London Heathrow Terminal 5: my experience of the opening

So less than a week after the disastrous opening of the highly trumpeted T5 at Heathrow, I had to travel through it and, ominously, on the very first Monday morning. I was somewhat nervous about what I would experience, and with the many flight cancellations if I would actually get my flight any way..

T5 was billed as the savior for Heathrow. It was supposed to be slick and supposedly there had been many drills before it opened.

The opening was a disaster. The baggage being the main fiasco. There are at least 18000 stranded bags after just a few days, people were waiting for hours for bags, at one point people were told they could not check in hold bags at all. Over the first few days, BA has had to cancel 200 flights. The tally after a week was over 450.

So even though I am away a week, I decided to only take hand luggage as there was NO way I was going to tempt checking in luggage. When I arrived at T5 at about 8am it was eerily quiet for a Monday. There were no queues of drop off cars and the vast check-in hall was pretty empty. I guess the zillions of self check-in machines may be working. The photos on the blog show just how empty the place seemed to be. It was very strange!

Getting through security was fast, although I had read of problems. I used the South security as one of the “meet-and-greet” ladies said it was quieter.

The area after security is vast, and fairly confusing to find your way to gates, lounges. And everything seems a long walk. It also feels like you are in a shopping mall, which also has planes taking off from.

I trekked to the lounge area and as have a Gold Card could use the First Class lounge. It too was vast but tastefully done. There was a good selection of stuff for breakfast.

The boarding for the plane was all on time and smooth.

So my experience, I am pleased to say, was fine. Not something a lot of people have had yet! I guess I was a lucky one..

See all my photos of London Heathrow Terminal 5: click here

London Heathrow Terminal 5
Terminal 5 Heathrow (May 2008) (5)
Terminal 5 Heathrow (May 2008) View towards South Security Entrance
Heathrow Terminal 5
BA British Airways Concorde First Class Lounge Heathrow

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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