The UK’s latest jewel in the crown, the new London Heathrow Terminal 5 building was opened for business on Thursday 27th March 2008.  As you will all know by now, the opening day turned into a complete mess.

When I learned that my flight back from Moscow would arrive at the new T5 on Thursday evening, I was quite excited to think I might be one of the first to use this new terminal.

In the BA lounge in Moscow, they were handing out glasses of champagne to celebrate this historic event. Then came the news that our flight BA 873 would be delayed “due to operational issues at T5”.

Upon landing and pulling up “on stand” at T5, we had to endure a 30 minute wait until they could find someone to come over and move the air bridge into place.  See a shot on the left of passengers waiting inside BA 873. Once inside, I was very thankful that my under 5 day travel strategy has been to only carry hand luggage as the announcement over the Tannoy as we came in was that no passengers would be accepted for travel with hold baggage.  The knock on effect was the inbound passengers were waiting hours for their luggage to reach the baggage hall…not a good sign.

I sailed through passport control – thanks to TWO IRIS machines (and they were BOTH working – amazing since 80% of the time I have arrived at LHR T1, the IRIS machine has been broken.

Upon arriving at T5 and clearing immigration etc, I set about having a brief view of this vast building – and it is impressive!

Travelling home via Heathrow Express, and while on a call on my mobile, I was totally amazed that there is no mobile coverage in the tunnels between the new T5 HX station and Heathrow Central (servicing T1,2,3,4).  As regular travellers to Heathrow will know, you can make a call all the way from Paddington station to the airport thanks to in-tunnel coverage on Heathrow Express.

I have no idea why they have not enabled mobile coverage on the leg to the new T5 terminal, given this is now the home to all BA flights – think of all the roaming revenue the UK operators are missing out on (and the annoyance factor as calls are dropped on the 5-minute journey to T5).  Perhaps this was also a first-day teething problem, and perhaps some others may like to leave a comment below – does the in-tunnel coverage work on the way to T5?