Ready for take-off? All you need to know about Heathrow’s Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5


Being the biggest airport serving not just London but the entire UK, Heathrow’s graced by a particularly boast-worthy four terminals, ensuring it’s used by more than 80 airlines to get a staggering 72 million people annually to 180 destinations worldwide. Sure, those statistics may make you head spin and Heathrow’s definitely a giant place, but they certainly shouldn’t make you feel daunted to fly into or out of the airport.

Which terminal should you use?
Be sure to keep abreast of Heathrow’s live departures and live arrivals so you know exactly which terminal to make for to catch your plane or which terminal you’ll be arriving at. Doing so should also keep you up to date, of course, with any delays, cancellations or other changes that may affect your flight – whether you’re journeying to the airport from afar or from a nearby stop, such as the Park Grand London Heathrow Gateway hotel.
All four terminals have universal things in common, such as the fact you ought to check-in a minimum three hours before take-off for an ‘international’ flight, a minimum two hours before take-off for a European flight and a minimum 90 minutes before take-off for a domestic flight. Also, boarding tends to start about 45 minutes before departure (check with your airline, though) and self-service check-in’s available at every terminal. Moreover, all terminals offer family-friendly facilities (play areas), executive lounges, assistance for those with disabilities and mobility issues and, of course, a vast array of restaurants, bars and shops.

Terminal 1
… closed permanently at the end of June last year.

Terminal 2
Also known now as ‘The Queen’s Terminal’ (simply essential Heathrow terminals information, no?), the airport’s very first recently joined Terminal 5 in serving domestic, as well as international, flights, but mostly deals with European ones. Airlines it serves include Air Canada, Air China, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.

Terminal 3
Dating all the way back to 1961, this one’s now used by 18 different carriers and sees 18.4 million passengers pass through it annually. It mainly serves long-haul flights for the Americas and Asia, but some Europe-bound flights too, operated by the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Qantas, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Terminal 4
Heathrow’s second youngest terminal (although it celebrates its 30th birthday this year) is home to 35 airlines, handling 10.4 million people every year. It looks after long-haul and short-haul flights to destinations in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa by operators including Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Delta Airlines, Etihad Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines.

Terminal 5
Finally, the newest terminal opened to much fanfare in 2008 and to the tune of a cool £4 billion; its five floors boasting enough space to hold – yes, really – 50 football pitches. Used exclusively by British Airways and Iberia, in 2013 it saw a total 29.8 million passengers grace its cavernous interior