Obligatory British Airways Terminal 5 Post (as nearly required by law for a travel blogger)

Cranky Flier and TravelTech Talk have been all over the coming launch on March 27 of London Heathrow’s new Terminal 5. 

Scott at TravelTech Talk writes

It’s so impressive it makes me want to cry.

Now, call me a little bit skeptical. It will be a vast improvement for sure. It will make connecting with BA at Heathrow better than connecting at Charles De Gaulle. It will be better than connecting in Frankfurt for those passengers (without Lufthansa HON Circle status) arriving out on the apron as so many flights there seem to. But it won’t match the experience offered to first class customers available to Lufthansa and Swiss passengers in Frankfurt or for that matter Munich or Zurich.

Incidentally, Lufthansa has introduced personal assistant services at Heathrow for First Class and HON Circle members, something that BA doesn’t have. Hopefully Lufthansa’s move out of Terminal 2 will bring with it a decent lounge. They’ve picked up a ton of Heathrow slots, and appear to be picking up bunches at JFK, so Lufthansa’s transatlantic future may be interesting indeed.

Bottom-line, for me, though: I may not avoid Heathrow like the plague any longer.

Unfortunately my US East Coast – Heathrow flights will not be moving to T5 until April 30th, so my mid-April travels will be in and out of Terminal 4. Worse yet, since I’ll be connecting to and from Barcelona I’ll still have to do the T4/T1 shuffle. Barcelona flights won’t be moving to Terminal 5 at all, rather they’ll switch to T4 in September. At least I’ll get to check out the brand new terminal 3 in Beijing in a couple of weeks — it’s larger than all of the Heathrow terminals combined!

British Airways has a one-page guide (.pdf) to when various flights will move to different terminals. This Flyertalk post is a bit easier to read as it shows the terminal changes route-by-route along with the date that each move takes place.

And of course the draconion U.K. premium cabin departure tax remains in place… (passengers flying in cabins above the lowest pay an addition 40 pounds).

A bunch of YouTube videos preview the place.

A 32-page .pdf of facts and stats on T5 is available on the Heathrow website. For instance, there are 9140 seats in the terminal (not counting those in restaurants/bars) and there are 566 hand dryers.

And according to Elite Traveler

baggage systems designed to handle 300 percent more than what will be needed the first day of operation

For a place that wasn’t even allowing Terminal 4 economy and premium economy passengers to check bags due to problems briefly last month, this is a monumental improvement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. 😉

    I was referring to the tech lounge more than anything else really. The terminal itself is nice, but having passed through most major new terminals in the world it’s hardly earth shattering. That said; it does bring LHR into this century, and gives them some breathing room so they can tear down the other terminals and rebuild them from scratch, which is IMHO the only solution for them.

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