back to article BAA boots Vulture from T5 frequent flyer club

The UK’s Spanish-owned airports monopoly, BAA, has declared The Register an “unsuitable site”, meaning that later on today we can tell you what Terminal 5 looks like, but can’t actually show you. The shock decision was revealed to the Reg this morning, when we asked BAA for some photographs of its shiny new passenger barn …


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  1. Mark

    T5 - No chance

    I haven't flown with BA since about 1996 die to their shit service, so there's no chance of me having an invite to be fingerprinted in T5.

    As for the rest of Heathrowup, I now use regional airports and pick up transatlantic via Schiphol or Frankfurt.

  2. Lozzyho

    God I hate airports

    And sadly, British ones are the worst. I was unfortunate enough to travel from Liverpool "John Lennon" airport a few weeks ago. Sorry for the geeky reference, but it made me feel like Gordon Freeman arriving on the train at City 17.

    "Failure to comply may result in you missing your departure".

    F**k off.

    And another thing, if we can't take fluids beyond the Gestapo strip-searches, then at least they should provide free (or very cheap) drinking water at the other side. Rip-off Britain at its best!

  3. Paul
    Dead Vulture

    I want to rant about how its wrong...

    but I cant help thinking they are probably right... :-)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    ice-cubes with lucifer

    It'll be a cold wintry day in hell before I'm found in T5 - unless a proper airline is allowed to use it.

  5. Frank Bough
    IT Angle

    This IS the WWW, Isn't It?

    Why not just LINK to some pics?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    No big loss really

    After all they want sites to actually agree what value for money and what great security systems they have in place, rather than the truth about it being designed by blind monkeys and the small fact the government secretly wanting to see how many fingerprints they could collect for a nice new security database (CD/DVD size of course)

    I avoid Heathrow like the hell hole it is. Being honest for an international airport I have NEVER seen a more dirty, poorly designed place in all my years of traveling. I guess most VIPs think its cracking as they only see the Royal suite rather than the shit the rest of us go through to get to our flights and fighting to stand up as the bus drivers fly through an underground packing bay on the way to drop you off at your terminal.

  7. Roger
    Thumb Up

    I'll be there Sunday

    If the promise of a queue free airport is true, then it will be worth it. It you're flying to America or Japan then you will be fingerprinted and iris scanned anyway, so letting T5 do it as well is a small price to pay.

  8. Jeff Fox
    Thumb Down


    My last flight to Chicago with BA was just rubbish, grumpy trolley-dolly, seats that didn't recline all the way, chewing gum on the handle, no magazine, frozen lasagne, rubbish pre-packed sandwich 'snack' - the list goes on.

    I've been an exec club member for over 10 years and having built up my most recent miles to cover some hols in the US, I'll be looking elsewhere.

    Next time I go anywhere, I'll try to get another airline I think.

  9. Allan

    To join the club you have to give fingerprints...

    Another reason to wonder about T5 is the fingerprint issue :

  10. Anonymous Coward

    You missed a trick...

    ..on the URL:

    Instead of:

    we could so easily have had:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm there friday morning....

    ... what do you want a pik of?

    I'll see if I can't coax a BSOD out of the self service check in desks so there'll be an IT angle to the story...

    oh wait.. this is el reg

  12. James Anderson

    You can afford to claim air miles ?

    Last time I tried to spend some of my wodge of BA airmiles the "free" filght plus taxes and fuel surcharges worked out more expensive than the off the shelf Easy Jet option.

  13. Stuza
    Thumb Up


    Biometrics is for domestic passengers only. You won't have to give them going to USA or Japan.

  14. John Band

    Not helping

    "I now use regional airports and pick up transatlantic via Schiphol or Frankfurt."

    What, because you think KLM/NWA or Lufthansa are good airlines? Possibly on some deeply weird alternative planet.

    While BA are obviously worse than Virgin, Emirates or Singapore, they're the best Western flag carrier by a country mile. And concentrating nearly all their Heathrow flights in a single terminal will remove the main pain factor that previously made Schiphol a viable alternative.

    [flying into T5 on Sunday - looking forward to it more than most flights I've been on in the last few years...]

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Clearly never been to CDG then. I've been to loads of airports worldwide, and CDG is the worst by a loooooooooooooooooong shot.

  16. Spleen


    Can we have a list of what press outlets BAA did consider "suitable"? What's the betting that trash like the Scum, the Heil, the Moron etc. are considered 'suitable' while the world's foremost source for Paris Hilton news is left out in the cold.

  17. Lotaresco

    No worries

    OK, so El Reg cannot have photos of the inside of T5. The answer is simple, show photos of the inside of Stansted. The two are identical, making it look as if Rogers wanted to pay homage to Foster.

  18. Laurent_Z
    Jobs Horns

    I only know the oldish Heathrow

    When I came in from Paris with my two hand luggages I had no problem, no comment, and not even a "welcome, Sir" as in the good old days.

    When I tried to go back home, they told me I couldn't embark with my two "luggages" (one dell laptop, one smallish bag for overnight stay), even when I proved they both fitted in the 'max size for luggages" box.

    The alternative proposed to me where :

    1/ buy a larger bag to fit them both at the airport terminal (150/200£, minimum)

    2/ leave a luggage and get it back on my return trip (LOL ! as if I would come back. and this was my return trip)

    3/ drop a luggage in the trash can (my clothes or my laptop...nice choice)

    When I started asking them for a trash bag so I could fit both my bags in it an take my flight, they said that anyhow they would'nt allow me to do it, and that as my flight was running in 15 minutes I had very few time to find an alternative.

    => a 1.5kg clothe bag in the hold, I just had to wait for it 1hour at Charles de Gaulle.

    Next trip to the UK will be by Eurostar, hoping they are less "Assholy" than Heathrow teams.

    Ballmer Tag : because evil has a face

  19. Mark Cathcart

    The worlds only building site with its own airport

    Still true...

  20. Mark Cathcart
    Thumb Up


    How long for ??

    The US Embassy recently took all ten prints for a visa, how long before BAA send them my T5 prints to compare??

    The only problem is we'll all need kid gloves, the slightest cut etc. and your finger prints don't compare. The US Embassy won't even take your finger prints and you can't get a visa if your prints are not perfect... all ten!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @ Not helping - By John Band

    Actually, most people that fly often, note that Amsterdam's Schipol Airport is brilliant, fast and efficient - rather than the glorified Shopping Center that Heathrow is.

    Since I fly in from Schipol on Friday night into T5, I'll let you know how AMS compares to the new Wonder of the World that is Terminal 5.

    I'll see if I can get some pics without being arrested and posted to Guantanamo Bay...

  22. Bill Buchan
    Black Helicopters

    Bloody Heathrow.

    Ah. The Heathrow Two Bags problem.

    Solution: Head to a check-in desk, ask to get some tape, and tape the two bags together. And, it works. Proof here:

    Myself, it'll be a cold day in hell before I go near T5. Give those useless f**kers my fingerprints ? I dont think so!

    ---* Bill

  23. Mike
    Thumb Up


    Just do what one of my old CTO's did when faced with jobsworth check-in staff and the "one bag only" rule - find the nearest bathroom and change into ALL your clothes. Pop laptop bag into - now empty - clothes bag. Reverse the process once past the ticket-nazis.

  24. Clarence

    What the?

    @Mark, Jeff Fox, James Anderson

    What's BA got to do with any of this? No one said you have to fly with them.

  25. Michael

    blooming airports

    They take all liquids off you but then if you do get thirsty in the airport you have no choice but to buy their expensive drinks..

    Now im thinking they are using all this security crap to make some money. Surly they could test the liquid you take in, but then how would they make money from the stuff they sell inside?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Stampede but No Charge ... !

    "a queue free airport"

    Means you can queue for as long as they want but you won't have to pay EXTRA to do it.

  27. Bruno Girin

    @Lozzyho & AC

    No, believe me, the worst airport in the world is Riyadh airport. Closely followed by CDG Terminal 1.

  28. Mark


    T5 becomes the new home of BA.

    Use any other airline for long haul and you're back in the shithole that is T3.

    No fly BA - No use T5.

  29. Mike Flugennock

    They renamed a friggin' airport after...JOHN LENNON?

    ...especially considering the buttload of authoritarian bullying going on there now?

    Cripes. For the first time in my life, I'm actually glad he's not here to see this.

    Here, at a time when we could really use the Smart One and the Soulful One, we're stuck with the Dumb One and the (Formerly)Cute One.

    Damn. Sorry, John.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Ill buy you all a beer

    Well done El Reg!!!!

    I feel you all deserve a beer, itll be only one to share though on the grounds that i am taxed to hell on everything these days.

    Roll on more stories of El Reg getting all Mark Thomas. I am particularly keen to see stories, reports and commentary on anyone and everyone who follows the information commissioners advice and chucks a royal wobbly at fingerprint scanners.


  31. John Band

    Mmm, patronising

    "Actually, most people that fly often, note that Amsterdam's Schipol Airport is brilliant, fast and efficient - rather than the glorified Shopping Center that Heathrow is."

    Actually, I've been to Schiphol three times in the last six weeks. Yes, it's a much better airport than any of the other big ones for changing between two different carriers, because it doesn't follow the "terminals" model.

    However, it's still a giant shopping centre filled with crap shops and overpriced cafés; it still features long walks, too little information and too few staff; and it still creates massive queues and (passenger and staff) confusion whenever there's a bit of fog, snow or general idiocy.

    And KLM and NWA are both seriously inferior to BA in business class, in terms of lounges (bloody hell, the KLM lounge at Schiphol is rubbish), on-board service, SEATS, and food. In economy the difference is less noticeable, but still real IMO.

  32. LaeMi Qian

    And here is...

    ... out artist's impression. In crayon.

    OR, if they won't give you the pics you want, find some pics THEY definitely WON'T want.

  33. b166er


    Aren't Virgin the sole occupier of T5B?

    Granted, you have to go through T5A to get to it, but it's a short ride on the TTS

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Schiphol and CDG - what hell

    "Actually, most people that fly often, note that Amsterdam's Schipol Airport is brilliant, fast and efficient - rather than the glorified Shopping Center that Heathrow is."

    20 minute queues through Schengen security clearance; 15 minutes (including moving walkways) to get from C5 to baggage reclaim; 30 minutes walk from one end to the other; crap business lounge; and a shopping mall with jetties if ever there was one. Schiphol is crap.

    I agree though that it's nowhere near as bad as CDG. I haven't seen CDG 1 since they re-vamped it. Maybe you can now get a coffee elsewhere than in the dingy basement. CDG2 is a nightmare. Even Air France hate it (according to one of their directors I spoke to). Imagine this:

    Leave CDG to AMS from 2F with AF so leave car in 2F car park;

    Return on AF plane that will then fly on to bordeaux;

    But AF to Bordeaux is from 2D!

    So you:

    - come in to 2D and walk through TGV station to 2F or get bus (walk to space between 2D and 2B, wait, get bus via 2A/2C, RER, 2E to 2F) - 15 minutes either way;

    - come in to 2F and AF has to either get its plane tugged around the TGV station to 2D or get its passengers bused to a 2F jetty;

    -come in to a distant parking stand and get bused to 2F while Bordeaux passengers get bused from 2D.

    As for the chaos in 2B with queues of passengers missing their planes because they have to go through passport control (only ever one cop) BEFORE checking in and with queues of arriving passengers waiting to go through passport check (only ever one cop) and getting in the way of the departing passengers.

    A complete and utter bordel!!!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Shopping malls with jetties

    Here's a little hint, people.

    Airports make, on average, 50% of their income from "non-aviation" activities, including the car parks. In Dublin it's 70% already. If you think you're ever going to be able to get that flight without being herded past shops - forget it.

    At Frankfurt Hahn, they heat and air-condition the commercial areas, but not the waiting areas! You're only useful if you buy.

  36. TeeCee Gold badge


    They have moving walkways? Last time I went through there, I'd have killed for a moving walkway or three. International (PRG) to domestic (MST) transfer. That'll be a mile or so that way through the crowds, shopping concourse, rebuilding works and three(!!) security points. You've got 20 minutes....(and the f**ker* was late when I got there, so I'd got all hot 'n sweaty for no reason).

    Heathrow, shite though it be, has an advantage in that it's distributed nature means a bus from Terminal to Terminal rather than being forced to walk from T4 to T1.

    *Actually it was an ATR, but it looked a *bit* like a fokker.......

  37. Neil

    Not just Heathrow

    The two bags thing is common across the world... I was in Kuala Lumpur airport and some silly woman at the gate told I couldn't carry two bags. I pointed out that one of them belonged to my wife and I was just doing the gentlemanly thing and carrying it for her.

    Nope, I had to give it back to my wife, walk past the silly woman and then take it back from her again.

  38. Paul Barnard

    2 Bags - catch up people

    The one bag limit was dropped ages ago at Heathrow.

    You don't even need to take your laptop out of the bag any more.

    I fly from Heathrow every couple of weeks and sure its a shit hole but what do you expect? This is England...

    I will be flying into T5 next Friday. I'm looking forward to it.

  39. Andy Blackburn
    Thumb Down

    2 hours to get your bags!,,30400-1310756,00.html?f=rss

    Says it all really

  40. Tom Oliva

    Moaning Minnies

    They're doing you a favor, you know - flying is glamorous and exciting and you're privileged to be allowed to tread the shiny terrazzo of T5 and should be grateful for the chance to experience the truly stellar service provided by the World's Favorite Airline - so there! don' t hit me .... please

  41. Snert Lee

    From the Curmudgeon's Notebook

    El Reg should have bought BAA's photos, then come up with ways to make BAA regret the sale.

    Curious thought re: fingerprints: What would they do if prior to arriving at the terminal, you'd been working on your model airplane construction and just happen to have coated your fingertips in superglue?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this security theatre ...

    All this security theatre has nothing at all to do with the prevention of life shortening events. Its all to do with making the population docile, sheep like, willing to do anything that the Dear Leader demands of us.

    They've worn 'Elf n Safety out, even the regulator is fighting back with their mythbuster web pages (, so they have to find something else. And terrorism will do for now. It doesn't really matter what we are frightened of. ( So long as they can keep us frightened its so much easier to corral us into a police state.

  43. Sceptical Bastard

    Thank f**k for that!

    So El Reg is unsuitable as a vehicle for mendacious cynical PR hyperbole?

    Good! If you had been deemed 'suitable' I'd have cancelled my subscription (had I got one).

    But, even though they knew you'd take the piss, BAA's press office response shows they are as cloddish as their masters.

    FWIW, in my experience - admittedly limited to LHR, LGW, STN, BHX, a handful of European airports, JFK and SFO - Heathrow is the absolute pits. It is chaotic, cramped and a nightmare to drive to.

    LHR's only saving grace is that it is bounded by reservoirs on the western edge so that there is something soft to crash into if the take-off goes tits-up. (Note: you're fucked if the wind is from the east as you will plummet into Hounslow.)

    BTW why call them 'terminals'? I don't find the word 'terminal' very reassuring when talking about air travel.

    Mine's the dark blue blazer with gold braid on the lapels and cuffs.

  44. James

    Terminate! Terminate!

    Sceptical Bastard... they're called "Terminals" because right now it's as far as most of the passengers are getting :)

    I work in Hungary, and I've taken to flying to regional UK airports either on Ryanscare or via Schipol because Heathrow is utter crap. Last time I arrived in T1 it took 90 minutes to get the bags off the plane. Flying from T5 in May though... handbaggage only methinks

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Landed there yesterday (we flew out via T1).

    No space on the stands as they don't ave enough, (15 minute wait on plane) Equipment left on the stand so the jumbo could not get in, no-one to operate airbridge (another 15mins).

    Got in and went through border controls OK (dispite someone designing the layout so some of the immigration peopel are hidden from the queue by pillars). Panels missing from walls, protective plastic sheeting still in place, scaffolding still in place, doors not working and generally scruffy all round.. Jeez you could never believe this was brand new and meant to be state of the art.

    Then after an hour and a half delay the subway transit signs all say

    Be treated as a guest not a Passanger, Upgrade to BA

    I'm not be in a rush to fly BA again anytime soon

  46. Darkside


    If that doesn't stop you destroying the aliens' environment we'll have to do some random body cavity searches...

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