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BA return to T3? Plus a mini-trip report from Tuesday BCN-LHR

BA return to T3? Plus a mini-trip report from Tuesday BCN-LHR

Old Jun 26, 20, 12:14 pm
  #1  
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Cool BA return to T3? Plus a mini-trip report from Tuesday BCN-LHR

Well, the flying experience has changed a bit since my last trip down to BCN in mid-March. The Cathay lounge was quiet then, but now the terminal is even quieter. Well, closed entirely actually.

I think I like the old way better. Trip Report: The flight down to BCN on Tuesday from T5 wasn't much fun. No First wing of course and I needed a 'passport check' before I could checkin for my flight. So, a 5 minute or so queue to get to the checkin desk, followed by a c. 30-35 minute queue to go through security. Security enhancements now include compulsory removal of shoes, presumably to minimise the need for frisking/secondary scanning.

Face masks are handed out, if you don't already have one, when you enter the terminal building and there was a sign stating that your temperature was being checked, though I didn't spot the device. And there's a scattering of hand sanitiser stations.

Refreshments are limited - though there's a coffee stand open near the exit from security. Duty free shops etc remained closed. BA have decided to try and get all the flights out of the way for the day by around 8am it seems, so flying also involves the kind of early start I like to avoid.

For some reason there was a last minute gate change from our A gate, which we'd already arrived at, along with most passengers, to a B gate, so we all trudged the half mile or so across to the plane. Crew were friendly enough. I didn't book Club, as I didn't really see any benefit. In economy we got a little kit with a wipe and some hand sanitiser. The scrapping of buy-on-board means you now get free refreshments on board - namely a bottle of mineral water, a packet of crisps and a couple of fingers of Scottish shortbread, served in a clear plastic bag. I also got a Gold welcome, which came with a bonus cup of tea and coffee, plus some water for me and my sweetheart. The Club cabin seemed to get some kind of meal box.

The flight wasn't super busy, considering it was the only flight of the day to Barcelona, but I'd estimate at least 1/3 full, which is much busier than the last flight I took from BCN to LHR following the start of the lockdown in Spain (c. 9 passengers).

You get given a form to fill out in London for the Spanish authorities. Mainly checking if you have symptoms, have been to a hospital within the past two weeks and what your contact details are (plus emergency family contact) and who you were flying with, plus seat number and flight number. Once you get to the other end, you pass through passport control (no e-gates operating), you seem to get asked what you're doing there if you list that you're staying in a non-permanent address. I didn't get asked anything. Then you get to join a queue to hand in your form and have your temperature checked (perhaps 3 minutes).

Leaving the airside area feels a bit odd, as where there are normally crowds of people waiting to greet loved ones there is now nobody at all. Everywhere here seems pretty quiet, there are places open to eat and drink, but I feel that the local older population are largely still hiding indoors and there's a dearth of tourists.

Main reason for starting this thread though was to see if anybody knows what BA's plans are for Terminal 3 - will this be reoccupied? My main interest is in the BCN flight and whether I get to use the Cathay lounge again, or whether I should start getting used to schlepping through Terminal 5?
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Old Jun 26, 20, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by richonlybyname View Post
Well, the flying experience has changed a bit since my last trip down to BCN in mid-March. The Cathay lounge was quiet then, but now the terminal is even quieter. Well, closed entirely actually.

I think I like the old way better. Trip Report: The flight down to BCN on Tuesday from T5 wasn't much fun. No First wing of course and I needed a 'passport check' before I could checkin for my flight. So, a 5 minute or so queue to get to the checkin desk, followed by a c. 30-35 minute queue to go through security. Security enhancements now include compulsory removal of shoes, presumably to minimise the need for frisking/secondary scanning.

Face masks are handed out, if you don't already have one, when you enter the terminal building and there was a sign stating that your temperature was being checked, though I didn't spot the device. And there's a scattering of hand sanitiser stations.

Refreshments are limited - though there's a coffee stand open near the exit from security. Duty free shops etc remained closed. BA have decided to try and get all the flights out of the way for the day by around 8am it seems, so flying also involves the kind of early start I like to avoid.

For some reason there was a last minute gate change from our A gate, which we'd already arrived at, along with most passengers, to a B gate, so we all trudged the half mile or so across to the plane. Crew were friendly enough. I didn't book Club, as I didn't really see any benefit. In economy we got a little kit with a wipe and some hand sanitiser. The scrapping of buy-on-board means you now get free refreshments on board - namely a bottle of mineral water, a packet of crisps and a couple of fingers of Scottish shortbread, served in a clear plastic bag. I also got a Gold welcome, which came with a bonus cup of tea and coffee, plus some water for me and my sweetheart. The Club cabin seemed to get some kind of meal box.

The flight wasn't super busy, considering it was the only flight of the day to Barcelona, but I'd estimate at least 1/3 full, which is much busier than the last flight I took from BCN to LHR following the start of the lockdown in Spain (c. 9 passengers).

You get given a form to fill out in London for the Spanish authorities. Mainly checking if you have symptoms, have been to a hospital within the past two weeks and what your contact details are (plus emergency family contact) and who you were flying with, plus seat number and flight number. Once you get to the other end, you pass through passport control (no e-gates operating), you seem to get asked what you're doing there if you list that you're staying in a non-permanent address. I didn't get asked anything. Then you get to join a queue to hand in your form and have your temperature checked (perhaps 3 minutes).

Leaving the airside area feels a bit odd, as where there are normally crowds of people waiting to greet loved ones there is now nobody at all. Everywhere here seems pretty quiet, there are places open to eat and drink, but I feel that the local older population are largely still hiding indoors and there's a dearth of tourists.

Main reason for starting this thread though was to see if anybody knows what BA's plans are for Terminal 3 - will this be reoccupied? My main interest is in the BCN flight and whether I get to use the Cathay lounge again, or whether I should start getting used to schlepping through Terminal 5?
An interesting report, thanks for sharing.

I am also curious about T3. Will BA be able to house all their LHR flights in T5 for the next few years or will we see BA going back when demand picks up next year.
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Old Jun 26, 20, 8:11 pm
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I presume they will appear back at T3 at some point. I don't see that they will have much choice if they want to maintain their slots/stake at Heathrow, unless it takes much longer than the predicted 2-3 years to get back to normal, in which case wider changes could throw up different/better options.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 12:55 am
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HAL gave HMG a briefing which suggested T3 would be closed for the rest of 2020, and perhaps permanently. This was in the context of what I would call shroud-waving but equally the plain fact is that LHR will not need 4 terminals until both the USA opens up again, and flights get back to something like previous levels. Clearly no-one knows how the next few months will work out but it now seems increasingly likely that big chunks of the planet will be heavily restricted for travel for a year or so. The next piece of news we can expect is that Finnair, Cathay and Qatar will join AA in T5. So my view is that unless the two vaccines being trialled deliver a step change (since they would be the only things that could kick in by Autumn 2020) then T3 would be closed until at least April 2021, and it's not certain BA or any other operator will be returning there. Today's news will help European travel, but that was never T3's forté.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 5:49 am
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Two things:

1. WHO is planning on the vaccine for the end of 2021, so the vaccine is not coming soon.

2. The implication of #1 . is that Covid is NOT going away. That it will be a seasonal illness like Influenza A (Oh joy! ).

This information comes from a Daily Mail story yesterday, so a quick return to T3 and expansion of air travel looks to be in the distant future.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/a...-race-WHO.html
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Old Jun 27, 20, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by mnhusker View Post
Two things:

1. WHO is planning on the vaccine for the end of 2021, so the vaccine is not coming soon.

2. The implication of #1 . is that Covid is NOT going away. That it will be a seasonal illness like Influenza A (Oh joy! ).

This information comes from a Daily Mail story yesterday, so a quick return to T3 and expansion of air travel looks to be in the distant future.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/a...-race-WHO.html
My personal view is that the WHO should have a bit more faith and not emphasise doom and gloom constantly (they’ve done so throughout the C19 crisis). Never before has vaccine development been undertaken so rapidly; let’s see where we are at by September with the UK programme.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by londonba2014 View Post
My personal view is that the WHO should have a bit more faith and not emphasise doom and gloom constantly (they’ve done so throughout the C19 crisis). Never before has vaccine development been undertaken so rapidly; let’s see where we are at by September with the UK programme.
I am a Doctor.

Safe, effective vaccine development takes a considerable period of time.

I would NOT take a vaccine for Covid that was "available in September".

I am not convinced I would take one that is available in late 2021 as that is not much time to have information about safety.

Finally, there was a study (very small) of people who had Corona virus illnesses. In all of these people their antibodies to the infections were GONE within 6 months. The implication being that any vaccine will likely have to be repeated, frequently, and have a low efficacy, similar to the Influenza vaccine (30%).

But again the bigger point is Covid is NOT going away like the Spanish Flu did or SARS did, its going to hang around like H1N1 did, that's the major point of the WHO marching forward with a vaccine that is not going to be available until the end of 2021!
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Old Jun 27, 20, 12:39 pm
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The University of Oxford team developing the Astra Zeneca vaccine has privately advised HM Government that they have hit the nail on the head, although they are publicly hedging their bets (source: former leader of one of the two major political parties). Phases 3-6 or something like that of the trial have started and I'm trotting along to be jabbed on Monday morning for a 12 month commitment for phase 4 I think. Astra Zeneca is starting production now, to deliver 30 million doses to the UK by autumn, and it has established commercial arrangements with a number of other manufacturers to deliver hundreds of millions of doses for other European countries and billions of doses in developing countries over the next year.

My personal view is that, considering the fatality rate in under 55s is considerably less than seasonal flu, and I certainly don't bother with a flu jab every year, this is largely going to have a placebo effect to calm down panicked internet Karens, while enabling world governments and the WHO to climb down and descalate without making embarrassing public apologies for getting the whole thing completely wrong. The most ironic thing being that much of the public that actually travel won't be eligible for the vaccine as it will go to the over 55s first (in the UK at least).
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Old Jun 27, 20, 1:15 pm
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Interesting trip report, thanks! I spoke to my friend who works in the foreign office this week, he gave some interesting insights. He said that many in government are now working on the assumption that the U.K. reached peak air travel in August 2019 and that due to the combination of the business world moving to zoom, virus fear and environmental concerns we will most likely never get back to where we were! Hopefully we can get back to a point where the t3 lounge experience can be repeated though!
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Old Jun 27, 20, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve74 View Post
The University of Oxford team developing the Astra Zeneca vaccine has privately advised HM Government that they have hit the nail on the head, although they are publicly hedging their bets
Interestingly I've heard something similar from someone in DHSC. He didn't and doesn't believe it, but you may want to ask why yet another big sum of extra money was allocated for the Jenner team to go to South Africa and Brazil when they started running out of cases in the UK. Having said that, I've long worked out that the institutions of power involve a surprisingly small number of people, so the same piece of speculation goes around quite quickly. I don't think I can agree with your second paragraph though.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by londonba2014 View Post
My personal view is that the WHO should have a bit more faith and not emphasise doom and gloom constantly (they’ve done so throughout the C19 crisis). Never before has vaccine development been undertaken so rapidly; let’s see where we are at by September with the UK programme.
Things might not have been so bad had WHO been MORE aggressive in calling this a pandemic, and urging the use of a mask in addition to social distancing and hand washing. Overall they were slow to really emphasize the seriousness of this pandemic. It still would have been bad, but maybe the US and UK governments might have been more serious about handling this from the outset.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by dwugson View Post
Things might not have been so bad had WHO been MORE aggressive in calling this a pandemic, and urging the use of a mask in addition to social distancing and hand washing. Overall they were slow to really emphasize the seriousness of this pandemic. It still would have been bad, but maybe the US and UK governments might have been more serious about handling this from the outset.
You have more faith in Bozo and Flump than I do.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by itsmeitisss View Post
You have more faith in Bozo and Flump than I do.
I have no faith in either of them - the sooner they are gone the better. The only thing is maybe I overestimate how people would have responded had masks etc been encouraged earlier.
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Old Jun 27, 20, 9:27 pm
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Back on topic I cannot wait to get back to T3 and use CX Aesop products
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Old Jun 27, 20, 10:15 pm
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Originally Posted by nufnuf77 View Post
Back on topic I cannot wait to get back to T3 and use CX Aesop products
Let’s say T3 never reopens. Or doesn’t reopen for two years. Will CX and QF get some compensation for their capital investment? Or they’ll just have to write it off?
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