Heathrow ready to say goodbye to athletes and fans

Who is faster? Usain Bolt or a speeding airplane?

Athletes, their families, their coaches and many Olympics fans will be heading home after the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Heathrow Airport says it’s ready to handle all those departures.

August 13, 14, 15 are expected to be the busiest in Heathrow history, and on Monday (the 13th) alone, 5,000 Olympic participants are expected to be processed at the special, temporary terminal the airport has built just for athletes. When the games are over that terminal will be demolished and the land returned to its previous use as a parking lot.

Although the athletes and all their baggage will be processed in that special terminal, everyone still has to go through the “regular” terminals to catch their flights. So travelers may end up mingling with gold medal winners at the gates.

On Monday, Heathrow is expecting to see about 15,000 members of the “Olympic family” and a total of 116,000 passengers. The record for departing passengers is 123,000 set on 29th July 2011.