Checking out British Airways First Wing


For our return to Mumbai from London, we were booked on the day flight from London which departed at 10 AM from London for Mumbai. Given this, and the fact that I had to head to the Concorde Room before this and so on, we packed up and left the hotel at about 6 AM on one of the first Hotel Hoppa going to the airport.

After roughly 15 minutes of driving, we arrived at Terminal 5 at about 6:30 AM. I was very excited to check out the new First Wing which was put into service just a few months ago. It was a quiet hour, so we arrived at the Departure level and headed right towards the farthest south end of the Terminal 5 where First (and Gold Members + oneWorld Emerald Members) check-in is processed.

We were greeted by the very familiar First Check-in Area, except with a new screen that now covers up what happens behind the screen.

British Airways First Check-in

British Airways First Check-in

Behind the newly installed screen was actually just a new seating area while you were waiting to be called.

British Airways First Check-in

British Airways First Check-in

The First Check-in Experience hadn’t changed yet. One still has to walk to an agent and bring along your bags to check-in. We were quickly attended to by an agent given this morning the whole place was empty.

British Airways First Check-in

British Airways First Check-in

After handing over our check-in bags to the agent, we were informed about the new First Wing process and alerted to go towards the right where we could go through security and straight away enter the lounge.

On the right, we self-scanned our boarding passes and walked into a security zone, while earlier I’d have walked back to the south security area and go through security there as a Gold tier member, or go through the secret door which opened right into the Concorde Room.

The new security procedure was empty and impressive. Much of the same like the rest of the secure zone in terms of the procedure. There was a metal detector and a full-body scanner to choose from. This was the part where the whole setup did impress me as compared to being in the priority queue, which used to mix me up with fast-track passengers and others who’d cut through the queues. Within 3 minutes the scan was complete and we were on our way. No pictures, because hey, security setup. However here is a picture from BA’s website that should give you an idea about how quick and empty this was.

British Airways First Wing Security

British Airways First Wing Security

Subsequently, we were pointed towards the direction of the lounge, which involved walking through this alley and opened straight into the Galleries First lounge.

British Airways First Wing

British Airways First Wing

I liked the fact that everyone does not have to wait now to scan into the lounge another time now and is directly admitted by virtue of being allowed to use the First Wing.

We walked through the lounge across to the Concorde Room first, where we were scanned in, and we dropped our hand baggage with the cloakroom. We just made it fast enough to get to the Spa, which was another experience in itself.

What if you have a large party and not everyone qualifies to get into the Galleries First Lounge? Apparently, you’d be sent back to the south security area as per the old process.

Bottomline

While the new process flow is a huge, huge improvement from the earlier setup, it is just correcting a flaw that British Airways has been living with since they started from Terminal 5. It should have always been like this, and, while they were at it, in fact, BA could have created a much better experience for their First customers who apparently pay a pretty penny to go behind this door.

Nevertheless, I don’t mind using the new set-up for as long as I can get through quicker than ever before at Heathrow T5, given this airport is always so busy that any amount of time less than 4-5 hours is a very rushed experience here.

Have you used the London Heathrow First Wing? How has your experience been with the new flow?

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