British Airways’ Cayman-London flight spreads its wings this week and heads to brand new Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
This Wednesday, the Cayman flight is one of 30 long-haul flights to move into the new terminal.
‘I’m extremely excited that we are finally moving to our Terminal 5 amazing home,’ said BA District Manager for Grand Cayman Patrizia Amante.
‘Our clients will find it very easy and stress free and a very pleasurable experience, both for inbound and outgoing customers.’
Just last month, British Airways, which is the sole airline occupying the new terminal, conducted a survey over 10 days (4 to 14 August) to test just how things were going at the new terminal, which had been marred by technical glitches and customer frustration after its opening in March.
The survey results showed that at Terminal 5 the average time it took customers to go through the check-in process was just less than 10 minutes.
For arrival passengers, the average time for the bags to arrive at the carousel from the time a flight arrived was 23 minutes, according to the same survey.
It took an average of just over five minutes for customers to pass through security, the survey revealed.
However, the situation in March after the terminal opened was very different, when operations were hampered by teething problems, leaving customers outraged.
Technical glitches caused long queues at check-in, hundreds of cancelled and delayed flights and thousands of piled up and delayed bags.
But these problems have all been ironed out, asserts Ms Amante.
‘Terminal 5 is our exciting, amazing new home. We have been constantly monitoring our performance to ensure that everything flows smoothly.
‘We continue to monitor through our regular surveys that we do to ensure that performance continues to improve and that we are up to standard.’
There is also an advertising campaign running in the UK – the adverts use pictures of real people along with real statistics about aspects of the Terminal 5 performance – to show how well it’s working and to try and dispel any remaining negative perceptions people may have.
The campaign appears in print, online, outdoor, radio and direct channel advertising.
Because of the problems after the opening of Terminal 5, the phase-in of most intercontinental flights, originally scheduled to transfer there in April, was put off until September, including the Cayman Islands flight.
‘. . . we decided it was better for some of the long haul flights to wait until September so that it would give us more time to ensure that the transition is smooth and that we are well prepared,’ said Ms Amante.
A dedicated check-in area for business class customers opened just recently at Terminal 5, next to the first class check-in area.
Customers are still encouraged to check-in online, but the check-in area also offers 96 check-in kiosks designed to eliminate queuing.
Along with the streamlining of check-in, baggage collection and passage through security, Ms Amante points out some of the other advantages customers will experience in their use of Terminal 5.
Executive Club and business passengers will enjoy the peace and comfort of The Galleries Lounges, the largest complex of premium airport lounges in the world.
There are also a large mix of quality shops, restaurants and cafes.
The shopping is more London West End than airport terminal, with 112 shops, premium brand flagship stores and designer boutiques.
There are 25 places to eat, gourmet restaurants exclusive to Terminal 5, including one by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, along with chic cafes and traditional English pubs.
Another boast of the terminal is that the floor to ceiling windows give outstanding views of the runways, aircraft, countryside and even Windsor Castle and Wembley Stadium.
‘The architecture is beautiful,’ said Ms Amante. ‘Everything is extremely modern and very open with a lot of light, very well soundproofed and it’s very soothing.’
She also notes that passengers can ease through quickly to connecting flights. There is a rapid transit system between Terminal 5 and its satellite terminals that takes 45 seconds. Transfers to terminals beyond Terminal 5 are by coach.
Transport links to London include the Piccadilly line to central London, the Heathrow Express, 20 minutes to central London, and a dedicated access road linking to the M25.
British Airways was recently given a vote of confidence by business travellers in a high profile travel magazine.
The readers of top travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller voted British Airways the best business airline.
BA scooped the title ahead of Virgin Atlantic, last year’s winner Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa.
BA was also voted second in the best short-haul leisure travel airline category and third in the best long-haul leisure category.
Commercial director Robert Boyle said: ‘We know we have a fabulous, market-leading business product, so it is fantastic that it is being recognised in this way.
‘We are constantly striving to improve the service we provide in our Club World cabin and this award is testament to the hard work of staff across the airline.’