Heathrow

London airport curiosities – Heathrow

Today we are looking at some curiosities you might not have known about Heathrow Airport, the fifth-busiest airport in the world, and busiest in the United Kingdom.

Location, history and expansion

Being closest to Central London, in the Borough of Hillingdon, Heathrow Airport is the perfect place to arrive at by car. Only a stone’s throw from West London, Surrey and Windsor, it offers fantastic connections by road.

This proximity to residential areas has to do with the fact that Heathrow airport was founded as an airfield back in 1929, when said neighbourhoods weren’t as densely populated as they are today. It became London’s first civil airport in 1946; and thus celebrated its 70th anniversary earlier this year.

All in all, the airport is conveniently situated, particularly for those who don’t fancy a long commute before they take their scheduled flight.

Heathrow airport is equipped with two parallel runways, which facilitate the smooth arrival and departure of the hundreds of flights that pass through it on a daily basis. There have been plans to build a third runway, but at the moment these plans haven’t been consolidated. Heathrow airport consists of five terminal buildings, only four of which are currently in service, while one of them is undergoing a process of refurbishment and rebranding.

A VIP Airport

In addition to the aforementioned terminals, Heathrow airport is equipped with a very small extra terminal which only operates on certain special occasions. The Royal Family, as well as authorities and heads of state, and at times celebrities, fly in and out of this sixth terminal at Heathrow airport.

At the same time, VIP lounges can be found in all terminals, regularly welcoming notorious celebrities, be it actors, politicians or musicians. This has to do with the very broad range of destinations that connect to Heathrow, as well as the selection of high-end airlines that serve its runways, such as Etihad (the first to offer a private suite to fly in, fully fitted with a private toilet), British Airways and Qantas.

 

Curious facts

According to Londontopia, one bottle of Chanel nº5 perfume is sold in the airport duty-free shops every five minutes! A Harrods store can also be found on the premises.

Should you have an emergency while at the airport, you might be comforted to know that a squad of trained first-aidees patrol the airport 24/7, and will arrive wherever you are… by bike!

As well as conventional passenger flights, Heathrow airport also receives cargo flights from across the world. All major cargo airlines fly in and out of Heathrow. This is the mysterious part of the airport that is not visible to most of us, but a very fascinating industry nonetheless.

Finally, if you are travelling with pets; you will be happy to know that Heathrow’s Animal Reception Centre (HARC) is one of the best equipped in the UK, largely due to the great volume of animals that travel through it every year. They not only specialise in ensuring a comfortable stay for dogs and cats, but also horses, birds and fish.

How to get there

Although trains and buses serve Heathrow regularly and reliably, the easiest way to arrive is arguably by car, as this airport is conveniently located very near Central London and boasts excellent road connections to the city, with easy access from the M4, the A4 road (from the West), the M25 (which surrounds Greater London), and the A3 from the South.

Heathrow airport is equipped with safe forecourts which make it exceptionally easy to be dropped-off. In fact, all terminals have designated drop-off only areas, which means passengers can be dropped off directly at the terminal.

Have a safe flight to your dream destination or a successful business trip.