Ok, so I’m on my way to AstriCon 2008. AstriCon this year is taking place in Glendale Arizona. If I’m flying to Arizona, why am I writing about London? well, as some of you may know, I’m a fair British Airways fan. I donno, maybe it’s the service, maybe it’s the fact that I’m an executive club member, or maybe it’s simply due to the fact that I really like London – I usually prefer travelling the US via the UK.
In any case, a few months back, British Airways had migrated its operations to the new Terminal 5, replacing the old Terminal 4. Today is the first time I’ve landed in Terminal 5, basically I’m on connection to the US. My experience up till now can be summed up with one word: BRAVA!
Terminal 5 is a shopping gallery heaven for all those of like to do their Duty Free shopping. Although Heathrow is one of the most expensive airports in the world, the overall shopping experience is amazing. The shops and wide and carry all varieties of electronics, drinks, pharmacy, the works – you name it, they have it. On the other hand, as I was strolling around the duty shops I couldn’t escape the feeling that I’m in a massive retail attack area. I was generally attacked by brands, shops, posters – it’s just like a huge shopping mall. As you can’t really go anywhere, shopping is more or less your only alternative.
Now, let’s talk lounges! The Business/First lounge of British Airways is amazing! Cold bard, warm bar, drinks and all the Internet you can use. Over 30 wide screen stations for Internet access with Free WiFi inside the lounge – what can I say, what does a business traveller require more? Unlike the previous lounges, they had created sitting areas for eating/working and sitting areas for the computers, thus, people who want to eat next to their personal computer can do so. The lounges complex is big and roomy, and can easily fit around 300 people, at least as much as I counted (per lounge). There are two lounge complexes, a north and south. Each one is separated into Business class, First Class, Card Holders and so on. So, in general, each area should be able to sustain a total of over 1500 visitors at any given time – amazing.
Passport control and flight connections improved dramatically. with over 14 differnt X-Ray machines at the flight connections, and over 20 people attending the Passport Control – getting through Terminal 5 is a breeze. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to pass from one flight to another in Terminal 5, in less than 45 minutes – it took me only 15 minutes in Terminal 5!
So, if you are flying to anywhere in the world, and you can make your connection through the UK, then do it. It may be a little more costly than other routes, however, the experience is much more enjoyable than other airports – compared.