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Heathrow Airport

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Location – London’s busiest airport is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon. It is just 15 miles west of the famous Charing Cross in Central London. The airport is operated by BAA. The airport is recognized as the best connected airport in the whole of United Kingdom. This is one of the reasons behind Heathrow being the world’s third busiest airport. The services offered here are world-class.

Know your Airport - Heathrow is one of the world's busiest international airports. It is regarded by many, as the core of the aviation world. This accounts for nearly 90 airlines making Heathrow their base. The airport currently has four terminals (with a fifth under construction). The airport connects more than 180 destinations in over 90 countries around the world. The airport has been held and operated by BAA plc. before its privatization in 1987. The pier 6 at terminal 3 of Heathrow will be hosting the first Airbus 380's by the end of 2006.  

Airport Structure

  Terminals – 4 terminals are situated. A fifth terminal is going to be finished by 2008.

Transit systems
– There are many public transit systems available in and outside the Heathrow airport.

Tunnels connect various parts of the Airport.
The Heathrow Cargo Tunnel connects Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Terminal 4 as well as to Perimeter Road.
The freshly completed Heathrow Airside Road Tunnel connects Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to the site of Terminal 5.

Inside the terminals
– The terminals serve as excellent arrival and departure platforms for Heathrow’s UK & Ireland, European and Long-haul flights. The check-in areas vary in each of the 4 terminals. All flight numbers and destinations are displayed on the monitors at the entrance to the terminal. This signifies the zone for check-ins. Check-in zones (A, B, C etc) are clearly signposted by bright illuminated yellow cubes. Self service check-ins are quite popular in the terminals. Boarding procedure begins around 45 minutes before departure.

Safety - Recent enhancements to security procedures have taken place due to the 2002 and 2004 incidents. As passengers, one is advised to check-in and declare small items such as lap tops, belts, overcoat, cell phones and keys etc. for screening process. Hand baggages are usually paid less attention. Safety and security are of highest priority at Heathrow. The presence of armed police at the airport is a common sight. Passengers pass through an archway metal detector, which is safe for pregnant women.

Business facilities
– There are 3 Executive Lounges at Heathrow, located in Terminals 1, 2 and 3, operated by Servisair. The lounges recommend a wide range of beverages and snacks, work areas equipped with phone, fax and e-mail. The Travelex Business centre is situated in the Queens Building between Terminals 1 and 2. It is a large complex, replete with facilities to host small private functions as well as large corporate meetings. They are fully equipped with state of the art facilities to host board meetings, product launches, training sessions and private interviews. There is also a Fast Track Priority Service for business class travelers with assistance in committed parking, duty free counters, and priority passport & immigration control channels. Click here to know more.

Family interests
– There is no dearth of good family restaurants and bars at Heathrow. They provide high chairs and menus catering to specially children. Boots deliver baby essentials such as nappies, formula milk and baby wipes. There is a Garfunkels with a full children's menu complete with activity pack. There is also Giraffe a fun family restaurant in Terminal 1 offering a children's meal deal comprising of a main course, ice-cream and fruit juice. Baby changing facilities are located with other toilet facilities before and after security perimeter in each of the Heathrow terminals. There are more than 24 changing facilities at the terminals.

There are a number of unattended soft play areas at Heathrow airport. The play areas are appropriate for children aged between two to six. The play areas also have educational gaming options and interactive fun-centers for pre-school children. For the adults, WHSmiths and World News offer a wide range of magazines and other reading materials. There are also a large collection of comics and puzzle books to keep children entertained. Panoramic views of the runways and planes can be found at Heathrow Terminal 1

  A special needs service is open for all the passengers who require assistance in planning travel-route and shopping. Services are rendered to the visually-challenged, hearing impaired individuals. Several help points are located, as are reserved seating arrangements. All terminals offer ramps, wider access pathways, telephones at a height accessible to wheelchair users, facilities for the disabled and reserved seats for disabled people in check-in areas.

Parking options
– There are numerous safe and fast parking options in and around the Heathrow airport. Short stay parking is suggested for stays up to five hours and is available from all four terminals. Business parking option is for travelers with parking needs for up to three or four days. Many who prefer fast services also use business parking facilities. There are some very good ‘long stay’ car parks located at Heathrow Airport which offer secure parking facilities. There are separate arrangements and discounts for valet parking.

Extra information
- Terminal 1 handles all domestic flights and most UK airline departures to Europe. The 2nd terminal handles most European carriers' flights to Europe and some longer haul destinations. The 3rd terminal is entirely dedicated to the long haul terminal for US, South American, Asian and Asia Pacific airlines and most African carriers. Terminal 4 is for British Airways long haul, Concorde flights and BA flights to many places. BAA offers flight information using the BAA's mobile service. It is designed for mobile phones and hand held computers. But for the more traditional travelers, the BAA live flight arrivals information system works just fine. BAA announced in March 2006, that Terminal 2 will be closed down when the new Terminal 5 opens in 2008 (expected).

Leaving from Heathrow airport – London Underground Piccadilly Line with three stations offers a good transit option. Heathrow Express line non-stop service directly connects with London's Paddington station. Many coach services operate from the central bus station, which can be reached by the subways linking Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

- Currency exchange can be done by using the Currency pre-order and pick up services at the airport. Exchange rates for over 50 currencies are available at competitive rates.

Airlines operating from Heathrow Airport

  Prominent airlines from terminal 1 - Aer Lingus, Air Sahara, Air Seychelles, bmi, British Airways, GB Airways, Cyprus Airways, EL AL, Finnair, LOT Polish Airlines, South African Airways and Sundor.

Prominent airlines from terminal 2
- Aeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Astana, Air France, Alitalia, Bellview Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Croatia Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Icelandair, Jat Airways, Libyan Arab Airlines, Lufthansa, Luxair, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Olympic Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Syrian Arab Airlines, TAP Portugal, Uzbekistan Airways, Yemenia etc.

Prominent airlines from terminal 3 - Air Baltic, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air Jamaica, Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Biman Bangladesh, bmi, British Airways, British West Indian Airways, Cathay Pacific, Egyptair, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, EVA Air, Gulf Air, Iran Air, Japan Air Lines, Jet Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei, Royal Jordanian, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, United Airlines, Varig, Virgin Atlantic Airways etc.

Prominent airlines from terminal 4 - Air Malta, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, British Mediterranean Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Qantas, SN Brussels Airlines, SriLankan etc.

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