Short Haul flights from B gates at LHR and the sprint though the tunnel

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  FDOS_UK 14 Jun 2017
at 09:58
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  • DavidGordon10
    Participant

    If you are taking a long-haul flight from T2 (United, Singapore, Thai and so on) you can be sure that it will depart from a B gate.

    If you are flying short-haul (SAS, Lufthansa, TAP and others) you will probably depart from an A gate.

    (Mid-haul [Turkish, Egyptair] is more often B but occasionally A. I’ll allow that.)

    The problem is with short-haul flights that leave from a B gate: this happened to me yesterday with Swiss. Gates for SH flights are shown 45 minutes before departure. Most passengers are waiting in the A terminal, if they are lucky they will be in the Lufthansa lounge. Even if you see the gate immediately it goes up, you have to hurry. If you are checking the screens every ten minutes, you may have even less time. I can walk fast, but what happens to those who cannot or who are in wheelchairs? If you are in business or have a gold card, then information about the gate when you check in would tell you which lounge to use.

    The excuse offered is that the gate is not known until the inbound aircraft has arrived.

    1. This excuse is complete nonsense when looking at the first flight of the day. The aircraft for the 0600 to Lisbon or the 0700 to Geneva arrived the night before – so show us the gate when we arrive at the airport please, and do not pretend that you do not know.
    2. It should surely be possible to plan the arrival gate a little more in advance – or does traffic control at LHR actually start tossing up for the choice of gate at the moment the wheels touch the runway? Civilised airports (OK, I know I am writing about LHR here) may know the gate the day in advance. I am not expecting this at LHR given the tight capacity, but there must surely be some capability to forward-plan?

    Part of the problem is, of course, the design. There are too few A gates to accommodate all the SH flights. Why not deal with this by putting one of the SH airlines entirely at the B gates? Why not get a better designer next time?

    To lean on the main point: earlier information; better planning; and don’t treat the passengers as fools and as Olympic sprinters.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    In T5 gates are generally shown 1 hour before departure. I wonder why T2 has a different service level at 45 minutes… I agree, this is not long enough..


    DavidGordon10
    Participant

    Dear Martyn

    That is the benefit you receive for flying with the world’s favourite airline …..

    Seriously, surely an hour is too short, given the time to transit to the remote islands at T5?

    I suspect one motive by BAA is to keep the punters as close to the main stack of shops for as long as possible.

    Will LHR listen? No chance.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I can walk the tunnel from F lounge to C gates in 17 minutes…

    I have been caught out though when a late boarding call for a short haul leaves from B / C.

    I can understand when short haul gates do not become live 1 hour before departure as they can turn around in around 40 minutes. However, a longhaul must need way longer to spin round so I do not understand why long haul gates are sometimes left to the last minute.

    Has anyone been badly caught out by a late gate announcement…?


    AspirationalFlyer2
    Participant

    Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself travelling on a number of BA routes operated by a 767 – notably Madrid, Athens and Istanbul. Whilst certainly not a rule, my working assumption is that these flights will depart from B Gates (and in the case of ATH and IST they normally go from B Gates even when operated on the A320 family). I must confess I was nearly caught out recently by a T5B to T5C gate change…..!


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    Overcapacity is always a problem at LHR – more flights make more money for the owner!
    T5 is 15 mins by train to T5C and sometimes SH have to wait for a gate to clear, before parking so less time before departure ‘though you can ask if they know likely gate – its not for real until on screen!
    T2 and T3 are walking and depending on your family and hand luggage and knowledge of the route to the gate it may take longer?


    DavidGordon10
    Participant

    Yes, T2 is indeed walking and I have heard very negative comments from Canadian friends about the way that Air Canada at LHR always means a very long walk.

    I would always rather walk than wait for a train or a bus, unless the frequency of the train service is reliable, and frequent enough.

    My annoyance on Monday was made worse by the lift down from the A gates to the tunnel apparently being unavailable – had to hurry back to the escalator.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Yes, T2 is indeed walking and I have heard very negative comments from Canadian friends about the way that Air Canada at LHR always means a very long walk.

    Our arrival at T2, from Toronto 3 weeks ago supports your friends. The walk seemed endless, with less travellators than one would have expected and as a ~9pm arrival, was most unpleasant. My wife opined that elderly people would find the terminal unusable.

    It would put me off using Air Canada again, though I found the premium economy product very good.

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