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."
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