An interesting question I had when I was travelling out of Heathrow T2 last week. After the main terminal's security check on departures, I wandered around a little bit and then wanted to check the cafés around the Satellite terminal - the so-called "B gates".

On the information board it said that "Do not go to B gates until you see that your flight would depart from there" (or something similar to that). I am very curious about the reasoning of this. It was not a nighttime flight or overnight flight or anything, and the airport was busy as normal, so I ruled out the possibility of them trying to minimise someone hiding at somewhere at the terminal.

Is it because of the road to B gates is (physically) next to the UK border on the initial part? That came as the only reason to my mind. To put it more clearly, it is just that the walkway to B gates is physically next to the arrivals UK border and I thought that maybe they do not want too many people wandering around there for security reasons (I guess)?

The rule seemed so odd to me that's why I wanted to ask to see if anyone has any info on this. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


The walk to Terminal 2B from the main Terminal 2 departure area is approximately 10 minutes (including 2 fairly tall elevators/escalators), and other than if your flight is departing from that terminal there is really no reason to make that walk - it's smaller than the main terminal, and although there are a few shops in 2B, they are simply smaller versions of the same shops that are already in the main Terminal 2 area.

Unlike many airports, gates at Heathrow generally aren't assigned (or at least, advertised) until around 45-90 minutes before departure. Most likely what they are attempting to avoid with the signage you've mentioned is having people presume their flight will depart from Terminal 2B and walk over there, only to find it's actually Terminal 2A and have to walk all the way back.

(If I recall correctly, there are moving walkways in the tunnel between terminals, but they only go in the direction 2A->2B, so the walk back takes even longer!)

There is nothing to stop you going over to 2B well before your flight (and personally I normally do exactly that in order to access the United Airlines lounge in 2B) other than the fact that if your flight ends up departing from 2A you will need to walk all the way back.

  • 2
    I've always thought the one way moving walkway bit is one of the main reasons (there is a moving walkway that goes the other way, but that one is only for arriving passengers). If you get a passenger who doesn't move too quickly who goes over there, takes a few minutes to notice their 2A gate is posted, and slowly makes their way back, they could potentially miss their gate closure time. Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 22:01
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    Gate areas can also get very busy, so they wouldn't want people from uncalled flights crowding them.
    – user72952
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 8:43

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