Photos: British Airways' new London Heathrow T5 First Wing

By David Flynn, April 6 2017

Here's your first look at the new British Airways First Wing at London Heathrow T5, which opened on Wednesday April 5, 2017 to provide a long-awaited fast track for top-tier BA and Oneworld flyers.

It's located at the far right end of BA's Terminal 5, behind a can't-miss-it curved fluted wall made up of hundreds of individual pale gold-coloured steel scallops some there metres high.

Behind this impressive structure lies the familiar BA First check-in area...

... albeit with leather banquette seating.

Check-in proceeds as usual...

... and then you turn right to proceed through a dedicated security zone...

... where three gates feed into two First Wing-only security lanes, and from there into a winding corridor...

... that exits straight into BA's Galleries First Lounge and Concorde Room lounges.

It's a very fancy fast-track, shaped by London's Universal Design Studio with what BA describes as "the best of British talent and craftmanship" – taking its cues from the British Airways First cabin and incorporating oak marquetry  – for "a sophisticated and contemporary design, using the finest of materials to start your journey in style."

The First Wing will be exclusive to British Airways first class travellers and passengers with Oneworld Emerald status, such as British Airways Executive Club Gold and Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum cardholders, plus their guests.

David

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

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 244

Looks great and a long overdue response to Virgin Atlantic's offering in T3. 
Very nice, and overdue at T5, even the current 'fast track' channel is still clogged around peak periods so this will be a big improvement.
Indeed - often there's nothing fast at all about the T5 'fast track' lane - it's just less slow than the main queue!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2012

Total posts 71

Will this assist transferring passengers or only those checking in at LHR?
AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 515

Only those checking in.

Transit security is no where near here.

25 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

I've flown First before on a connecting flight and each time have never been given the option to go fast track security. Usually herded into the q by an official and can take at least half an hour to get into lounge. 😢

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 362

about darn time

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 130

If I were Willie Walsh (*shudder*) the first thing I would have thought when looking at all the pre-vis in the planning stages would have been, "Everything else is close to perfect, but the check-in area makes our most important customers STAND, whilst our staff sit". It is indeed a small, ridiculous thing to concern oneself with, but with many airlines (think EY with their First Class check-in at their home hub and LH with their own godamned First Class TERMINAL in their home port), this should surely have been addressed? Why should their First customers not have chairs, maybe a little carpet and a tad more privacy at that point, rather than being herded into an area that looks not at all dissimilar to Economy? 

BA needs to start looking at the finer details a little more closely, otherwise they are simply in a race to the bottom to merely put lipstick on a pig (please forgive my mixed metaphors).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 326

So where is outwards immigration done - is that all via the scanner gates in the final pic?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

No, it's around the corner from those gates, in an area where photography is not permitted: you go through those gates in the pic, then you get to the 'immigration zone', and after coming through that you're into the corridor leading to the lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2017

Total posts 9

John, there is no outwards immigration per se in the UK - same as the US. Your passport is not stamped when leaving and the notification of your leaving the country to the relevant departments is done in the background.

The terminals are mixed domestic and international. Interestingly enough if flying domestically (or to Ireland), you are photographed at the security gate, and then your photo is compared either at the gate, or at the entrance to the domestic zone at some airports like Gatwick. These photos are not taken when flying internationally.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Here's a follow-up note on my experience using the First Wing on a regular booking, and a tip: if you're going through BA's First Wing at LHR T5 and not travelling in first class, be sure that your booking carries your appropriate Oneworld Emerald-grade frequent flyer number (eg Qantas Platinum).

I went through the First Wing very early Friday morning for a day trip to Nice. As you'd expect, zero queue and arguably world-record time from First Wing to First Lounge... once the gates let me through that is.

The issue is that when scanning your boarding pass or app / mobile pass, the gates only accept a booking in F or your Oneworld frequent flyer status being Emerald (eg Qantas Platinum, BA Executive Club Gold). Otherwise, in the words of Monty Python's Black Knight, "None shall pass!"

In my case, I'd made a booking in economy and the pass held my BAEC status of Silver - I was accessing the First Wing using my Qantas Platinum card, and while a flash of said card would suffice for a human, this was a "Computer says no" moment.

Even the one manned desk to the right of the automated lanes was unable to get me through, her system similarly denying me entry.

In the end, the fix was to go into the booking and change my BAEC Silver frequent flyer number to my Qantas Platinum number, after which all went smoothly.

25 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

I'm travelling from JFK to LHR then onto a connecting flight to Glasgow later. Is it possible or even allowed to leave LHR and go landside instead of following the "connections" route and then re enter LHR and check in via the new First Wing at T5? I won't have luggage as this will be forwarded onto my Glasgow flight from JFK. I'd rather avoid the connections security fiasco if possible.
I'm curious. Did BA have to compensate BAA, owners of LHR airport, for the loss of traffic through the maze of shops?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Hi all, maybe not the best place but flying BA F from jfk to London. Was wondering has anyone had experience with checking in early say 4 hours before the advertised flight. Have one of the last departing flights and figured I’d hangout at the Concorde lounge and have diner etc and maybe a massage. Tx for any help

25 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

LoveToFly...I alweays go early and use the facilities in the concorde LOunge if either leaving form T5 on First or returning into T5 from a First class flight....you can use the Concorde lounge if you are arriving and have a connecting flight, in my case back to Glasgow..access allowed if you've jusr came off a first class journey. I've spent 6 hours once in the lounges on both outward and return journeys at JFK and London. Book a treatment, get breakfast lunch and or dinner....champagne, cocktails whatever your tipple. You pay a small fortune so make the most of it. Enjoy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Super thanks for that. Il definitely go early now. Thanks

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Thanks again Lainey16 for the insight and comment. Planned my evening around this.

25 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

LoveToFly... you're welcome. Make sure you book your Elemis free treatment....Enjoy 😀

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