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Terminal 2

    London Life Places

    heathrow terminal 5

    February 21, 2013

    I often bang on about my love for terminal 5, also known as T5. Last week, on my return from a short trip, i decided to snap a few pictures to show you the wonderful architecture and explain myself.

    You see, i’ve always been a fan of british airways. I know that they mess up from time to time, i know about the union strikes, the lost luggage scenarios and that shumbles of the BA ethnic livery back at the end of the 90’s. Who could ever forget that fiasco? 

    And yet they are the first website i visit upon booking a flight. Please understand that i like many airlines, both the national carriers as well as the budget ones (maybe with the exception of ryanair:-) but my preference is always BA when it comes to european flights, which is mostly what i take! I think it’s the wonderful crew and ground staff that do it for me. Always knowledgeable, professional and helpful!

    So, it came as no surprise that i rejoiced at the news of a dedicated terminal for my beloved airline. Opened in 2008, it is designed to handle 35 million passengers a year. The building’s leading architects were richard rogers partnership. The building cost some £4 billion and took and astonishing 19 years from conception to completion, including the longest public inquiry in british history. Welcome to T5.

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    Listening to my parent’s stories of air travel in the 50’s, it conjures images of elegance and sophistication. A friend of mine was actually a stewardess back in the days for BOAC and i love listening to her stories of serving the glamourous celebrities.

    Today, the world of flying is open to all of us (thankfully) but i still believe that a little sophistication, less stress and a good flying experience go a long way. For me that combination is flying with BA from T5.

    As soon as you get to departures, you see this (below). An incredibly beautiful and well-designed hall which encourages ease of navigation with clear signage and atmospheric lighting throughout. I’ve never seen it much fuller than this. It often looks empty, but not for a lack of passengers departing. It’s simply the fantastic layout and design thinking behind how to best deal with the millions of people coming through this space.

    Honestly, every single time i’ve flown from here it takes no more than 10 minutes to get through security allowing for enough time to visit duty-free, various shops and get something to eat. It’s a sheer breeze, a true pleasure.

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    There’s so much glass and i’m always fascinated by the reflections in this building. Take a look.

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    Once you land you’re ushered towards passport control, mostly only a couple of minutes walk away from disembarking the plane.

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    Again, a well-designed and signage strong place which gives you the feeling no-one is ever there.

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    Best not to photograph too much while waiting to show your passports…  when getting a close up of this light, i suddenly decided to put away my camera with massive lens for fear that i would be stopped and questioned;-)

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    Baggage claim. Hello Yoda! Now, throughout the terminal you have very big screens displaying digital advertising. The screens are so beautifully designed and minimal that all advertising looks good and simultaneously lends you some atmospheric lighting. Genius!

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    The arrival hall is cleverly colour coded and once again you’re in and out within seconds, helped by the outstanding signage.

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    Here are just a few more shots showing some of the wonderful architecture, but if truth be told, i was tired and just wanted to get home.

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    There cannot be a colourliving post without a proper pop of colour! This machine is designed to screen outsized baggage. Love the red!!

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    And finally if you’re going into london you can either take the tube…

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    or the heathrow express, a bus or like me, you simply wait for your car being delivered to the terminal by valet parking! Done! Home sweet home, not long now!

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    I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini-tour around T5. Personally, i have high hopes for the new terminal 2, due to open in 2014.

    Of course, the debate continues around heathrow’s 3rd runway, to be decided by 2015. Britain needs at least one new runway in the south east by 2020 to compete with the rest of the world. To put some perspective here, china built 33 airports between 2006 and 2010 and another 45 are planned to be in use by 2015. I say, britain get your skates on!

    Have you been through T5? See you monday!