As travel gradually resumes around the world, British Airways will trial a new intelligent virtual queuing system by tech firm Qmatic in an effort to avoid long queues and unnecessary close contact between customers. The service will be optional and will be trialled by BA for three months on selected flights departing from Heathrow Terminal 5.
1. How it works
Qmatic is currently used extensively by the public sector and retail, healthcare and financial organisations around the world, however British Airways will be the first airline to trial the platform. The system is Covid-safe as it avoids unnecessary contact between customers by enabling them to virtually queue at check-in by pre-booking their time slot before arriving at the airport. They are sent an email before travel inviting them to book their personal check-in time, and then notified at that particular time, at which point go to the dedicated desk and the airline’s customer service team assists them. The service will be optional, and customers who have not booked a check-in slot through Qmatic can proceed as normal at the airport, or choose to join a virtual queue when they arrive by scanning a QR code.
New partnership with British Airways. For three months, the airline will be trialling a Qmatic solution that lets customers at Heathrow Terminal 5 queue digitally at check-in by booking a virtual queue slot. #virtualqueuing #qmatic https://t.co/sP1qG321nw pic.twitter.com/Tpd8CGRdur— Qmatic Group (@qmatic) May 12, 2021
2. Technology and customer experience
Declan Pollard, British Airways’ Head of Heathrow Customer Experience, said, “In this new Covid-19 era we know that customers have been travelling less frequently than they normally would, and in most cases not at all. We understand many people will feel unfamiliar with the airport journey, so we are committed to exploring how technology can simplify that experience for them.” “We think this technology, coupled with digital travel apps, will help efficiently manage the flow of customers in the airport at any one time and give our customers reassurance” he added. Mark Brackley, Managing Director of Jade Solutions, the exclusive supplier of Qmatic in the UK, said, “The intelligent queuing solution will provide British Airways’ customers with the ability to add themselves to a virtual queue and see their position change in real-time, all from their phone.”
As well as Qmatic, British Airways is also trialling various digital travel apps to ensure customers meet the entry requirements for their destination before arriving at the airport. Currently BA customers can use VeriFLY on all flights to the US, Canada and France and on all inbound flights, and the airline is assisting in the development of the IATA Travel Pass. Customers travelling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal can now also upload their negative Covid-19 test result and other documentation directly onto ba.com for verification before travel.