As Heathrow prepares for a much needed boost in the form of the Christmas getaway and the capital moves into Tier 3, passengers are being reminded of guidelines at the airport. Measures come with a stark explanation from the airport saying that passenger experience will come secondary to safety measures to ensure swift and safe getaways.
Only those travelling will be allowed access to terminals and so ‘welcoming and farewell’ parties are being asked to either stay in their cars, or at home. This strict policy will ensure that unnecessary numbers are not waiting in terminals, as the airport focuses on getting passengers away on much needed breaks.
Those preparing to fly are being asked to wrap up warm as they may be asked to wait outside terminals, if congestion starts to build. Managed areas outside the terminals, which will be under cover, are being prepared, alongside additional marshals who will be on hand to provide assistance. Passengers are also being reminded that the wearing of face coverings is mandatory at the airport, as social distancing is not always possible.
From the start of this crisis, Heathrow has led the charge on COVID-19 safety measures. It moved quickly to increase and enhance cleaning regimes, ensuring key touchpoints in the passenger journey are sanitised and introducing UV cleaning robots that can detect and eliminate the virus. Heathrow was one of the first airports to install Perspex screens and make face coverings mandatory.
Heathrow is also reminding passengers of expectations when traveling via Heathrow. These include:
- Allowing two hours ahead of a short haul flight, and three hours for long haul. Additional time is not needed as it will increase unnecessary dwell time and numbers at the airport
- Regular use of hand sanitiser, which is made available to all passengers throughout their journey
- Only coming to the airport if you are travelling
- Maintaining 1 metre distance where possible and always wearing a face covering when inside the terminal
Kathryn Leahy, Airport Operations Director said: “Protecting our colleagues and customers is always our number one priority. In the coming days and over the Christmas period, our terminals are likely to feel busy and we will need to manage this carefully. We are asking passengers to support us in maintaining social distancing, wearing facemasks and following the instructions of the additional COVID marshals we will have on duty. That way, working together, we can ensure a safe and swift getaway for everyone.” Measures for operational Terminals 2 and 5 will be implemented immediately, reflecting the move into Tier 3. These interventions are further evidence that greater focus and progress on mass testing is needed from Government. Whilst the first step has finally been taken in ‘Test to Release’ this week, more miles are needed to ensure that passengers and airport workers can travel with confidence, kickstarting the economic fightback we need to start in earnest during 2021