London/Heathrow Gets Ready to Play Musical Airlines

There has been a ton of interesting news to write about in the last few days, and I’d been having trouble figuring out with what to lead . . . until yesterday. Turns out that I was voted one of the the world’s 50 most powerful blogs by The Observer in the UK.

Holy crap! That’s kind of scary. But, I’m guessing that means I’ll have a bunch of new visitors from that side of the Pond (welcome, everyone), so I’m going to post Sunday night instead of my usual Monday morning. And, while I’m being accommodating, let’s focus on something that probably causes you newbies pain and suffering more often than not: Heathrow.

Usually, any discussion of Heathrow involves a lot of cursing, rising blood pressure, and possibly some crying. With any luck, we’ll see less of that in the near future, but it’s likely to get worse in the short term. Why?

Well, we’re getting closer to the big terminal move. On March 27, BA will land its first flights at the brand-spanking new Terminal 5 and that begins a long period of transition for the airport as just about everyone save Virgin Atlantic moves locations.

I’ve tried to put together a handy guide on all the terminal moves so you can actually figure out where you’re supposed to go for your next flight. First, we’ll start with oneworld airlines, since they have the most changes happening the earliest.

Flights

Current terminal

New terminal

When?

Done?

American

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

British Airways

UK domestic flights

1

5

March 27, 2008

Yes

European flights (except for Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Nice and Helsinki), Tripoli, Johannesburg, Algiers, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong

1/4

5

Miami

3

5

Warsaw

Heathrow

Gatwick

Algiers

Gatwick

5

March 30, 2008

Yes

Houston, Dallas

Gatwick

4

New York/JFK, Abuja, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, Phoenix

4

5

June 5, 2008

Yes

Abu Dhabi, Accra, Bahrain, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Dallas, Dar es Salaam, Doha, Entebbe, Grand Cayman, Houston, Kuwait, Luanda, Lusaka, Mauritius, Mexico, Mumbai, Muscat, Nairobi, Nassau, Newark, Philadelphia, Providenciales, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Washington/Dulles

4

5

September 17, 2008

Yes

Boston, Calgary, Chennai, Delhi, Denver, Dhaka, Dubai, Islamabad, Kolkata, Montreal, Seattle, Shanghai

4

5

October 22, 2008

Yes

Barcelona, Helsinki, Lisbon, Madrid, Nice

1

3

February 25, 2009

Yes

Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney

4

3

2008

Yes

Cathay Pacific

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Finnair

All flights

1

3

January 27, 2009

Yes

Iberia

All flights

2

3

Japan Air Lines

All flights

3

3

No change

Yes

Qantas

All flights

4

3

Early 2009

Yes

Royal Jordanian

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A



Now let’s take a look at SkyTeam. In short, when Delta, Northwest, and Continental start flying to Heathrow in March, they’ll be in BA’s old Terminal 4. The rest of the carriers won’t move until early 2009, when a major terminal renovation will have been completed. Anyone who has flown BA out of that terminal lately knows that it is in desperate need of some help.

Flights

Current terminal

New terminal

When?

Done?

Aeroflot

All flights

2

4

November 17, 2009

Yes

Air France

All flights

2

4

November 24, 2009

Yes

Alitalia

All flights

2

4

November 10, 2009

Yes

Continental

All flights

N/A

4

March 30, 2008

Yes

Czech

All flights

2

4

November 24, 2009

Yes

Delta

All flights

N/A

4

March 30, 2008

Yes

Kenya Airways

All flights

4

4

No change

N/A

KLM

All flights

4

4

No change

N/A

Korean

All flights

3

4

November 10, 2009

Yes



I’d like to list the Star Alliance changes here as well, but I haven’t been able to find them. In fact, while oneworld and SkyTeam have been on top of the changes, Star Alliance has been silent. I sent the alliance a request and their response left me wondering if they actually meant to insult my intelligence or if they just don’t speak English very well.

We would like to inform you, however, that the Star Alliance is a network of 19 individual airlines. Operational matters are handled by the airlines themselves. Therefore, for more information, you will need to contact the individual Star Alliance member airlines directly.

Really? You guys aren’t an airline yourself? No sh**. Well, I also asked United directly and spokesperson Robin Urbanski told me that the airline will be moving to Terminal 1, but it’s unclear when that might be and that will happen on June 1. Clearly, this alliance is a little less organized, probably because the changes aren’t coming as quickly as with the others.

We know that the airlines in Terminal 1 will stay there for now. Terminal 2 will be demolished starting this year, so those guys have to move somewhere. On March 27, BA moves nearly all of its domestic and European flights out of Terminal 1, so I have to assume that everyone from Terminal 2 will move in before their terminal disappears. Will the Terminal 3 airlines move at the same time or will they stay longer? My guess is that they won’t move immediately because there’s no urgency. Here’s how they stack up right now along with my best guesses as to where they’ll go. The only thing I know for sure is that US Airways will go to Terminal 1 when it starts service to the airport on March 30.

Update 3/25 @ 822a – Star has put out a press release with much more guidance. All Star carriers will be expected to move to Heathrow East in 2012 when the terminal is completed, but I haven’t included those changes in here.

Flights

Current terminal

New terminal

When?

Done?

Air Canada

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Air China

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Air New Zealand

All flights

3

1

June 10, 2008

Yes

ANA

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Asiana

All flights

1

1

No change

N/A

Austrian

All flights

2

1

November 2008

Yes

Blue 1

All flights

N/A

3

March 30, 2008

Yes

bmi

All flights

1

1

No change

N/A

Croatia

All flights

2

1

November 2008

Yes

LOT

All flights

1

1

No change

N/A

Lufthansa

All flights

2

1

November 2008

Yes

SAS

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Singapore

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

South African

All flights

1

1

No change

N/A

Swiss

All flights

2

1

October 2008

Yes

TAP

All flights

2

1

November 2008

Yes

Thai

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

Turkish

All flights

3

3

No change

N/A

United

All flights

3

1

July 4, 2008

Yes

US Airways

All flights

N/A

1

March 30, 2008

Yes



Of course, not all airlines are in alliances. Virgin Atlantic, for example, will stay in Terminal 3, so you won’t see any changes there. All other unaligned airlines (except for former oneworld member Aer Lingus which will be in Terminal 3) will end up in Terminal 4. Again, I’m not entirely sure when that might happen, but one thing is clear . . . there will be a lot of confusion at Heathrow until things settle down, and that could take years.

If you have to go to the airport in the near future, leave plenty of time and bring lots of patience. If you have the misfortune of connecting through Heathrow, especially while these changes are in progress, may God have mercy on your souls.

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47 Comments on "London/Heathrow Gets Ready to Play Musical Airlines"

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Alex C
Guest

Very good info!!

I have a feeling that within a matter of time on FT there will be a new forum, “What alternative routings are there to LHR for my trip?”

united
Guest

Hi there, just to let you know, United will be moving to terminal 1 beginning of june 2008!

dont know why they have all been so quite about it. the employees have known a while :-)

united
Guest

and i forget, at lhr we are under the impression that singapore isnt moving to terminal 1 because as they will be flying the a380 to lhr soon they will only be able to park at the new a380 gates in terminal 3.

Hope all the BA customers enjoy the new terminal, especially since most likely they will still be bussed to aircraft afterwards as term 5 turns out to be too small for BA’s whole operation :-S Great design guys!! Thats LHR for you!!

Jamman
Guest

I watched a interview on TV and a spokesman from BAA basically said there’s going to be some problems in the short term when the changes take place. I guess their not going to hide it from the public, there WILL be problems!

Well done on being one of the most powerful bloggers (I guess your like Oprah now!)

Chris Guillebeau
Guest

I would respectfully suggest that terminal changes will not solve LHR’s many problems. What is needed is a complete overhaul of the operational system. I travel to 25+ countries a year and always try to avoid transiting in LHR whenever possible.

Bryan in San Francisco
Guest
Bryan in San Francisco

Me at Heathrow: “No I’m sorry, I haven’t got time to take your survey.”

trackback

[…] travel blogger The Cranky Flier, this weekend voted the world’s 29th most powerful blog by Britain’s Observer […]

The Global Traveller
Guest

United and Air New Zealand are apparently moving from T3 to T1 early on (logically this must be before the One World airline moves to T3 in September.

However, given even BAA is refusing to commit to a schedule (at least publicly) for the Great LHR Terminal Shuffle, I would not count on any of these dates sticking – except hopefully T5 opening date.

Oliver
Guest

That’s awesome — my two favorite blogs, “Girl with a one-track mind” and “Cranky Flyer” are both part of the Top 50.

Just kidding :) Congratulations and keep up the good work!

clung
Guest

Heathrow Airport’s website has a form for checking which airline is where according to your day of travel. No idea how reliable it is though.

http://tinyurl.com/2mwtq8

Richard
Guest

I have read tons of blogs and news articles on the development of LHR and its terminals and never really grasped what all the fuss is about. I have never experienced any problems passing through LHR or travelling from LHR. It then dawned on me that I always depart from T3 and always use Virgin Atlantic.

Hopefully my blissful lack of awareness will continue to bear me well at LHR

kt74
Guest
Oooh, harsh words about *A… Unlike the much smaller Skyteam which can fit easily into T4, half of T1 needs to be rebuilt to separate departing/arriving pax and allow for international flights. So perhaps they don’t want to say anything until they get definitive timings from the shambles that is BAA?! Anyway, look here: http://80.168.119.219/UserFiles/File/LHR S08 Initial Coordination Report.pdf This document is out of date (most timings have slipped), but at least the sequence of moves should be right. The gist of the story is that: – UA and NZ will move some time in June (June 11th according to… Read more »
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[…] Cranky Flier and TravelTech Talk have been all over the coming launch on March 27 of London Heathrow’s new Terminal 5.  […]

Cal
Guest

Great info, thanks! But it all goes to show that you’re better off flying from London’s premier airport for private jets, Luton! Not well known in the US but a great connection with EasyJet flying from there to just about everywhere in Europe and Silverjet going twice daily across the pond. Better than Heathslow any day!

ML
Guest

Wouldn’t TG have to stay at Terminal 3 for the same reason as SQ. They don’t have any A380s yet, but delivery is planned for 2010, before the new terminal will be ready, and T1 can’t handle them.

Bob
Guest

EI are refusing to move from T1 , SK and EK are staying put in T3 , 9W are refusing to move to T4…..makes for a fun day doesnt it!! Let the anarchy begin!

Scott
Guest

So some those Skyteam will eventually moved differente terminal 4 instead of T1 or T2. I’m sure other airlines will eventually join new T4 due to reduction less crowded. I know what exactly I don’t remember other airlines will not even moved this time.

kt74
Guest
Bobber
Guest

Apologies if I missed this, but with the T3 to T1 move by UA, does this mean the Red Carpet Club will also move or will UA customers be able to use the existing BMI lounge as Star Alliance members? If the latter, will the current arrangements whereby UK-based Premier members can use the existing lounge regardless of their class of travel be extended to using the BMI lounge? Small details, small privileges, but it all makes the hell that is Heathrow just a little more bearable.

Bobber
Guest

Many thanks, CF – I’m flying United within a week of the move to T1, so will let you know what a hash of it (or wonderful job) they make!

ML
Guest

THAI have confirmed that their first A380 will be on the LHR-BKK route in 2010. So that would certainly explain them staying at T3 until 2012.

Bobber
Guest

Cheers for the update, Cranky – not a word from United themselves to the ticket holders about where they MIGHT find their planes waiting for them at Heathrow!

Bobber
Guest
Hi CF, Just had first-hand experience of United post Terminal 1 relocation at LHR. There are good and bad points. First, the good: Immigration at Terminal 1 is a whole heap better than Terminal 3 (aka cattle shed). In fact, the new building are very pleasant all over Terminal 1. The gates are light and spacious. Which leads me to the bad; Organisation at the gates is cr@p to non-existent. We flew LHR-DEN-OAK with our 4yr and 2yr old kiddies, and the gate at LHR was right next to a US Airways flight (to PHL??) which boarded at the same… Read more »
Bobber
Guest

Take your point, Cranky. However, I would have thought they could adjust that relatively easily (and modestly), and use LHR-DEN as a staging point for more access to West coast and mid-West cities. LHR-IAD is very well catered for but connections from IAD to West coast (as I have had to make on numerous occasions) are very tiresome and often problematic.

trackback

[…] Anyway, I’m sure many of you haven’t been keeping track, but I have been keeping up my chart of Heathrow terminal changes on the site. Nearly all BA flights have moved to Terminal 5 now including a big move of long haul […]

trackback

[…] 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 […]

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[…] for airlines changing terminals at London Heathrow in the Great LHR Terminal Shuffle, he’s posted the LHR changes information that is to hand – here. These are incomplete and, I think, optimistic in some cases. Personally I expect there will be […]

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[…] operating from Heathrow will be moving around. The Cranky Flier blog has a great post about who is moving where and when. It is pretty intensive. The nice thing will be that the alliances will be more allied, making […]

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[…] 2008, I wrote a post about the massive airline moves being made at London’s Heathrow Airport when British Airways opened its …. Now, it’s time to do it all over again, just on a slightly smaller scale. We’re only a […]

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