Swiftly getting through the airport is the number one concern for many travellers. And many flyers will want to avoid congestion in airports now more than ever, with international holiday travel beginning to resume.
To make this a little easier, British Airways are trialling a new intelligent queuing system on selected flights out of Heathrow Terminal five.
The new app-based technology from Qmatic will allow customers to pre-book a slot before arriving at the airport, therefore cutting out the waiting time. BA is hoping this will help customers feel safer returning to flying this year.
BA’s Head of Heathrow Customer Experience, Declan Pollard, said,
“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”.
Trials for the new technology are currently ongoing for the next three months on selected flights out of Heathrow Terminal 5.
How it works
The system has a straightforward design with the view of streamlining the entire airport process. Before travelling, customers will receive an email inviting them to book a time slot for check-in.
Using the new system will be optional, though, and customers can still choose to check in through the traditional way.
After booking their slot, customers that do opt-in to the new system will receive a notification from Qmatic informing them that it’s their turn. They can then easily go to the dedicated desk and receive assistance from BA’s customer service team.
And there are no problems If you’ve forgotten to book a slot through Qmatic beforehand. Fliers who haven’t booked a slot can still join a virtual queue after arriving at the airport or go through the standard method of checking in. This is made easy by a scannable QR code at the airport.
The Managing Director of Jade Solutions (the supplier of Qmatic in the UK), Mark Brackley, said,
“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”.
Many BA customers will be familiar with Qmatic already. The app has become popular in retail, healthcare and financial organisations over the last years. However, BA is the first airline to implement the technology into their operations. In future years, virtual queuing systems may become the norm amongst all airlines.
New tech for BA
Despite the disruption to the travel industry over the last year, British Airways have implemented a series of new technologies for their customers to make travel easier.
One of the most anticipated developments has been the new BA digital travel apps, including VeriFLY. These apps allow customers to check they meet all the necessary entry requirements of their destination before they depart.
So far, Verifly has been available to customers travelling to the US, France and Canada. Many expect that the app will become an option for travellers to more countries soon, with BA continuously looking to streamline their service.
BA have also improved their online booking system by adding a new travel document functionality. Customers travelling to India have been able to submit their travel documents before getting to the airport. After receiving verification, the new functionality allows customers to check in online and avoid airport queues.
Customer’s with access to BA lounges have also seen technology upgrades in the new “Your Menu” app. This has enabled users to order food and drinks simply by scanning a QR code at their table.
British Airways are clearly excited about the new capabilities to get customers through airports swiftly and safely, with Pollard stating, “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”.
Words by Jonathan Ritchie