It's in the wings

Heathrow's Terminal 5 is big, bright and aims to make flying enjoyable

Concurrent with the launch of Terminal 5, an "open skies" agreement that loosens restrictions on flights between the U.S. and the European Union will take effect.

The much-coveted routes between Heathrow and the U.S. have been dominated by a handful of carriers. Now, other airlines will get a shot too.

Some slots already have been claimed. For instance, in a joint venture, Air France next year will run a daily flight to Los Angeles, and Delta will offer two daily flights to New York and one to Atlanta. And last week, US Airways announced it will fly to Heathrow from Philadelphia next year.

In another piece of good news for travelers, Britain's strict security rules, which limit fliers to one carry-on item, may be loosened soon. The rules, imposed in 2006 after a bomb scare, have contributed to a surge in checked bags that has overwhelmed Heathrow's facilities.

The BAA is negotiating with the British government to allow two pieces of hand luggage to be taken aboard, BAA representatives said. But as of last week, no date had been set to change the rules at Heathrow.

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