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Heathrow Terminal 5 is 10 years old tomorrow

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Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the 10th anniversary of the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5.

Anyone who was caught up in the opening has hopefully got over the trauma by now.  The plan was to do an overnight ‘big bang’ move from Terminal 1 and Terminal 4, but a lack of testing meant that the new terminal could not cope with the volume of passengers.

To celebrate, Heathrow is doing some fun stuff:

Check-in 6am to 9pm:  We’re building a Lego birthday card for Terminal 5 and we’d love it if you could help us. And there’s a free birthday biscuit for every passenger who takes part. When finished, the giant model (based on our 10th anniversary logo) will stand 2m tall by 2m wide. It will go on display over the Easter school holidays in our Lego activity area (departure lounge, Gate Level, near Boots and Travelex). We’ll also post a timelapse video of the construction.

Departure lounge 10am to 4pm:  It’s not a party without music, and we’ve booked a unique act to sing Happy Birthday to Terminal 5. The iPhonics are a brilliant roaming band, performing current hits and old-school anthems in beatboxing style, accompanied by acoustic guitar. Hear the result when barbershop music meets the modern age.

We’re sharing the love on our big day by offering discounts and gifts at a whole bunch of Terminal 5 shops and restaurants. More details are our special offers page.

Comments (60)

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  • Luke says:

    Amex seems very serious about improving global acceptance. In Canada they just halved their merchant fees for small businesses for those using Chase as their payment processor. The fact they now have Optblue where AmEx is bundled in with VS and MC helps as well.

  • Paul says:

    The terminal moves 10 years ago actually went really well and there was no issue with capacity.

    The primary issues were that the designated car parks for staff were still occupied by contractors. So when staff arrived for work there was no where to park leading to congestion on the perimeter road. No contingency was in place to deal with this. (During the run up to the move there had been a lot of upset that BA would not allow any staff of any grade or length of service to use the T5 shorthaul car park. So long serving staff and even management grades found they had an extra 20-30 minutes of travel time at the start and end of every day! And on day one that they could actually park at all)

    Next up was the fact that no testing of interline baggage had been done and the T5 system was unable to recognise bags from non BA flights. Consequently the baggage storage facility filled rapidly and, with few staff available to intervene, came to s shuddering halt.

    The first flight arrived from HKG to much fanfare and there was similar fanfare when the first departure to Paris left on time……..till someone pointed out it had done so with about 10 bags on board!

    The “perfect storm” of issues that day won’t be forgotten by anyone involved and especially not by the 2 BA directors who fell on their swords at the time.

    BA rightly were criticised for the disaster which then unfolded but a lot of the blame lay with Heathrow Airport who dodged much of the criticism as they do often do.

    The fact that a few short weeks later the operation was running at levels of punctuality never seen before at BA was testament to the years of planning and fundamentall changes BA had introduced as a result of the move.

    • TT says:

      Great job but great shame they were two weeks late, unacceptable for a project like that! Great terminal now, love traveling through now.

  • Mark says:

    I was commuting weekly to Berlin at the time T5 opened and found it more convenient and quicker than T1. Apart from the week of opening and I had departed from (and parked at) T1 and arrived back at T5 on the Friday, to find no easy way of getting from T5 to T1. Seems like they could have thought that out a bit better.

  • Roger says:


    Any luck with AMEX MR to IB+?

    • Rob says:

      My transfer is still in progress. Slow ….

      • Lawro says:

        Mine’s gone through. Sent Sat 11 pm received this morning approx 3 am. Just the transferred amount received so far.
        For those who commented previously about receiving the 20% – did it post alongside the regular miles or in a separate transaction?

        • KevMc says:

          The bonus was added 7 days after the transfer date. I transferred on 2nd and bonus added on 9th

    • Yuff says:

      What bonus is this?

      • Rob says:

        20% bonus on Amex transfers to Iberia BUT it is meant to be Spanish Amex cards only.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Tomorrow is 10 years since the Queen opened the terminal, the real opening (and the issues around it) were still to come.

    I remember at the time Heathrow Express used to show ‘Express Facts’ on the TV screens (they should bring it back) but when T5 opened they changed all their facts for a while to have a T5 theme. Some of the facts displayed were about how amazing the T5 baggage system was.

  • SteveQB says:

    T5 actually opened on 27th March, that is the day flights first went from the terminal, and that is the day that there were planes leaving without hold luggage to make sure they actually got away. At the time I usually flew to Amsterdam from Gatwick, but changed to LHR for the opening day. That was a mistake!

    • Rob says:

      Perhaps that’s why they have chosen to focus on 10 years since the Queen opened it!

  • Rob says:

    The Marriott deal is the old SPG deal. The Hilton deal is a revamp of the old Hilton deal. Neither even begins to make up for the loss of Costco which was 10% of the global business.

  • Chrisp says:

    OT But following Rob’s advice the other day I’ve applied for a Curve Card but it gave me an option to link it to my BAEC Amex Card which it accepted. Surely, this isn’t right, or can it now be linked again? As another option I could have linked it to my Paypal account which is paid by my BAEC Amex Card. Is this another way of collecting BA Avios from merchants who don’t accept AMEX, or am I being too devious? Ha anyone else had a similar experience?

    • Polly says:

      Wow..say nothing could be a glitch..let’s see if others get this offer. Seems too good to be true…but amazing news if true. The PayPal link good too!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Are you sure this wasn’t for payment for the black card rather than linking it to your account?

      Ive never seen an option to link my AMEX/PayPal account in the curve app and I can’t see it now.

      • Chrisp says:

        Ah, now you have me wondering. I thought it was too good to be true but watch this space!

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