Bring bags to Heathrow the night before to avoid queues, says British Airways

Bring bags to Heathrow the night before to avoid queues, says British Airways
Texts have been sent to passengers

British Airways is reportedly encouraging passengers to check in their bags at Heathrow airport the night before their flight to avoid delays.

The bag drop off is available from 4-9pm the night before, and travellers are also being told they can check-in hand luggage “free of charge”.

According to the Daily Mail, passengers due to fly with BA from Heathrow are being sent the following message via text and email: “The airport will be busy when you fly.

“To save time and avoid long queues, you can check in your bag the day before you fly from 16:00 – 21:00 at London Heathrow T5.

“You can also check-in hand baggage free of charge.”

British Airways has emphasised that the practice isn’t new, and that messages are occasionally sent out when the airport is expected to be particularly busy.

A BA spokesperson told The Independent: “We are pleased to offer our long-standing twilight check-in service for customers to enable them to start their journey as relaxed as possible.”

It follows reports of long queues at Heathrow earlier this week due to swathes of airport staff being “pinged” and told to self-isolate.

Passengers spoke of “total chaos” at Terminal 5 on Monday morning as a result of a staff shortage.

Social media was flooded with images of the disruption, all showing snaking queues for check-in desks and security.

One passenger said he estimated there were “more than a thousand” people trying to get through security at one point.

A Heathrow spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that the “congestion” in the departures area was due to staff members being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

They added: “We have activated additional team members to assist passengers with their journeys and the operation has now returned to normal. We apologise to our passengers for any inconvenience caused.”

The main union for border force has also warned that four-hour queues at security are likely when the relaxation of the rules for vaccinated Brits entering England from amber countries comes into effect on 19 July.

“This decision will open up foreign travel to a large number of new travellers, but we are not set up to cope with that sort of demand,” Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the ISU immigration union, which represents border staff, told The Times.

“From the number of bookings we’ve seen already, we’ll easily see three, four-hour queues when people start returning.”