Fiona Carleton’s passion for her work is clear to everyone who meets her. As one of the key players in the debut of T2, Fiona made the execution of a high-stakes terminal opening look seamless (and all with a smile on her face!). Now the Programme Lead for our Commercial Division, find out more about how she came to call Heathrow home, as well as the ins and outs of her role!
What is your official job title?
At the time of the documentary, I was Head of Terminal Operations & Passenger Experience for Terminal 2. Now I am a Programme Lead for the Commercial Division
How long have you worked at Heathrow?
Three and a half years
How did you get into your job and why?
I was recruited back to BAA, having worked at Gatwick for four years as General Manager for Terminals. I had the operational pedigree they were looking for combined with the organisational skills and programme management discipline for designing terminal operations pre-opening. As I am passionate about my team, they were looking for me to set the vision and to identify, recruit and bring a team along with me on that journey.
What’s a day in the life of your job really like?
In T2, the day was more structured. The operational duty team & Terminal Service Centre were responsible for creating a plan for the day and working with the T2 community in running the operation and supporting passengers through their journeys. My role would be to meet up with the duty team, discuss the day and any challenges or opportunities it may bring. Once Terminal 2 was open, my role saw me balancing the daily operation with the role of supporting new airlines moving into T2. For every airline, their move day was like a new opening day – a whole series of June 4ths (the terminal’s opening date) had to be carefully managed and delivered.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Dealing with the enormous emotion that comes from people’s passion of working at the airport. What is great is how much people deeply care about their roles, their organisations and getting it right for their passengers – however this emotion can often make resolving issues quite tricky as getting to the facts can be a tough ask.
Favourite thing about working at an airport?
It is a fantastic environment – there is a buzz, an inherent excitement to what we do. What Heathrow does really matters – we make a difference and what we do is tangible; it plays out in front of us every day. The consequences of our decision-making, actions we take, even our behaviours are visible immediately.
Favourite thing about your job?
The people – my team energise me so much, it is rare you get to work with such an energised, aligned, responsible and mature team and it has been a joy. The airlines and entire T2 community have really come together to collaborate in the most inspiring manner. Of course though, it is all about the passengers – seeing passengers enjoy travelling through T2 and being excited about it is the ultimate aim of all we have done.
What has been a particularly memorable moment for you while working at Heathrow?
Meeting the Queen & chatting with the Duke of Edinburgh is a personal highlight for my life – not just my time at Heathrow! The pride and excitement surrounding that day was so unique & memorable.
What is one piece of advice you would share with our passengers?
Relax and enjoy your journey through the airport – ask if you have any questions – anyone with an ID badge can & will help – also download the Heathrow app!
Where are you from?
I’m from Glasgow and moved down south 18 years ago.
Any children or pets?
I have two amazing & beautiful children, Sophia, who shares my birthday, is 12. She is an amazing athlete and real bright spark, and my son Joshua is 10 and has the most amazing mind and beautiful sprirt, plus my partner’s son Ewan a very bright 6 year old. In addition I have two amazing Labradors- Treacle, a chocolate who is 14 years old and Amber, a black lab who is seven. I have a “step-dog” too- my boyfriend’s insane springer spaniel, Obi.
I love running – especially with my dog (and daughter, if I can convince her to come). I am trying to improve my cycling too. I love walking my dogs through the forests, beaches, etc. and exploring the countryside with my kids, Gary & the dogs.
Favourite film/TV show?
My favourite film is Meet the Fockers & favourite TV shows are Game of Thrones & Say Yes to the Dress (TLC – I’m addicted)!
Favourite music band?
Twin Atlantic – a Glasgow rock band – amazing!
Anything else you would like us to know?
I am incredibly fortunate to have a great family, great job and enjoy my life as much as I can and am thankful for that.