London Heathrow Airport

Some airports ease travel. Others make it harder

Now you can reserve a checkpoint slot at Miami Int’l Airport

One of the newest, and most welcome airport amenities are free programs that allow passengers to schedule the time they go through TSA checkpoint screening.

Examples include the Spot Saver program at Seattle-Tacoma Internation Airport (SEA), the LAX Fast Lane at Los Angeles International Aiport, the EWR Virtual Line at Newark Liberty International Airport, MCO Reserve at Orlando International Airport, PHX Reserve at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), and JFK T4 Reserve at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

There are also a few other checkpoint reservation programs operating at airports around the country.

Some are limited to certain airlines, specific checkpoints, or concourses, and may be offered during limited hours. Be sure to read the rules and directions on your airport’s website.

Miami International Airport (MIA) just joined the list

MIA Reserve is a six-month pilot program for passengers flying from MIA airport on American Airlines.

During the trial, passengers may reserve a checkpoint screening time, for free at MIA TSA Checkpoint 4 from 5 am to 7 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Reservations are limited and can be scheduled up to 72 hours before a flight.

Amsterdam Schiphol reduces passenger capacity. Again.

Citing a shortage of security workers in the coming months, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) will once again reduce the number of passengers allowed in the airport.

This time the airport is reducing the number of daily passengers by 18%, through at least October 31. In a statement released last week, Schiphol officials said they expect to continue applying limits on the number of daily passengers until at least the end of the year.

That’s bad news for passengers and for airlines.

AMS had set a limit of 67,500 departing passengers per day during September and 69,500 during October.

The new maximum will be 54,500 per day for the rest of September and 57,000 per day in October.

London’s Heathrow Airport and several others also have passenger capacity limits in place at least through the end of October.

What to eat at London Heathrow Airport

When you’re Stuck at The Airport you can shop, work, chat with other passengers, snooze, walk around or, of course, eat.

But how do you find the best meals, great deals or food and drink that fits your dietary needs, whether they be gluten-free or martini-driven?

If you’re heading to London, thes dining guide to the best restaurants at Heathrow Airport that I put together for AFAR should be helpful. The short version is below, so be sure to click through to see the full version.

(And if you’re heading to Los Angeles International Airport, I’ve put together a dining guide to LAX for AFAR as well. )

Heathrow airport has a restaurant directory with links to full food and drink menus on its website. Information about where to find milk for babies and meals for kids, as well the holidays and school break weeks when many restaurants let Kids Eat Free, is online as well.

A nice touch, Heathrow also has a list of all the airport restaurants where special dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, kosher, halal, gluten-free, dairy free and wheat-free, can be accommodated.

For passengers in a rush, Heathrow suggests downloading the Grab app to pre-order food and drink for pick-up at about 20 airport restaurants. There are also almost thirty airport restaurants where the menus has a special symbol next to dishes that can be delivered within 15 minutes of ordering for those sitting down at a table.

And venues such as Fortnum & Mason and the recently refurbished Gordon Ramsey Plane Food will put together multi-course Take Onboard meals packed in re-usable, insulated containers.

For posh pre-flight splurges, airport mainstay Caviar House and & Prunier Seafood Bar has counters in both Terminal 2 and 3. 

Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal (Serves most Star Alliance airlines)


Wondertree cafe and restaurant

We like the YO! Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant or The Perfectionists’ Café, from British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, which serve British classics, plus wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, milkshakes and ice-cream sundaes.

Wondertree (by Giraffe) has a global menu ranging from Mexican breakfast and Hawaiian Beef Chili Bowl, to burgers, smoothie, shakes and sangria.

Terminal 3 (One World airlines)

The Curator bar and restaurant outlet

Post security:

Spuntino is the airport outpost of the popular London restaurant known for its Italian/American comfort food, Mac‘n’ cheese, pizzas, prohibition era-inspired cocktails and great blues soundtrack. The Curator has an extensive drink menu and a menu with open sandwiches, burgers, salads, pizzas and British classics, such as Steak & Ale pie. Oriel Grand Brassiere.

Terminal 4 (Mainly Sky Team member airlines)

The Commission restaurant

Post- security:

The Commission (by Drake & Morgan) offers travelers everything from burgers and salads to fish & chips and hearty steaks. Head to Comptoir Libanais for a great array of authentic Lebanese and Middle East dishes, including mezze platters, falafel wraps and lamb kofta.

Terminal 5 (British Airways)

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant

Pre-security: Peckish passengers will find a branch of the Italian food chain, Carluccio’s, and  The George, serving British pub dishes such as Cottage Pie and fish & chips, pre-security in Terminal 5. 


Favorites include the Fortnum & Mason Bar, where you can order champagne, wines or a cocktail to go with that salt beef open sandwich, half lobster or plate of oysters. No time to dawdle? Gourmet meals (from tuna niçoise to several sizes of caviar plates) can be packed in re-usable “hamperlings” for an in-flight feast.

Gourmet multi-course picnics (start, main, dessert and bottle of water) packed in insulated carry-on totes are also available at Gordon Ramsey Plane Food, a Terminal 5 treasure recently refurbished and relaunched with a new cocktail bar, refreshed dining room and open-kitchen Asian food bar.

For my complete guide to dining at London Heathrow Airport, see the story on AFAR.

Souvenir Sunday: best airport souvenirs of 2010

London Airport souvenirs

Each Sunday here at Stuck at the Airport is Souvenir Sunday – a day to celebrate the fun, inexpensive and offbeat items you can find at airports.

Today we take a look back at the some of the best airport souvenirs featured this year; a reminder that there’s still time to do your holiday shopping at the airport.

At London’s Heathrow Airport these bus banks were adorable; London souvenirs

But I came home with several of these Beatles tote bags, although no one can convince me that’s Ringo.

Beatles tote bag

Meet the (scary-looking) Beatles

At Boston Logan International Airport, I found lovely lobster hats – and a shop clerk willing to get her picture taken as a model:

Lobster Hat

Gebra models lobster cap for sale at Logan Airport

At the new international terminal at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, I spent way too much time at the store entirely devoted to Hello Kitty:

Hello Kitty store Haneda Airport

And at Pittsburgh International Airport, I scooped up a (yummy) chocolate hockey puck:

PIT Chocolate hockey puck

Corny Cob – a big seller at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids – definitely makes the list in this year’s Souvenir Sunday favorites:

airport souvenir

But my favorite airport souvenir remains the line of SUX souvenirs from the Sioux Gateway Airport:

SUX post card from Sioux Gateway Airport

Greetings from SUX

Do you shop for souvenirs when you’re stuck at the airport?

If you find something that’s inexpensive (about $10), offbeat and “of” the city or region, please snap a photo and send it along.

If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, you’ll receive a special airport souvenir.