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Have you walked the tunnel between Heathrow T5, T5B and T5C?

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A reader reminded me this week that we haven’t talked about the ‘secret’ tunnel between the three parts of Heathrow Terminal 5 for a long time – four years to be precise.

This is a good time to mention it again, because British Airways has recently re-opened the Galleries lounge in Terminal 5B. Open between Thursdays and Mondays inclusive, it is easily the quietest of the BA lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5. Our last review of the British Airways lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 5B satellite is here.

When travelling between the main building in Terminal 5 and Terminal 5B or 5C, you are likely to take the train. You may also find yourself taking the train from 5B to 5C if you have a 5C departure and are using the Galleries Terminal 5B lounge.

You don’t need to take the train, however.

Max Burgess Molly Burgess

If you press the bottom button in the lift in 5A, 5B or 5C then you go below the level of the transit train and into this tunnel.  It has travelators so the walk is surprisingly quick.

The photo above is from 2017 and shows my gang. The photos below were sent by a reader this week.

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 tunnel


Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 tunnel

and (someone has clearly decided to liven up the walls to make the tunnel less intimidating!):

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 tunnel

It can often be just as fast to walk, since you are not waiting around for the train. When the train does arrive, it takes a minute or two for passengers to unload first anyway. By the time it is ready to board you can be halfway down the tunnel and well on your way to the lounge.

As the coments pointed out, using the tunnel is also the ONLY way to get from Terminal 5B to Terminal 5 to take a flight. You might do this if you decide to use the quieter lounge in 5B. Taking the train from T5B to the main building drops you at immigration and you cannot get back to the departure gates.

The tunnel is also a good way to stretch your legs before sitting for many hours on a long haul flight. Give it a go and see what you think.


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Comments (62)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Neil says:

    Very randomly almost did this 30 minutes ago as pressed the ‘wrong’ button in the lift. Went back up and took the shuttle!

  • planeconcorde says:

    Yes. When on arrival at 5C the shuttle trains were out of operation. Obviously, in the tunnel for arriving passengers, no moving walkways at the time.

  • FLYGVA says:

    I usually walk – one the one hand exercising before getting stucked in a plane for several hours is a nice change. And even if my flights departs from T5A, I walked in my BA Silver days back to the lounge in T5B. Usually the shower list was much shorter.

    Unfortunately, I was never allowed if arriving in T5B to use the immigration and security check point there unlike passengers on my flight with connections from T5B. I always was directed back to the main concourse for connection in T5A.

  • Ian says:

    The walk is “surprisingly quick”. That tells me nothing. How many minutes, roughly?

    • Kwisstan says:

      Quickest I’ve done it from T5C was 8 minutes, but I was on a bet with someone on the shuttle. Normally takes around 5 minutes from T5B and 10 from T5C. That assumes the travellators are working. Walking speed is relative though

      There are signs at start giving I think 15 minutes and 25 minutes as the timings. (This is from memory, and they have been there before they fitted the travellators)

      • Kwisstan says:

        Just checked a photo I have of the sign at T5B. States 10 minutes to Arrivals/T5A connections

      • jj says:

        Did it from T5C in the summer. Didn’t time it, but we arrived at border control a minute or two ahead of fellow passengers who opted for the tunnel.

        So, based on my experience, there is very little time to be saved or lost by walking; it really all depends on whether you fancy the exercise. Being fit and healthy, I would always walk by preference.

  • David S says:

    We arrived back in T5 last week. Only one train running and almost a ten minute wait for it. Aren’t they driverless and automated ? Queues were heaving when it arrived- we felt it was the most unsafe part of our whole journey from a Covid perspective. Will use the tunnel in future now we know about it

    • Kwisstan says:

      The shuttles are automated, but the journey times are manipulated to manage passenger numbers at border control.

  • KTj says:

    I always use the “secret tunnel” (and have made reluctant colleagues travelling with me use it too (LOL)). I like it as its quiet – so it’s quite a pleasant way to get between gates in a hectic airport.

  • riku says:

    it is only “secret” in the daily mail website story sense of the word because the signs in the lifts clearly show which button to press to get to the walkway. It’s not as if you press an unlabelled button to get to the walkway level.

  • hhibs says:

    Now if we only had some useful hints and short cuts for Schiphol.

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