British Airways’ exclusive home at London Heathrow, Terminal 5, opened on March 27, 2008.
The overall customer experience:
Terminal 5 was created with the basic premise of making air travel easy through one of the world’s busiest airport hubs – London Heathrow.
Customers flow through the airport in a logical, linear manner. The majority (around 80 per cent) have checked in online or at one of the 96 check-in kiosks within the departures hall.
Travellers carrying hold luggage are able to drop their bags at one of over 100 desks before moving straight on through security. Thanks to the scale of the terminal and the use of technology, the vast majority of people won’t encounter any queues at check-in.
The transfer area is located within the heart of the building and 90 per cent of the airline’s transferring customers will connect through the one terminal meaning less distance to travel and a faster arrival at their next flight.
Terminal 5, which opened on March 27, 2008, was designed by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners and has been built at a cost of £4.3 billion. It is exclusively used by British Airways and will be capable of handling 30 million customers a year at its full capacity.
British Airways has invested £330 million in designing and equipping its parts of the terminal. This figure includes £60 million spent on the lounge complex as well as significant investment in IT systems, staff accommodation, ground vehicles and equipment, storage and maintenance facilities plus staff training and familiarisation.
The building is so vast it is possible to fit 50 football pitches over Terminal 5’s five floors, but moving around couldn’t be simpler thanks to improved flow through the building, clear signage and the location of departure gates.
The building itself is light, airy and modern – more than 30,000 square metres of glass have been used to glaze the 40m high and 396m long main terminal building.
The aircraft stands are located around the buildings. Due to the use of an underground track transit system this means that aircraft are unimpaired by cul-de-sacs or other planes when they need to pull away from the jetty. This will speed up the arrival and departure of flights, thereby improving punctuality.
80 per cent of customers use BA’s self-service channels to check-in – many of them arrive at Terminal 5 ready to fly having checked-in via ba.com
The building is designed to ensure that customers keep moving in one direction, starting at one of the 96 check-in kiosks before moving on to the fast bag drop desks followed by the northern and southern security search points.
The intelligent, flexible design of the building also means that British Airways can use the desks to react to changing customer needs and ensure the continuing forward flow of passengers.
A new 600-room luxury hotel, The Sofitel London Heathrow, has also been built within the Terminal 5 campus. The £180 million hotel opened in July 2008 and has a short covered link bridge joining it direct to the main terminal building.
Up to 90 per cent of British Airways transfers will take place through Terminal 5. Unlike the rest of the yellow signage normally associated with airports, the transfer channels will be highlighted with purple signs making it easy for customers to connect from one flight to another.
An underground track transit system has been installed throughout terminal 5 to transfer customers between the buildings.