Crowded house at London Heathrow Terminal 3

Even in full anticipation of a delayed flight, I left my home well in time for check-in at London Heathrow‘s Terminal 3 – home to Virgin Atlantic. It’s funny how this blog can change your whole expectation (but then this was part of the idea anyway). So, was my flight delayed? Technically yes, but I have to admit, it was a close call. The Boeing 747 left the gates about 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time and took off 11 minutes later. In fact, that’s a very acceptable delay, especially for a 10 hour flight.

So, what was there to do in Terminal 3? Quite a bit: Until the recent opening of Terminal 5, this terminal was probably the best Heathrow had to offer, especially in terms of shopping and amenities. It’s still pretty good, however, the one thing that is striking every single time I get there, is the sheer amount of people in one space. The main area is ridiculously undersized for the amount of people and as a result you will have a tough time finding a seat even during quiet times like this morning.

However, there’s good news as well. Having been in this Terminal a couple times before I already know you can find the usual newspaper, electronics and book shops, a large duty free shop, a Harrod’s outlet, the only Yo! Sushi restaurant in Heathrow, TGI Friday’s, Brasserie Chez Gérard, a handful of Designer shops and four coffee shops. Four coffee shops? Yep. And with that insight, I told myself there must be quite some competition among them, so I took a closer look and compared the prices for a regular sized latte (or in new coffee lingo it would be a “tall” sized drink):

  • Bagel Street, £1.80
  • Eat, £1.90
  • Starbucks, £2.05
  • Caffe Italia, £2.10

If you are looking for a soy milk latte, this changes the game slightly as both Eat and Starbucks charge extra for this luxury health choice (Eat £0.30, Starbucks £0.35) where as the two others don’t.

But if price was equal, which one should you choose? Which coffee is the best? Well, personally I favour Eat for regular coffee and Starbucks for Soya as they have the better soy milk. But in line with my previous post about eating healthy while travelling, I only tasted these two this time. I will update this post when I’m back to taste the other two.

Oh, one more thing: From now on we will add a little price index to our airport short facts where possible. I’ve chosen the two most useful likely products you would find in every duty free around the globe: Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Prices will be shown in local currency and US Dollars.

Facts

Airport name: London Heathrow, Terminal 3
Website: http://www.heathrowairport.com/
IATA Code: LHR
Design factor: 2/5
Shopping factor: 3/5
Toilets factor: 3/5
Overall factor: 2/5
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum: £57.70 (click to see other currencies)
Bottle of Veuve Clicquot: £28.25

[Picture from Flickr]