British Airways will trial queuing technology from Qmatic that enables customers to virtually queue at check-in by pre-booking their slot time before arriving at the airport.
The technology is optional for customers and will be tested for three months on selected flights departing from Heathrow Terminal 5.
Customers will be sent an email before travel inviting them to book their personal check-in time.
When it is time for a customer to check in, the Qmatic system will notify them that it is their turn, allowing them to go to the dedicated desk and the airline’s customer service team will be able to assist.
Customers who have not booked a check-in slot through Qmatic can proceed as normal, or have the option to join a virtual queue when they arrive at the airport by scanning a QR code.
BA will be the first airline to trial Qmatic, which is currently used by other organisations, such as BP Service Stations, Tate Modern and the Post Office in the UK, to help manage the flow of customers.
Declan Pollard, BA’s head of Heathrow customer experience, said: “In this new Covid-19 era we know that customers have been travelling less frequently than they normally would, and in most cases not at all.
“We understand many people will feel unfamiliar with the airport journey, so we are committed to exploring how technology can simplify that experience for them.
“This technology means that our customers can plan their departure knowing that they have a personalised check-in time.
“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.”
Mark Brackley, managing director of Jade Solutions, the exclusive supplier of Qmatic in the UK, added: “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.”
BA is also trialling digital travel apps to ensure customers meet the entry requirements for their destination before arriving at the airport.
Passengers can currently use VeriFLY on all flights to the US, Canada and France as well as on all inbound flights and the airline has been assisting in the development of Iata’s travel pass.
Furthermore, BA passengers travelling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal can now upload their negative Covid-19 test result and other documentation directly into ba.com for verification before travel.