London Heathrow’s New Terminal 2 Opens for Business

United Operates First Flight to Arrive at the Queen’s Terminal

By Paul Riegler on 4 June 2014
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United Airlines inaugurated London Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal Wednesday with tremendous fanfare.

The new terminal, which is one of the largest privately funded construction projects in the United Kingdom in recent history, will eventually bring all Star Alliance airlines under one roof.  It was designed to make the passenger experience “very British” according to its designers as for many in transit it may be their only encounter with the United Kingdom.

The first flight to arrive was United Flight 958, a Boeing 767 that left Chicago-O’Hare International Airport at 4:08 p.m. local time on Tuesday and arrived at gate 38B at 5:49 a.m.

United’s operations at Heathrow were previously split between Terminals 1 and 4.

Passengers at a check-in kiosk in the new terminal

Passengers at a check-in kiosk in the new terminal

The new terminal is designed to make travel more pleasant for passengers.  Its open and airy design is welcoming and passengers are greeted by a multitude of self-service kiosks, luggage drop-off counters, and full-service check-in desks.  A passenger can check in for any flight departing from Terminal 2 using any kiosk, something airport officials told Frequent Business Traveler is a world first.

The security checkpoint features deeper lanes that are designed to allow passengers to move through the checkpoint relatively quickly.  Immediately after security is what could be called a re-composure area, where passengers can gather their belongings before continuing on to the gate or a lounge.

Among its many amenities, T2 hosts a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, the Perfectionists’ Café, which, despite the chef’s Michelin stars, serves breakfast for a very reasonable nine quid.  It will cater to travelers who have time for a leisurely meal as well as those in a rush to catch a flight.  London Brewer Fuller Smith & Turner, which is rumored to have a pipeline from T2 to the brewery, which isn’t far from the airport, is opening up a pub called London Pride that is bound to attract weary travelers.  The terminal even has a branch of the John Lewis department store.

The covered courtyard is the setting for Slipstream, a 230-foot (70-meter) work of art.  Created by artist Richard Wilson, it is intended to evoke the imagined flight path of a Zivko Edge 540 stunt plane.  The artist stated that it is a way of “transferring the thrill of the air show to the architectural environment of an international air terminal” and serves as a “metaphor for travel.”  The size of a Boeing 747, with a weight of 77 tons (77,000 kilograms), it is the largest permanent sculpture in Europe.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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