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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
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
Wiki Link
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 Apr 7, 16, 1:21 pm
  #151  
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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.
Please read the wikipost at the top of this thread. A link to the Heathrow interactive connections guide is among the resources.

If you are connecting, it's best to follow the Flight Connections channel and being bussed to the other terminal.

If you are going landside, the train is free and speedy.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 1:25 pm
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
T5 lounges are nothing to write home about in any event, you'll be well served in T3.
You are right. The AC at T3 is fairly decent. I actually liked it better than the business lounges in T5. The Galleries South lounge was very crowded when we were there.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 1:28 pm
  #153  
 
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wrp96, thank you for that answer. I should have guessed it was something that simple.

Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Please read the wikipost at the top of this thread. A link to the Heathrow interactive connections guide is among the resources.

If you are connecting, it's best to follow the Flight Connections channel and being bussed to the other terminal.

If you are going landside, the train is free and speedy.
JDiver, I actually have read the Wiki and used the interactive tool. I was confused about the difference between trains and buses. wrp96 answered my question.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 2:58 pm
  #154  
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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.
These are trains to and from central London that stop at several stations inside Heathrow, not a dedicated inter terminal train system. You are free to use them within the airport but they are not designed for those connecting within Heathrow. The train stations are not particularly convenient and the trains are infrequent.

Last edited by Calchas; Apr 7, 16 at 3:04 pm
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Old Apr 7, 16, 3:18 pm
  #155  
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
These are trains to and from central London that stop at several stations inside Heathrow, not a dedicated inter terminal train system. You are free to use them within the airport but they are not designed for those connecting within Heathrow. The train stations are not particularly convenient and the trains are infrequent.
Yes. In the T3-T5 instance, Heathrow Express trains are free (within airport confines) and headway between trains is 15 minutes. The train terminal serving T-3 is a walk of perhaps 5-10 minutes from arrivals hall (down at "basement" level) to the Central Terminal.

T5 requires a bit of walking and lifts.

Personally, I'd say 30 minutes is a more realistic and comfortable time for labdside train connections T3-T5. 20 if it all works properly, you know where you are going and walk at a good pace.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 5:45 pm
  #156  
 
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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?
Is there a reason you want to go back to T3? BA 598 leaves from T5.

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?
Just go to the Galleries in T5. I am still confused as to why you want to go back to T3.

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.
NO you can't do that (not since 9/11). Your boarding pass is for T5 so you'll not be able to get to airside on T3.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 9:48 pm
  #157  
 
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Thank you all for the insights. Thanks especially to Microwave for taking the time to write such a detailed response.

If we did just one thing it may be the library to see old manuscripts. We watched a Rick Steves video and there were several things but I would rather do one thing relaxed and have a bite to eat than rush around to do too much.

After some more research I'll come back if I still have questions.

Thank you again.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 12:12 am
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by muishkin View Post
Is there a reason you want to go back to T3? BA 598 leaves from T5.



Just go to the Galleries in T5. I am still confused as to why you want to go back to T3.



NO you can't do that (not since 9/11). Your boarding pass is for T5 so you'll not be able to get to airside on T3.
Sorry, total ignorance to how the airport is laid out for traffic flow. That's why I'm asking questions.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 12:45 am
  #159  
 
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I'd appreciate opinions on this plan and it's feasibility.

I looked over things to do near the British Library and found King's Cross Theatre is running The Railway Children on a 2:30 matinee. Production takes about 2-1/2 hrs. which would get us out of there 5ish. Our flight is at 8:15.

We land at 9 a.m. Flight arrived 1/2 hr. early today. Considering everything is on time, I'm trying to guesstimate time to get through LHR to tube would be 1 hr.? No bags to drag around. No shower. Train is supposed to come every 5 mins. We have to add time to figure out what we're doing and pay for train. Train to British Library is 54 mins. So now we're up to 11-12p.m. An hour or more in British Library and bite to eat. Would we walk or take cab to Theatre? We're walkers but I would say we'd probably not want to walk faster than 2.5-3 mph to Theatre. I'm seeing rail lines on map and don't know what walking conditions are like between Library and Theatre. Need to account for time back to underground and be ready for next train. Will train go directly to T5?
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Old Apr 8, 16, 1:23 am
  #160  
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Originally Posted by muishkin View Post
NO you can't do that (not since 9/11). Your boarding pass is for T5 so you'll not be able to get to airside on T3.
It is definitely possible to access T3 via Flight Connections without a T3 boarding pass, however the process of getting in and then getting back to the proper terminal could well be confusing, and there's no real benefit.

Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
If we did just one thing it may be the library to see old manuscripts. We watched a Rick Steves video and there were several things but I would rather do one thing relaxed and have a bite to eat than rush around to do too much.
Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
I'd appreciate opinions on this plan and it's feasibility.

I looked over things to do near the British Library and found King's Cross Theatre is running The Railway Children on a 2:30 matinee. Production takes about 2-1/2 hrs. which would get us out of there 5ish. Our flight is at 8:15.

We land at 9 a.m. Flight arrived 1/2 hr. early today. Considering everything is on time, I'm trying to guesstimate time to get through LHR to tube would be 1 hr.? No bags to drag around. No shower. Train is supposed to come every 5 mins. We have to add time to figure out what we're doing and pay for train. Train to British Library is 54 mins. So now we're up to 11-12p.m. An hour or more in British Library and bite to eat. Would we walk or take cab to Theatre? We're walkers but I would say we'd probably not want to walk faster than 2.5-3 mph to Theatre. I'm seeing rail lines on map and don't know what walking conditions are like between Library and Theatre. Need to account for time back to underground and be ready for next train. Will train go directly to T5?
Now I believe a good plan is beginning to take shape. With no bags to claim and Fast Track immigration access at Heathrow, you should be landside in 20-30 minutes max. Follow yellow signs for Arrivals, once you're in the immigration hall look for Fast Track and present the invitation you were given on the plane. You'll need an address for the immigration card (which you should have received on the plane with the Fast Track invitation and already completed to save time), you might want to put the British Library address on since you're only here for a few hours and that's your first big stop; once you're through immigration head downstairs and look for the big green exit and walk through it. From there, follow signs for the Underground: walk straight out the exit (past the mini duty free and Heathrow Express hawker) and it'll be slightly to the right. You'll have a few tunnels to traverse, and you'll need to figure out tickets as you mention. If you want to get Underground transport sorted in advance, and don't mind paying a slight premium to do so, you can buy Oyster cards from the US preloaded with enough money to suit you for the day. They never expire, so if you come back to London you can reuse. This will save you queuing at the station on the day. The £15 card will give you more than enough credit to do all the public transit you'll need to do on the day, and leave you with a few pounds for your next trip.

Once you've entered the station, look for the platform toward Central London. This is where most everyone else will be waiting as well. As you noted, you're looking at a ~1 hour journey in to Kings Cross. Once you arrive you'll find plenty of lunch options nearby, I'd suggest looking for something that isn't in one of the two massive train stations as there are restaurants in the neighbourhood worth trying. The British Library is very close to St Pancras station and well worth a visit, and it's a very short walk from there to the place where The Railway Children is being done. Note that the venue is not a traditional theatre, it's sort of behind Kings Cross station, maybe 10 minutes by foot if you take a circuitous route. Once your showing is out, I'd go directly to the underground again (there will be lots of people leaving the performance for the underground I'd imagine, and I'm sure they can help you find a nearby entrance), and take the first Piccadilly line train with a destination of Heathrow Terminal 5. You'll have another ~1 hour journey, and upon arrival just follow signs for Departures (take the lifts, they're faster). You'll end up at Terminal 5, large overhead signs will show which security queue is faster though I find South is almost always the quicker one. If your European flight is in business as well, you'll have Fast Track security access again, just have your boarding pass ready to get through the gates and you're set. Lounges are well signed, I prefer the South Galleries Club lounge to the North as it's slightly larger, but both will probably be relatively empty at this time of the day as most US flights are long gone.

Just to help with your fears, even if you end up on a Piccadilly line train leaving at, say, 5:45 PM, you'll be at Terminal 5 before 7 PM for your 8 PM flight. As mentioned, the terminal won't be too busy at this time, and an hour is more than enough time to go from the ticketing area through security to the departures area. The cutoff is 35 minutes to be at the entrance to security, so even with these generous times you've got padding, though I would go directly from the performance to the underground without lallygagging. Good luck with your travels!

Last edited by Microwave; Apr 8, 16 at 1:30 am
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Old Apr 8, 16, 4:06 am
  #161  
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Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
Will train go directly to T5?
Westbound Piccadilly line services can go to two different branches, either Heathrow or Uxbridge, but the stations have clear electronic signage saying where the trains are going. This is repeated on electronic signs inside the trains and on audio announcements at every station for the benefit of blind customers. (What you want to hear is "This is a Piccadilly line service to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5")

I think the Tube is an easy system to understand when you are on it, even if the lines look complicated on the map.

Last edited by Calchas; Apr 8, 16 at 4:11 am
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Old Apr 8, 16, 9:34 am
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
Now I believe a good plan is beginning to take shape.

you can buy Oyster cards from the US preloaded with enough money to suit you for the day. They never expire, so if you come back to London you can reuse. This will save you queuing at the station on the day. The £15 card will give you more than enough credit to do all the public transit you'll need to do on the day, and leave you with a few pounds for your next trip.

Good luck with your travels!
Thank you, thank you. So very gracious of you to take such time.

I'm looking online to purchase the oyster cards. Is that 15 per person or will the 15 take care of both our fares?
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Old Apr 8, 16, 9:35 am
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
Westbound Piccadilly line services can go to two different branches, either Heathrow or Uxbridge, but the stations have clear electronic signage saying where the trains are going. This is repeated on electronic signs inside the trains and on audio announcements at every station for the benefit of blind customers. (What you want to hear is "This is a Piccadilly line service to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5")

I think the Tube is an easy system to understand when you are on it, even if the lines look complicated on the map.
Thank you. Every bit of info helps with familiarity. I do appreciate the time.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 9:45 am
  #164  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
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.
Thank you for your insight. Most the time I would do carry on luggage but this time we're going as light as possible. One handbag with only the necessaries.

I'm using a Chase Sapphire credit card. Will I still need GBP? If so, how much?
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Old Apr 8, 16, 10:00 am
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
It is definitely possible to access T3 via Flight Connections without a T3 boarding pass, however the process of getting in and then getting back to the proper terminal could well be confusing, and there's no real benefit.
Okay now I am curious what this option is? I do like the CX lounge in T3.
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