Posts Tagged ‘Welcome to Britain’

Opinion – The national embarrasment that is LHR Terminal 3

August 30, 2010 1 comment

I had the misfortune to arrive back in the UK at LHR Terminal 3 on the Friday preceding this Bank Holiday weekend. Not good! I came in on a Singapore Airlines A380 with over 400 people onboard. The first problem we encountered was that only one airbridge was working or available – we never were told the reason. 

So 400 people duly waited until they could vacate the aircraft via the one available exit. Can you imagine just how long that took? 

Then came the grim experience of Heathrow’s Terminal 3; 

  • A long, long walk taking many, many minutes
  • Badly lit, even dim in places
  • Ceiling tiles missing exposing the service ducting
  • Worn, discoloured carpets
  • Long queues at immigration
  • Then – to cap it all – a 40 minute wait for bags (having already waited on the aircraft for a similar length of time!)

I was surrounded by various nationalities from the flight, some clearly on their first visit to Britain. What a welcome! 

BAA’s Terminal 3 really is a terrible advertisment for the UK. I was embarrassed by both the service levels and the surroundings which are overtly second-rate. Overall, T3 looks grubby and tired. 

Surely, BAA can do better than this? Yes, I know Heathrow now has Terminal 5 but unless you opt for the highly priced and often subject-to-industrial-action British Airways, you will not see the inside of LHR’s newest terminal. 

Visitors arriving on major world airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and others all come into the UK via T3. What they must think of their ‘welcome to Britain’ is anyone’s guess! 

By contrast, you only have to travel via Singapore’s bright, airy and efficient Changi airport to see how it can be done. After only 20 mins from touchdown, I’d cleared immigration, collected my bags and was in a cab en route into the city! 

My verdict on LHR Terminal 3? Truly a national embarassment. 

For my post on travelling with Singapore Airlines on the A380, see here: 

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