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.
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.