Heathrow Trials Passenger Temperature Screening

Heathrow Airport has deployed technology to screen the temperature of passengers as they move through the airport.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow has deployed thermal technology to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the airport.

The airport has installed cameras in the immigration hall of Terminal 2 to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the terminal.

This is part of a trial intended to identity arriving passengers at risk of transmitting COVID-19. It will last for one month from today, Thursday 21 May 2020.

At the moment, the technology is only being used in the immigration hall. If successful, it will be extended to departures and flight connections.

Terminal 2 currently houses all airlines at Heathrow, apart from BA and Iberia which operate from Terminal 5.

Heathrow has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions on temperature screening as part of its guidance on COVID-19.

Passengers do not need to do anything differently. They will not be stopped by any members of staff. Whilst Heathrow insists that no personally identifiable data will be gathered, passengers also have the option of taking a different route to avoid the cameras if they wish.

Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)
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Heathrow Airport Closes Terminals Three & Four

All airlines operating from Terminals 3 & 4 have transferred flights to Terminal 2 by Sunday 3 May.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Terminal 2
Heathrow Terminal 2 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow has consolidated all passenger flights at Terminals 2 and 5 from Sunday 3 May.

Over the past few weeks airlines have been progressively transferring flights from Terminals 3 and 4 to Terminal 2.

Terminal 3 has already closed. Terminal 4 will close to passenger flights on Sunday 3 May.

Heathrow Airport has advised that the last airlines to transfer flights from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 will do so on Sunday 3 May. These are Air France, Air Malta, Alitalia, El Al, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Korean Air and Malaysia Airlines.

This means that all airlines other than BA and Iberia are now operating from Terminal 2.

Rail services to Terminal 4 will also be suspended from Sunday 8 May.

No date has been given for the reopening of Terminals 3 and 4. Airline schedules are likely to be substantially reduced well into 2021. Some airlines may also leave Heathrow permanently.

It’s plausible that this may prompt a reorganisation of airlines at Heathrow. Terminal 4 at least, which is not an easy terminal to operate from due to its location, could be mothballed for some time, if not permanently closed.

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Heathrow Airport To Close Terminals Three & Four

Heathrow Airport is to temporarily consolidate all remaining flights in Terminals 2 and 5.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Terminal 5
London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow airport has confirmed that Terminals 3 and 4 will close temporarily in “the coming weeks”.

Airlines operating from these terminals will transfer their flights to Terminals 2 and 5.

This follows a fall in passenger flights of 75%. No date has been given for the change. Nor has it been confirmed which airlines which move into which terminals.

The logical move is for Oneworld alliance member airlines such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas to move to Terminal 5.

SkyTeam member airlines such as Air France, Delta and KLM and non-aligned airlines such as Virgin Atlantic could move to Terminal 2.

There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes before these moves can be agreed.

For example, Terminal 5 was originally designed around BA’s own systems and processes. When Iberia moved into the terminal many years ago, it took a long time for Iberia flights could operate from the terminal under their own flight numbers.

There are also industrial relations issues with airlines having their own employees and handling agents at Heathrow.

Given the upheaval required behind the scenes to facilitate these moves, this does suggest that flights at Heathrow will be reduced substantially for some time.

The latest guidance on Coronavirus from Heathrow can be viewed here.

Heathrow will also move to a single runway operation from Monday 6 April 2020. Flights will alternative between the Northern and Southern runway each week as per this schedule.

Update Saturday 2 May 2020

The transfer of airline operations is taking place in phases. Here are confirmed transfers to date:

Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Pakistan International Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Thursday 16 April 2020.

Japan Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Saturday 18 April 2020.

Iran Air has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Sunday 19 April 2020.

Beijing Capital Airlines, Finnair, Qantas and Qatar Airways have transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Monday 20 April.

American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Tuesday 21 April.

Philippine Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Friday 24 April.

Gulf Air has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Saturday 25 April.

China Southern Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Wednesday 29 April.

Saudia and Middle East Airlines (MEA) have transferred flight to Terminal 2 from Thursday 30 April.

SriLankan Airlines and Bulgaria Air moved to Terminal 2 from Friday 1 May.

KLM, Alitalia, Kenya Airways, Kuwait Airways, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Air Malta, El Al, and Malaysia Airlines will all relocate from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 from Sunday 3 May.

Note these changes are being announced at very short notice and may also be subject to further change at short notice.

Heathrow Airport Strike – Tuesday 6 August Suspended

Planned industrial action by staff employed by Heathrow airport on Tuesday 6 August has been suspended.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Planned industrial action by staff at Heathrow Airport represented by the Unite trade union on Tuesday 6 August 2019 has been suspended.

This follows talks between Heathrow and Unite today and over the weekend at the conciliation service ACAS.

The airport will now operate normally and published restrictions on hand baggage for departing and connecting customers will be lifted.

At the time of publication, planned industrial action for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019, which involves additional workgroups in dispute with Heathrow, is still scheduled to go ahead.

Individual airlines have made their own contingency plans to mitigate the impact of industrial action.

If you have proactively rebooked onto an alternative flight to avoid travelling through Heathrow on the days of the planned strike action, you should not need to change your booking again. If you do wish to do so, this will be at the discretion of your airline.

Some airlines have proactively re-routed flights at the request of the airport in anticipation of disruption and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether to reinstate flights at short notice.

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it is not switching flights transferred to Gatwick back to Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport Strike Monday 5 August 2019 Suspended

Planned industrial action by staff employed by Heathrow airport on Monday 5 August has been suspended. A strike may still go ahead on Tuesday 6 August.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Planned industrial action by staff at Heathrow Airport represented by the Unite trade union on Monday 5 August 2019 has been suspended.

This follows talks between Heathrow and Unite over the weekend at the conciliation service ACAS. The strike has been suspended to allow for further talks.

The airport will now operate normally and restrictions on hand baggage for departing and connecting customers will be lifted.

At the time of publication, planned industrial action for Tuesday 6 August, Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019 is still scheduled to go ahead.

Individual airlines have made their own contingency plans to mitigate the impact of industrial action.

If you have proactively rebooked onto an alternative flight to avoid travelling through Heathrow on the days of the planned strike action, you should not need to change your booking again. If you do wish to do so, this will be at the discretion of your airline.

Some airlines have proactively cancelled and re-routed flights at the request of the airport in anticipation of disruption and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether to reinstate flights at short notice. Given the further confusion it could cause, this is unlikely to happen.

British Airways has reversed all previous cancellations and Heathrow terminal changes for Monday 5 August. Virgin Atlantic is not switching flights transferred to Gatwick back to Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport Strike – Mon 5 & Tues 6 August 2019

Planned industrial action at Heathrow Airport on Monday 5 & Tuesday 6 August 2019 has been suspended.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow Airport staff represented by the Unite trade union were due to take industrial action from 00:01 BST on Monday 5 August to 23:59 BST Tuesday 6 August 2019.

This follows a pay dispute between Unite and Heathrow Airport.

Headlines – 16:55 BST Monday 5 August

As at 16:55 BST Monday 5 August 2019, the strike has been called off for Monday and Tuesday to allow members to vote on a revised offer following further talks between Heathrow and Unite.

Two further days of industrial action are still planned for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019.

A number of airlines had cancelled and rerouted flights in anticipation of disruption at Heathrow and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether reinstate flights at Heathrow.

Qatar Airways has rerouted some return flights between Doha and London Heathrow on Monday 5 August (QR7/QR8) and Tuesday 6 August (QR3/QR4) to Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic has rerouted some transatlantic return flights on Monday 5 August & Tuesday 6 August from London Heathrow to the North Terminal at London Gatwick. These flights will operate under different flight numbers and have different departure and arrival times. Virgin has confirmed that these flights will not revert back to Heathrow even though Monday’s flights have been called off.

A number of other airlines had cancelled flights on Monday 6 August including Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Alitalia, Etihad, Eurowings, Flybe, Lufthansa, SWISS and United. Many of these have now been reinstated.

A number of airlines had implemented flexible rebooking policies. As the immediate threat of strike action has been lifted, these should be withdrawn shortly.

General Guidance

General guidance on the strike and specifically limitations on hand baggage is available from Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport also provides live arrivals and departures information for all flights, including codeshares.

The staff taking industrial action are security guards, firefighters, engineers, passenger service operatives and passenger service drivers.

Check-in, baggage handling and lounge facilities should largely operate as normal as these staff are either employed directly by airlines or contracted through handling agents.

Talks are under way at the conciliation service ACAS this weekend. They adjourned on Sunday evening and will continue on Monday so Tuesday’s strike could still be called off at the 11th hour.

The airport is due to remain open during the strike and whilst Heathrow has put in place contingency measures, it is inevitable that there will be disruption. Heathrow has also asked airlines to reduce their schedules.

Airlines are also implementing their own contingency plans by offering flexible rebooking policies, some of which are detailed below. As these are at the discretion of individual airlines, they do vary by airline and not all airlines are offering them.

Virgin Atlantic, as per details below, has also transferred some transatlantic flights on Monday & Tuesday to Gatwick.

Based on what is known so far the biggest impact will be on connecting and departing passengers, specifically at security. Priority security lines and channels will be closed and there are limitations on what can be taken through security.

Passengers are advised to arrive two hours before departure for short-haul flights and three hours before departure for long-haul flights and take as little as possible as hand luggage.

The best advice is to ensure you have up to date contact details on your booking and, if you have the chance to change your flight, take it.

If you are connecting through Heathrow it is strongly advised that you check with your airline whether you can pursue an alternative routing through another European airport.

Heathrow operates at full capacity and any delays at security and to flights will inevitably have knock-on effects, particularly if queues cause congestion in the terminals.

Continue reading “Heathrow Airport Strike – Mon 5 & Tues 6 August 2019”

No1 Lounges opens “The House” at Heathrow Terminal 4

No1 Lounges has taken over Etihad’s lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4, which has been rebranded “The House”. Access can now be purchased online.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

The House at Heathrow, Terminal 4
The House at Heathrow, Terminal 4

The No1 Lounges group has taken over the operation of Etihad’s lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The lounge has now been rebranded “The House”. Or, as Etihad refers to it, “The House, home of Etihad Airways and other leading airlines”.

The House is a new brand for the group, alongside No1 Lounges, Club Rooms, and My Lounge.

Etihad business, First Class and The Residence passengers continue to have access to the lounge. As do Gold and Platinum members of the Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme. Etihad economy passengers can also purchase access to the lounge.

No1 Lounges is now selling access to passengers of all airlines departing from Terminal 4 on its website for £45 per person.

This move has been expected for some time. Etihad has had well documented financial problems of late. It had already been selling lounge access to economy passengers. A radical reshaping of its route network and fleet has been expected. However, the effective handing over of its lounge at London Heathrow is a significant move. It shows that nothing is off the table.

Whilst Etihad is at pains to emphasise that facilities will be reconfigured in the coming year, it is a simple fact that the lounge will be busier.

Having experienced third party lounges operated for both airlines and on a pay-per-access basis, it can be problematic. When the schedules of participating airlines and periods of peak passenger demand collide, they can become extremely crowded. Even simple things, like not having to queue to get in, cannot be taken for granted.

The House is open from 06:00 to 21:00 daily. Passengers must be over the age of 12 to access the lounge.

Lounge facilities include a tendered bar, a dining room with table service and a la carte morning breakfast and all day menus, and shower suites.

The lounge is located in the departures area, near the SkyTeam lounge, opposite Gate 10.

Road Testing A Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Picnic

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Picnic
Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Picnic (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

When Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” restaurant opened at London Heathrow Terminal 5 a little over ten years ago, the arrival of an airport restaurant bearing the name of a well known chef wasn’t the only innovation.

Plane Food also introduced the concept of the dedicated onboard “picnic”.

That wasn’t the first time the concept of bring your own catering entered into the consciousness of the travelling public. Readers may recall industrial action at BA’s Heathrow catering provider Gate Gourmet in the summer of 2005 which resulted in months of very limited catering on short-haul flights. Retailers at Heathrow did a roaring trade as passengers spent their free meal vouchers in the terminals. As free catering offerings in the air have diminished over the past ten years, it also proved to be a prescient move.

Having never been a great fan of the second meal service in any cabin on BA long-haul flights, which is usually some variant of Afternoon Tea, it was high time to try out a Plane Food picnic. So here we’ve road tested a picnic on a transatlantic flight from London Heathrow in World Traveller Plus.

Ordering A Picnic

You can’t miss Gordon Ramsay Plane Food as you exit the South security lanes at Terminal 5.

You can order a picnic at the counter which is immediately at the entrance. Here is the current menu. You can choose from one of three starters, mains, and desserts that are displayed in cabinets behind the counter. You also have a choice of a bottle of still or sparkling water. There is one set price of £18.50. Don’t forget to pick-up cutlery!

Only if you are Victoria Beckham can you acquire one before even entering the terminal.

The Picnic

Your picnic is encased in an insulated zip-up case about 30cms by 23cms in size.

Each item is plated separately with a plastic casing. As on this flight, I was seated in an exit row it had to go in the overhead bin for take off, where you need to make sure it packed appropriately to survive being thrown about whilst the aircraft hurtles towards 38,000 feet.

Here is the picnic in the air:

– A starter of potted salt beef brisket with grain mustard, prosciutto ham, piccalilli and rocket
– A main of poached chicken breast, basil pesto, grilled portabello mushroom
– A dessert of fruit salad

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Picnic
Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Picnic (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

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10 Years of the Airbus A380 at London Heathrow

As London Heathrow marks 10 years of scheduled Airbus A380 passenger flights we take a look at the prospects of continued Airbus A380 flights from the airport.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 London Heathrow
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

On 18 March 2008, flight SQ308 arrived at London Heathrow from Singapore Changi airport marking the beginning of scheduled Airbus A380 flights between London Heathrow and Singapore.

It was natural that Singapore Airlines would be the first airline to fly the A380 at Heathrow. The airline had long prided itself on industry firsts and having a young fleet of aircraft. Alas, London was not the first city to be served by the Singapore Airlines A380. That honour was bestowed upon Sydney as few months earlier.

Emirates and Qantas soon followed at London Heathrow. As did Etihad, Korean Air, Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Thai Airways, albeit with varying frequencies. Emirates now operates no less than 7 Airbus A380 flights from London Heathrow every day – a reflection of the changing dynamics of aviation in the past ten years.
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10 Years of London Heathrow Terminal 5: How Heathrow has changed

As Heathrow celebrates the 10th anniversary of the official opening of Terminal 5, we take a look back at how much the airport has changed in ten years.

London Air Travel » London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Collage
London Heathrow Collage (Image Credit: Heathrow)

On 14 March 2008, Her Majesty The Queen officially opened London Heathrow Terminal 5. You can take read the story of its opening here. In the past ten years, London Heathrow has undergone enormous changes so let’s take a look back.

1. Heathrow has got better

Immediately before Terminal 5, BA had the ignominy of being one of the worst airlines in Europe for bagging handling.

Breakdowns in the baggage systems were a frequent occurrence. As was overcrowding in the terminals. Tents made a regular appearance outside Terminal 4 as soon as there was any disruption. Punctuality was similarly bad.

BAA, as it was then known, as owner of Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted was perceived as a byword for a rent-seeking monopoly.

Gatwick and Stansted are now separately owned from Heathrow. After the opening of Terminal 5, Terminal 1 and the old Terminal 2 have closed and been demolished. A new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, opened in 2014. Terminal 4, which operationally was always on the verge of collapsing in on itself in the last years of BA’s operation, has been refurbished.

Airlines have also regrouped largely around alliance membership with Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam members in Terminals 2, 3 and 4 respectively.

Whilst Heathrow has had some bad moments, notably the weather disruption of December 2010 which exposed very poor working relations between the airport and its airlines, lessons from this and the opening of Terminal 5 have been learned and contingency planning has improved.
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