Historical version 4 of Heathrow Airport
The biggest of London's airports (in addition to Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport, Luton Airport (which is being marketed as a London airport even though it isn't really) and City Airport), with four terminals. They have their own Tube stations, [Heathrow Terminals 123 Station]? and [Heathrow Terminal 4 Station]?. There is a controversial plan to build a fifth terminal on the western side of the airport, and ground breaking appears (as of February 2003) to have begun.
At present, terminal 4 (southern side of the airport) is for KLM, Qantas and most British Airways long-haul flights; others are shared between terminals 1-3 (central area). See http://www.gatewayonline.net/airports/heathrow/termin/hterminals.html for more details. It's possible to walk between terminals 1-3, though it can take a while; getting between these and terminal 4 will involve payment. In any case, it's well worth confirming the terminal before you set out for Heathrow.
There are three runways: 09L/27R (12800 feet), 09R/27L (12000 feet), and 05/23 (6400 feet). Typically, 09R/27L is used for departures, and 09L/27R for arrivals (the direction depending on the wind); 05/23 is only used in severe crosswind conditions. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world in terms of aircraft movements, and has some of the most crowded airspace above it, so all flight activity is strictly controlled; This is one of the few airports from which [Concorde]? operates.
The best way to get to Heathrow is by Tube as noted. Parking is extremely expensive, and while there is a "Heathrow Express" rail service from Paddington, it costs significantly more than the Tube for a very minor time saving.
For getting from Heathrow to other places in London, there's the above options, plus, of course taxis. However bear in mind that firstly a taxi will be expensive, and secondly taking a taxi from Heathrow for a short distance can be deeply unfair on the driver — see a uk.transport.london post about taxis at Heathrow for the reason why.
All the roads on the airport begin with the letter 'S'. (Anyone know why?)
- (A cabbie told me last time I got work to pay for a cab from Heathrow to home, that if you want to go a small distance then tell the guy running the rank that you want to go to at least Chiswick, if not further - if the distance is much less than Chiswick, then the cabby has to wait for a while before he can go back on the Heathrow rank, if further then he gets ticket to let him back in quicker...I'm fairly sure that was it --Billy)
- (Isn't it the other way around? They get the ticket to get back in quicker if their fare is only for a short distance. --Kake)
- * (I think you're right...I was rather jetlagged and dazed at the time --Billy)