Several British Airways Heathrow Routes Will Now Depart From Terminal 3

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways’ home at Heathrow Airport is Terminal 5, which is one of the nicer terminals at Heathrow (which, admittedly, isn’t saying a whole lot).

London Heathrow Terminal 5

While a majority of their flights depart from Terminal 5, they also have some departures out of Terminal 3.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-London - 11
London Heathrow Terminal 3

New BA routes departing from Terminal 3

As of October 14, 2015 (tomorrow), several British Airways longhaul departures will arrive at/depart from Terminal 3. These include the following destination:

  • Accra, Ghana
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Denver, USA
  • Las Vegas, USA
  • Miami, USA
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Phoenix, USA
  • Vancouver, Canada

As you can see, all these new routes departing from Terminal 3 are to Africa and North America. Interestingly the London Heathrow to Vancouver route will be operated by an A380 as of May 2016, which as far as I know will make that the first British Airways A380 route to depart from Terminal 3 (that of course assumes that the Vancouver departure out of Terminal 3 isn’t temporary).


What are the implications of the terminal change?

Heathrow has to be one of the most poorly designed airports in the world, so the most obvious implication is that you’ll want to allow extra time if connecting between terminals. Even transfers within Terminal 5 can take quite some time, though they’ll only get longer when having to transfer between terminals, as that requires taking the not-so-convenient Heathrow connector bus.


Beyond that, this also changes the lounge situation.

Terminal 5 has British Airways’ “flagship” lounges, including:

British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow

Meanwhile Terminal 3 has the following lounges:

Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge London Heathrow

While I’m not a huge fan of the Concorde Room, there’s no denying that this is a pretty big lounge downgrade for British Airways first class passengers. Furthermore, the Terminal 3 British Airways lounges aren’t anywhere near as modern as those in Terminal 5.

Bottom line

While I wouldn’t change travel over this, it is something to be aware of. All else being equal I’d certainly rather fly British Airways out of Terminal 5 than out of Terminal 3.

  1. Another disincentive to fly DEN – LHR. Heathrow is already a mess, I’m not sure why they pull 747 service to T3. The transfer buses and overall process at LHR is tough after an overnight flight and running to catch an onward flight to T5.

    Moral of the story, don’t connect in London.

  2. “as well as some departures out of Terminal 1 (given that they took over British Midland).”

    Terminal 1 closed on June 29, 2015, all flights were moved to Terminals 3 and 5. I was actually on a flight out of Terminal 1 in early May, by that point they were down to something like 12 flights a day. Complete ghost town, never seen anything like it at a major airport.

    Some of the gates at Terminal 1 will stay in place and be integrated into the Terminal 2 expansion.

  3. You’re absolutely right! LHR has got to be one of the worst designed airports. I transferred from T4 to T5 a couple of days ago using their Hopper bus (5 pounds in cash), which took 15 minutes and then had to walk and take a train within T5. What a mess!

  4. @PM you have to pay to get transport to another terminal? Just confirms what I already think of Brits. What a disaster

  5. Been flying BA for 20 years or so….T5 was built with the idea to move/operate of ALL BA flights under one roof…what lie that has become…I am a FQTV with BA on the Accra route so now we are being downgraded to a sub standard terminal (at their main hub) of an airline which believe itself to be the worlds favorite airline…changing terminals between T3 and T5 is a nightmare and by bus (compare it to a rush hour trip on London Transport – busses being filled to maximum capacity – shoulder to shoulder – what a great way to travel for premium passengers).
    Unfortunately no competition on the route so no alternative , and that is exactly why BA know they will get away with it.

  6. Don’t forget the inter-european routes that BA offers out of T3! For example, I flew BA from T3 over the summer to Prague. This is VERY useful for those who prefer to fly to London on American Airlines (which operates out of T3) but need to make connecting flights.

  7. If you’re in a hurry here are some suggestions for T-5: For transit between T-5A and T-5B&C use the elevators instead of the escalators. You’ll notice that airline crew does this, which is how I learned this trick. Number two, is ask for help. Using my best manners I’ve been given great service and assistance. If you’re really late they’ll also sometimes give you FastTrack access at security.

  8. @PM Flight transfers between Heathrow terminals is operated by the free Heathrow connection buses. Follow the purple signs for connections and you’ll find the bus that takes you directly to the terminal you need:

    This is a better experience than doing an international connection in the US. In the US, even if you are flying onto a third country, you are still required to pass through immigration and customs, and then re-check-in before proceeding to departures. This is such a waste of time and frequently an unpleasant experience.

  9. Even when transferring landside you don’t need to pay for the Hoppa bus. You can take the Heathrow Connect spur between T4 and T2/3 for free, and then change to the Heathrow Express between T2/3 and T5 for free.

  10. Even when transferring landside you don’t need to pay for the Hoppa bus. You can take either the 482 or 490 bus for free (London buses run free within the Heathrow precinct).

  11. I cringed when I read BA’s announcement a few weeks ago. I’m flying into T3 on AA First and now will ‘enjoy’ that many more wide-body aircraft emptying thousands of additional (appx. 2,400) pax to the already shambolic T3 immigration que. Aside from T5, LHR is and will remain a 1940s cobbled-together disaster for passengers.Thankfully I’m not connecting.

  12. I hate connecting in Heathrow with a passion. If you have to change terminals to make your connecting flight, give yourself A LOT of time. It took me 1:45 to transfer from T5 to T3 on my last trip and damn nearly missed my flight home. I don’t understand why they make everyone go through security again when you connect and you are airside the whole time.

  13. I think a number of the flights being moved to T3 are operated by 747s where F is sold as CW, so not really a massive downgrade in terms of lounge offerings.

    I never quite understood the intense hatred people have towards connecting at LHR. Is it the best airport to transit through? Absolutely not. However, I think there are many worse airports to connect through with far poorer lounge offerings (JFK–and pretty much any US airport–comes to mind).

  14. I did this transfer a couple times for BA flights in the past year and it pretty much reminds me of what connecting on BA was like pre-T5. I thought the whole point of spending billions on T5 was to bring all BA under one roof so it’s disappointing to see them adding routes to the list that will depart out of remote terminals. I am really optimistic about the possibilities of Aer Lingus rejoining OneWorld and creating a new option for OneWorld connections to Europe. I know BA will figure out a way to add on their ridiculous “fuel surcharges” as quickly as possible but any option that gets me to Europe on OneWorld without passing through London is an improvement.

  15. Have flown out of T3 a few times in the last few weeks and noticed that the BA lounges were being renovated… Perhaps they’re upgrading as part of these changes. Fingers crossed!

  16. I washouts about to book a T5 car park for a February trip to Vancouver when I spotted this. Can I ask you Ben, have BA given any credible reason for doing this??

  17. The main reason for this change is that T5 is vastly overcrowded. With all of the *A carriers moving to T2, BA now has a lot more space at T3. So if anything it will make T5 more pleasant for others, though I’m annoyed as my primary BA route is via PHX.

  18. I just my book my ticket and noticed this change. LHR to MIA. What a complete bummer. I did a tour of the T5 Terminal and lounges in may. My wife has never been in T5. And I hate switching terminals in Heathrow. It is a COMPLETE nightmare. Wait for the bus, etc etc

  19. I am really disappointed that all cape town flights with BA is now leaving from Terminal 3… After using BA since 2008 rom Terminal 5.. I will certainly be reviewing my options…I think this stinks.

  20. Been flying BA since It was BOAC over 55 years now .time to change to another Carrier.
    I would rather be inconvenienced by Lufthansa and go to Frankfurt and then Vancouver than to go to T3
    What a stupid move from BA , they would lose most of their customers to KLM, Lufthansa and Air France.
    That’s fine I suppose

  21. 13.12 flying BA209 to Miami in F what a shock the lounge is. It looks like one of these sub standards multi airlines one. Well I paid 2.5kgbp for my flight a few month ago (still T5) at that time I pity whoever paid the 7k it was a few weeks ago…. The transfer was quick (9am) but the lounge is a shocker. I usually fly the ME3 so thinking this is the lounge for the national airline in its main terminal shows not much commitment to F passengers. Won’t be back. Hope the plane will be better but after the shower & the suites & caviar & 500gbp bottes of alcool served in Emirates F I have some apprehension…

  22. I am flying in BA First from Dubai arriving at Terminal 5 and departing in BA First to Phoenix out of Terminal 3. Is there a way I can still use the Concorde Room in Terminal 5? Is there a way I can either stay within Terminal 5 until I am ready to go to Terminal 3, or go to Terminal 3, take a bus to Terminal 5, and then go back to Terminal 3 closer to my departure time for Phoenix? I have an 8 hour layover.

  23. I’m flying Dublin to JFK and only have 90 minutes to get from T5 to T3… Any tips please?! Also if I don’t make it, will I be put on next available flight (booked directly through airline)…

  24. Yep – Rand’s comment requires not more examination and would love to know the deeper meaning but if you can’t work out there are multiple free connections then case closed.

    Ben – I’d like to know the logic behind BA’s strategy for moving those particular flights? I would have thought Vancouver and Miami would have a reasonable amount of onward connectivity? Or is it a case of drawing a short straw and availability of 380 stands at LHR?

    I’ve no idea what it’s like to connect but I really like the fact that euro flights at T5 are at the main terminal and it is unbelievably quick to get into and out of the terminal for those flights. The outer terminal connection trains are horrible and that’s where it goes wrong for me. Most of my experiences at T5 have been very good and I think it’s one of the best terminals I have experienced globally. Anyone commenting from the U.S. has got a cheek. The pits for airport experiences across the cities. Well SFO was pleasant but that’s it.

    And as for flying to Vancouver via Frankfurt if Lon is your home city. I can only comment on the economy experience but that seems a nonsense to me unless based on cost. Spending anymore time than necessary in a aluminium tube which will have an identical seating layout doesn’t make sense. Unless Lufthansa happen to fly a 2-4-2 config on that route?

  25. Just FYI, the Cathay Pacific Lounge in T3 is very good. Far superior to any BA lounge. They have very nice shower suites, a full service bar, much better food (including full English breakfast until 12 noon), champagne and the infamous Cathay Pacific noodle bar. I haven’t seen the Cathay First section, but the Business Class lounge is probably the best business class lounge in London. Great views too!

  26. I have not yet had a bad expierience at heathrow, it was very crowded in terminal 2 when flying to bankok and on to chiang mai wich ive been doing on a fairly regular basis as i live in thailand,although crowded and full of rather confused travellers, the staff where more than helpful, in helping me to do the self service check in and ti find my reserved seat! i know it would be nice if heathrow could be entirely rebuilt from scratch ,but im afraid thats not going to happen, the trouble is the mord that they will try and improve it ,it will become even more bitty and tact on, too late now really!!

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