A business traveller's guide to London Heathrow Terminal 2

A business traveller's guide to London Heathrow Terminal 2

Officially dubbed The Queen’s Terminal, T2 at London’s Heathrow Airport houses almost every Star Alliance airline in the world, with 24 of the alliance’s 28 member carriers flying into and out of Terminal 2, along with a few others such as Aer Lingus, Eurowings and Flybe.

For business travellers, that means easier connections through London, along with streamlined check-in options, and of course, no fewer than eight Star Alliance airport lounges to choose from, depending on your travel class, frequent flyer status and airline.

Here’s what you need to know about Heathrow Terminal 2 for your next business trip.

Arrivals at London Heathrow Terminal 2

For most Australian travellers, the first experience with Terminal 2 is arriving into London on an international Star Alliance flight.

Some airlines provide their premium passengers with a fast-track arrivals pass – a perk typically reserved for first class and business class passengers plus top-tier frequent flyers – granting access to a speedier lane at passport control than the main queue for foreigners.

However, if you’re enrolled in the UK’s Registered Traveller scheme, you could instead take advantage of the ePassport Gates at the far right of the arrivals hall, processing yourself across the border like a local, in much less time.

Read: Skip those London passport queues with a UK Registered Traveller card

After collecting your bags and exiting through Customs, you may have access to the United Arrivals Lounge if you flew in with United, Air Canada or South African Airways – or, with a Priority Pass card or an AMEX Centurion or Platinum Charge Card, you could instead visit the separate Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in the same terminal when flying with any airline.

AusBT review: United Arrivals Lounge, London Heathrow T2

Flight connections at London Heathrow Terminal 2

If you’ve flown into Terminal 2 and are instead connecting onto another Star Alliance flight – which means you’ll be flying into and out of the same terminal – just follow the purple signs to flight transfers and clear transit security screening.

A Star Alliance Gold Track (fast-track) channel is provided here for first class, business class and Star Alliance Gold passengers, so keep your eye out: you won’t need a special pass for this as you otherwise would for the arrivals fast-track lane: a flash of your boarding pass, itinerary or frequent flyer card will do the trick.

Otherwise, busses run between all the terminals at Heathrow, so you won’t need to clear UK passport control if your checked bag has been tagged through to your next destination, or if you’re jetting about with only carry-on luggage.

Departing from London Heathrow Terminal 2

Unlike some airports where you have to find your airline’s own check-in desk, Terminal 2 works a little differently, as check-in facilities are shared between airlines, divided across several zones to help passengers flow through. As long as you’re in the right part of the airport, you can check-in wherever you want.

For full-service check-in, you’ll find priority desks at the back of the check-in hall, but if you simply want to get on your way, you can check-in using kiosks closest to where you enter the terminal, with baggage drop located just behind.

Then it’s through to security screening, where first class and business class travellers, have access to the Gold Track fast lanes, along with Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers and AMEX Centurion cardholders.

Lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 2

All checked in and ready to fly? You’ll find an array of lounge options after security.

Closest to the checkpoint are Lufthansa’s Business and Senator Lounges, the best bet when taking a short flight within Europe. The former mainly serves Star Alliance business class passengers and Miles & More Frequent Traveller members, while the latter welcomes Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers and Star Alliance first class travellers.

There’s also a Plaza Premium lounge nearby, accessible by Priority Pass cardholders and AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Centurion cardholders, with an Aer Lingus lounge in this area too for those passengers.

Other lounges operated by Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and United are instead found closest to the terminal’s B gates: a 10-15 minute walk from security, tailored towards passengers jetting further abroad.

While there’s nothing stopping you from using these lounges before a shorter flight, even one with Lufthansa, you’d be looking at a half hour round-trip on foot just for the experience – time better-spent in a lounge rather than walking to one!

Chris Chamberlin travelled to London as a guest of Star Alliance.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

14 comments

  • roby

    roby

    17 Aug, 2018 11:20 am

    The 25th member starting LHR will be Shenzhen Airlines from October. Really impressive!
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  • Vik Jay

    MarkivJ

    17 Aug, 2018 01:24 pm

    I really like T2. Shame I’ve only flown EU cArriers so bereft is Fast Track, free arrivals lounge access and on departure, I have to spend time in the awful LH lounge.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    17 Aug, 2018 03:24 pm

    Fast track immigration is not always faster. Especially at T5 (yeah know this article is about T2).

    Reason being the airlines pay immigration for X number of officers to man the fast track. That may not always be enough.

    Case in point it took me 55 minutes to go through T5 fasttrack a month back at 4pm as they only had two officers. Whereas the nornal que had about 10 officers working. If I had of realised earlier I would have changed lines.

    The wait go so long Heathrow staff started to handout water to waiting passengers and advising to complain to the airline (BA) explaining how it works.
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  • Proffelix

    Siddell

    17 Aug, 2018 03:26 pm

    Such an inappropriate name for the terminal. Does LHR really want us to believe that the Queen would entertain thoughts of transiting through those check in desks with the hoi polloi?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Aug, 2018 04:26 pm

    She'd take the private entrance to Heathrow's Royal Suite, as you'd expect, but the Queen does indeed fly through Heathrow as needed!
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  • David Flynn

    David

    17 Aug, 2018 05:11 pm

    T2 is named for Queen Elizabeth because she opened the original LHR terminal in 1965, and this terminal replaces that one. She won't be travelling on The Tube neither but London's new Crossrail service will be called The Elizabeth Line.
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  • Nic Jay

    jnic

    17 Aug, 2018 04:14 pm

    Used the Plaza Premium Lounge at T2 recently … after heading around in circles a couple of times due to the strange English signage …. we found it to be one of the nicer AMEX-type lounges we have used. There were comfortable semi-booths to sit in, quite a good range of food available and even an acceptable cup of coffee. The wi-fi seemed not to work at first but if you leave it alone for a few minutes after signing in, it was as good to use as the coffee was to drink :-)
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  • Lister Bass

    Lister Bass

    17 Aug, 2018 04:40 pm

    I have to say that the Singapore lounge at T2 is better than the one at Changi Singapore
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  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    17 Aug, 2018 05:59 pm

    The LH Business and Senator lounges are good but pretty crowded - last week they had a sign saying they would send you to the B gate lounges if your flight departed from there. Which makes sense in any case - they're all decent lounges there.
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  • vantage03

    vantage03

    17 Aug, 2018 06:11 pm

    LH Group airlines and SQ have their own check-in areas at T2. Also worth noting for Australians that the tax refund area is to the left of the SQ check in desks at the left end of the check in area, and has a much much shorter queue than at T5 or T3.
    Side note, that ePassport gate photo is from T5 but get it for illustrative purposes only lol. If you can use the ePassport gates at T2 there is almost never a wait... at T5 you can still wait up to 10 mins.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Aug, 2018 06:22 pm

    Generally, taking photos in and around passport control is a no-no in most countries, and it's not worth going through the hassle of getting government approval for that when we have a suitable (authorised) photo on file from the same airport. :)

    Some airlines do run their 'own' premium check-in desks at T2, but the computer systems are all linked across the terminal, so you can use the kiosks and general desks in the middle of the departures hall to check-in with a variety of airlines.

    The only airline that's completely separate to the rest is United, which I'm told is to help comply with US Government security requirements given the newer requirement for pre-departure security interviews in check-in areas.
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  • outthere1000

    outthere1000

    17 Aug, 2018 10:26 pm

    The United arrivals lounge has fairly strict entry requirements. You have to have arrived in J or F, otherwise be the very top level in your airline's FF program. For example, although Air Canada's 50K and 75K levels are Star Alliance Gold, this won't get you in; only 100K SuperElite will. Worth checking the equivalent rules for your airline. That said, it's a good lounge; plenty of showers, a good breakfast buffet, and you can order a la carte items such as scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Turn left immediately you're through customs and enter the arrivals hall and it's right there.
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  • vbarberini

    vbarberini

    18 Aug, 2018 05:26 am

    If I have the option of getting a flight into ANY European entry point other than LHR I will. The delays on arrival (so-called Fast Track or not) are a bureaucratic joke. I prefer flying into Germany where I have often cleared immigration within minutes after a First or Business class flight. Avoid LHR at all costs!
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  • rob01

    rob01

    18 Aug, 2018 03:36 pm

    I do like this terminal but it is quite a walk through to the B gates! It sure does whip up a thirst before hitting the SQ lounge bar!
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23 Mar, 2019 02:11 pm

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