page >

Priority screening at LHR as BA Gold/OWE vs VS Upper Class?

Priority screening at LHR as BA Gold/OWE vs VS Upper Class?

Old Jun 20, 22, 11:48 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 98
Priority screening at LHR as BA Gold/OWE vs VS Upper Class?

I'm not sure where to post this and I'm not experienced enough with Heathrow so I figure this might be a good place to ask this as I'm genuinely curious if there are any differences. Putting aside BA's global footprint vs VS, I'm wondering if there is any difference with priority screening with VS compared to BA? I think both airlines have access to dedicated priority screening for their business class customers and top-tier elites. I wonder if one is any better or faster or any other advantages for either airlines at Heathrow Terminal 3?
sau54 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 11:57 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Programs: British Airways GGL/CCR, Hilton Diamond & Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,259
By screening, you mean Security?

At T5 you have the First wing (First and BA Gold/OW equivalent) - this is often very fast.
For Business and Silver you have fast track standard security.

Never flown Virgin Upper, so cannot comment.
PGberkshire is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 12:04 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London / Amsterdam
Programs: Hilton Honors Diamond, BA Silver
Posts: 360
If you're talking about Heathrow Terminal 3 specifically, then yes. Virgin have the Upper Class Wing there where BA only have access to 'normal fast track' that all airlines use.
CarefreeBA is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 1:28 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: SE1, London
Posts: 22,700
First Wing > Upper Class Wing > big gap > regular T3 Fastrack
dcmike, VSLover, sau54 and 4 others like this.
Swanhunter is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 1:35 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: London
Programs: Sir Ratechaser Seigneur de la Patience d'un Saint (Mucci), BA Silver, Starbucks Gold
Posts: 1,901
Been a while since I went VS upper but definitely a more seamless experience than BA, in that the limo dropped you off at the private T3 wing, straight through their own security lane, and apart from a couple of minutes navigating the main terminal, you could be in the clubhouse within about 5 minutes of arriving.
choosethedrew likes this.
ratechaser is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 1:36 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Krakow
Programs: BAEC Silver, Miles and More(FTL), IHG(Platinum), Accor, HHonors(Diamond), SPG, Hertz Five Star
Posts: 4,512
Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
First Wing > Upper Class Wing > big gap > regular T3 Fastrack
first wing being at t5 rather than t3

Ba has no 'dedicated' fast track security at T3, its a shared fast track with other airlines. I find it perfectly acceptable most of the time.

BAs operation and footprint at T3 is small in comparison to its operation at t5 which makes comparisons in t3 difficult. Most (but not all) places you would fly to with VS from t3 would leave from t5 if you were on ba

OP, is there a particular routing you are interested in and we can compare more than just fast track security? I would say in t3 ba pax have a wider selevtion of lounges to choose from than VS would have.

HEL which you seem interested on other threads does go from T3, on AY rather than BA. I doubt you would find a VS flight to HEL though
scottishpoet is offline  
Old Jun 20, 22, 2:32 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 2,272
Worth noting that the benefit of T3 fast track is that it avoids the snake through the shops, unlike the one at T5, or indeed regular security in either terminal. So its doubly quick, if (unlike most people) you include the time taken post-screening to get somewhere more fun than WDF.
Confus is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 12:10 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 98
Originally Posted by PGberkshire View Post
By screening, you mean Security?

At T5 you have the First wing (First and BA Gold/OW equivalent) - this is often very fast.
For Business and Silver you have fast track standard security.

Never flown Virgin Upper, so cannot comment.
Yes, I meant security. Sorry, I'm totally new to BA. What is first wing? I'm asking this in the context of flying as a future BAEC Gold/OWE in Y.

T5 have regular fast track security for business class and OWS? I'm assuming it's the same fast track security as T3?

Originally Posted by CarefreeBA View Post
If you're talking about Heathrow Terminal 3 specifically, then yes. Virgin have the Upper Class Wing there where BA only have access to 'normal fast track' that all airlines use.
I'm a BA and LHR newbie. You're right and that was what I was referring to. Last week, I flew in business out of LHR T3 for the first time and was so happy to have access to priority security. I forgot what it was called, but it didn't occur to me that it was shared with other airlines. I'm guessing that means it won't be as fast as Virgin Upper class in theory? The funny thing is that it was actually faster for me to clear security flying AY than with VS last week. I don't know if it's the same security company that operates both screening services, but with the same back pack that I always have with me, I was forced to take out the stuff from my bag in VS security, but I didn't have to with AY. I don't know why. The reps in the VS line said my bag was packed "too dense". It was kind of cool how I was able to access the VS priority security lane. After checking in, there is an elevator almost adjacent to the Upper class check-in counter. Once I arrive on the secon floor, it was almost like I was in another terminal as the interior was beautiful. It didn't occur to me where the security line was so I walked towards the counter and the rep said I just need to scan my boarding pass, which I did, and a door just opens to show me the security lane. Much shorter than the time I flew AY business, but it was slower overall as I had to take the content out of my backpack.

Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
First Wing > Upper Class Wing > big gap > regular T3 Fastrack
Can you explain why first wing is superior to VS upper class wing? Why is there then a big gap with regular T3 fast track?

Originally Posted by ratechaser View Post
Been a while since I went VS upper but definitely a more seamless experience than BA, in that the limo dropped you off at the private T3 wing, straight through their own security lane, and apart from a couple of minutes navigating the main terminal, you could be in the clubhouse within about 5 minutes of arriving.
Not if security forces you to take the content out of your bag, which happened to me. The club house is beautiful and the food was awesome. Much better than CX and QF J lounges! I would say it's even better than the Centurion Lounge in T3, which I finally tried last week!

Originally Posted by scottishpoet View Post
first wing being at t5 rather than t3

Ba has no 'dedicated' fast track security at T3, its a shared fast track with other airlines. I find it perfectly acceptable most of the time.

BAs operation and footprint at T3 is small in comparison to its operation at t5 which makes comparisons in t3 difficult. Most (but not all) places you would fly to with VS from t3 would leave from t5 if you were on ba

OP, is there a particular routing you are interested in and we can compare more than just fast track security? I would say in t3 ba pax have a wider selevtion of lounges to choose from than VS would have.

HEL which you seem interested on other threads does go from T3, on AY rather than BA. I doubt you would find a VS flight to HEL though
I'm not necessarily comparing the airlines as I know it won't be a perfect comparison due to their network footprint, alliances, and etc. I was just trying to ask and compare the differences and see which airline offered the better experience for its high-tier elites and business class customers from check-in to the lounge. My understanding is that LHR T5 doesn't have the same quality of lounges as T3! Unfortunately, it's not easy to go from T3 to T5 airside. I'm not aware of VS flying to HEL, but that wasn't the point of this thread.

How is first wing better than fast track? I hope to try out more things at LHR in the near future.

Originally Posted by Confus View Post
Worth noting that the benefit of T3 fast track is that it avoids the snake through the shops, unlike the one at T5, or indeed regular security in either terminal. So its doubly quick, if (unlike most people) you include the time taken post-screening to get somewhere more fun than WDF.
From memory, I do recall having to go through the duty free shops after clearing VS security.
choosethedrew likes this.
sau54 is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 12:28 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Krakow
Programs: BAEC Silver, Miles and More(FTL), IHG(Platinum), Accor, HHonors(Diamond), SPG, Hertz Five Star
Posts: 4,512
In t5 ba has a dedicated check in area for first and owe

It has its own security which leads directly into the first lounge which is open to owe. Only people first or ccr lounge access can use that security.

There are also 2 regular fast track areas for business/ows, one each at north and south security.

as ows i prefer the one at north security, it is usually quieter as it is well away from business check in and is a short walk from the north lounge
sau54, pythonisman and Kranebitten like this.
scottishpoet is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 12:30 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: London, UK
Programs: QF, TK, VA, SQ
Posts: 600
Originally Posted by sau54 View Post
How is first wing better than fast track? I hope to try out more things at LHR in the near future.
The First Wing has a separate security channel, with either 1 or two x-ray belts (depending on how busy it is / staffing) and rarely has long queues unless the airport is particularly hectic (or sometimes if BA's IT goes down there can be queues).

Generally speaking it takes only a few minutes to check in (zero if travelling with only carry on luggage), then go through security. You need to remove liquids and laptops from your bags, as well as the usual belts, jackets and potentially shoes as with any security channel.

Once you're through security, you go via a tunnel directly into the BA First class lounge.


The 'regular' fast track security is much more ordinary, and is simply another route through the standard security channel, but it's usually quicker than regular security by virtue of there being fewer passengers using it, relative to the number of x-ray belts etc etc.


VS's Upper Class wing at T3 is similar to BA's First Wing, in that it has a separate security screening channel and deposits you into the lounge, avoiding much of the hectic airport experience.

Hope this helps.
sau54 likes this.
pythonisman is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 12:45 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Krakow
Programs: BAEC Silver, Miles and More(FTL), IHG(Platinum), Accor, HHonors(Diamond), SPG, Hertz Five Star
Posts: 4,512
T5 first wing is a dedicated check in area for ba first and owe, it has its own security that feeds directly into the first/owe lounge

There are 2 other fast track security areas open to business class/ows one at north security and one at south security.

security could ask you to take stuff out your bag anywhere. Sometimes trays get hauled for random swabbing.

i believe its heathrow airport who provide all the security people, not the airlines. The screening experience should be the same but queues should be shorter at fast track and even shorter at first wing.


T5 does not have the same variety of lounges as t3. I do not like to say one lounge is better than another. Different people look for different things. The thread debating which lounge in t3 is best shows different people value different things.

There is some variety in the lounges at t5 depending what you are entitled to. I like the lounge in B. I also like ccr (the true elite/first lounge), but do not have entitlement. The BA first lounge is really a owe lounge despite the name as first customers can use ccr

I think t5 flows better from getting to the airport to the aircraft than t3, but that is not an 'elite' benefit, its available to all

Last edited by scottishpoet; Jun 21, 22 at 12:51 pm
scottishpoet is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 1:39 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: LON, ACK, BOS..... (Not necessarily in that order)
Programs: **Mucci Diamond Hairbrush** - compared to that nothing else matters (+BA Silver)
Posts: 14,160
Originally Posted by scottishpoet View Post
T5 first wing is a dedicated check in area for ba first and owe, it has its own security that feeds directly into the first/owe lounge

There are 2 other fast track security areas open to business class/ows one at north security and one at south security.

security could ask you to take stuff out your bag anywhere. Sometimes trays get hauled for random swabbing.

i believe its heathrow airport who provide all the security people, not the airlines. The screening experience should be the same but queues should be shorter at fast track and even shorter at first wing.


T5 does not have the same variety of lounges as t3. I do not like to say one lounge is better than another. Different people look for different things. The thread debating which lounge in t3 is best shows different people value different things.

There is some variety in the lounges at t5 depending what you are entitled to. I like the lounge in B. I also like ccr (the true elite/first lounge), but do not have entitlement. The BA first lounge is really a owe lounge despite the name as first customers can use ccr

I think t5 flows better from getting to the airport to the aircraft than t3, but that is not an 'elite' benefit, its available to all
Yes the security staff are Heathrow staff and are I believe (as with all UK airports) tested every so often by the Department For Transport (aka DAFT) for their competency. Somebody goes through with banned items in their carry on bags and if these arent spotted by security then those people lose their jobs.
Jimmie76 is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 7:00 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Krakow
Programs: BAEC Silver, Miles and More(FTL), IHG(Platinum), Accor, HHonors(Diamond), SPG, Hertz Five Star
Posts: 4,512
The first wing

https://www.britishairways.com/en-us...the-first-wing
scottishpoet is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 8:03 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: At home...
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 2,036
Originally Posted by Confus View Post
Worth noting that the benefit of T3 fast track is that it avoids the snake through the shops, unlike the one at T5, or indeed regular security in either terminal. So its doubly quick, if (unlike most people) you include the time taken post-screening to get somewhere more fun than WDF.
Although things change, there wasn't fast track available for T5-T3 transfers when I went through there a few weeks ago (it was a nightmare with many pax made late for their flights).
endoman likes this.
CKBA is offline  
Old Jun 21, 22, 8:26 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Krakow
Programs: BAEC Silver, Miles and More(FTL), IHG(Platinum), Accor, HHonors(Diamond), SPG, Hertz Five Star
Posts: 4,512
If transit security at t3 was closed then any passengers transiting to VS at t3 would also not have been able to use it, so the 'elite' passenger experience that the OP is trying to compare would have been the same between VS and BA
scottishpoet is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread