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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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  • John Pepper says:

    O/T: I have referred my wife for a Amex Gold card (I hold a Plat). Is the best way to maximise points for her to hit the spend target, then upgrade to a Plat and then add on some supplementary cards to her Plat?

    • Ben says:

      Hi John,

      Yes, thats exacly what im doing right now (im also referring other people to try and maximize the referrals. ie BA free card for the MRS and SPG for uncle!

  • Peter says:

    If changing money at Heathrow using Travelex you get a better rate if you’re a Heathrow Rewards holder and pre book via the special link. Not sure if this combines with Avios or not

  • Vasco Alves says:

    OT, but there’s been reports online that a change to the Avios scheme is due to be announced imminently (as in this week), probably to include dynamic pricing, but possibly anything else. Anyone has heard anything more definite on this?

    • Rob says:

      Nope. If it is the same as the Flying Blue dynamic pricing change announced yesterday then it is nothing to fuss about – standard redemptions remain but after that, instead of seeing no availability, you are offered seats based on the cash price x 0.6p per point.

      • Vasco Alves says:

        Indeed, I wasn’t too fussed about that particularly either, if the Flying Blue model were to be followed. I’m more worried they’ll also follow Flying Blue in changing to revenue based earning, though. That’s my real concern.

        • Rob says:

          You mean you don’t find getting 16 Avios for a flight attractive?! (Given that the base fare on a one-way out of Heathrow in Y is usually about £4).

        • Vasco Alves says:

          Surprisingly enough, no, not unless they cut the value needed for redemptions by a couple of orders of magnitude, at least. 🙂

  • Yuff says:

    OT: just to add to the discussion yesterday about the 5k MR bonus for platinum supplementary card.
    I spoke to Amex via phone, and chat, yesterday and was told I couldn’t have the bonus, I needed the supplementary card so applied anyway – 5k bonus has appeared on the account this morning 🙂

  • Adam says:

    OT: surveys doing the rounds at the moment asking for feedback on a new M&S loyalty scheme. Earn redeemable points on all purchases but points could be redeemed for avios or Marriott hotels.

    • Genghis says:

      Interesting. I think Sparks is one of the most useless schemes going. Last time I checked I saw I had 35k points and whilst it it useful for advanced access to sales, this only requires 5k points IIRC. Still – Still I’m rather loyal to M&S even without a good scheme…

      • RussellH says:

        Totally agree about Sparks.

        On the few occasions that I go to M+S and they ask for my Sparks card I tell them, politely, that I found it totally useless as there was nothing that I could use the points for. I did actually cancel the account so that I could tell them that.

        Maybe the message has got through?

    • Rob says:

      I would be very surprised if Tesco allowed that. Marriott would be interesting but they have few UK hotels.

  • Andrew says:

    I was one of the “pretend passengers” they had in for the early trials.

    Still have the gift bag somewhere.

  • Simon Johnson says:

    The Travelex link doesn’t work. Any idea why?

    • Rob says:

      If you get a ‘Your session has expired’ message, ignore it – you can fill in your order details in the box below it. If it is still playing up then visit the Travelex page on which has a box where you can plug in what you need.

  • Andi F says:

    The opening of T5 went pretty smoothly when you compare it to Berlin Brandenburg – The German capital’s new airport which was due to open in 2011 and now won’t be open until 2020 at the earliest. German efficiency in action. I fly in to TXL regularly and the difference between T5 and Tegel is stark. Both TXL and SXF were due to close in 2011 and so have not been properly updated or refurbished since. Both are struggling to cope with the current passenger demand. So yes it took BA and Heathrow two weeks to get up to speed, but at least they opened on time – which wouldn’t have been the case if they’d actually waited for the contractors to leave the car park/completed proper testing and staff training etc.

    • John says:

      Good, I hope BER never opens as TXL is extremely convenient despite the “lack of updates”.

      Speaking of new airports let’s see whether MCT (next week) and IST (supposedly end Oct 2018) actually open on time.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        I’ve not been to TXL since Air Berlin folded but I’m guessing one positive in that otherwise bad situation is TXL won’t be as busy (or has some other airline taken over all the routes?)

        As Templehof is already closed they should keep TXL open as it really is convenient if you think of it a bit like LCY and don’t get there too early you can get a taxi to drop you off outside your gate.

        On arriving at TXL baggage reclaim takes forever (can’t remember it being that slow before 2011) but go hand baggage only and you can be from the plane onto a taxi even quicker than arriving at LCY.

        I also find Berlin taxis to be reasonably priced so don’t care about the lack of a train into the city. I also tried the bus last year and that was fine and very cheap.

        • Lumma says:

          They had a referendum in Berlin at the same time as the main election asking if they should keep TXL open after the new one opens. The public voted to keep it open but they said they’re gonna close it anyway

        • Doug M says:

          I think TXL will remain in some form. BER even unopened has insufficient capacity. Don’t the Germans joke if you want German efficiency you get the Swiss to do it.

        • RussellH says:

          Tegel may be fine for travellers, but it cannot be much fun for the 300 000 people living next door! And it was a non-binding referendum. It would be intersting to see a breakdown of the result by Stadtteil.

          And there are some odd things about that article at – no mention of Munich Airport, which is LH’s second international hub; far more important than Hamburg or Düsseldorf. And why on earth it metions Dresden – it was just as quiet last summer as it was ten years ago, even though there are vast numbers of tourists in the city now..

          Then the idea that Bavaria is the manufacturing heartland of Germany (someone has been reading too many BMW ads probably) – I think that the Burgers of Stuttgart and the surrounding area might have something to say about that.

        • Lumma says:

          Non binding referendum? But what about the will of the Berlin people?

        • RussellH says:

          Is there not a smiley missing there – “will of the people”???

          And I suspect that that might change drastically if a plane were to land on a house on approach, or stall on take-off after a bird strike.

        • Lumma says:

          If it didn’t come across, yes I was being sarcastic there

    • RussellH says:

      In my business days 80% of what I did was with Germany – all over the country. Some colleagues from other firms used to make comments along the lines of “How wonderful to be able to work with Germans – so efficient.”
      My reply was always some thing like “They are people; some or good, some are bad.” TBH I cannot remember many bad business partners – they would not have lasted long in business if they had been bad – certainly they should not have done! There was one seriously useless Austrian firm that I dealt with for a few months – they were quite large and still going when I sold up. I was surprised to find Austrians significantly harder to deal with that Germans, though.

    • Andi F says:

      I lived in Germany for a year a while back and pretty much every experience I had was a counter-argument to those who rave about German efficiency. I’m sure friends and colleagues had other experiences but I will be forever sceptical about the concept thanks to that.

      As for TXL, I agree it’s convenient. The worse thing you could do would be leave early for the airport. Usually I get a taxi to the door and head into the cattle pen beyond security as late as possible. Whilst I understand Frankfurt and Munich are bigger markets in Gemrnay, TXL is not an airport fit for the capital city of the largest EU economy.

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