British Airways has long offered a “Twilight” check-in facility at London Gatwick airport whereby passengers travelling on flights scheduled to depart before 13:00 can check-in their bags from 16:00 to 22:00 the day before.
We’re not quite sure how new this or whether it is just a trial but, as of Wednesday 5 February 2020, the BA website has advised that Twilight check-in is available at London Heathrow Terminal 5. This is currently available from 18:00 to 21:00 the day before.
It should be noted that it is a standard requirement that all passengers in a booking are present at check-in for Twilight check-in. Also, your bags cannot be recalled so only use it when you are certain you don’t need your bags until after your flight!
This facility may be withdrawn at any time. It may also be temporarily suspended during periods of operational disruption – in which case it’s probably best not to use it!
BA also currently offers a Twilight check-in facility at Edinburgh airport. This is available daily from 04:00 – 20:00 (04:00 – 18:00 on Saturdays) for flights departing before 09:30 the following day.
Long time BA flyers may recall there was once a time where you could check-in for your flights before heading to the airport at either London Paddington or Victoria railway stations.
This form of pre-airport check-in is making a comeback at Heathrow of sorts, as BA is now trialling a check-in at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5.
This hotel is of course connected directly to Terminal 5. If you’re staying at the hotel you can now check-in for any BA Heathrow flight between 05:00 and 13:00.
The one downside is that whilst your luggage will be tagged at the Sofitel you have to take itself to the terminal!
This does sort of defeat the object but direct luggage transfers may be added if it becomes permanent.
As this is a trial, it is a case of “use it or lose it”. If you value it do make your views known in post-flight surveys.
In any event, we would always recommend checking in online as soon as practicable when online check-in opens. It’s an extremely rare occurrence, but if there’s a problem with your booking which means you can’t check-in, you do have 24 hours to address the issue, rather than a fraught couple of hours at the airport.
Ever since Terminal 5 opened at London Heathrow in March 2008 a familiar complaint has been the circuitous route passengers have to take from the South Security area (via an often crowded set of escalators and past numerous shops and restaurants) to the Galleries South lounge complex.
This is in spite of the fact that the lounges are immediately adjacent to the security area!
Indeed, only passengers with access to the Concorde Room lounge (First Class passengers and Concorde Room card holders) have the privilege of avoiding this via a special door (once rumoured to have cost BA many millions of pounds).
Next April, some nine years after Terminal 5 opened, all this will change for passengers travelling in First Class and British Airways Executive Club Gold card holders (and Emerald members of Oneworld frequent flyer programmes) who will have access to a dedicated security channel near to the existing First Class check-in area at the south end of the terminal. This security channel will also provide direct access to the Galleries First lounge.
BA is confident that this new security channel will also reduce queuing at the existing North & South security zones.