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GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5

GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5

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Old Dec 27, 19, 8:41 am   -   Wikipost
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Please edit or add information to this wiki as necessary.

Link to LHR page on aa.com

Link to London-Heathrow web pages

Link to Wikipedia page on LHR

Link to FT - AA thread London Heathrow (LHR) <-> Gatwick (LGW) Transport / Transfer (master thread)

The vast majority of arriving passengers with a passport from the European Union, Switzerland or, effective 20 May 2019, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or USA can now use arrival immigration eGates without any fee or pre-registration requirement. But for those transiting LHR with a non-UK/non-Ireland destination and no luggage to claim during transit at LHR, the eGates are generally irrelevant since most such passengers don’t enter the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area.
NOTE: Connecting flights between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 - please allow a minimum 1 hour 30 minutes between flights.


NOTE: Some BA flights have moved. E.g.: On 30 June 2015 all British Airways flights that previously operated out of Terminal 1 switched to either Terminal 3 or Terminal 5. Others have changed to or from T-3 as well. See:

Link to LHR "Which terminal does my flight depart from / arrive?"

For gate to gate connection assistance in T-3, AA Five Star Service can be used (fee, must be in AA Business or First on incoming or outbound flight). For interterminal assistance, see https://www.heathrow.com/airport-gui...cierge-service for Heathrow Meet and Assist.

LHR is comprised of four terminals (Terminal 1 is now permanently closed). American Airlines and many oneworld airlines (e.g. AY, BA, CX, JJ, JL, QF, RJ, UL) use Terminal 3. MH and QR use terminal 4. BA and IB use Terminal 5. These terminals are not connected - you can not walk from one to the other. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.


Transferring/ Connections at LHR interterminal can be done three ways:

Link to interactive custom Heathrow Flight Connections Guide

1) Landside: exit your terminal and process HM immigration and customs as if you were arriving in the UK, then take the free train or busses connecting to other terminals (or with most hotels, if you are staying overnight you will most likely utilise the "Heathrow Hoppa" busses costing £4.50 per person one way, £8 return). You must proceed landside if planning to use the AA (or BA) Arrivals Lounge, which close at 1400 hrs / 2 PM as these are landside. (See post no. 627, here, for local land & hotel transport options.)

Inter-terminal landside connections can be via rail (free) or walking, depending on the terminals. See the diagram for Heathrow Express terminal connections, free when you are traveling within the airport's cconfines. See here

2) Airside:

Follow the signage to Flight Connections, where you will proceed a bus waiting area at airport ground level and take a bus to your next terminal, where you will proceed through boarding pass, carryon check a standard airport security check. Now you are ready to catch your next flight. Flight connections Minimum Connect Times are ordinarily 75 - 90 minutes (the latter for connections between T3 and T5).

NOTE: You must be at your connecting gate 20 minutes prior to departure. If you must recover bags and re-check (e.g. oneworld to non-oneworld or LCC) you must check your baggage in at least 45 minutes prior to departure.

Use this tool available from this page on LHR's website that include a step by step guide through Flight Connections. The page also offers videos. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.

Typical Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 Flight Connections path:

T3–>T5 see posts 674, 675.
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

3. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here.

4. Ready to fly: Staff will check that you're in the right place, your hand baggage meets airline regulations, and you have time to catch your onward flight.

5. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

6. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

7. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
NOTE: Flight departure gates are listed in only sufficient time to get to the gate, not hours (or often an hour) prior to departure.


Typical Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 Flight Connections path:
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

NOTE: As there is a new AA desk at the bus boarding point, you can get your AA boarding pass and pass the AA oral security questioning while you await the bus.

3. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

4. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

5. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here. But see 2A if flying AA.

6. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
[quote]Lounges: [Airside lounges at LHR are designated departure lounges, so it’d be unusual to be allowed to return to use them if you’re connecting to a flight departing from Terminal 5.

[B]Terminal 3 lounges include:

Airside, departure lounges:
American Airlines Flagship / First Class Lounge - Lounge Zone H
American Airlines Admirals Club - Lounge Zone H
British Airways First and Club / Business lounges - Lounge Zone F
Cathay Pacific First and Business lounges near Gate 11
Qantas Airways London Lounge - Lounge B / Gate
Landside, for arriving premium passengers and Emeralds (no guests)
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge (recently renovated)
Terminal 5 lounges:

Airside lounges:
British Airways Concorde Lounge (longhaul BA First)
British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge - South Concourse
British Airways Galleries Club / Business lounges both North & South Concourses
British Airways Galleries Club / Business lounge T5B Satellite
Landside, for arriving premium passengers and Emeralds (no guests)
British Airways Arrivals Lounge (recently renovated)
For hours, access, amenities, etc. consult the oneworld lounge access tool here./quote]

Link to the most useful London Heathrow International Airport website. Click on "Connections" for a connection assistance tool.

For long connections where you might wish to go to London, you can use "the tube" (Underground, ~50 minutes, cheapest), busses to various locations, taxis (the most expensive, about 45 minutes) or "minicabs" and other hired cars, the Heathrow Express (15 minutes to Paddington station) or Heathrow Connect (30 minutes to Paddington). You can also Uber or bus to nearby Windsor town, and with sufficient time even tour Windsor Castle.

For links to local and local hotels, other airports (such as Gatwick, ~1:30), railroad stations (Feltham, Watford, Woking and Reading), intercity coaches (such as Oxford) start at this page.

The Tube takes 50 minutes from the Central / Terminals 2/3, T-4 or T-5 stations using the Piccadilly Line. Link to LHR tube page; link to London Toolkit page on LHR and Piccadilly line; link to Transport for London page.

The Heathrow Express / HEX departs T-5 and takes 21 minutes (it stops at Central / T2/3, six minutes) and onward to Paddington (15 minutes, about 1/3 of the time a taxi would take, though a taxi or bus can tale longer in some traffic). The trains have 15 minute headway (depart every 15 minutes) and have baggage racks.

(If you stay at Hilton T-4, board HEX at T-5, go to Central / T-2/3, get off, take the connecting train to T-4 (4 minutes), all free. From T-4 follow the signs to the hotel, perhaps 10 minute walk by covered board walk).

The Heathrow Connect costs less, takes 30 minutes to Paddington from Central T-2/3 station (which you get to via free HEX).
This London Heathrow International Airport connection / transfer thread has been split off from the original thread, which can be read here: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow (obsolete, trailing thread).

For other terminals please see ARCHIVE: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow

Also see this page for MCT information.

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Old Mar 8, 16, 2:18 pm
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
Definitely not true. Some airlines and some flights absolutely have "usual" gates. Doesn't mean it happens every time, but, for example, you always know which gates the AA flights are going to fly out of. And the BA long haul flights are more likely to depart from the B and C concourses than the A concourse. But, again, it just doesn't matter: the gate will be posted in plenty of time to get there. And at LHR more than any other airport it makes no sense to go to the gate until you need to.
Indeed. There are a few certainties such as EI services always using gates A21-23 at T2 and BA to DUB being just about always the same gates in T5. And the reason T5 BA long hauls just about always go from B or C is because only one stand in A can take a widebody.

My theory on gates though is that they are only shown when ready to board so that passengers spend more time in the shops and less sitting down not in shops.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 6:02 pm
  #137  
 
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
The basic answer is simply that BA can't fit everything into T5, so some routes have to go from T3. LYS is one of them, along with some others including MRS, LIS, PRG, VIE, WAW and BCN. The reason why it's those and not others isn't absolutely clear, but it's been suggested they are either routes with fewer BA-BA connections, more O&D and/or more oneworld connections than other routes. Some are/were also a legacy of former bmi routes previously in T1 (think LYS might be one of those but can't remember).There was a re-jig last October when a sub-group of longhaul also moved over to T3, with some shorthaul moving back to T5.



Nothing to do with gate assignments here. You can be absolutely sure which terminal your flight will depart from. Occasionally there's a re-jig as mentioned above, but those moves are announced months in advance.
Thanks very much for that answer. Maybe I'll get lucky and my flight to NCE will move to T3. I won't hold my breath but I can always hope.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 10:29 am
  #138  
 
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Question about connection time in LHR

Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

Mordy
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Old Mar 18, 16, 10:41 am
  #139  
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Originally Posted by mordy2000 View Post
Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

Mordy
Advanced search, search titles only, return as threads. Key word:

heathrow

or

"lhr"

Reading the wikipost reveals "Connecting flights between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 - please allow a minimum 1 hour 30 minutes between flights."

Use the links in the wikipost to determine which terminal your connecting flight will depart from - the operating carrier, not the marketing carrier (BA) will determine that. The link to a step by step connections tool exists as well.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 10:55 am
  #140  
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Plenty of BA flights leave from T3, you'd be well advised to check which terminal before you get to Heathrow...
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Old Mar 18, 16, 12:00 pm
  #141  
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
Plenty of BA flights leave from T3, you'd be well advised to check which terminal before you get to Heathrow...
Exactly! And why we have those links to check which terminal one's flight departs from (or arrives). The member states "on a BA codeshare" and that makes it more important to verify (given the operating flight, not marketed, will determine the departure terminal).

But if the member arrives at T-3 and departs T-5, MCT is violated with 70 minutes and it's very tight - a typical LHR arrival delayed by prolonged pattern requirements, busy queues and waiting for a couple of busses because they're running full and that time is now two hours to connect.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 7:35 pm
  #142  
 
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Originally Posted by mordy2000 View Post
Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?
Since you did not share the European destination, it's tough for anyone to offer you advice. Some BA flights to Europe leave from T3. Most leave from T5. Since you are very pressed for time, you are well advised to confirm which terminal it is beforehand.

Having said that, I would not at all be comfortable with a 70 minute connection at LHR T3 to T5 (or even T3 to T3).

After you land at T3, you have to wait your turn to get off the plane, walk a long distance to Flight Connections, wait for a bus, get on the bus, travel to T5, off the bus, up to T5 Flight Connections, stand in line for a boarding pass scan (Flight Conformance), go through Security and then hoof it to your departure gate.

Even if you are the first off the plane, the last on the bus, etc., you still have the "problem" that you must meet Flight Conformance. That means you must have your boarding pass scanned in T5 no less than 35* minutes before your departure. If you don't meet flight conformance, you will not fly, even if you are an Olympic sprinter capable of getting to your gate in seconds following the security checkpoint.

Personally, I wouldn't chance it. Do you feel lucky?



*I'm almost positive LHR T5 Flight Conformance is 35 minutes, but do indeed invite correction from BA people.
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Old Mar 19, 16, 10:02 am
  #143  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
*I'm almost positive LHR T5 Flight Conformance is 35 minutes, but do indeed invite correction from BA people.
Conformance is thirty-five minutes on an unconnected flight.

If connecting between two flights, it can be relaxed. My record is clearing "conformance" at 21 minutes before departure (that was coming from a late-running AA 101 into T3 to a BA domestic flight at T5)
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Old Mar 19, 16, 7:50 pm
  #144  
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Originally Posted by mordy2000 View Post
My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

Mordy
We've done it in as little as 24 minutes, and earlier in the morning is generally easier. I wouldn't count on it being that fast, but 70 minutes is certainly doable. I'd still not want it and would look for something longer to be safe, though. Late inbound can kill everything.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 1:41 am
  #145  
 
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
In Heathrow, there is no "usual" gate. A couple of years ago I got the Heathrow app and tracked the departure gate for my upcoming BA LHR-DUS flight for about three weeks. I wanted to see if there was some kind of pattern, so I could sit in the departure lounge near the expected gate.

There was no pattern. None. That same LHR-DUS flight left from the north, south and middle part of T5A, and a couple of times from T5B. It was absolutely random.

In addition to having the Heathrow app on my iPhone, with a pop-up notice of the departure gate announcement, I just ask the person scanning my boarding pass prior to the escalators up to T5 Security if they see anything "penciled in" for that flight that day. (The "conformance" check.) So long as the BP checker knows I know it's tentative, they usually don't mind telling me so long as they actually have the info at hand. All that does for me is tell me what part of the T5 departure lounge (north? south? middle?) I should park my butt and wait, hoping for a relatively short walk to the gate. I still keep an eye on the app and the TV monitors. Things can and do change.

I'm pretty much used to the routine. I've been making the LAX-LHR-DUS trek every year for the past 20+ years.
After reading this post I looked at today's history for the flights we'll be taking next week. PHL-LHR (AA) came into T3. LHR-VCE (BA) leaves from T5. I'll keep track. If I do see a pattern is it safe to plan the 2 hrs. to T5 without the worry of a change making it impossible to return to T3 on time?

We have an 11 hr. layover. We're in Business so able to get into Galleries Lounge in T5. I've searched and haven't been able to determine if we can access Galleries Lounge in T3. Do I understand it right that there are 2 Galleries Lounges in T3, both a First and a Club Lounge?

To make the day more interesting, would it be advisable to split the time exploring both T3 and T5? I'm also wondering about splurging on Elemis Spa. Usually I'm too frugal (cheap) to do much of this but trying to make this long layover part of the vacation experience.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 2:31 am
  #146  
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Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
After reading this post I looked at today's history for the flights we'll be taking next week. PHL-LHR (AA) came into T3. LHR-VCE (BA) leaves from T5. I'll keep track. If I do see a pattern is it safe to plan the 2 hrs. to T5 without the worry of a change making it impossible to return to T3 on time?
QueenOfCoach was talking about gates, not terminals. Your PHL-LHR flight will always arrive to T3, and your LHR-VCE flight will always depart from T5. The exact gate changes day by day, but not the terminal.

We have an 11 hr. layover. We're in Business so able to get into Galleries Lounge in T5. I've searched and haven't been able to determine if we can access Galleries Lounge in T3. Do I understand it right that there are 2 Galleries Lounges in T3, both a First and a Club Lounge?

To make the day more interesting, would it be advisable to split the time exploring both T3 and T5? I'm also wondering about splurging on Elemis Spa. Usually I'm too frugal (cheap) to do much of this but trying to make this long layover part of the vacation experience.
OK, a few basics about Heathrow (and most airports outside the US): arrivals and departures are generally segregated. When you arrive from Philadelphia, you'll be in the arrivals stream, with two options. One is to follow the yellow Arrivals / Baggage Reclaim route, which leads you first to immigration, then baggage reclaim, then customs, and the kerb. That's the route to go if you want to come in to London (stay tuned on that). If you opt for this route, bypass the baggage reclaim as your bags should be tagged all the way through to Venice. The other option is to follow the purple Flight Connections signs, which will lead you to a bus area where you can get a bus to T5 (from where your VCE flight will leave), then to a boarding pass check, then to security, and then to the departures lounge of T5. You won't have a reasonable opportunity to explore any area but T5. Note that it is technically possible to also see the T3 departures area, but involves an extra security check and will leave you in the wrong part of the airport–if you're not a travel pro, I'd forget about anything but the two options I outline above.

Now... we need to have a chat. 11 hours at Heathrow. That's a lot of time. The Elemis "travel spa" is not actually a spa, they have very short treatments in a large, un-spa-like communal area with sheets to partition off the treatment areas. The treatments themselves are complimentary for people with onward long haul business & first travel on BA (and a small number of elites). You aren't in those categories though, so Elemis is out. There is a paid-for lounge at T5 with paid-for treatments available (see here), but I don't think they're worth it. Honestly, with 11 hours to kill, I suggest this:

  • When you get off the plane follow the yellow Arrivals signs to get landside
  • --- If you want to get a shower at this point, follow the Heathrow Express signs to the free transfer service to T5, and when you arrive there follow the signs for the British Airways Arrivals lounge. AA's arrivals lounge at T3 is closed for renovations.
  • Take the Piccadilly line in to London for some lunch and maybe a museum visit or two
  • Take the tube directly to South Kensington for several museum options, including one of my favourites, the V&A.
  • If you're in an antiquities kind of mood, stay on the train to Russell Square (also direct from the airport) and head to the British Museum.
  • There are oodles of lunch options near either of these tube stops, or along the Piccadilly Line in central London.
  • About 3 hours before your LHR-VCE flight is scheduled to leave, head back to the Piccadilly Line and take the next train to Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • Get off the train, head upstairs to departures level, go through security.
  • If you have time, check out one of the Galleries Club lounges.
  • Fly to Venice and be glad you didn't waste an entire day in an airport, and instead truly did make the day part of your "vacation experience".

Last edited by Microwave; Apr 7, 16 at 7:13 am
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Old Apr 7, 16, 5:35 am
  #147  
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Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
To make the day more interesting, would it be advisable to split the time exploring both T3 and T5? I'm also wondering about splurging on Elemis Spa. Usually I'm too frugal (cheap) to do much of this but trying to make this long layover part of the vacation experience.
LHR cannot entertain you for eleven hours.

If you can entertain yourself for that long, find a quiet spot in a lounge. Otherwise, go to Windsor or London. Many museums in the UK are free to enter, particularly in London, and public transport from T5 to South Kensington is, as Microwave suggests, cheap, safe and easy.

Heathrow discourages entering into the wrong terminal. It is possible [except T5] if you are insistent but staff will assume that you are lost. You may also be denied lounge access except in the departure terminal.

Last edited by Calchas; Apr 7, 16 at 5:40 am
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Old Apr 7, 16, 7:13 am
  #148  
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
LHR cannot entertain you for eleven hours.

If you can entertain yourself for that long, find a quiet spot in a lounge. Otherwise, go to Windsor or London. Many museums in the UK are free to enter, particularly in London, and public transport from T5 to South Kensington is, as Microwave suggests, cheap, safe and easy.

Heathrow discourages entering into the wrong terminal. It is possible [except T5] if you are insistent but staff will assume that you are lost. You may also be denied lounge access except in the departure terminal.
Indeed, it is a policy of the airport authority that airside lounges (other than arrivals and any possible landside locations) are strictly departure lounges for passengers departing from the terminal the lounge is situated in. There are ways to do this anyway, but they are tedious and generally unproductive considering the alternatives and generally better lounges at T-5.

I'm also thinking the Elemis spa courtesy treatments may be restricted to longhaul BA First passengers and BAEC Gold members? I suppose treatments may also be available for fees, arranged upon arrival at Terminal 5A South lounge, Terminal 5B departure lounge or Terminal 5 Arrivals lounge. (And for the return, Terminal 3 BA Galleries departures lounge as well.

The OP will be required to exit T-3 either landside via HM Immigration and Customs or to T-5 via the Flight Connections channel, with no opportunity to use any T-3 lounges outbound to VCE.

I'd certainly check my baggage through and heed the excellent advice given by Microwave, picking up some GBP at a T-3 arrivals hall cash machine and heading out of Heathrow for a few hours, unless some condition precludes that.

Last edited by JDiver; Apr 7, 16 at 7:26 am
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Old Apr 7, 16, 1:14 pm
  #149  
 
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Train or bus?

The Heathrow website says there are trains available. I thought there were only buses. It seems buses are more frequent and perhaps more direct? Is one better than the other? I have to go from T3 to T5.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 1:20 pm
  #150  
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Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
The Heathrow website says there are trains available. I thought there were only buses. It seems buses are more frequent and perhaps more direct? Is one better than the other? I have to go from T3 to T5.
Trains are landside. Buses are airside.
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