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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 donít 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:

T3Ė>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 itíd be unusual to be allowed to return to use them if youíre 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 Jan 31, 16, 4:15 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Originally Posted by gmoney90 View Post
So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.
Yup.

I would check into the BA flight online, either at JFK or inflight. Even if you dont have a physical boarding pass. I was late on arrival and even though made it with time to spare, technically missed the check in window by 2 minutes. (arguably NOT time to spare )
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:15 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by CLTRob View Post
Will the 90 minutes be enough time for a connection at LHR? I've flown through LHR in the past where we had a one hour wait for a gate - more than once!
90 minutes is a bit too close for my personal comfort, however, I am the type who would much rather sit in the departure lounge with a good book than sprint through the terminal on a fast connection.

If your incoming flight is late, then you are toast.

Many people would be willing to take the risk of a 90 minute T5-T3 connection. I am not one of them.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:39 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
If your incoming flight is late, then you are toast.
"Toast" is relative, though

Assuming this is the 9:45am flight to CLT, there are dozens of other ways for AA to get the OP to his destination that day. Worst case, AA pays for a hotel and gets him out the next day (since this is an EU departure). Of course, if getting back on time is critical, it may be worth scheduling in more time between flights, as others have pointed out.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 6:56 pm
  #19  
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Originally Posted by gmoney90 View Post
So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.
Welcome to FlyerTalk.

Yes this is the best way. Just keep following the purple signs for Flight Connections Terminal 5 and then subsequently Flight Connections UK.

Even without a boarding pass you can collect it in T5 before passport control.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 7:32 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by rjw242 View Post
"Toast" is relative, though

Assuming this is the 9:45am flight to CLT, there are dozens of other ways for AA to get the OP to his destination that day. Worst case, AA pays for a hotel and gets him out the next day (since this is an EU departure). Of course, if getting back on time is critical, it may be worth scheduling in more time between flights, as others have pointed out.
It helps if you have FastTrack - and flights are on time. Flight OUT of LHR are sometimes late too.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 7:55 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
Welcome to FlyerTalk.

Yes this is the best way. Just keep following the purple signs for Flight Connections Terminal 5 and then subsequently Flight Connections UK.

Even without a boarding pass you can collect it in T5 before passport control.
Thanks very much. This and your previous posts were very helpful.
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Old Feb 3, 16, 11:08 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by gmoney90 View Post
I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!
...
I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!
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Old Feb 4, 16, 5:24 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!
I really appreciate your response and will definitely consider this. Thanks!
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Old Feb 4, 16, 2:02 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!
It is not BA policy to protect misconnects if a passenger chooses to purchase separate tickets. It comes down to agent discretion.
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Old Feb 6, 16, 2:12 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by stifle View Post
It is not BA policy to protect misconnects if a passenger chooses to purchase separate tickets. It comes down to agent discretion.
Thanks. This would definitely make it even more desirable to put the flights under one PNR.
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Old Feb 6, 16, 2:40 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Just to note I do this connection on a regular basis and it can be a <pain>, AA tend to give you an express pass if its tight which helps, BA haven't done so in my experience, also to note only Exec and Exec Plat are entitled to use the priority queues, not gold members. It's minimum an hours connection with priority and can be 90 mins or more without.

Also to note, stack times at LHR are variable and I have often arrived in the London area early, and landed late.

Last edited by Microwave; Feb 7, 16 at 3:27 pm
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Old Feb 7, 16, 8:43 am
  #27  
tyr
 
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I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?

Last edited by tyr; Feb 7, 16 at 8:43 am Reason: typo
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Old Feb 7, 16, 8:46 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by tyr View Post
I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?
The questioning is required of US carriers flying to the US. As you say, foreign carriers flying to the US do not seem to be required to do this.

A cynic might suggest that the point of the screening is to look tough and reassuring.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 6:07 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by tyr View Post
I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?
That's an "AA thing" at LHR. They don't do this at other US or even foreign airports like HKG or NRT.

AA's LHR ops live in their own world. After you have done the real LHR security, you encounter a ring of AA-hired "security" to ask such questions. Then the actual check in agent. If you are going to the lounge, there may be an extra security person to deal with before approaching the reception desk..and then the lounge receptionist can also start on who were you visiting in London, where do you work, where do you live etc.

All of this has happened to me. And I have never seen this anywhere else.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 7:48 pm
  #30  
 
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70 minutes to connect from BA to AA at LHR T3?

How long does it normally take to connect from BA (flight arriving at T3) to AA at LHR's T3? I entered my flight numbers into the heathrow.com site and it said 70 minutes! Which gates does BA use at T3 and which gates does AA use there? Knowing which gates they use would be helpful as the terminal map shows the gate numbers but not which ones are used by which airline.
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