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British Airways Tests Ways to Cut Boarding Queues

New technology allows passengers to board at their leisure rather than languish in yet another line

As borders slowly open and travel between the U.S. and the U.K. prepares to ramp up once again, travelers flying on British Airways may have one less line to negotiate.

British Airways will be testing a new intelligent queuing technology this summer that will enable customers to virtually queue at check-in by pre-booking their slot time in advance of arriving at the airport. The technology from Qmatic is optional for customers as the British carrier tries out the system for three months on selected flights departing from Heathrow Terminal 5.

Eligible 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 then simply 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.

British Airways will be the first airline to trial Qmatic, which is currently used extensively as a convenient tool for retail, healthcare and financial companies around the world.

“This technology means that our customers can plan their departure knowing that they have a personalized check-in time,” said Declan Pollard, British Airways’ Head of Heathrow Customer Experience. “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.”

British Airways is also testing out digital travel apps to ensure customers meet the entry requirements for their destination before arriving at the airport. The airline’s customers 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.

British Airways’ customers travelling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, can now also upload their negative Covid-19 test result and other documentation directly into the British Airways website for verification before travel.