Passengers travelling through London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 will encounter a “completely different” customer experience, according to Star Alliance’s chief executive.
Mark Schwab said passengers entering the terminal, which opens in June, will be greeted by state-of-the-art technology.
He told Business Traveller: “What you will see when you walk into the building will be a whole row of kiosks for check-in and printing baggage tags. So you may have checked yourself in on your mobile device, or brought your printed boarding pass, but you still need your bag tagged.
“The next line is a fast-drop area — show your boarding pass and your passport, and staff will take your bag and introduce it into the system. First and business class customers, as usual, will have their check-in areas to use if they want.”
Star Alliance represents almost a quarter of the traffic flowing in and out of Heathrow and, with the exception of Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings, T2 will be dedicated to Star airlines, making transfers easier for passengers.
Schwab said: “Right now we have 22 of our carriers operating out of Heathrow. For us to be able to consolidate our operations from three different terminals into brand new, state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility is hugely important to the alliance and the individual airlines.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Colombian carrier Avianca was to launch the UK’s first direct flights to Bogota from Heathrow in July, upping the number of Star Alliance airlines that will fly out of Terminal 2 to 23 (see news, February 5).
Unlike in Los Angeles International Airport, where Star Alliance opened a joint lounge last September for passengers flying with eight of its carriers (to read a review, click here), T2 will not be following suit.
Schwab said: “We have four big airlines with big operations at Heathrow and each one of them is building a lounge in their respective part of the departure area — we will have Lufthansa, United, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines.
“There will also be an arrivals lounge from United for everybody. Star gold members can go to any lounge they want to, whichever is closest to their departure gate.”
From a global point of view, Star Alliance is looking to expand its route network to “points on the map that we need to add”, such as India, which will be covered when Air India is expected to become its 29th carrier in the summer, and the 24th to fly out of T2 (at the moment it departs from T4).