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Let's Talk Heathrow! Love It Or Hate It?  
User currently offlineAyubogg From UK - Scotland, joined Mar 2007, 218 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 4 months 4 days ago) and read 4763 times:

So I visited LHR for my first time in June of this year. I was a little skeptic at first hearing comments from seasoned travelers and people in a.net alike that disliked Heathrow a lot. "It's a dump, it's not aesthetic, too crowded, queues are too long especially the security queues" The most hated terminal I heard of was T3 and my VS flight boarded in T3 so I was VERY worried I would have a bad time.

The truth is, I thought LHR was brilliant! First of all, I spent some time in the residential area of Hounslow. This is spotter's heaven for world airlines. When in the airport, sure T3 is not looking good but there was some construction going on so I'm guessing they are remodeling it so it won't be long. There was this one great restaurant land-side on the second floor where I had a great lunch and the service was good. It took me about 20 minutes to go through security and although the queues look long and intimidating, it really went by fast. T3 is a duty-free shopping mall! I had never seen such an extensive selection of duty-free porducts available to purchase in another airport. The walk to my gate was rather long since the plane was in gate 36 but it's a pleasant walk because there are all these windows that look out on the tarmac. Overall, I thought LHR was great! There are tons of things to do while waiting for your flight including spotting a variety of international airlines. I was also in LGW and LTN and I must say that LHR was my favorite.

So after all this blabber, let's talk Heathrow! Who loves it, who hates it? Why is it that it has much more negative opinions when it really isn't bad? Maybe I was lucky with the queues or maybe it was a slow time at the airport but I want to hear more on what others think of London's Heathrow International.

-Ayubogg

P.S. Concluding my in-bound flight from EWR-LHR I thought the holding pattern for landing was awesome! I got a whole aereal tour of central London and going around in a downwards spiral I got to see other planes behind us.

[Edited 2007-08-20 01:00:23]


Alba gu bràth
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineB742 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 3768 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4749 times:

I have to agrea, the airport (in especialy T3) does not deserve quite all of the crtisicsm it recieves.

Terminal 3 has alot more shops than other airports I've been to.

The airport is unique in my opionion...nothing can match it.. Heathrow is just...well Heathrow!

The variety and amount of widebodies the airport has compared to other European airports is awesome.

Rob!  wave 


User currently offlineBuckFifty From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 1316 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4734 times:

If you think duty free at Heathrow is that good, I suggest you really have to travel around a lot more. It's quite timid compared to other offerings around the world.

The terminals are a mess, it's a never ending construction zone. Travelling to Heathrow by road is never recommended, the tube takes too long, and the Heathrow Express is too expensive. Once you get inside the terminals, bar T4, they are all outdated with some bits of modernity thrown in. The security lines are bad if you're operating crew, nevermind for the passengers. The terminal layout is a major cause of this, IMO.

Twice the crew bus driver I've been with has gotten lost, simply because changes on the ramp area underneath the terminal happen almost weekly. The signage in the terminals themselves are horrid, very hard to find the right transport to get to where you're going.

The ATC's great though, and the taxiway lighting system is superb.

Great for spotting along the north runway, otherwise it's just hell to get around in there.


User currently offlineMD90fan From Bahamas, joined Jul 2005, 2931 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4718 times:

Let's talk spelling  wink 


http://www.devanwells.blogspot.com/
User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7807 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4701 times:

It really depends on the airline as to what kind of experiance you would have there. I have flown NZ and UA from LAX-LHR and had no problems, but I flew BA and AA from LAX-LHR and it could not have been worse.

Overall I prefer MUC or ZRH as a transfer point when I cant fly nonstop from LAX, but LHR isnt as bad as it could be.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25989 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4700 times:

Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
Why is it that it has much more negative opinions when it really isn't bad? Maybe I was lucky

Yes you were lucky. LHR may be good for plane spotters but it's horrible for passengers. If you used it frequently and could compare it to other major hubs in Europe I'm sure your opinion would quickly change. It's a disgrace for a major airport serving one of the world's largest and most important cities. At least half the times I have connected there my checked bags have failed to make the connection. And a much higher percentage of arriving flights at LHR have to hold before making their approach than at any other airport I have used.


Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
T3 is a duty-free shopping mall! I had never seen such an extensive selection of duty-free products

That's another of LHR's problems. So much of the terminal space has been converted to a shopping mall over the years that in some cases you can't find the gates for the shops.


User currently offlineAyubogg From UK - Scotland, joined Mar 2007, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4700 times:

Quoting BuckFifty (Reply 2):
If you think duty free at Heathrow is that good, I suggest you really have to travel around a lot more. It's quite timid compared to other offerings around the world.

I guess I do but money is an issue...  Sad The thing is I had never seen name brands like Cartier etc. selling in duty-free except for the Bahamas but that's not an airport. YVR was also good but I don't remember too much of it. MEX I feel is a joke unless you are into drinking and smoking, I don't remember seeing much in LAX or SFO but I was connecting so I didn't have too much time there. EWR was too small, I was in ATL too late at night, those are some to name a few big international airports.

I took a cab for 10GBP from a B&B in Hounslow to T3 and the driver knew his way pretty well. I thought it looked confusing just because they drive on the other side but I guess the construction is to blame. I felt taking the tube to the outside of the city wasn't horrible but I can see it getting old if frequent visitor of LHR. Transportation to/from airports to the city's center has always been expensive when the city is far though so it's not an exclusive problem to LHR. IMO

Quoting MD90fan (Reply 3):
Let's talk spelling

Good looking out!  bigthumbsup 



Alba gu bràth
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4694 times:

I'm glad that you enjoyed your experience through LHR - it makes me feel better that at least some people enjoy it!

Where do I start though on my view of it, well as far as the central terminals go they are not badly designed, in fact they are pretty much perfectly designed - by BAA that is - in order to maximise the revenue which the shops will take and therefore the rent which they can ask on the units, partly by cutting back on seats. If you look at T1, T2 and most of T3 they all share a common feature; the main or sole seating area which is surrounded by a barrage of shops - ok there is the extra area between T1 and 2, but most people don't seem to find that. There is no view to be had and there no pleasant experience to be gained, all you see if shops wanting you to part with as much of your money as possible. It's fine to be commercial, but look how airports like BCN have managed this tastefully, with wide walkways and elegant architecture or the new MAD T4, or HKG come to think of it. The emphasis in all of these airport is on space, light and transition - aiding it in as many ways as possible. Now I know that the old LHR terminals are very old, but they have been redesigned so many times and still the only thing BAA care about is getting as much capacity and with that shops into the space available.

Aside from this though, which you might have guessed is my own personal bugbear about LHR, I just find the entire place so woefully run down and tatty. The carpets are ripped and dirty (WHY use carpets in the first place!) the walls are dirty and marked - the whole place just feels neglected, which is why it's embarrassing to think of it as such a main gateway to the UK. LHR is also not exactly the most accessible airport for myself and much of the population who don't live around London, usually being a 5/6 hour coach journey from where I live, so compare this to flying with AF/KLM/LH/Swiss etc... from a regional airport much nearer to where I live and then connecting through say AMS or ZRH to wherever I'm going, and you have no competition - LHR gets dumped every time!

I hope T5 is better, I'll be convinced when I see it with my own eyes!


Dan Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4653 times:

Quoting Ayubogg (Reply 6):
I thought it looked confusing just because they drive on the other side but I guess the construction is to blame.

No, that's just England. They drive on the other side.

LHR is a dump - poorly planned, poorly maintained, way too many shops, not nearly enough check-in desks, not enough security check scanners (or people to operate them), not enough windows, not enough seats, not enough gates, not enough runways. Transit process is a nightmare thanks to their stupid hand-baggage regulations (and I don't care if it was the government who instituted them, they did so at BAA's request so that BAA could save money, say what you will)

De-monopolise BAA NOW !!!


User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 881 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4647 times:

Ok, LHR is good and bad...

First the Bad:
- Why go through security again when you are in transit? I mean you are coming from one secure area and heading to another one.
- T4 is a dump. Its dark, crowded and some areas are claustrophobic.
- T3 is also very crowded and the security lines are HUGE and there is no control as to who all stand in the security line. While I was traveling, there were more people in line to "see off" their loved ones instead of passengers themselves.
- I don't know if it's LHR in general, or BA, but this has happened to me... They lose my bags and I didn't receive them until 2 weeks later...

Now the Good:
- It's a spotter's heaven. The amount of biggies that come here are amazing and the variety one sees is also amazing.
- A lot of shops for the shoppers (although majority of them are CRAZY EXPENSIVE)
*thats about all the good I can think of about LHR*


User currently offlineVasu From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 3976 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4638 times:

Must agree with some of the other comments... LHR is unique!

There are some good points, like the range of airlines to see.

But also, there are many bad points. I think one of the primary ones is the use of space! Less "useless" shops, more seating and SPACE.


User currently offline747fan From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1190 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4621 times:

Well it can't be that much worse than CDG for transfer passengers...
But your opinion of LHR would probably change once you visit airports such as DBX, ICN, HKG, SIN, AMS, etc. Even JFK (except for T2/T3 and T8, which will soon be gone, somewhat T6) is quite a nice, modern airport now if you don't take into factor the massive backlog of departures that happens every evening.


User currently offlineDLOnur From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 290 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4610 times:

Never had any problems flying through LHR....that said, I always gave myself a 4-6 hour connection time in LHR, just in case. This should be mandatory for all airports with heavy delays (JFK, SFO, ORD, DFW, ATL, etc). Deal with your time there, and make it home on time.

Great LHR story: sitting around after my UAL flight from SFO in 1999, or 2000 (can't remember) and I reached down to get something out of my bag and got hit in the head by someone passing by. My glasses fly off of my face and hit the floor. Someone, at the same time, steps on them, busting them. No glasses! Freaking out.

Find an optomitrist at LHR, they get the prescription off of my broken lenses, I pick a frame set, and they have my glasses to me before my connecting flight on TR to IST. Epic!

That said, I think I paid about 360pounds for those glasses!!

I wear them to this day with fond memories.

-o-



What you believe is what you see.
User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7653 posts, RR: 35
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4603 times:

LHR may not be one of the nicest airports around, alot of it is old and cluttered, but I love going through it. The usual holding patterns on approach gives you a great view of other aircraft also holding, and the bus ride between T1 and T4 is a blast.


A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineJWMD123 From Ireland, joined May 2006, 867 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4603 times:

I used LHR last year and flew in to T1 with BD from DUB connection with VS in T3.

Have to say the experience was good.

Whilst part of the airport does look old, it works.

We went through the tunnel from T1 to T3, checked in with VS quickly enough and went land side (about 25-30 mins in security, however this was just after the LHR scare in Aug 06).

All in all, I thought it was a good airport. So good I will be going through a similar process in October again.

Can anyone tell me is there any where to do a bit of spotting in T3?


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2876 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4587 times:

LHR would be so much better if they were not supporting 40 million more passengers than they were designed to.

User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4571 times:

LHR clearly has lost its place as the #1 point of entry into the U.K. for me.
This is due to a number of reasons:
1. Less flights from HAJ to LHR (BA pulled out completely, BD reduced to E145's max 3pd) driving prices high.
2. T1 and T2 are in less than optimal condition (others might use the word "dump") in Baggage Claim and landside (with "Departures" being the worst of it)..
3. Also owing to the fact that Greater London has lost its attractiveness that it did spell onto me a decade or so ago, has gone (read: I meanwhile prefer to visit the countryside) and with the emerge of alternative flights to airports outside London becoming available, I meanwhile usually fly nonstop into STN (okay, officially this is a "London" airport) or places further north.
I sometimes book a oneway flight into LHR, but for the return I definitely perfer STN (but only in the evening when it is a bit less crowded).
LCY is another favourite for me but this mandates connecting flights somewhere else.

BTW, LHR has never played any rôle in my plannings regarding transferring between a shorthaul and a longhaul flight. All my connections at LHR have been shorthaul to shorthaul (one of them on 15-SEP-2001 when 4 days after 9/11 no check-thru (pax and luggage) was possible.

While I agree with the voices saying that LHR lacks many things, I hope the overall situation for pax will improve once T5 has become operational. Then give it another couple of years until T1 / T2 have been replaced by Heathrow East and LHR might be playing more in the top of the league again. ... unless BAA manages to ruin the new structures T5 and East within a short time 

From an operational point of view, I see no siginificant change happening in the next decade.
Read: Definitely no new runway. But introduction of "mixed mode" operations still looming ...
Overall, LHR will remain in a status where five drops of rain will lead to delays and where two snowflakes will bring the airport to a standstill. {exaggeration off}.

With this personal outlook, LHR will not move any higher on my list of "first" destinations.

Regarding Spotting:
I think, LHR hardly is "Spotter's heaven" these days with the rooftop terrace closed, spotting from the center garages discouraged  and police moving on people standing at the perimeter fence.
Traffic onto LHR indeed is diverse and interesting, but chances to enjoy it under good conditions and for longer periods are just too bad.
As comparision what a "spotter-friendly" environment can be like, people should check out AMS or ZRH or even MAN.
-HT

[Edited 2007-08-21 18:42:23]


Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineTurkishWings From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1453 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4555 times:

I personally don't like anything about Heathrow (wait, except the variety of aircraft and airlines  Smile )

It's huge and you need to walk a lot to get to your get almost all the time. And again almost all the time, yo do not land or take off on time due to the density of traffic. Even if you take off on-time from your origin airport, you always have to circle before you can actually land... And I do not like circling around esp. in bad weather which is usually the case in London  Wink



Coffee - Tea or Me?
User currently offline747fan From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1190 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 months 20 hours ago) and read 4524 times:

Quoting HT (Reply 16):
think, LHR hardly is "Spotter's heaven" these days with the rooftop terrace closed, spotting from the center garages discouraged and police moving on people standing at the perimeter fence.
Traffic onto LHR indeed is diverse and interesting, but chances to enjoy it under good conditions and for longer periods are just too bad.
As comparision what a "spotter-friendly" environment can be like, people should check out AMS or ZRH or even MAN.
-HT

What about Hatton Cross? I've seen a few videos on Youtube of departures from around there.


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4475 times:

Unfortunately, I often don't have an alternative to LHR - but I hate that airport, passionately.

It's one of the biggest dumps aside from LGW, I constantly feel as if some if the signs hanging from the ceiling will collide with my head if I don't duck below them, lots of the seats in waiting areas are either broken or look as if they hadn't only been used for sitting on them (or, alternatively, as if they haven't been cleaned within the last 10 years) and most of the shops are ridiculously overpriced (ok, it is London, so that's no surprise).

All in all, there's just one good thing I can think of considering Heathrow - one way or the other, at some point I'll always have left the airport either flying out or by tube (and there I thought Heathrow was bad) or Heathrow Express.



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4461 times:

I fly in and out of LHR twice a month and the queues are just getting rediculous. There seems to be thousands of people everywhere queing for everything.

My main gripe is that there aren't enough places just to sit and look at the aircraft, you feel you have to keep consuming.

However, for range of destinations, aircraft types and variety of airlines it has to be the best in the world.


User currently offlineIcarus75 From France, joined Oct 2003, 811 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4461 times:

Quoting 747fan (Reply 11):
Well it can't be that much worse than CDG for transfer passengers...

Do you really think it is easier to connect in LAX, ORD, FRA? (These are the examples that come to mind)



Flying is amazing!
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4450 times:

HATE it. Security is a nightmare even pickier than in the US. Connections are difficult and the terminals are labrythine. I do like the boots stores and shopping though in most terminals.

User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 19
Reply 23, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4449 times:
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Quoting Ayubogg (Thread starter):
The truth is, I thought LHR was brilliant!

I'm glad you liked it, it makes a change from hearing people moan about it.  Smile But yes, LHR is not a pretty airport to fly or transit through, nor is it user friendly. It's all down to a short-sighted aviation policy in the UK, it operates WAY beyond it's original capacity, that's quite obvious. Terminal 3 is crowded and can be confusing specially now with the construction going on. T4 is slightly better, but T5 should be a spectacle. The biggest problem is capacity, too many passengers and too few facilities.

I only like LHR because it's the only airport i'm familiar with and because the aircraft/airline variety is unrivalled by any other airport. But from a passenger point of view i can understand why people dislike it so much. But with all the improvements going on in T1,2,3 and T5, it can only improve and get better.



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 4445 times:

Quoting Arsenal@LHR (Reply 23):
T5 should be a spectacle

Spectacle is an interesting word  Smile

One hears there will only be 11 baggage belts - is that going to be enough ?


25 Post contains images FlyTUITravel : I honestly don't know what all the fuss about LHR being such a terrible airport is! I've gone through it countless times and never noticed anything so
26 SiouxATC : Ahhh LHR. I really didnt mind it at all. I think its kind of cool waiting in like at T3 security for 2 hours and being able to see where everyone is g
27 PA101 : I fully agree with your statement about the pros and cons of LHR. To add one more bad part: in T1 gates usually don't get announced till about 30 to
28 Post contains images OHLHD : Honestly I try to avoid LHR at any cost. Love it? Hate it? I do not know. Too much ( bad) things happen or happend in the last years. ( 1000´s of bag
29 Post contains images Aerofan : Used to like LHR for the variety of aircraft, now with the restrictions of hand luggage. I'm liking it less and less
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