If, like me, you're wondering why Heathrow has so many terminals, here's a quick guide to help you. This article should help you find the right terminal when travelling abroad or receiving relatives and visitors in the UK.
First of all, Heathrow Airport handles almost half a million passenger and cargo flights every year. Around sixty-eight million people travelling around the world land at this airport at some point. This perhaps explains why there must be five different terminals at this world-famous stop.
Terminal one is mainly used for domestic flights, but some European and long-haul flights also land and take off here. A total of fifteen airlines operate from this terminal. International passengers usually arrive on the ground floor, while those coming from the UK, Republic of Ireland or the Channel Islands arrive on the first floor.
For long-haul flights, you need to check-in three hours before, for European flights two hours before departure and for domestic flights forty-five minutes before departure at the airport.
Did you know that Terminal Two was Heathrow's first terminal and opened in 1955? Today it is mainly used for flights to European destinations. Air France, Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Airlines are some of the thirty airlines that operate from this terminal. The check-in procedure is similar to that of Terminal 1.
Terminal 3 is known for its flights to and from the United States, South America and Asia. Some of the airlines operating these long-haul flights offer you the option of checking in online. This option simplifies your departure and arrival, especially if you are travelling with children.
Most British Airways and KLM flights land and depart from Terminal Four. It is the home of these two airlines, but some other flights also pass through this terminal from time to time. For departures, you have to go to the first floor, while arrivals are on the ground floor.
You should be proud to fly from Terminal Five, as it is the newest terminal at Heathrow Airport. This imposing steel and glass building is served exclusively by British Airways, as this is the only airline currently allowed to fly from here. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.
To get to one of these terminals more easily, it's best to contact a local Heathrow taxi company. You can find these companies online and book in advance to save yourself the hassle of getting a taxi in difficult weather conditions.
Car rental agencies can be found in all 4 terminals at Heathrow, and all the major providers have a counter. Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Six are just some of the big names you'll find here, and all have a wide range of cars available.
It's just not worth taking the risk of landing and hoping they have a car for you, as those not booked in advance are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and with the high volume of traffic at this airport, they will soon be out of stock. It's also the best way to ensure you get any extras you need, such as satellite navigation or child seats, and save money.
The counters are well signposted and are all located so that you can collect your car after you have collected your luggage. Once you have booked your cheapest car hire at Heathrow Airport, you can relax as you will be in your car before many others are trying to get a taxi or waiting patiently for their shuttle buses. Once you're on the open road, your holiday has already begun, and wherever your base is in the south, this car will get you out and about and let you see for yourself why there's a Great before Britain.
Published by Beth Harmon