Heathrow deploys new boarding system to improve flight punctuality

29 July 2013 (Last Updated July 29th, 2013 18:30)

London Heathrow Airport has commissioned its new 'positive boarding' system at Terminals 1 and 3.

Heathrow Airport passenger technology

London Heathrow Airport has commissioned its new 'positive boarding' system at Terminals 1 and 3.

The new system reduces last minute search time to locate passengers and baggage, and provides accurate information to ensure smoother passenger journeys.

Compatible with all airline computer systems, positive boarding will enable airlines to track at what stage the passengers' departure process is, to offer passengers with tailored information to help them successfully board their flights on time.

Kathryn Leahy, Director of Terminal 3, said that the new technology is now live in T3 and will help passengers have a stress-free flight.

"It also enables us to work with the airlines to improve the punctuality of departing flights," Leahy said.

"Positive boarding is the latest innovation that is being used by passengers throughout the departure process, from checking in via mobile phones to self-service bag drops, which were introduced in November 2012.

"The self-service bag drop enables passengers to generate and attach their own bag tags before placing their luggage onto the automated bag drop facility."

Replacing the previous process where an airport security officer would verify a passengers' ticket details, passengers now have to present the barcode on their ticket at an automatic gate and upon successful verification, they are moved through to security.

During the process, details from the barcode are compared with the central flight information to provide customised information for the individual, which flashes up on the screen.

"The new system reduces last minute search time to locate passengers and baggage, and provides accurate information to ensure smoother passenger journeys."

According to Heathrow, if a passenger enters the wrong terminal, the message will inform them about their exact reporting location, or if they are running short of time, they would even be advised to go through security and directly to the gate.

If there is less time before the flight departs, passengers are asked to return to check in and seek assistance from the airline, which helps airlines to unload their baggage as they have details of passengers' location in 'real time'.

The new system will help airlines in making timely decisions to eliminate the baggage and keep yo respective passengers' departure schedules.

Virgin Atlantic and Little Red airlines have been using the new technology at Heathrow's Terminal 1 and 3, and have collectively handled 35,000 passengers during the first week.

Heathrow is also planning to deploy the new system at Terminal 4 in September 2013 for use by all airlines.


Image: Positive boarding system will offer passengers with bespoke information to help successfully board their flights on time. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports Limited.