American Airlines divides operations at Heathrow between — is it a bad move?

Aug 13, 2021

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In a decision that could wind up causing confusion for some passengers, American Airlines announced it will now split up operations at Heathrow Airport between Terminals 3 and 5, according to One Mile at a Time.

The carrier will operate its flights to and from New York out of Terminal 5, alongside its Oneworld partner British Airways. All other American routes will originate from Terminal 3.

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The decision to divide and conquer across two terminals is a curious one. It would seem to make more logistical sense, at least for passengers, to have an airline operate all of its flights from the same terminal.

American moved all of its Heathrow flights to T5 in July 2020 as the pandemic forced the shuttering of T3 due to lack of airport traffic. A benefit of the move is it made it easier for American passengers to make connections with BA.

But now, those travellers who may not be aware that American is working out of two different terminals could find themselves a bit lost.

Another factor to consider with this split is how it affects travellers on the ground. The lounge situation in Terminal 3 isn’t ideal at the moment. The Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge and the Qantas Lounge are both closed, as is the Admirals Club. The only Oneworld lounge currently open in Terminal 3 is the British Airways Lounge and it’s limited to business-class flyers.

Terminal 5 has the British Airways Galleries Club Lounge as well as the First Lounge that’s reserved for Oneworld Emerald status holders. So, at least while most lounges remain closed in T3, passengers flying American between London and New York City would seem to have a much better lounge situation at Heathrow.

 Featured image by Steve Parsons / Getty Images.

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