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-   -   GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5 (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-airlines-aadvantage/1321109-guide-lhr-london-heathrow-connection-mct-inc-aa-t3-ba-ib-t5.html)

Stripe Apr 16, 16 9:15 pm


Originally Posted by iplaybass (Post 26495202)
We're traveling in December over the holiday, and AA wants to book me a legal transfer at 1:35 (0820-0955) from T5-T3. I've never done T5-T3 in less than 2 hours, but that was several years ago. I have less stressful options getting us home later, but would you do it?

I would be nervous. The first time I did a T5-T3 connection we arrived at a jetway (as opposed to being bused from the plane to the terminal), our T5 gate was right near the transfer bus door, the bus was waiting empty for us, it left promptly with just us on board, and there was minimal fuss reclearing security with Fast Track. We arrived at the Admirals Club in T3 less than 30 minutes after deplaning. I thought "what is all the fuss about this connection?".

The next time, our inbound flight arrived at a bus "gate", there were delays in that process, there was a long wait for the transfer bus, security was a mess even with Fast Track, and the whole transfer was much longer. Turns out that was a more typical experience.

aktchi Apr 16, 16 11:04 pm


Originally Posted by brp (Post 26495456)
It's possible that it could, but I'm willing to take that chance. On one trip we were not able to get the onward BPs, so had to stop in the Very Slow Room. The next time we had them and bypassed. Very quick at the gate. I would do that again.

I have been told that it is some union thing at LHR where a group of well-connected employees wants to keep a role. AA doesn't do this in any other city I can think of. You are also right in that things happen very slowly in that room.

My only reason for staying with their process is that the time wasted there comes out of the 2-3 hours I'd be loitering in the shops or the lounge. I am still able to do all the shopping, snacking, shower etc., I don't lose anything. At the gate, it may cause me to lose elite boarding and the overhead bin space.

At least that's the fear: I mostly travel in Y when connecting at LHR. I suppose it wouldn't matter if you are in J/F.

GUWonder Apr 16, 16 11:31 pm


Originally Posted by Stripe (Post 26495542)
I would be nervous. The first time I did a T5-T3 connection we arrived at a jetway (as opposed to being bused from the plane to the terminal), our T5 gate was right near the transfer bus door, the bus was waiting empty for us, it left promptly with just us on board, and there was minimal fuss reclearing security with Fast Track. We arrived at the Admirals Club in T3 less than 30 minutes after deplaning. I thought "what is all the fuss about this connection?".

The next time, our inbound flight arrived at a bus "gate", there were delays in that process, there was a long wait for the transfer bus, security was a mess even with Fast Track, and the whole transfer was much longer. Turns out that was a more typical experience.

Ive had this transfer take me anywhere between just short of 30 minutes.
I've also had this transfer take nearly as long as 70 minutes -- not only was the line for the buses very long, but the line for transit security at T3 was also very long and slow. And if there were a boarding pass pick-up required at T3, that could have easily added at least a few more minutes at times.

Microwave Apr 16, 16 11:41 pm


Originally Posted by aktchi (Post 26495796)
I have been told that it is some union thing at LHR where a group of well-connected employees wants to keep a role. AA doesn't do this in any other city I can think of. You are also right in that things happen very slowly in that room.

AA ask the security theatre questions at several European airports. DUB, MAD and CDG come immediately to mind as airports where I've had to answer questions before boarding in the last year, there are probably others. Or were you talking about something else?

aktchi Apr 17, 16 2:18 am


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26495861)
AA ask the security theatre questions at several European airports. DUB, MAD and CDG come immediately to mind as airports where I've had to answer questions before boarding in the last year, there are probably others. Or were you talking about something else?

I was specifically referring to the practice of some guy intercepting pax in the corridor---reminds me of forex or taxi touts at many third world airports---and sending them into a separate room. Both the employees and the room seem to exist just for this purpose.

I haven't run into this elsewhere. What is more common is that the check-in agent, the lounge receptionist, or the gate agent, who are there for a real and legitimate purpose, may surprise you with a few extra questions you didn't expect.

richarddd Apr 17, 16 3:41 am


Originally Posted by aktchi (Post 26495796)
I have been told that it is some union thing at LHR where a group of well-connected employees wants to keep a role. AA doesn't do this in any other city I can think of. You are also right in that things happen very slowly in that room.

Many of those asking the questions appear to be contractors, rather than AA employees, let alone well-connected union employees. I have been told that many people like to blame unions for as many things as they can.

Markie Apr 17, 16 4:26 am


Originally Posted by nbevan (Post 26492482)
I
b) the security check could be done at the lounge (if they still do this?) or gate

Not an option last month when I was through T3. They say it may come back but for now you have to do it at the Gate.

Microwave Apr 17, 16 4:29 am


Originally Posted by Markie (Post 26496375)
Not an option last month when I was through T3. They say it may come back but for now you have to do it at the Gate.

I was told it's gone for good at the lounge. It doesn't have to be done at the gate though; it can be done at the transfer desk or check-in areas at T3.

AndyHall Apr 17, 16 4:40 am


Originally Posted by econometrics (Post 26494069)
You'll see a connection desk on your left as you get close to T3 transfer security. Go there and ask them for your BP. They'll ask you some security questions and put a sticker on your passport.

If you don't get the sticker there, they will ask those questions when you get to the gate

Thanks! In the BA lounge right now and this was the correct answer. They hoard in all AA travelers to the left just before T3 security and they DO check all BPs there. Getting the BP was quick as I am in business and EXP but the economy had a LONG line of 50 people or so.
The security questions were on level with CBP or above.

I couldn't get an AA BP at check in either, maybe the security questions etc are the reason for this.

Even so it was 30 min from gate to lounge, not bad. We came in to a domestic gate at T5 and was bused to international arrivals. Business cabin had their own bus!

Microwave Apr 17, 16 5:35 am


Originally Posted by AndyHall (Post 26496392)
Thanks! In the BA lounge right now and this was the correct answer. They hoard in all AA travelers to the left just before T3 security and they DO check all BPs there.

If you have an AA boarding pass already and prefer to answer the security questions at the gate, this is easily circumvented by telling the barkers you're not flying AA. They have no right to demand to see your BP–in fact, you can walk right past them and ignore them if you want.. up until you get to security, you can't walk past them and ignore them. :)

AndyHall Apr 17, 16 5:54 am


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26496501)
If you have an AA boarding pass already and prefer to answer the security questions at the gate, this is easily circumvented by telling the barkers you're not flying AA. They have no right to demand to see your BP–in fact, you can walk right past them and ignore them if you want.. up until you get to security, you can't walk past them and ignore them. :)

You are absolutely right. I didn't have a BP so I didn't have a choice. The point is that you do have to have a BP to get past security, and if you are on AA and don't have one, you can/must get it before security. This is actually new because up until recently there was an AA desk after security; there isn't anymore. There were some contradictory answers regarding these points.

Microwave Apr 17, 16 9:34 am


Originally Posted by AndyHall (Post 26496538)
The point is that you do have to have a BP to get past security

As you mention, there is some contradictory information... including this. :) No, you do not have to have a BP to clear security at LHR T3 Flight Connections. You'll be asked for one if you use Fast Track (to confirm eligibility), but you can always veer right and go through normal security (which is often just as fast) and there is no BP check there.

brp Apr 17, 16 1:47 pm


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26496501)
If you have an AA boarding pass already and prefer to answer the security questions at the gate, this is easily circumvented by telling the barkers you're not flying AA. They have no right to demand to see your BP–in fact, you can walk right past them and ignore them if you want.. up until you get to security, you can't walk past them and ignore them. :)

I prefer not to lie, so I just walked past and said nothing :)


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26497185)
As you mention, there is some contradictory information... including this. :) No, you do not have to have a BP to clear security at LHR T3 Flight Connections. You'll be asked for one if you use Fast Track (to confirm eligibility), but you can always veer right and go through normal security (which is often just as fast) and there is no BP check there.

Really? Was not aware of this. We've only ever used the Fast Track, so I had assumed that the regular line needed to see a BP, just as T5 (I'm pretty sure) requires a BP for either line.

In this case, I could see it worth using the regular line to avoid The Room if one did not have a BP, to then do it at the gate.

Cheers.

Microwave Apr 18, 16 5:00 am


Originally Posted by brp (Post 26498063)
Really? Was not aware of this. We've only ever used the Fast Track, so I had assumed that the regular line needed to see a BP, just as T5 (I'm pretty sure) requires a BP for either line.

Indeed. You're correct that a BP is required to clear conformance at T5: there's no way to get to T5 security without a boarding pass for a T5-departing flight. At T3 Flight Connections, since there are still several transfer counters after security, it's still totally fine to proceed through security at T3 without a boarding pass for a T3-departing flight. Since one can easily backtrack to the Flight Connections centre from the same corridor you pass through to enter T3 departures area from the Flight Connections area, it's possible to arrive to LHR on a flight, head to the T3 flight connections centre, clear security, do whatever in the T3 departures area, then proceed to the Flight Connections centre from the departures lounge where you can take a bus to T2, T4 or T5 for your onward flight. I could only imagine wanting to do this if you want to say hello to someone who's leaving on a T3 flight, but it is possible to do.


In this case, I could see it worth using the regular line to avoid The Room if one did not have a BP, to then do it at the gate.
I'm not sure what the gate agents would say if you turned up without having checked in, but in theory they should be able to handle formalities for you as long as you've not left it too close to departure time. Personally I would only skip the barkers and "The Room" if I had my BP in hand and just wanted to avoid the scrum for the security sticker, or if somehow I'd completed OLCI but didn't have a BP and just needed it reprinted (which the lounge could also do).

brp Apr 18, 16 8:18 am


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26500394)

I'm not sure what the gate agents would say if you turned up without having checked in, but in theory they should be able to handle formalities for you as long as you've not left it too close to departure time. Personally I would only skip the barkers and "The Room" if I had my BP in hand and just wanted to avoid the scrum for the security sticker, or if somehow I'd completed OLCI but didn't have a BP and just needed it reprinted (which the lounge could also do).

I'm more envisioning the case like our flight in January out of Bucharest. We were checked-in, all the way through, but the agent at OTP was unable to give us BPs beyond the OTP-LHR flight. If the line were not bad, I'd probably still brave The Room, but I'd have little reservation about bypassing if it looked bad.

Then look at the after-desk. Failing that, BP at the AC and questions-and-answer at the gate.

Cheers.


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