A few weeks ago, I volunteered to take part in the trials of the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow. Well, today was the day. It was the twelth of some 70-odd trials that they're planning to make sure the systems all work. Why did I volunterr? Well, I fly a fair mount for my job, so it's quite probable thet I'll be going through there in the near future as a "customer", so a chance to get a walk through is nice. Also, I think it's a good idea to get the systems fully tested by "normal" people (me? normal?!?). Plus, I was interested to see what it was like without hordes of people around :)
So,what was the day like? Well, it ws interesting and fun... We all got to play at being passengers trying to check in, go through the transit system to the satellite gates, be a transfer passenger trying to find a connecting flight, and finally an arriving passenger trying to find our way out. Now, the terminal still has a fair bit of work to go, and there's still quite a few bugs in the system. For instance, a few people from our group got lost and went the wrong way when trying to find their connecting flight. Also, a number of signs should really be moved to make then easier to see or more useful. I hope they get these issues sorted out, otherwise people will complain. Generally, though, I think the departures is really nice. There's lots of glass, meaning you get natural light. This is a big improvement from the other terminals. Also, the fact that there's no specific check-in desks for partcular flights means the concourse should be a lot easier to navigate. I'm actually looking forward to using this terminal next year.:)
Still, time for dinner. It was a fun way of spending a day off. I may see if I can get on another trial day closer to the day. The only bad thing? They wouldn't allow us to take photos!