Sunday, March 30, 2008

Many Heathrow travellers enjoying relief

well not those at Terminal 5. That's a disaster. It's not even a wholesale shift of all BA flights. All that happened is that most Terminal 1 BA flights were shifted to Terminal 5, none of the Terminal 4 flights have moved. They are scheduled to move in a month, but that's unlikely to happen on time. So expect a second major failure when that shift occurs.
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However, by contrast Terminal 1 by some accounts is an absolute breeze.
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You see, with almost all BA flights having moved out of Terminal 1 to Terminal 5, those remaining ones are flying through with a capacious, though aging terminal.
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Biggest airline at Terminal 1 is BMI, enjoying its highest ever reliability levels at Heathrow, as well as a boon from those avoiding BA with all of the troubles. You can also enjoy Heathrow's easiest to use terminal if you fly:
- Aer Lingus;
- Asiana;
- Cyprus Airways;
- El Al;
- Finnair;
- Icelandair;
- LOT Polish Airlines;
- South African Airways;
- Transaero; and
- US Airways.
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BA also has kept flights to Spain, Portugal and Finland at Terminal 1, for now (partly as BA wants routes operated jointly with codeshare partners not to operate from Terminal 5).
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So, for now, avoid Terminal 5 - which continues to have flights cancelled, baggage delayed and more disturbingly luggage lost for transit. That means don't use Heathrow as a transit hub flying BA.
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On the other hand, if you are flying any of the above airlines, Terminal 1 is apparently a breeze, with a 60% reduction in passengers - there are plenty of places to sit, baggage is getting through fast, no queues for gates on arrival. Meanwhile it's getting refurbished, and both Air New Zealand and United Airlines are moving there from Terminal 3 on 10 June.
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So there is a new experience at Heathrow - it's at Terminal 1. Give the other one at least a month to shakedown.

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