British Airways streamlines connections with chauffeur drive transfers

By David Flynn, September 18 2018
British Airways streamlines connections with chauffeur drive transfers

British Airways is ramping up efforts at its London Heathrow T5 hub to help passengers make their connecting flights.

This includes expanding a trial of the 'premium transfer service' which sees premium passengers at risk of missing their onward connection being whisked across the tarmac be in a chauffeur-driven 'executive car' where to transfer them to their next flight.

More vehicles are being added to the fleet, which is on tap for passengers in first class and business class (both international Club World and regional Club Europe), as well as Gold and Silver members of BA's Executive Club frequent flyer program.

BA says it now has a team of dedicated connections managers "who monitor all flight arrivals" with an eye towards those passengers making connections.

(And with an estimated 123,000 customers flying on British Airways every day, you can bet there are a lot of transfers in the mix.)

When an inbound flight is sufficiently delayed that there's almost no chance of some passengers making their onwards flight, those travellers "are now being re-booked with British Airways or any of the airline’s oneworld partners while they’re still in the air," the airline says.

"This information is relayed to cabin crew who then reassure and help customers with their onward journey. They are then met at the aircraft door by connections staff who provide them with their new boarding pass, refreshment vouchers and, if overnight accommodation is necessary, their hotel booking."

The handout also includes Express Connect status cards to fast-track them through flight connections and security checkpoints.

British Airways is also looking at how flights with a large number of connecting customers can be docked at the most convenient T5 gates for the next part of their journey.

The moves follow BA's trial of a 'First off First' initiative to speed up the arrivals process for the airline's highest-paying passengers, with the goal of getting first class flyers on their way to the terminal "within 90 seconds of leaving their seat."

Read more: British Airways trials new fast-track services for first class flyers


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 474

If you need to be whisked across the tarmac in a limo to make your flight, you will most certainly not have your bags travelling with you!

05 May 2016

Total posts 630

Unless you just have carry-on

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 207

My husband and I experienced this transfer service recently when travelling JMK to BOS via LHR. Our JMK-LHR flight was delayed about 80 minutes which meant we'd only have about 40 minutes to make our connection to the LHR-BOS flight. Happy to report that the transfer crew met us at the aircraft door and escorted us to the waiting car which drove us straight to gate for our onward flight. All our checked luggage made the onward flight too and were the first to arrive on the baggage carousel at BOS.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 79

How hard is it to get people into a terminal 90 seconds after leaving their seat, when their seat is right in front of the door??

04 May 2018

Total posts 43

Luggage should make it too on domestic to international connections and may make it on international connections if in the same terminal?

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 154

Something LH and Austrian have had for years!

And Austrian adds to the mix by taking you straight to a dedicated immigration/security point solely for short-connecting passengers. Works very well.

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