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Old May 21, 14, 11:46 am   #1
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LHR Terminal 5 passageways - a pictorial guide for departing passengers

LHR Terminal 5 passageways - a pictorial guide for departing passengers

Note: A similar guide exists for arriving passengers, to be found here:
LHR Terminal 5 passageways - a pictorial guide for arriving passengers

Overview
LHR Terminal 5 has 3 buildings, the main terminal often known as T5A plus 2 two smaller terminal buildings which are generally known as T5B and T5C. You can only enter airside from T5A, which is the home to check-in, arrivals, main Flight Connection and the main lounges. All domestic flights leave from T5A, as do many European shorthaul flights. Longhaul generally, but not consistently, leaves from T5B - which has a Galleries Club lounge - and T5C, which has no lounge.

The usual way to get between these building is with the transit, a tram like people carrier. This runs at regular intervals from T5A to T5B and then T5C for departing passengers, arriving passengers will travel in the reverse direction to the UK Border and Flight Connections. But there is an alternative, known as the Transit Walkway. To avoid confusion with the transit process, it is referred to here as the passageway.



There are 2 parallel sets of passageways that sit below the transit level, which allows passenger to travel on foot between T5A, T5B and T5C. One southern passageway is allocated for departing passengers - which is the focus of this thread. There is a separate northern passageway for arriving passengers. Though there are similarities, this is not handled in this thread. [One minor exception: if you arrive into T5B or T5C with an onwards connection from T5, AND you clear Flight Connections in T5B or T5C, then after that stage this thread is relevant, or you can use the transit to go from T5B to T5C].



Why use the passageway?
- Unlike the transit, it allows you to get between T5A, T5B, T5C and back again with ease. The transit returns passengers to the UK border, and is not set up to allow you to stay airside. So if you are in the departure area of T5B or T5C and want to return to T5A departures, your best bet is to use the passageway.
- It's good exercise.
- It's a quiet and cool place to collect your thoughts away from crowds of people.
- It's generally quicker to T5B than the transit.
- You can hedge your bets: if you are on the transit platform and there appears to be delays / too many people, you can get to the passageway directly down some steps at the end of the platform (see next post).
- In some ways it is more reliable to time your stay in T5A more precisely, particularly if you have Flounge or CCR access and you want to maximise your time there. The transits occasionally have long gaps between services, particularly in the morning. Walking takes more or less the same time, every time.
- Though there is a lot of detail here, it isn't complicated. So long as you are in the right lift to get to the passageway everything else is more or less intuitive and clearly signed.

Arguments for not using the passageways
- If you have luggage you may find the distance uncomfortable, particularly to T5C.
- The transits can be quicker.
- The enclosed spaces, eariness and slightly subdued announcements may be offputting or even scary to some people, perhaps children too.
- It was never designed to be the main way of getting between buildings, it's not as user friendly as the transits
- You need to know how to use the lifts, particularly in T5B.
- There are 4 moving walkways between T5A and T5B, a further 2 between T5B and T5C. These cover about half the distance. I've never seen all of them working, for example on 20 May 2014, 3 were out of service. The walkways in the passageway only go outbound to T5C, returning to T5A you have to walk the whole way.

Timings
I have done a number of timed tests on this (the wide variation on transit times reflects the potential gaps in service). I am 40 something, possibly in better health than many people my age. I also carry my life on my back, not on wheels, I don't do checked luggage; there again I didn't have the spousal and filial units in tow. I also know Terminal 5 very well. So bearing in mind these factors you may need to adjust these timings accordingly:

From T5A South Lounges Complex, by exit to Flounge, using the lifts.
- To T5B by transit - minimum = 6 minutes, maximum = 21 minutes, reasonable average = 11 minutes.
- To T5B by passageway = 7mins 30 seconds

From T5A South Lounges
- To T5C by transit - minimum = 8 minutes, maximum 24 minutes, reasonable average = 14 minutes.
- To T5C by passageway = 10 minutes 30 seconds.

From T5B to T5C or vice versa
- by passageway = 4 minutes 30 seconds.

"Staff Only"
Some lift buttons for the passageway still say "Staff Only", even though the passageways internally are signed for general passengers. Furthermore they were recently fitted with moving walkways, relevant to the passenger direct of travel. In the other direction HAL is clearly trying to encourage people to use the walkways to relieve the pressure on the transits, nevertheless the lifts there still say "staff only". So I believe it is safe to ignore these outdated signs in the lift, not least because in other places such as the staircase there are clear signs pointing passengers to the passageway.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Jul 24, 14 at 9:17 am Reason: Additional material
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Old May 21, 14, 11:47 am   #2
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From T5A to T5B or T5C

This post tells you how to use the passageway when you start from Terminal T5 A - the main building - and want to go to T5B or T5C satellite terminals. I will show the whole walk to T5C here, T5B is midway through our trek below the Heathrow apron.

You start by going to the main lifts for T5B and T5C transits, in the centre of T5A departure area level 2. This is between gates A14 and A15, by World Duty Free and opposite the Gucci and Prada stores.





The sign outside the lift isn't very informative, but rest assured, these are the lifts:



And inside the lift the sign has recently changed to be clearer, so press -4.



Most people will want to use the transit, and will press -2. Tip: if the lift looks like getting crowded, stay near the entrance since the other passengers will be getting out the other door at the transit level. The lift then brings you down one level to a very different world to the noise and people above. This is the view as you leave the lift, and in fact once you are in the passageway the signs are completely clear and I can't see how anyone can get lost.



As you follow the sign there is a sharp turn left, again signposted, and this is the start of the passageway, with the first of the four moving walkways towards T5B. Note that the passageways are not consistent, some areas are wider than others, and this is a narrow one, with the static path on the right. If a buggy is going through this section you will have to stand fairly close to the edge to provide space.



From the transit platform

There is also a separate direct access to the passageway from the transit platform. This may be a way to hedge your bets - if the transit looks delayed or there are too many passengers, you can continue on to the passageway with very little time lost to the timings mentioned above. Walk right to the end of the platform. The end wall has a set of doors in it, you need the right set, marked Emergency Exit. This brings you to a fairly short staircase. Follow this down and turn at the bottom, and you're in the main passageway close to the area in the next photo.

Continuing down the passageway to T5B and T5C

The next photo continues our journey down the passageway and illustrates the changing layout. The turn off for T5B is in the distance.



Arriving at T5B

And then finally here is the area showing the access up to T5B. The best way is the lift, which is clearly signed by that bright yellow sign, with the lifts located at the back of the picture, between the column and the escalator. If you take that lift, select level 2, clearly labelled and it brings you to the main departure area of T5B right by gate B36, opposite Boots. See photo in the next post. The lower part of the sign indicates that leftwards continues on to T5C. [Note: there appears to be a logic bug with the lifts. There are 3 lifts, and 2 of them won't come down to -4, but will go to -2. If the lifts don't appear to be working, there is a clear staircase by these lifts. Just walk up a short distance to level -2 and all the lifts work from that level; again more detail in the next post].



And so we continue to T5C. Are we nearly there yet? Well at the start of the T5B to T5C section up comes this sign. The timings are wrong, it take under 5 minutes from this point to get to T5C, but it's the thought that counts.



There are then 2 moving walkways to T5C, and it certainly feels shorter than the first section. But one key difference is that it's quite noticeably uphill, indeed the passageway goes from being notionally level -4 to level -2, the same as the transit. Which then brings us to what may be a somewhat disconcerting sight from a distance, a closed door:



The blue and white sign explains that if a buggy is coming through you need to wait for it to pass and the traffic light turns to green. It's clearer in real life that my photo, you can see the reflected green streaks on the roof. As you approach, the door automatically swings open. The reason for this is that this is very narrow as it runs close to the transit tracks and there isn't much space for the buggy, so for safety there is this automated traffic light and door system.

As you go through the door you end up on the exit platform for the transit, this is the other side of the same door, and on the opposite side to the transit entrances is the lift that takes both you and any transit passengers up to the departure level 2 in T5C. You end up by gate C53.


Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Jul 24, 14 at 9:19 am Reason: Additional material
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Old May 21, 14, 11:47 am   #3
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From T5B to T5A or T5C

This post tells you how to get from the main departure level 2 in T5B to either the main building T5A, or to T5C.

This is slightly more complicated than the other terminals, mainly because the lift you need for this is NOT the one used for the transits. The transit lift brings you by gate B35 by Harrods. The lift you need for this procedure is by Boots, gate B36. The photo below shows the correct lift you need for this, with the blue Boots store on the right:



Now there is one slight quirk to be aware of. The passageway is labelled in the lift as -4 (and staff only), but in 2 of the 3 lifts if you press it, -4 lights up briefly, then switches to -2. Don't be fazed by this, just go down to -2. As you leave at -2 you see this sign:



pointing to this staircase:



This short staircase brings you down to -4 and the same passage area shown in the post above. The signs are very clear, left for the main building T5A, right for T5C.



Arriving at T5A

If you are going back to T5A, you are walking against the direction of the 4 moving walkways, until you come to the end of the passageway and this sign that brings you to the same lift used to get to transits. There may be a bit of a wait for a lift, since it may well be detained dealing with a lot of transit passengers on the downwards section.

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Old May 21, 14, 11:48 am   #4
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From T5C to T5A or T5B

This post assumes you are on the main departure floor in T5C and you wish to go either the main building or to T5B via the passageway.

First you need the right lift, it's between gates C53 and C54, between World Duty Free and the BA customer service desk.



And this shows the lift area, with World Duty Free on the left.



Get in the lift and select -2.



This will bring you down to the transit offloading platform as shown here (repeated photo).



The automated double swing doors on the left open the route to the passageway (it's not the red door). See previous posts for the details of T5B and T5A areas.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 24, 14 at 4:37 am Reason: Correct photo caption
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Old May 21, 14, 11:49 am   #5
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Other comments

Please let me know of any corrections or anything that is unclear to you, so I can edit these posts for other travellers' benefit.

Before someone else points out the obvious: there is no lounge at T5C so eligible passengers are able to spend 15 in Starbucks instead. Using the passageways in theory allows any eligible passenger with time on their hands to fill their boots and return to (say) T5A. However the Starbucks arrangement is a good alternative for those of us on a tight connection, and I for one will be very, very disappointed if the facility is withdrawn due to avaricious members of this board selfishly abusing the system.
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Old May 21, 14, 12:01 pm   #6
  
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Alternative entrance in Terminal 5:
Take the lift down to the transit train level
Walk to the far end of the platform
Go through the door marked emergency exit (the door on the extreme right of the group)
Go down the flight of stairs
Turn right at the bottom through the doors
You are now in the main passage and can turn left for B and C
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Old May 21, 14, 12:17 pm   #7
  
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If there wasn't corporate-wage-slave we would need to invent one!

These guides are extremely useful, I prefer to move among terminals on foot, a good exercise after a long haul flight.
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Old May 21, 14, 12:21 pm   #8
  
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Just a few of points:

Signage - this will be changed over time and additional signage implemented over the coming weeks. The decision was made to open and then review signage. Changes will gradually appear as the overall TTS improvement project nears completion later in the summer.

Walkway times - the times are generally exaggerated across the terminal so that customers always allow adequate time to reach their gate with stops if required and without the need to rush. So you are correct in that while the signage says 20 mins to T5C, it can easily be done in around 10, depending on the individual. By stating 20 minutes, customers can plan accordingly.

Moving walkways - Heathrow is aware of these and it was expected that there may be initial snags as the equipment beds in. Also, at least one is planned to allow for the operational maintenance team to get a better understanding of the new equipment (different make to existing ones).

I do agree that the walkways are a good way to avoid the crowds and have some quiet time to yourself. Plus the temperature is more consistent than the rest of the terminal ;-).
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Old May 21, 14, 12:24 pm   #9
  
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I used the passageway from T5B to T5A last week for the first time. Really nice compared to the crowded train.

When I went down the escalators, the sign said 2 min until next transit. When I took the elevator up, first people from the same train just got on, so walking fast takes train time plus 2 min. People from my flight looked a little surprised seing me already in the elevator when it came up
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Old May 21, 14, 12:36 pm   #10
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themapelligroup View Post
If there wasn't corporate-wage-slave we would need to invent one!

These guides are extremely useful, I prefer to move among terminals on foot, a good exercise after a long haul flight.
Totally agree, this pictorial guide is extremely useful.

I posted on a previous thread a day or so ago about having a long layover at T5 and I may head over to Galleries T5B as I find it to be a lot more peaceful than Galleries South / North.
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Old May 21, 14, 2:19 pm   #11
  
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Will be trying this Friday AM. Thank you for a great post.
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Old May 21, 14, 2:20 pm   #12
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedbirdLHR View Post
I do agree that the walkways are a good way to avoid the crowds and have some quiet time to yourself. Plus the temperature is more consistent than the rest of the terminal ;-).
Consistently hot or consistently cold?

Thanks for the guide, it makes sense to me - I might try walking next time the issue arises.
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Old May 21, 14, 2:32 pm   #13
  
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xxxxx

Last edited by PeasantGate; May 26, 14 at 10:45 pm
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Old May 21, 14, 2:47 pm   #14
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You saved me a job! I didn't think you were much of a fan of using the tunnels so I was going to do something along these lines next time I had time to spare in T5.

I think HAL will sort out the issue of two of the lifts in B not going to -4, I think it was originally intended for staff to need a key to select that floor, but of course things will change.

For those who prefer the train, the combination of some people choosing to walk (once the signage makes this option clearer) and the extra platform in C will make a big difference too.

The first time I did the walk I was surprised to see the tunnel in C rise towards the transit level. I thought it would have stayed at -4 to make it easier to continue the tunnel towards 5D if its ever built.
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Old May 21, 14, 2:54 pm   #15
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedbirdLHR View Post
Walkway times - the times are generally exaggerated across the terminal so that customers always allow adequate time to reach their gate with stops if required and without the need to rush. So you are correct in that while the signage says 20 mins to T5C, it can easily be done in around 10, depending on the individual. By stating 20 minutes, customers can plan accordingly.
Well no, they can't. How can they plan appropriately given inaccurate information?

For instance a customer might see such a sign and try to run the whole way (possibly even injuring themselves or others) when they actually have plenty of time. Or worse, they might turn back and go back to the ticket counter since the signage clearly indicated they wouldn't make it in time. This isn't "planning accordingly"

Just the other day I saw a customer begging to cut the queue at security because she had only 30min to make her flight. Almost certainly the airline was lying about the gate closing and in any case 30 minutes should be plenty of time to get to any gate (though LHR security being as dysfunctionally slow as it has been she may have been right to worry). But the inaccurate information led her to panic unnecessarily and caused other passengers inconvenience.

It's also risky in another way. Not every airport will exaggerate timings and customers accustomed to correcting the timing information for Heathrow may be misled into trying to adjust it similarly elsewhere. If other airports give more accurate timings then Heathrow's practice of inaccurate signage will actually cause passengers to miss flights. Even just at Heathrow, passengers will get in the habit of halving or ignoring these signs which puts them at risk.

Last edited by zkzkz; May 21, 14 at 3:01 pm
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