Terminal 5. A Survival Guide.

Today marks my eighth visit to London Heathrow’s flagship, the infamous Terminal 5. After my initial problems with this behemoth, I am starting to make my peace with it. I have no other choice, do I? So, here are my preliminary findings on how to make your stay at T5 as comfy as possible.

Checking in:

After the initial disastrous baggage handling, this seemed to have settled down (my bass guitar made it twice safely through T5), but it’s certainly not particularly fast (especially compared to Luton), so just don’t take that many frocks with you and limit yourself to hand luggage. If you have hand luggage, checking in takes literally 30 seconds thanks to the availability of numerous check-in terminals.

Security:

Security is thorough. Very thorough. If you forget that tube of toothpaste, a deodorant or some hairspray in your hand luggage, your stuff will inevitably be checked manually, and these guys take their time. You will also have to wait your turn for your mano a mano search. Today’s waiting time for a individual bag check was 30 minutes, so you better make sure that glass of Nutella is either in your checked in luggage or at home.

Gate A7. A nice place in a busy Terminal

Rest and Relax

There are numerous food outlets (my favourite being Wangamama, for the best mix of value, taste and location) and plenty of places to put your feet up, but if you just want a quiet spot to charge up your laptop and do some quiet blogging away from the masses (of which there are plenty), head to gate A7 with a coffee and a muffin and enjoy excellent views of one of the two runways, virtually empty seats and plenty of sockets to recharge your laptops.

If you fly Business or First, the Executive Club’s South Galleries are excellent spaces just under the roof of the Terminal with a good mix of food and drinks, but you’ll be invariably exposed to some rich American couple next to you who wants to talk to you about their daughter in Arkansas and the bad food and those horrible nude statues in Italy, so Gate A7 is probably quieter.

British Airways’ Executive Club Lounge. Comfy, but there’s the potential of harrassment

In quintessence: Don’t fret too much when going through T5. At present it’s quite comfy, but be afraid of the time when BA transfers all their long distance routes to the Terminal, as the place is going to be bursting with people, and Gate A7 won’t give respite no more.

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