web Musings of The Global Traveller

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Great London Heathrow Terminal Shuffle Extended

I spoke too soon when I said a couple of days ago that things were looking up for British Airways (BA). They've now announced a delay to the second phase of flights being shifted to their new terminal at London Heathrow (LHR), T5. This was planned for late April but "will now begin in June". My guess is they need some time to make some changes in the baggage handling area which seems to most problematic of the many issues BA has in the new terminal.

What does this mean for LHR travellers?

Most airlines that use LHR were due to change terminals in a great shuffle lasting around 12 months. The Cranky Flier did a good summary of the great LHR terminal shuffle last month. Forget that timetable, it is now history.

Firstly, if you are flying to/from or through London Heathrow in the next several months you should check again which terminal(s) you will be using. But wait at least a couple of weeks. According to the other major UK domestic airline, bmi, other airlines have not yet been consulted about the change of plans by BA. Catty? Yes, especially as bmi is one of the least impacted airlines (they don't change terminals in the shuffle but may have some impact on their scheduling thanks to star alliance connecting passengers). Anyway, I expect it will take a while before the dust settles.

So, don't rely on your travel agent or itinerary to tell you which terminal you are using. Check for yourself a few days before departure at least. If you are connecting between two different airlines (or on BA between terminals) check that your connection is still viable if it now requires a terminal change. If your connection becomes too short as a result, the airline should rebook you on another flight.

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