British Airways is introducing changes to its hand baggage policy and how it boards its flights following customer and colleague feedback.

Boarding the aircraft

Customers will now board based on cabin, Executive Club status and seat row number. Customers travelling with infants and those who require extra assistance will continue to board before everyone else. New ‘Priority Boarding’ signs will be rolled out. This new process will go live for domestic and short-haul flights from August 18, and for all long-haul flights from September 1.

Changes to hand baggage sizes

Customers can still bring two pieces, but the size of the smaller piece is being reduced to the size of a handbag or laptop bag, to ensure it fits under the seat. The larger piece remains the same. All oversized hand baggage will need to be checked into the hold – this needs to be consistently enforced. BA’s hand baggage gauges have been updated to reflect the new sizes.

Proactive check-in of compliant hand baggage at the airport

BA has started asking customers on busy flights to check in their compliant hand bags to the hold at no extra cost. This has proved successful and is now available for all short-haul and domestic flights with high load-factors, and all first wave short-haul flights. Excess baggage charges continue to apply at check in for non-compliant hand baggage.
Yellow under-seat bag tag

All customers (apart from those travelling in First and Club World) should be given a yellow tag which needs to be attached to the handbag/laptop-sized piece, and this bag should be placed under the seat. If bags need to be checked in to the hold, those without a tag will be checked first. Colleagues should encourage customers to carry any valuables or medication in the smaller bag. The yellow tag is a guarantee that this bag can be taken on board.

Consistent delivery

Many of BA’s customers are frequent travellers and know the airline’s policies inside and out. BA is telling its customers about the changes, but colleagues are being urged to ensure they are consistently applied at all points in the customer journey.

Garry Copeland, Managing Director of Combined Operations, said: “As we progress through the summer, we’re going to have to continuously improve everything we do, tackling the things that stop us from delivering our customer promise.”