This blog post was updated on July 21, 2021.
London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the UK as well as the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic. If you’re planning a visit to London or many other destinations across Britain or elsewhere in Europe, there’s a good chance Heathrow the first place in you encounter. Don’t worry though – once past the exit things get better! Still, by huge, old international airport standards, Heathrow isn’t all that bad.
To help you hit the ground running with ease, here’s a look at the airports five (though soon to be four) terminals.
Opened in 2008, Terminal 5 is the newest addition to the airport. It is used exclusively by airlines British Airways and Iberica. The terminal’s main building is the largest freestanding structure in the UK. With open planning, streamlined check-in and security areas it offers a far more pleasant experience than many terminals and is probably the easiest and quickest terminal to get in and out of at Heathrow.
This terminal is a base for 35 airlines (mostly
Skyteam alliance members), which operate mostly long haul flights and
services to destinations in Europe.
Terminal 3 is used by Oneworld members and a
few other nonaffiliated airlines and is the hub for Virgin Atlantic‘s
long-haul operations. If arriving at the terminal by car or picking
up/being picked up here, you’ll be relieved to know the drop-off area is
larger and more manageable than most people experience at airports.
Many travelers find the terminal’s large and airy pedestrianized plaza
to be a nice, stress reducing area.
“The Queen’s Terminal,” reopened only a year ago after being shut since 2009 for a major overhaul. The terminal is British home to 23 Star Alliance airlines as well as Aer Lingus, and Germanwings carriers. Although much, much larger in scale than Terminal 5, those behind its refurb seem to have learned a lesson or two from the design of T5.
Currently only occupied British Airways – and set to close at the end of this month to be demolished to make way for continued work at Terminal 2 – only 20 daily flights to nine destinations fly out of Terminal 1.
Pic via Wikimedia Commons – Warren Rohner