British Airways Expanding Chauffeur Drive Transfers At Heathrow

Filed Under: British Airways

Lufthansa famously offers first class passengers a chauffeur driven transport from their first class lounges in Frankfurt and Munich to the plane (at least some of the time).

This is a stylish and very comfortable way to arrive for a flight.

British Airways on the other hand, is not known for its luxurious ground services. While its new First Wing at Heathrow Terminal 5 is well regarded, its flagship Concorde Room is not and once leaving the lounge, premium passengers are left to their own devices to make it to their plane in time, regardless of which satellite pier their flight is leaving from.

British Airways has been trialling chauffeur driven transfers for the past 12 months for any of the following passengers with tight connections at Heathrow Terminal 5:

  • First Class
  • Club World (including Club Europe)
  • Executive Club Gold
  • Executive Club Silver

It’s called Premium Transfer Drive.

This won’t be offered to every eligible passenger — instead they will have a team of staff monitoring transfers and will allocate the transfers to eligible passengers with the most need.

So don’t expect you will be offered this, even if you are a first class passenger with a relatively tight connection.

The 12 month trial has proven so successful that British Airways is increasing the number of vehicles and staff available for this service, so it can be used by more passengers.

123,000 people fly British Airways each day, with many connecting at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Those passengers will be met at the aircraft door, and transferred to their connecting flight by car on the tarmac where possible.

Where the delay of their inbound flight means it is impossible for the passenger to make their connection, the transfer staff will provide new boarding passes, refreshment vouchers, and hotel arrangements if necessary.

Bottom line

Heathrow is not a great airport. I recognise that.

I fly in and out of it regularly although have never actually connected there. If I was choosing a European airport to connect in I would choose something like Amsterdam or Helsinki before I ever chose Heathrow.

But with British Airways’ massive global route network, plenty of people do and I’m impressed British Airways is taking steps to improve connections in what is such a massive terminal.

Now to improve Club World…

Have you had a tight connection at Heathrow?

  1. I dont agree HEL is a good Airports for european transfers. Its small but faces huge queues after asían afternoon arrivals, no fast track!!!!!!!, And the AY lounges have food like my son’s Friends birthdays: chips , cookies and carrots.
    I like BRU. MAD has huge transfers time but Velázquez lounge is cool for J. ZRH and GVA Also good options

  2. Honestly Heathrow is not a great airport but it’s far from being a bad one. Familiarity just breeds contempt if you spend too much time anywhere

  3. I actually connected at Heathrow Terminal 5 a month ago for the very first time (I am based in London so have never had to do it before) travelling from AMS to HKG and was – surprisingly – very impressed. The connection was pretty seamless, security didn’t take long at all, everything was well-signed and easy to follow. Thanks to the trains connecting satellite gates there was actually far less walking involved than at Schiphol or Frankfurt. I was back in the lounge with a drink in hand within about 15 minutes after disembarking my arriving flight.

  4. “once leaving the lounge, premium passengers are left to their own devices to make it to their plane”

    Tell me about it! I flew out of Heathrow T5 with BA last week, First Class and was put on a packed, hot bus to the plane. I’m amazed they don’t have enough gates with bridges to ensure that 787s get one!

  5. Thought Heathrow/the UK doesn’t allow international (non IE)-international connections without clearing transit security?

  6. The best way to connect through Heathrow is to plan at least 3-4 for connecting. Takes an hour from one gate to get through security again and get settled ready for the next flight. Easily double that if having to transfer on the really bad buses. Can’t believe how bad terminal transfers are at such a major world gateway. Just plan a long connection window and keep the nerves calm.

    It’s funny, I just realized on a trip there recently how ‘few’ gates there are in T5. T5 A has all of 17 gates I believe? A building THAT size has so few gates. B and C are even fewer. Seems like massive buildings with very inefficient utilization.

    If it’s available I’ll connect through Madrid on IB any day.

  7. ChadMC, I think you must just have a really poor sense of direction and get lost all the time… 3 to 4 hours connection time? As someone who connects through LHR regularly I can assure other readers that this is entirely unnecessary, laughable even. Just last month my family and I (with two children, 3 and 6, so not able to hustle) connected through T5. We had a sub 2 hour connection time, took a leisurely walk through the pedestrian tunnel from the A Gates to B Gates (rather than take the train with everyone else) and still had time for a couple of glasses of champagne in the lounge before boarding. On the way home, we deplaned out TA flight at B gates and were back through immigration and security and in the lounge in the main terminal within half an hour. You’re doing something wrong!

  8. Talking of connection times. The only time I’ve had one at Heathrow, arriving at T3, departing T5.. My flight was delayed which left me with 40min go make the connection, and I made it. So 3-4 hours seems like an over exaggeration

  9. HEL used to be rather efficient airport to transfer, but not anymore for those who have to use “All Passport”. You could still make less than 1 hr connection, so it isn’t terrible, but not great either. I liked how it was 5 years ago, but now too many flights arriving and leaving around the same time. It is still okay if you have an EU/EEA/CH passport, Schengen to Schengen connection, or transferring from UK to Asia or US to non-Schengen destinations (provided you can directly exit to the terminal rather than taking a bus).

  10. LHR is excellent for transfers if the transfer is t5 only. Mush smoother ghan ams or arn or cdg.

    I actually got the tarmac transfer on ams to lhr to jbg when 70min connection reduced to 35mins due to late inbound.

    A gate arrival. Car to b gate. Used staff security below the terminal. Very very fadt and smooth.

  11. I generally have a personal chauffeur waiting at each airport I fly into, hence no need for this middle class rubbish.

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