I was lucky enough to be able to visit the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow last night, as a guest of United Airlines.
In order to attend the reception held in the new United Club we had to go through the typical journey of a passenger, once the terminal opens on 4 June 2014.
I’ll be writing more about the visit over the weekend, so come back then, but for now I wanted to add some first impressions and images for you.
To your right is the runway, and the design cleverly leaves this open, enabling you to see planes coming and going, as well as creating a through breeze:
Once inside the terminal, the usual setup of self service machines, check-in desks and bag drops. The roof allows light through to the check-in area. Designed, we were told, to reduce the stress levels, high light levels are a theme of this terminal.
Security was predictable, with the bar code scanning gates ready and waiting.
We were told not to take pics in the Security area, but also let know that there would be a Fast Track available.
Leaving Security you enter the main part of the terminal, which has clear references to Terminal 5, but on a much smaller scale.
The seating was ready, many of the shops were outfitted, and it appeared John Lewis were ready to open.
United’s gates are located in the Europier which joins Terminals 1 and 2. Located between a blanked off wall, they are a good 20 minute walk away from the main terminal areas, along numerous moving walkways, escalators or lifts. We were told that two of the escalators are the second longest escalators in the UK.
Emerging from another escalator you arrive in the gate area. Turn right for United’s lounge and left for Air Canada and Singapore.
After the Reception we were taken back through the arrivals process, even passing the UK border, along more walkways.
Resurfacing you emerge in to a large open arrival area:
The huge hall has plenty of waiting space, with the automatic passport reading machines located on the extreme right of the hall.
As you leave Passport Control you enter baggage, in less than 50 paces. Belts to the left of me, belts to the right, but the exit is right ahead. A great improvement from T5 where the exits are a pain.
Past the obligatory ‘last Duty Free shop before freedom’ you enter the bottom level of the terminal.
Exit the building and you are magically underneath Slipstream
Huge escalators take you to/from the Underground and Departures level.
In summary, I really like the new terminal. It has fixed some of the problems with T5 in my view, whilst creating a great indoor/outdoor mixture. It looks like it will be ready for 4 June. I’ll let you know.