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London Heathrow Airport Guide

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is Europe's busiest airport when measured by passenger traffic, and the third-busiest airport in the world. Heathrow also has the distinction of handling more international passengers than any other airport. In 2013, more than 72 million passengers arrived at or departed from Heathrow.

London Heathrow Airport Airlines & Destinations

In total, more than 90 airlines fly from Heathrow to more than 170 destinations worldwide. This includes British Airways, which has designated Heathrow Airport as its primary hub, and Virgin Atlantic, which uses the airport as its primary operating base.

Other major carriers with operations at Heathrow include Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Germanwings, Qantas, Scandinavian Airlines and United Airlines. The airport has flights to six continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America. The busiest domestic and British overseas destinations are Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen and Belfast. The busiest international destinations are New York, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris and Chicago.

The airport offers real-time flight status information on its website.

Getting Around Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport has five terminals. Generally speaking, each terminal is home to a different airline alliance. Specifically:

  • Terminal 1: Home to El Al, Icelandair, TAM, Transaero and some British Airways flights
  • Terminal 2: Home to Star Alliance carriers, as well as Aer Lingus, Germanwings and Virgin Atlantic Little Red's domestic flights
  • Terminal 3: Home to Oneworld carriers, as well as long-haul Virgin Atlantic flights, some Delta flights and some non-aligned airlines
  • Terminal 4: Home to SkyTeam carriers as well as some non-aligned airlines
  • Terminal 5: Home to most British Airways flights and Iberia

If you're connecting between terminals, Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are within walking distance of one another. Free trains and buses also connect all of the terminals.

Heathrow Airport Amenities

All of the terminals at London Heathrow Airport have a number of dining and shopping options. Other airport services include luggage storage, currency exchanges and ATMs, free wi-fi internet access, an interfaith chapel, duty free shopping, free electronics charging stations and children's play areas.

A number of airlines have lounges available to passengers in business and first class, as well as those who are lounge members. Often, these lounges can also be used by travelers who pay a day rate. There are also a couple of independent lounges, including the Servisair Executive Lounge in Terminals 1 and 3, the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 2, and the No.1 Traveller Lounge in Terminal 3. The No.1 Traveller Lounge also offers showers and bedrooms.

If you have some time to spare, check out the T5 Gallery in Terminal 5. There are also spas in Terminal 3 (No.1 Traveller Lounge & Spa), Terminal 4 (Be Relax Classic) and Terminal 5 (Be Relax Spa). If you enjoy watching planes, head to the The Tin Goose, Caffè Nero, Est or Costa in Terminal 1, the No. 1 Traveller Lounge & Spa in Terminal 3, Costa Coffee in Terminal 4, and Gordon Ramsay Plane Food or wagamama in Terminal 5.

Getting To & From Heathrow

Heading into London or a neighboring town? Heathrow has plenty of transportation options. Rental cars, taxis and limousines are all readily available at the airport. There are several trains serving the airport, including:

  • The Heathrow Express to London's Paddington Station
  • The Heathrow Connect to Paddington Station, with stops at five stations en route
  • The London Underground Piccadilly Line
  • South West Trains, which can be accessed via bus to Feltham railway station, which offers trains to Reading, Windsor, Clapham Junction and Waterloo Station

A number of local and long-distance buses also have routes that stop at Heathrow Airport.

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