Virtual Tour: London Heathrow’s New Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal

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ARRIVALS AND PASSPORT CONTROL

Finally, for arriving passengers, the terminal’s design should make clearing passport control and customs quick work.  There is one arrivals hall for international passengers and it’s large, well lit, and has excellent signage.

Ten gates with facial-recognition facilities can be used by holders of EU passports (having used these at other Heathrow terminals I can vouch for their efficiency) as well as Fast Track lanes for premium passengers from some but not all of the airlines at T2.

The terminal’s baggage system is designed to reduce the time it takes to reunite the traveler with his belongings and, if he’s parked at Heathrow, he can proceed directly to the car as the car park is on the same level.

BENEFITS

Having passed through the old Terminal 2 on numerous occasions, it’s clear to this writer that the new Queen’s Terminal will win over passengers rather quickly.  For those with connecting flights, there’s a fairly short distance to go and that’s why the T2 minimum connection time is a scant 60 minutes.  Having all Star Alliance carriers under one roof (instead of the current three roofs) will make for better handling of irregular operations and service disruptions.DSC_0320

For frequent flyers, it’s clear that the terminal was designed with special services and benefits in mind. These include priority security screening lanes, priority baggage claim, Fast Track, and priority boarding.  Once through security, passengers can relax in one of the four lounges.

BOTTOM LINE

Several Heathrow officials informed me that the terminal was designed to make sure people can “catch planes quickly” which is not of course a novel idea. Unfortunately, this idea does seem to have taken a back seat to other concerns many airports today.

John Holland, Heathrow’s development director, told me that Heathrow is going through a cultural transformation intended to put the passenger in control of his journey, something that is happening through an increase in both automation and self service.  Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, is the first expression of this transformation and my visit to the terminal reinforces this philosophy.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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