If you don’t speak English, forget terminal 5 Heathrow

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Heathrow Terminal 5
On Monday, I went to terminal 5 for the first time. Some of you might think I spend all my life at airports but no. The time had come however as my daughter was arriving back from a wedding in the US and needed collecting.

Nice airy terminal with lots of room but both in arrivals and departures all of the information was in English and English only. So I return to an old hobbyhorse. Doesn’t BA or BAA expect anyone coming through terminal 5 to speak a different language?

Heathrow is a major hub airport. People catch flights into Heathrow ansd switch to get to their destination. Maybe in the transit lounge there are signs in at least French, Spanish, German and Italian. Maybe there are BAA support staff who can answer questions in those languages but on the public side there is nothing. Little pictures of a train and a bus and things like that but that’s it.

BAA gets a lot of criticism it doesn’t deserve. The terminal is an achievement and it was brought in on budget and on time. Yes, lots of teathing issues in the opening months but what airport doesn’t have those? The opening was just over-hyped. Now it has settled down, people I know who have used it have been enthusiastic. So why couldn’t the designers and BAA have considered signage? As you enter there are signs showing the flight details and next is an information sign that says useful things about when to expect incoming passengers to come through. But again, it’s all in English and nothing else.

Come on BAA, have a thought to make non-English speaking passengers feel a little more welcome.

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