News

Heathrow T4 revamp

8 Dec 2009 by Mark Caswell

Heathrow has seen many changes over the last couple of years, from the opening of T5 to the closing of T2 and the transfer of airlines between terminals. T4 is the latest to unveil its revamp, after a £200 million refurbishment programme. Business Traveller takes a tour of the new and improved space.

Which airlines are at T4?

T4
is the terminal for members of the Skyteam alliance, along with other
independent airlines such as MAS, Etihad and Qatar. The airlines have
been gradually transferring into T4 and the process is nearly complete
– Qatar is still to make its move by early next year. Overall Skyteam
makes up 42 per cent of the total airlines at T4, with members Air
France KLM representing 15 per cent, Alitalia 8 per cent and Delta 7 per
cent.

Non-Skyteam airlines with significant percentages at T4
are Jet (6 per cent); Continental, now a member of Star Alliance (5 per
cent); Malaysia Airlines (4 per cent); Etihad (4 per cent); and Qatar
when it moves in early next year will have account for around 6 per
cent of flights.

BA’s move to T5 has also resulted in the amount
of transfer traffic at T4 falling dramatically, from 45 per cent of the
total traffic to just 19 per cent.

Check-in

BAA has made several changes to the interior design of the building to make it look and feel more spacious. Previously when you entered the check-in area you would often step out of the lift straight into the back of queuing passengers, but now the area has been widened so that the check-in desks are further back, meaning there is more space for queuing and walking. It’s a simple change but one which will hopefully be effective.

Security

Before you go through security, the departure area has also been redesigned. The ceiling has a circular design similar to T5, and there are new Café Rouge and Café Nero outlets. The whole space is brighter and has more daylight. Security itself is much the same, although BAA says it has been designed to be less crowded and more spaced out. However, it’s once you are through security that you will see the big changes.

Departure lounge

When you go through security in T4 and enter the long thin departure lounge, regular passengers will notice that the islands of shops in the centre of the walkway have been stripped out, making the area wider and more spacious. The area immediately feels less cramped and you don’t have to dodge around shops as you walk up and down. The retail section here has been completely overhauled – see below for new shops. For a map of the T4 departures area, click here.

Which end for which airline lounge?

Qatar and MAS will have lounges at one end (left after security), although these are not completed yet. The Skyteam and Etihad lounges are based at the other end (right after security).

The shops – refurbished outlets and new offerings

There are benefits of doing your shopping at the airport of course – it’s dead time for a start so unless you are working in the lounge you might as well stretch your legs before your flight – and you can collect your item on the way back through if it is bulky. The retail outlets in T4 have really jumped up a notch and fall more inline with T5’s glossy offering.

Bally’s outlet has been revamped and one door down there is a completely new Cath Kidston store – the first airport outlet for the brand.

It’s down this end of the terminal you’ll also find a new restaurant – Dining Street – a British restaurant serving traditional fare such as fish and chips and steak and Spitfire ale pie, baked Scottish salmon and “mother’s roast of the day” as well as nice touches such as afternoon tea.

Further on towards the gates for MAS and Qatar, the Burberry outlet has been revamped and nearly doubled in size. World Duty Free is still one of the largest outlets here and there are smaller satellite stores closer to the gates so you can quickly pop in and grab a bottle before boarding.

Escada has moved from one end to the other and has increased in size, while next door Gucci is due to open imminently. The LINKS outlet has also been revamped and next door The Beauty Studio has products from Molton Brown, MAC, L’Occitane, Victoria’s Secret, REN, Dermalogica and more.

The Mulberry store in T4 is the only one to sell shoes and is next door to Thomas Pink. Also new to the terminal is Watches of Switzerland, which also has an outlet in T1.

Apart from the Harrods department store there are also several Harrods’ concessions which line the walkway. They are impressive as the facades are all open onto the main walkway and you can wander in and out, drifting from one shop to the other. It makes it much more accessible to shoppers who might feel intimidated by these big names in central London.

Completely new to T4 and one of the Harrods concessions are Paul Smith, and Etro with its ties and Italian tailoring, next to Cavali and Jimmy Choo. Valentino was here before but the store has been revamped. The next set of Harrods concessions are: Cartier (also present in T5), Mont Blanc (this one is managed by Harrods where as the one in T5 is a stand alone store), and Dunhill.

World of Whiskies has had a dramatic revamp. The space is now black and sleek with a tasting section and a ladder reaching up to interesting looking bottles behind the bar, and a glimpse of a comfy old armchair at the back of the store where you can sit with a drink. It’s down this end – towards the Skyteam and Etihad lounge that you’ll also find Tumi and Rolling Luggage and “coming soon”-  Rituals – a Dutch cosmetic company which will open in January/February and will be the first store in the UK.

Useful contacts

heathrowairport.com (click on shop, eat and relax)

skyteam.com

oneworld.com

staralliance.com

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