Heathrow Terminal Five

The BBC has an overview of What Makes a Good Airport in anticipation of Heathrow’s new Terminal 5. They mention some aspects like consistent signage and efficient queuing, but one thing they don’t mention is seating. Probably because Terminal 5 doesn’t have any. Last year Dan Lockton wrote an overview of the new terminal that included this quote from the Guardian:

Flying from the new Heathrow Terminal 5 and facing a lengthy delay? No worries. Take a seat and enjoy the spectacular views through the glass walls: Windsor castle in one direction; the Wembley Arch, the London Eye and the Gherkin visible on the horizon in the other.

But you had better be quick, because the vast terminal, due to open at 4am on March 27 next year, has only 700 seats. That’s much less than two jumbo loads, in an airport designed to handle up to 30 million passengers a year.

There will be more chairs available but they will be inside cafes, bars and restaurants. Taking the weight off your feet will cost at least a cup of coffee.

I posted a roundup of articles on the importance of seating last month. Problem is, if you provide proper seating then people won’t shop as much. I don’t know if the plan for Terminal 5 has changed since last year, but the lack of seating is a pretty cynical design strategy.


  1. *Shameless Plug Alert* – I agree with Jeff here, cynicism isn’t a good design driver, but at least finding those seats will be a breeze!




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