London’s Historic (and Hectic) Heathrow Airport CheapOair Staff January 26, 2010 general 1 Comment Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport I am packed and ready to go check out the great city of London for a much needed long weekend break. I have a pretty busy itinerary planned for the remainder of the week, so be sure to check back daily for updates from overseas. I’ll be departing out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport tonight and will arrive early Wednesday morning at London’s Heathrow Airport. The history of Heathrow, which is the world’s busiest airport in terms of international traffic, is an interesting one. Used originally by the English military during World War I and World War II, civilian use of what is now called Heathrow Airport didn’t start until 1946. Consisting on just one runway and a tented terminal, the Ministry of Civil Aviation took control of the airspace and by 1950 Heathrow had three more runways and replaced the tent with a permanent building. With traffic booming to and from Heathrow, a new building (Terminal 2) was added in 1955. Terminal 3 arrived in 1968 for long-haul carriers, which is what it still is mainly used for today. Increased traffic led to Terminal 4’s debut in 1986 on the south side of the airport. While it is more modern than Terminals 1-3, it is located away from the airport, which makes for an inconvenient 10-15 minute transfer via shuttle bus from Heathrow. Finally in 2008, the massive Terminal 5 opened to the flying public. While it is currently in use, this new section of Heathrow will not be completed until 2011. Although it is impressive, Heathrow has been criticized many times as one of the worst airports to use when traveling internationally. One unkind nickname that frequent travelers use for London’s hectic hub is “death row airport.” This brings us to today’s “Long Weekend in London” question. Airports like Heathrow come under fire quite often. Whether it be for massive delays, long lines or lost bags, people love to hate certain hubs. But there are actually many great airports around the world that offer passengers world class dining, cool cafes and pubs, state of the art technology like free Wi-Fi and other unique attractions. So tell us, what is the absolute best and worst airport that you have encountered on the road and why? We will pick two comments at random and announce them in my next update, which will be from London. You have between 8am ET and 6pm ET each day to answer the daily question. Please be sure to include your name, email address and twitter name (optional). Good luck and see you in London! Monday’s winners: The two entrants chosen from Monday’s article are Ella Morton & Maribel Lara. You are both now entered into the grand prize drawing on Tuesday February 2 for the “Long Weekend in London.” Be a smarter traveler and check out CheapOair’s domestic and international airline baggage policies & procedures page.