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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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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 16, 16, 9:15 pm
  #226  
 
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Originally Posted by iplaybass View Post
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.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 11:04 pm
  #227  
 
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
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.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 11:31 pm
  #228  
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Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
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.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 11:41 pm
  #229  
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
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?
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Old Apr 17, 16, 2:18 am
  #230  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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.

Last edited by aktchi; Apr 17, 16 at 2:26 am
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Old Apr 17, 16, 3:41 am
  #231  
 
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 4:26 am
  #232  
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Originally Posted by nbevan View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 4:29 am
  #233  
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Originally Posted by Markie View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 4:40 am
  #234  
 
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Originally Posted by econometrics View Post
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!
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Old Apr 17, 16, 5:35 am
  #235  
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Originally Posted by AndyHall View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 5:54 am
  #236  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 9:34 am
  #237  
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Originally Posted by AndyHall View Post
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.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 1:47 pm
  #238  
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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 View Post
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.
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Old Apr 18, 16, 5:00 am
  #239  
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
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).
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Old Apr 18, 16, 8:18 am
  #240  
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post

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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