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I’m flying over to London at the end of this week to catch up with some friends and to attend the unveiling of Virgin Atlantic’s new Business Class seat for its A330 aircraft. On my outbound journey, I’m traveling alone but when I return home, I’ll be accompanied by four other members of my family and this has thrown up a very first-world problem for me.
Airline elite status can be a wonderful thing but every now and again, it can also throw up a small moral dilemma that needs to be addressed. Right now, I’m facing just such an issue. It’s very “first-world” and it’s very unimportant but I thought I’d share it nonetheless to see what readers would do if they found themselves in a similar position.
- 5 people are flying
- We’re departing from London Heathrow T5
- I’m the only traveler with airline elite status – British Airways Gold
- Joanna and I are flying in Business Class
- MJ and her grandparents are traveling in Premium Economy
- I have a Priority Pass membership that would get us all into a Priority Pass lounge
All of this opens up two questions, one of which is easier to answer than the other.
Do I use the British Airways First Wing (check-in and security) at T5 or do I pass on the Fist Wing and go through the normal security lines? If I go through the Fist Wing, who do I take as my guest?
This one is relatively straightforward. Yes, I’ll use the First Wing to clear security and I’ll take Joanna with me – I put in a lot of work to maintain top-tier status with BA so giving up this benefit entirely (i.e. no one gets to use it) seems a bit pointless.
The second question is trickier because it concerns lounge access. Who gets to go into which lounge?
- Do we all stick together and put up with the highly unimpressive Aspire lounge at T5 (the terminal’s only Priority Pass lounge)?*
- Do I use my PP membership to get three of our group into the Aspire lounge and then make my escape (with the remaining member of the group) to the BA Galleries First Lounge? If I do this, who do I take with me?
- Do I use the Platinum Card® from American Express to get me and two other members of the group into the Plaza Premium Lounge (which is a step up from the Aspire Lounge) and leave Joanna to get herself and the remaining member of the group into one of the BA Galleries Business Class lounges at T5 (courtesy of her Business Class ticket)?
- Do I use the Platinum Card® from American Express to get two members of the group into the Plaza Premium Lounge and then join Joanna and one other member of the group in one of the BA Galleries Business Class lounges at T5?
*This assumes that it’s actually possible to get 5 people into the Aspire Lounge
Scenario 1 keeps us all together but it also subjects all of us to the worst lounge at Heathrow T5 (possibly one of the worst lounges across all of Heathrow’s terminals) – I’m not a big fan of this idea but it’s the most “sociable” thing to do.
Scenario 2 sees me consign three people to a lounge that I know is pretty bad, before escaping to the 2nd best lounge in the terminal with one other lucky person. This seems a little selfish and I’m not sure I’d enjoy my time in the First lounge knowing that I’d deserted 3 other members of my family in a lounge that I normally avoid if at all possible.
In Scenario 3, I get me and two of our group into an “ok” lounge, and Joanna gets to take herself and the last member of our group to a middle-of-the-road lounge so everyone should be comfortable. This seems the fairest of the options open to us but a selfish part of me is wondering why I should have to put up with an “ok” lounge when a better option is available 😁
Scenario 4 caters to the selfish part of my nature (I don’t have to “put up” with the Plaza Premium Lounge) and sees everyone in a lounge that is, at the very least, ok so this is the solution that I’m most drawn to at the moment…but I haven’t made up my mind.
Note: I’m aware that there are other scenarios that involve me enjoying the BA First Lounge on my own but none of them is an option that I’m willing to contemplate.
Not everything in the miles and points world has to be meaningful and this certainly isn’t a meaningful issue but I thought that I’d share it nonetheless. We often read about debates involving who (in a couple) should take the one and only upgrade that’s on offer but we don’t often have an even more pointless debate about what one should do when lounge access is an issue…so I thought that I’d put that right 🙂
What would you do? And have I missed any other acceptable scenarios?