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Heathrow to open Terminal 3 on 1st June – but only for ‘red list’ arrivals

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Heathrow Airport has announced that Terminal 3 will be reopening on 1st June.

This isn’t, as you may expect, to allow Virgin Atlantic and Delta to move back home. Instead, it is to offer a dedicated arrivals facility for passengers returning from ‘red list’ countries.

These arrivals are obliged to undertake 10 days supervised hotel quarantine after arrival.

Heathrow Terminal 3 forecourt

A Heathrow spokesperson said:

“Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates. We’re adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility in Terminal 3 from 1 June for red list passengers arriving on direct flights. We will move this facility to Terminal 4 as soon as operationally possible.

“While opening this facility will be very challenging logistically, our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list.”

Heathrow has given little indication so far on how this will work. It is not clear if aircraft will depart and arrive from Terminal 3, just arrive into Terminal 3, or indeed arrive into Terminals 2 and 5 as usual with passengers bussed to Terminal 3 for processing. The latter two options appear most likely.

Once Terminal 4 has reopened, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines can move back into Terminal 3. This would relieve some of the pressure that will build on Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 as passenger numbers increase.

This move also means, of course, that no British Airways or American Airlines flights will be returning to Terminal 3 in the short term.

Comments (27)

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  • John says:

    Arrived into LHR from Doha yesterday and now in Quarantine at HMP Sofitel T5. Although QR still fly at least 3 daily flights to LHR, they are empty to position for the outbound flights. Flew to Helsinki in order to cram on to an EMB190 full of (mainly amber I guess) passengers and this is supposedly safer? Then bussed around the exotic industrial estate landscape of Hillingdon for nearly 2 hours. Both fully vaccinated (and I get the reality that doesn’t eliminate risk) but that isn’t a factor. If we were Americans I guess we could now lick windows or even each other? I suspect after 10……sorry….. 12 days in this room with no external view window, our tongues will be smooth and the windows will be exceptionally clean! 🤦‍♂️

    • WaynedP says:

      Thanks @John

      I’d be interested to receive regular updates of your experience, especially to know if decent working is possible on hotel wifi.

      Am facing same at end of July

    • TC says:

      ” If we were Americans I guess we could now lick windows or even each other? ”


  • Pawel says:

    at T4 baggage system have some undergoing work, so I think is main reason for delay.
    AA and BA flights will move in next phase after Delta and Virgin to T3, before over airlines so it’s not long time…
    Easier is BUS some people to T3 than move airplane. On this flights and extra 1650 pound for hotel I don’t see even 1/4 full flights…

  • Josch C says:

    Another ‘crowd pleaser’ from the Home Office rather than thought out?
    Red people will still arrive at the other terminals after transiting other countries, and border staff will just be spread more thinly between more terminals and all queues end u longer.
    Great headline I’m sure, but unworkably stupid in reality. You could n’t make it up. You’d think the home office had lost all its experienced civil servants due to bullying or something… er, hang on….

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