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Published on Thursday, May 13, 2021

BA to trial virtual queuing system at London Heathrow

British Airways will trial a new intelligent virtual queuing system to avoid long lines and close contact with other customers.

The Covid-safe system is developed by tech firm Qmatic by allowing customers to virtually queue at check-in by pre-booking their slot time in advance of arriving at the airport.

An optional service for customers, it will be trialled by BA 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. 

They will be notified when it is time for a customer to check-in, 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 in the public sector, retail, healthcare and financial organisations around the world, including BP Service Stations, the Tate Modern and the Post Office in the UK.

Declan Pollard, British Airways' 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."

"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."

British Airways is also trialling 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.

 The airline has also been assisting in the development of the IATA Travel Pass.

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

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