London Heathrow Terminal 3 & Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Reopening July 15

London Heathrow Terminal 3 & Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Reopening July 15

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Global aviation is (very slowly) healing…

London Heathrow Terminal 3 reopening

The pandemic has hit the travel industry in the United Kingdom hard, given that we’ve seen a mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers from most countries. This has greatly reduced demand for air travel, and has also caused Heathrow Airport to shut down some terminals to conserve cash.

We’ll finally see part of that undone. It has been announced that London Heathrow Terminal 3 will be reopening as of July 15, 2021. The terminal has been closed for over a year, and is home to Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines (which have operated out of Terminal 2 during the closure).

Virgin Atlantic is returning to Heathrow Terminal 3

With Terminal 3 reopening, Delta and Virgin Atlantic passengers can look forward to once again using the terminal’s signature amenities, ranging from the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, to the Revivals Lounge, to the Upper Class Wing.

While American Airlines also historically operated out of Terminal 3, the airline now operates out of British Airways’ home in Terminal 5, and that will continue to be the case. Pre-pandemic there were already plans for American to make that move, and the pandemic only moved forward that timeline.

American now operates out of Heathrow Terminal 5

This comes as UK lifts coronavirus restrictions

The reopening of Heathrow Terminal 3 comes just days before the UK’s “Freedom Day” (July 19), which will see most coronavirus restrictions lifted. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had an address yesterday during which he explained that the country would end coronavirus-related restrictions, as people should learn to live with the virus, despite rising case numbers.

As it impacts aviation, this means face masks will no longer be required at airports or on airplanes per government regulations, though individual airlines can still mandate the use of masks (and likely will, given that other countries haven’t similarly lifted restrictions).

Rather oddly, despite the UK basically calling for an end to coronavirus restrictions, the current “traffic light” system remains in place for travel rules. As of now a quarantine will still be required for entering the UK, unless you’re entering from a “green list” country. This applies even if you’re fully vaccinated.

While Terminal 3 reopening is good news, I know the aviation industry is really rooting for travel restrictions to be lifted, particularly between the US and UK. However, last week it was reported that we shouldn’t expect these restrictions to be lifted before the end of the summer, at least not on a reciprocal basis.

The UK’s travel restrictions are remaining in place for now

Bottom line

London Heathrow Terminal 3 will be reopening as of July 15, 2021, clearly showing that a gradual recovery in air travel demand is expected soon. Virgin Atlantic and Delta passengers should be happy about this, since they’ll be able to enjoy better ground services. Virgin Atlantic is no doubt suffering more than British Airways, given that the former carrier only operates long haul flights, which are the last to recover post-pandemic.

The reopening of another terminal at Heathrow comes just ahead of the UK lifting most coronavirus restrictions, with the exception of travel restrictions (which is kind of a major detail for airlines).

What do you make of Heathrow Terminal 3 reopening, and when do you think the UK’s travel restrictions will be eased?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Dee Jones

    We are booked to fly to Florida with United from Heathrow 14th August. So far we havent a clue uf restrictions between USA and the UK will be lifted in time. We are all vaccinated and really cant see why they cant open the borders up, if it was to stop the delta variant it hasn't worked as they have it there.

  2. Michaela Williams

    I'm flying to Prague with British Airways on 7th Aug and apparently flying from Terminal 3.
    How odd, have expected it to be T5.

    1. Cosmo

      In Reply: BA has always had some destinations which operate out of Terminal 3, there isn't enough capacity at Terminal 5

      Generally: Having different rules for international arrivals vs domestically makes sense, as it prevents the importation of new variants. However, the traffic light system is changing for the fully vaccinated anyway.

  3. Jim Rydell

    I am traveling thru LHR in early September, arriving on AA non atop from Seattle & connecting on Iberia to Madrid. I have read a lot about the restrictions but for in transit passenger the requirements are still vague. I assume one wouldn’t have to quarantine yet it’s not clear. I also saw some saying one has to have a PCR negative test (regardless of having the vaccine) but others say one doesn’t even have...

    I am traveling thru LHR in early September, arriving on AA non atop from Seattle & connecting on Iberia to Madrid. I have read a lot about the restrictions but for in transit passenger the requirements are still vague. I assume one wouldn’t have to quarantine yet it’s not clear. I also saw some saying one has to have a PCR negative test (regardless of having the vaccine) but others say one doesn’t even have to have the PCR test for in transit passengers. Does anyone know the clear requirements as of now even though I’m traveling in September? Thanks!

  4. JW

    Has there been any change to the requirement for pre flight testing even when just connecting through Heathrow?

  5. Mandrillo

    What about American admirals club and flagship lounge? Are they disappearing?

  6. Colin Josling

    I used to work at terminal 3 and I have always thought of it as the best of the 5 terminals. It has all the history which the others do not have.

  7. Afif

    Hope they’ll finally open the Centurion Lounge by then as well! Been looking forward since forever!

  8. Tom

    I don't know what the phrase "federal regulations" means in the context of this article, the UK does not have a federal government. Note also that it's not the whole of the UK dropping mask requirements on 19th July, it's England. I also personally wouldn't be commenting on whether the UK's travel rules are 'odd' or not with that in mind...

  9. ChrisC

    QF lounge is a long way off opening as QF aren’t flying to / From LHR and won’t be until next year.

    CX will depend on when they move back to T3.

  10. Jim romain

    How about terminal 4 when is that going to open up or is air Malta still going to use terminal 2 for the moment

    1. ChrisC

      T4 is being used to process Red country arrivals and won’t be open to departure until that ends,

  11. Sosie

    Thanks for sharing I only flu virgin atlantic in economy but since you opened me a whole new world to miles and points I can't wait to fly upper class and be able to check out the lounge

  12. Auke Frankena

    What about Cathay & Qantas?

  13. Stanley

    The most interesting aspects for oneworld travellers be is whether or not the excellent Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges will reopen. Finnair, JAL, CX and some BA flights used to operate from T3

Featured Comments Load all 15 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Cosmo

In Reply: BA has always had some destinations which operate out of Terminal 3, there isn't enough capacity at Terminal 5 Generally: Having different rules for international arrivals vs domestically makes sense, as it prevents the importation of new variants. However, the traffic light system is changing for the fully vaccinated anyway.

Dee Jones

We are booked to fly to Florida with United from Heathrow 14th August. So far we havent a clue uf restrictions between USA and the UK will be lifted in time. We are all vaccinated and really cant see why they cant open the borders up, if it was to stop the delta variant it hasn't worked as they have it there.

Michaela Williams

I'm flying to Prague with British Airways on 7th Aug and apparently flying from Terminal 3. How odd, have expected it to be T5.

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