British Airways wants to put its first class flyers in the fast lane – in fact, an even faster fast lane than what they should already enjoy as the airline's highest-paying passengers.
Flying at the pointy end of the plane sees first class travellers as the first to leave the aircraft, but this loses its lustre if the arriving jet is docked at a remote stand rather than a conventional gate, and then everybody piles onto the same transfer bus: something which BA says happens to 1 in 10 of its flights at busy Heathrow Airport.
As part of a trial dubbed 'First off First', BA has a number of coaches dedicated to ferrying only first class passengers from remote bays to the terminal while other buses wait for the hoi polloi.
British Airways has set a lofty goal of getting first class flyers on their way to the terminal "within 90 seconds of leaving their seat," reports our UK counterpart Business Traveller.
The airline also says that early days of the trial show the first-only bus can get those premium passengers to the terminal "up to ten minutes quicker than before."
Another measure being tested to provide added voom for those VIPs is smarter handling of first class luggage, although there appears to be no rocket science around this.
On flights from New York JFK, Los Angeles, Dubai and Johannesburg, the bags of first class passengers are placed into containers which are given reserved space closest to the cargo hold doors so that the bags, like their owners, can be first off the plane.
At the baggage reclaim area they're then placed into a dedicated area marked First. In theory, a first class traveller can stroll into the arrivals hall, pick up their bag from the roped-off area and be on their way with barely breaking their stride.
It's not known if this service also covers the bags of top-tier frequent flyers – such as BA Executive Club Gold, Qantas Platinum and other Oneworld Emerald status-holders – which are generally tagged as first class-grade 'priority' at checkin.