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Anonymous4 Jan 2010
Haivng flown from all four of LHR’s terminals over the past six weeks or so, it’s surprising how much more pleasant the experience was than had previously been the case, with T1, T4 and T5 pretty uncrowded. The exception, sadly, was T3 which seemed just as busy as ever despite the departure of some’like Etihad and Korean to T4. The plan is to move all non aligned airlines to T4- but there are quite a few still left in T3 (eg Emirates, Qatar, PIA) Does anyone know when they might move out of T3 giving the rest a bit more space?4 Jan 2010
The move plans are:
1. May 2010 – BA flights to Gibraltar, Lisbon and Vienna will move to T5 after T5C will be opened.
2. 2013 – *A airlines to move to the new T2.
3. 2019 – Other airlines may move to the new extention of T2. It’ll probably be Virgin….4 Jan 2010
Does anyone know if Continental will have to move again in a year or so since they have changed alliances (and therefore should be in T1 with the rest of Star, not T4 with Skyteam?)7 Jan 2010
I think the answer to that must be yes. It would be odd if they did not move since they would otherwise get minimal benefit from Star membership at one of its most important hubs.7 Jan 2010
T3 is pretty third world.
The BA Lounge (First and Galleries, plus Elemis Spa) complex is super-duper, as is the Virgin Wing and Clubhouse. Even the American Airlines AArivals section is tolerable.
The check in is poorly lit and low ceilinged, and there’s not much short of a wrecking ball which will sort that out out.12 Jan 2010
Agreed. I can’t understand why it is that, when they moved the drop off point in front of the terminal a couple of years ago and built that huge canopy over the entrance, they didn’t add to the floorplate of the terminal itself-in effect, extending out to the now covered, but still external area. The main problem at T3 is the cirulation space in front of the check in desks-or rather lack of it. They should do what they have just done at T4 which is now absolutely fine in the check in area..13 Jan 2010
T3 would be greatly relieved if the remaining non-aligned airlines, exc. VS moved to T4 as was once mooted. The handful that have will have made only a small difference. I don’t know if further shifts to T4 are contemplated, given T3 was meant to be the OneWorld + VS terminal. Indeed Aer Lingus was also meant to shift to T3.
The shift of some BA flights to T5C in 2010 will help though.
Then it will be the remaining *A airlines (AC, TG, SQ, NH, SK) to the new T2 which will provide the final relief of T3 (which presumably will have either another facelift or by then will T6 be contemplated?).13 Jan 2010
I travelled via T3 long haul almost every month in the past 3 years. For business passengers it is not so bad, if one could check in quickly. For most airlines, check-in shall be witin 5 minutes in Business/First. SQ now have a quite spacious check-in on the left. There is a fast track for security and sometimes it takes longer, as only one channel is open – still never more than 15 min. After that you go your respective lounge. Everyone already talked about Virgin clubhouse – it is very good – on the border of pretentious. I mostly used SQ – they have a very efficient lounge with varities of food and magazines/newspapers. For First class, one could order meal from 2 or 3 alternatives. Free internet connection. And service personnel comes by with hot towel, icecream etc. Execellent. Malaysia Airlines lounge is also very good. For economy passengers (who has to pass time in the hall), T3 looks like a dense shopping mall – what is the problem? Once I was travelling economy and although I have Gold card, I decided to spent some time in the hall before going to lounge. One could easily pass an hour by window shopping, buying knic-knacs. The food outlets also looks okay. T3 is departure hall is better than T1 and T2. For obvious reason, it is inferior to T4 and T5 – but not so much for business passenger. T5 BA South business lounge entry is an idiotic design – one has to go down and up for entry and exit so many times – I wondor everytime what was the state of the mind of the designer of the lounge or the terminal.13 Jan 2010
Inquisitive – ………………T5 BA South business lounge entry is an idiotic design – one has to go down and up for entry and exit so many times – I wondor everytime what was the state of the mind of the designer of the lounge or the terminal.
For this you can blame the BAA.
I know that BA fought and fought and fought to have direct access to the south lounge pavilion for years during the planning and construction phase of T5. BAA refused and the reason they did so was to ensure that the well healed walked past their over priced shops. The next time you are in T5, look carefully at the type and name of shop and where it is in relation to the entrance to lounge pavilion. Gucci / Prada / Tiffany / Coach to name but four.. At the other end by domestic you get WH Smith Tie rack and junk food. Say it all. BA have some of the wealthiest passengers in the world and draw them from the southeast of England which itself is one of the wealthiest places in the whole of Europe. That is why BA wanted direct access and why the BAA stood firm.
The BAA simply has not, and still do not care about the passenger experience in my view. They are shop keepers first and foremost, not airport operators.
BA in the end spent millions to obtain the famous door on the right that provides direct entry from security to the Concorde Room. It is used by First Class ticket holders and premier card holders only. It is a door for heads of State, potentates, rock stars as well as those with mileage redemption tickets…..gold cards do not cut it here.
………….. You have to try some time…especially with kids, wearing jeans and no shoes…..as I did recently. (I had to take the shoes off at security)
4 First class tickets £10 grand…..look on the reception staffs faces……priceless!!14 Jan 2010
Thanks Binman for clarifying. If ‘force passing via shop’ is the reason for BAA decision on design, then I will conclude that their marketing or data collection people are equally idiotic. Business travellers hardly do any shopping at the airport. Normally they will do shopping at the Gucci, Prada etc from the destination – as the better half must know that it is bought from NY, Tokyo, Paris or Sinagpore and not at Heathrow. The additional mark on the bag is important. It is the people travel in economy do most of the shopping at airport and that include Gucci etc. Another preferred shopping of some business class traveller is from the Airplane as a last minute guilt gift.15 Jan 2010
I arrived back from Asia yesterday into T3 at 18.20. Despite being bang on schedule, our stand was not available, so the aircraft had to wait, engines running for the stand to be cleared. We were then met on stand by about 20 – 30 police and immigration officials who insisted on checking passports at the gate. Even though I tuck mine away in my briefcase, (use eye scanner) i found it quickly, presented, smiled and went on my way. Thru immigration, eye scanner working superb.
I called my wife, to give her a 10 minute notice that i should be coming through. Into the arrivals hall, what a mess, no trolleys, but hey, a strong man like me, 3 bags, shouldnt be a problem. Off came my big red bag – this was working too well. Into the green channel, wooooooooooow! I had not seen as many police and customs officers on duty in 1 go. I knew it and yes I was stopped. A quick run though of what was in my bag and I had no problem lifting my bags on to the inspection tables and unzipping all three before the customs officer said slow down!!. They were extremly polite, I answered all questions, we were joined by 2 armed police officer (in support) – I felt quite special, but did begin to worry a little when a thrid positioned himself behind me as if to stop me running away……………….as if!! I was asked if I had any other ID besides my passport at which time I showed my Heathrow airside ID. At all times they were extremely polite, interestingly they were explaining everything they were doing and why. They were continually being ever so politically correct, telling me who i could complain to if I wanted to. The only thing that was really annoying me was all this policitical correctness. I mentioned on several occasions that I had absolutely no issue with them doing their job and they do not need to go through the complaints procedure over and over again. I did ask the female customs officer if I could just phone my wife to let her know I had been temporarily detained, she did say no as phones could not be used. However, one of the armed police office did say it was ok for me to answer the phone when my wife rang. All in all, yes it was an inconvenience, but it was quite interesting to go through this rather intense process, all I was waiting for were for the BBC or ITV cameras to be there. At the end we all smiled wished each other a good day and off I went on my way. What else could happen…………………………………
I saw my wife at the arranged position in the drop off collection zone, even though she had been made to go round a couple of times. Now at this point I will say that there are 2 sides to every story and I dont intend boring you with the details, except to say that within a 5 minute period, the high i was on coming home and seing my wife, ended up with a screaming match the likes I have never experieinced before by one of the traffic wardens, marching up and down the drop off zone issuing my wife with a ticket due to a set of circumstances (remember I have said that there are 2 sides to every story) that casued her to be where she was unintentionally. There were sevevral mincabs that had parked up with drivers out of the car smoking and casually talking and were not being moved on, yet this one 6 foot + warden chose to pick on my wife and what resulted was totally unacceptable.
My understanding is that the wardens are trafic wardens (despite them having Metropolitan police stikers on their jackets) and that tickets are only valid if they are fully written out and stuck on the car.
Bearing in mind the events leading from getting off the aeroplane to meeting my wife, these would normally be enough to get the blood presuure on the increase, yet no, the good old English traffic warden, marching up and down the lane, picking on the vunreble female drivers – it was a disgrace part of which I managed to film, at which time i was threatened by the warden that he would personally sue me if I did not delete it. Candid camera ……………………………..
Hey ho – welcome back to London.8 Sep 2010
Used T 3 today, once inside the terminal things went very smoothly.
A question about the “fag ash exterior”.
My understanding of a smokers pit is that it has to be open on at least 3 sides and uncovered. Walking into the terminal you cant avoid the smokers and the areas being used are not open and there is a roof covering, albeit quite a high roof.
Is the exterior of T3 able to be designated a smokers area or should it also be smoke free zone?
It is very very disgusting!24 Apr 2012