British Airways Is Relaxing Lounge Access Rules Over The Holidays (For Some)

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Over recent years British Airways has taken to relaxing its lounge entrance criteria during times when business travel is slower and when families are more likely to be traveling together.

For a period during this past summer British Airways relaxed its entry rules at its Heathrow lounges to allow its Gold status holders to bring at least two guests into its Business Class lounges….

a piece of paper with writing on it

…and, if my memory serves me, Gold Guest List (GGL) status holders were allowed to bring more guests into any of its lounges.

Now, as the Holidays approach, the airline is doing it again [HT: Loyalty Lobby]

British Airways GGL status holders are starting to receive emails letting them know that their guesting privileges will be improving from tomorrow. Here’s the important line from the email:

Treat up to 5 guests travelling with you to lounge access, when you fly with us between 14 December 2018 and 6 January 2019. 

There doesn’t appear to be a restriction as to which lounges the extra guests can be invited in to and, if we assume that Gold status holders will also see their guesting privileges temporarily enhanced (albeit for Business Class lounges only), I can see this causing issues.


I don’t think I can put it any better than I did back in July when BA did a similar thing.

I’m really torn when it comes to this temporary policy change.

On the one hand I think it’s nice that BA is helping top-tier elites guest their families into lounges at a time when families are likely to be traveling together but, on the other hand, I’ve also seen what this rule can lead to.

British Airways Galleries Lounge - T5 South

There are two issues here:

  1. Overcrowding

When I visited the Galleries South lounge the last time BA relaxed its lounge entry criteria it was early morning and finding a seat wasn’t an issue but, by the time I was ready to leave it was almost impossible to find two empty seats together anywhere in the lounge.

There’s a very good chance that allowing more guests into the lounges will restrict seating for those passengers who actually fly frequently and earn the right to be in the lounge.

That can’t be right.

  1. Poor Behavior

More often than not I come across two types of parent when I travel – the parents who know how to keep their children well behaved and parents who treat airports, lounges and aircraft like children’s play areas where their offspring can roam free (and feral).

The first kind of parent are true heroes of mine while the second kind should be forced to take parenting lessons.

If lounges were only populated with the first kind of parent (and their children) there wouldn’t be any issues but, as there’s no way of stopping the second kind of parent getting in, we have a problem….and I don’t want more feral kids in the lounges.

a room with couches and a television

Bottom Line

I don’t know how many Gold Guest List members British Airways has (probably not all that many) but do they really need to be able to guest 5 people into any lounge they want to? What’ wrong with just 3?

Allowing a GGL member to guest three people into the lounges would see 2 parents and two kids getting access to lounges….and isn’t that enough?

I have no idea how may guests lowly Gold members will be allowed to bring into BA’s lounges but it will be at least one more than normal and there are a LOT of Gold/oneworld Emerald status holders out there.

I get that this is meant to be a nice gesture from BA but I don’t think it’s a great idea. The Holidays are generally a more stressful time of year as it is and I don’t think squeezing more people into already busy airport lounges is going to help the frayed nerves.

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