Qantas passengers connecting onto British Airways' European flights at London Heathrow airport's Terminal 5 are enjoying faster boarding with the opening of the latest satellite terminal, T5C.
T5C can handle the Airbus A380 superjumbos British Airways has on order, and is likely to see other long-haul flights too, leaving the main terminal gates free for shorter European flights.
The new T5C gates -- reachable by mini-train transit that travels underground -- mean that BA has more airbridges available, so fewer flights will be parked on the tarmac away from the terminal, reachable only by bus.
To get passengers to flights parked on the tarmac, BA previously had to fill up buses from the main terminals, which took extra time and was less convenient.
By contrast, the mini-train takes just over a minute to whizz between the main T5 terminal and its T5B and T5C satellites.
There won't be a separate set of Club (Business Class) or First Class lounges at T5C, though, with British Airways saying that the existing lounge provisions are enough for passengers heading to the new T5C satellite terminal.
Passengers in first or business class -- and Qantas' Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers, who have reciprocal access under the oneworld airline partnership -- will still use the lounges in the main T5 terminal or in the first satellite terminal, T5B.
Frustratingly, inbound passengers from Australia with connecting flights to Europe will still have to trek over from Heathrow's Terminal 3 -- where British Airways and Qantas flights from Australia via Southeast Asian airports arrive -- on a bus.
And it's the reverse to connect from flights from European cities to Australian long-haul flights: from Terminal 5 to the older, busier and generally less pleasant Terminal 3.
Only British Airways' own flights use Terminal 5, and even then, some BA long-haul flights depart from Terminal 3.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.