After months of speculation, Heathrow Airport confirms that Terminal 3 will reopen to passenger travel this month. Virgin Atlantic and Delta will be the first airlines to reopen the space, ahead of a phased reopening from July 15th.
The news is a huge burst of momentum for the flailing UK travel industry, which has seen other European countries and world regions reopening at a fever pitch, while UK travel remains largely impossible due to costly and complicated restrictions and fast changing policies.
With an expectation that vaccinated Brits will soon see greater travel freedoms, the airport is ramping up operations, also adding use of its second runway to cope with an upsurge in demand.
Virgin “Comes Home” To Heathrow T3
UK leaders further reiterated plans to allow fully vaccinated travelers to avoid any quarantine when entering the UK from a “green list” or “amber list” country, and fresh on the news Virgin Atlantic and Delta are headed “home” to Heathrow Terminal 3.
Long the home base for Virgin Atlantic, Terminal 3 boasts the ‘Upper Class Wing’ and Virgin Clubhouse lounge, each of which are ground staples of one of the best business class experiences in the world.
Virgin Atlantic says eligible Delta One, Upper Class, Delta Diamond and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members will be able to access all these facilities immediately, and a QR code system for lounge ordering will allow anyone to order anything from any seat with waiter service delivering the meal, or drink. Printed menus and standard service will also be available.
For customers, the move will bring streamlined connections and improved facilities. All Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines flights out of Heathrow should operate from Terminal 3 from July 15th.
Gradual Reopening For T3 Airlines
Delta and Virgin Atlantic will reopen the terminal with all services from July 15th, but others are expected to join shortly thereafter.
Emirates, another T3 stalwart with its own lounge in the terminal is a likely contender to gradually reboot operations from Terminal 3, particularly if the UAE, which currently sits on the UK “red list” is moved to the “amber list”. American Airlines, a partner of British Airways is rumored to remain in T5 for an extended period.
Under proposals from government leaders, fully vaccinated travelers from “amber” or “green” list countries would be able to skip quarantine, instead participating in a strong testing program. Many countries now allow entry without restriction to fully vaccinated travelers – a move the UK has been slow to recognize.