Airports can be an incredibly fun place or an incredibly boring place depending on where you are and how long you are there for. Having spent my time in many an airport around the world, from the lovely to the awful I have come to the conclusion that when flying you should try to spend as little time in the departure terminal as possible, especially when flying alone because otherwise it’s incredibly boring! However recently something changed my mind, the preview of Terminal 2 at Heathrow.
Now Terminal 2 was closed and demolished in 2009, and to be honest I had forgotten all about until I randomly got into a conversation with someone while sitting in Terminal 3 a few weeks ago. T2 opens on the 4th June offering the latest step in the transformation of Heathrow. It will be home to 26 airlines and will welcome 15.8 million passengers a year. That’s a lot of people to keep entertained while they wait for their flights.
At the Experience Terminal 2 preview they show cased some of the highlights of the new terminal, the things that are going to make it stand out and make travelling through the terminal fun.
For so long we have been faced (now I am talking to my fellow economy class travellers) with the same old food options in airport departure lounges, coffee shops, sandwiches or sushi, there is no real choice which just made pre flight dining boring. You want something exciting before you get on a flight. T2 is changing that. Of course there will still be the normal offering of coffee shops like Nero or Costa, but now you have a wider choice with places like Leon or M&S Simply Food that mean you can have something healthier, something that isn’t just a sandwich. There are also going to be higher end food options with the Heston Blumenthal’s ‘ The Perfectionist Cafe’ offering a menu which celebrates British dishes and of course it keeps Heston’s trade mark experimental food stamp, with things like liquid nitrogen ice cream on the menu. There will also be ‘The Gorgeous Kitchen’ the creation of four women looking to create a wholesome and seasonal menu that offers relaxed fine dining.
It’s not only restaurant choices that are getting a make over, but Terminal 2 is going to have ‘London’s Pride’ by Fullers, one of my favourite breweries. Finally you are no longer left with the choice of one dark odd smelling pub that attracts the morning drinkers, but somewhere that offers a gastro pub experience and decent beer! Fullers have also created a beer just for this pub called ‘Wingman’ and its lovely, a really nice light ale that is perfect as a pre flight beverage.
Now I am not one to usually favour shopping at airports as I am usually so laden down with things already buying clothes before I get to my destination seems like an odd choice. Of course that is me and I know lots of people like the idea of tax-free shopping or if you are returning home its the perfect time to get presents for people! T2 has of course created a small problem for me as they are introducing the very first John Lewis shop in an airport – this is going to cause me a problem when I fly as clearly I am going to end up buying lots of nice John Lewis things when I really don’t need them! Shame on you T2, shame on you!
There will of course be the usual selection of designer brands on sale within the terminal including Burberry, Mulberry, Kurt Geiger and a favourite of mine Cath Kidston. As well as clothes shops there will be the traditional World Duty Free shop which is always a way to pass the time at any airport and in Terminal 2 you will have even more ways to pass the time, with their bespoke whiskey tasting, along with a range of complimentary facials, massages and treatments. I got the chance to try out one of their hand massages and a manicure and it was brilliant, so relaxing and definitely something I would try to take advantage of when flying as it just gets you in the right state of mind. I have also fallen in love with the Yves Saint Laurent nail varnish I am now wearing courtesy of my free manicure so there is a sale right there!
Terminal 2 has a lot to live up to now but its offering all the right services to make flying fun again, to make travel luxurious even if you don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend or access to a lounge pre departure. You can now go to the airport knowing you will have the chance of eating lovely food before your flight, maybe a mini massage or treatment and enjoy a relaxing drink. Air travel has gone crazy over the last few years with the rise of low cost airlines, you arrive just in time for the flight as all you have is hand luggage, no time in the departure lounge, just straight onto the plane. The glamour of air travel is gone but Heathrow Terminal 2 is trying to bring a little bit of that back and I say bravo to them because you know what I wouldn’t mind a little bit of old school glamour before I get into my economy seat on a 14 hour flight. All I can say is I need to book a holiday that flies out of Terminal 2 so I can try it for real this time!