Number Five Alive


The number ‘5’ is often associated with rubbish. The Jackson 5, the robot from ‘Short Circuit’, Channel 5 and the boy band ‘Five’ have all had their problems (Michael, stairs, Eldorado and everything respectively). However, none of them at a cost of around ¬£4.3bn. The problematic first week at terminal 5 has been well documented and so my announcement to my colleagues that I was using the new terminal was met with either a sharp intake of breath or second-hand tales of woe.

My journey to T5 began at Canary Wharf. Using the Jubilee line and the Heathrow Express saw me in the terminal in 65 minutes. The new terminal is very impressive, a great sense of light and air.

Mine was a domestic flight and the usual ‘Fast Track’ security line was off limits. Working my way through the queue took around 25 minutes with around half of the security machines being active. I was in the queue behind the Scottish National Women‚Äôs Lacrosse team which got my hopes up for the flight to Edinburgh.

Once through security I had the choice of either the North or South lounge. My gate wasn’t showing on the boards and so I went for the North Lounge which was nearest. I was planning to make a trip to Ramsay’s ‘Plane Food’ but the security line had eaten into my lounge time.

The Galleries Club lounge (for lowly Silver card holders such as myself and Club travelers) is large and bright with a double-height window overlooking the runway. The floors are hardwood, chairs plentiful and varied. I was also pleased to note a baggage store and that the toilets are individual cubicles.

The drinks selection was excellent and I settled down to a very nice Australian White and a couple of slices of cherry shortbread. The wine was so good that by the time I went back for a second glass (and to get the name) the bottle had gone and I couldn’t find any more.

The next surprise in the lounge was hot food. I had the choice of penne in a tomato sauce, a risotto or chili. I went for the penne and a glass of acceptable Chablis. The pasta was basic and not exactly al dente, but much appreciated.

A glance at the departures board revealed a 20 minute delay, so I decided to kill time on the Internet. BA was “Pleased to offer free internet access” via BT Openzone, which was a nice touch.

A further glance at the board showed that the flight was boarding. By the time I got to the gate (A5 – about 5 minutes walk) it was at ‘Final Call’. This was slightly annoying as I’d been waiting for the announcement (which there had been for other flights) so it was lucky I looked at the board when I did.

In summary Terminal 5 was great. The building itself is fantastic, modern and airy with great lounge facilities. The staff seem settled and confident and although my flight was delayed this was apparently due to an earlier delay leaving Glasgow.