a person holding a phone

If you hate queueing, miss travel, and want to feel like a VIP – a new British Airways trial might be your ticket. Maybe.

British Airways will soon become the first airline in the world to trial the use of Qmatic, an established virtual “queueing” system, which is British – for ‘waiting in line’ software.

The hope is that the app will enable customers to book check in slots, rather than be forced into the traditional, snaking queues of airports as we knew them. Some folks like to arrive early, others late – and this is a chance to make it perfect, for you. Let’s hope that past tense flex is real, too.

For the moment, there may be more questions than answers, but if successful, it could become yet another positive development in the airport experience. And after nearly a year without travel, hopefully one which alleviates the pain points of old.

a plane on the runway

British Airways Qmatic Trial

Select BA flights out of London Heathrow Terminal 5 are to be automatically offered a trial of Qmatic, a virtual queueing system used extensively in physical spaces with any space, or time constraints, like art galleries and retail.

In short, you’ll be invited to book a check in slot, and the app will let you know when it’s your turn. If you forget to book a slot, you can scan a QR code on arrival, just as you do when you sit down at a restaurant, and you’ll join the “queue”.

If you do neither, you’ll still be able to join the usual phsyical queue.

This 3 month trial will allow passengers to pre-book slots, and then “check in” with the app, to confirm you’re around, once in the terminal (T5). Once all set, you can just hang back and mindlessly watch TikTok videos while queueing virtually, until the app pings you, to let you know its your turn.

a person holding a phone

Anyone want to hear the word queue again? Ok, then!

The system should create a more enjoyable waiting area, and could even signal a complete reimagining of the check in area, sans queues. Imagine social spaces with nice places to sit or socialize, where you simply wait for the app to say “B27 is ready for you” and voila, you’re off to drop the bags.

Of course, mobile apps and baggage kiosks have already taken aviation to new heights and eliminated the need for most human contact, but for those who need interaction with airline teams, this is big. And really, it could welcome a fundamental change to the check in environment, over time.

For more, check out British Airways plans for Qmatic.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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