traveller with a tale

emma persky

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If you must fly BA…

November 16th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Musings, Travel

… go through Heathrow. Despite the misery of flying with them you will at least get to experience Terminal 5.

As you may know I’m an avid fan of Virgin Atlantic and so whenever I fly I’m either on their or one one of the flying club partner’s planes which has precluded me from experiencing Heathrow’s Terminal 5. So I was quite excited to find that the only viable way for me to get to Stockholm the other week was with BA through Terminal 5.

I was quite impressed with the terminal, it certainly outdoes Terminal 3 without question. BAA really have turned the airport into a destination itself - there are shops there that I would (almost) consider taking a flight just to go to.

The layout isn’t quite as intuitive as I would like, the multi floor layout doesn’t help and the walk to the lounge took us back and forth across multiple levels.

It’s security features are world class with an ingenious x-ray system that uses mechanised rollers to advance your bag / box only close to the next one instead of careering into it. It continues to move your items along when there is space, preventing the queue that is often formed by the one person who is not only slow but doesn’t have the courtesy to move their bags along to the end. And it doesn’t stop there. At the end of the rollers the trays are automagically returned to the front of the queue through a hatch which opens only when the tray is empty. This beautiful piece of aeroperiphery engineering is awesome.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Yosef // Nov 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Interesting perspective, last time I flew through T5, I felt my aniticpation and excitement let me down. The automated check in proccess left many confused customers with no one to answer basic questions, security was overwhelmed, and the “unintuitive layout” was frustrating when you’re trolling around with a number of carry ons.

    Yes, it’s a pretty and new Terminal, but if the price was right, I think I would still go with Virgin Atlantic over BA!

  • 2 emma // Nov 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    as a frequent flier I quite like to be left alone to get on with it - it’s quicker and easier. Though I can imagine it can be frustrating for those who don’t travel as often.

    I was flying business so used the priority queue which was pretty quick, so I didn’t see what the load on other lanes was like. It was Friday evening though, so a fairly busy travel time.

    Terminal 3 after check-in is somewhat of a let down. The stores are quite dated, and the layout of the gates really sucks. It does, however, have the VS clubhouse, and that is worth it’s volume in gold!

  • 3 Ashok // Nov 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    My first experience of T5 was picking up a friend, as a surprise. They had very cleverly arranged it so that people could come out from two different sides and there wasn’t anywhere you could stand to easily catch both sides.

    Brilliant design.

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