American Airlines Splits Operations At London Heathrow

Terminal 5:

  • American flights to & from New York operate from Terminal 5

  • American flights to & from all other destinations operate from Terminal 3

For some context:

  • American used to exclusively operate out of Terminal 3

  • Then in July 2020, American moved all of its operations to Terminal 5; while this coincided with Terminal 3 closing due to lack of demand, it was my understanding that American had been working on co-locating with British Airways in Terminal 5 even pre-pandemic, given that the two airlines have a transatlantic joint venture

  • Heathrow Terminal 3 reopened as of July 15, 2021, as travel demand is starting to pick up

This isn’t exactly a great arrangement


To me, American’s new setup seems like the worst of both worlds. From a passenger experience standpoint, it at least simplifies things if all of a carrier’s operations are out of a single terminal. It creates confusion when some flights operate out of one terminal, and some flights operate out of a different terminal, especially at a non-hub airport.


In the past I largely considered Terminal 3 to be better than Terminal 5 from a oneworld lounge standpoint, as Terminal 3 had both the exceptional Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge and the Qantas Lounge, which oneworld Emerald members had access to.


Unfortunately both of these lounges are closed, with no timeline for when they’ll reopen. The only oneworld lounge in Terminal 3 is the British Airways Lounge, and only the business class section is open. That’s quite a downgrade from the lounge setup in Terminal 5.

I’m curious to see how this situation plays out in the long run. If it’s important for American and British Airways to operate from the same terminal, then they should just have all operations in Terminal 5. If not, it seems better to just stick all operations in Terminal 3.


Bottom line


American Airlines relocated all flights to Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport in the summer of 2020. While this coincided with Terminal 3 closing due to lack of traffic, it was part of a long-term plan for American to move to Terminal 5, to be closer to British Airways.


With Terminal 3 having now reopened, most American flights are once again operating from there. Unfortunately with most lounges closed in the terminal, it’ll be a pretty disappointing ground experience for passengers.


This article originally appeared on One Mile At A Time

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