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British Airways Increases Minimum Connection Times at its Heathrow Hub for Transfer Passengers… How Could It Affect You?

British Airways Increases Minimum Connection Times at its Heathrow Hub for Transfer Passengers… How Could It Affect You?

For airlines that sell connecting flights, the amount of time that it takes for passengers to transfer from one flight to another is an incredibly important metric that can have an impact on ticket sales, and compensation payouts should passengers miss their connecting flight.

To manage this process, airports and airlines set a ‘minimum connection time’ that establishes the absolute minimum amount of time it should take to get from one flight to another and dictates what flight itineraries can be sold.

At Heathrow Airport, for example, British Airways currently sets a minimum connection time or MCT of just 60 minutes for connections in the same terminal and 90 minutes for connections that require a terminal change.

As noted by Turning Left For Less, however, BA has been forced to increase its MCT by 15 minutes for connections within its Terminal 5 hub for transfers from :

  • Long-haul to long-haul, short-haul or domestic flights.
  • Domestic flights to short-haul or long-haul flights.

The change will come into effect from January 2023, and it may have an impact on what itineraries BA can sell because previously tight connections will be out of the scope of what can be advertised to consumers.

This decision has likely been made because of rising numbers of passengers missing their connections at Heathrow due to a long list of problems, including slow security checks, delayed arrivals and ground staff shortages.

With any luck, the increased MCT will mean fewer passengers miss their connecting flights, although it could make BA less competitive as an option for passengers looking for cheap transfer flights.

It’s not yet known whether BA plans to adjust itineraries for passengers who have already booked connecting flights from January 2024, although the policy seems to be an acknowledgement that the amount of time it takes to connect from one flight to another isn’t going to improve anytime soon.

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