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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.
 
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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 Feb 7, 16, 8:26 pm
  #31  
 
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Where is your BA flight coming from?

LHR can take ages to connect at. I just did a T5-T5 Schengen-USA connection and it took ~65 minutes.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 8:28 pm
  #32  
 
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You should be OK if the flights are on time. AFAIK British Airways uses bus-gates at T3 for shorthaul flights and proper gates for longhaul flights.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 8:47 pm
  #33  
 
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AA closes gates early sometimes, so be prepared to be at gate no later than 20 mins before departure.
U need to take into account clearing security at T3. It will be a tight one.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:06 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by UpInTheAir View Post
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.
Gate information won't really help you that much, because it's not like a domestic connection; you won't be going straight from gate to gate. You'll have to go all the way to the main part of the terminal, clear security, then go through the Flight Connections center and back out to your departing gate. Even if your arrival and departure gates are right next to one another, you still have to do that.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:34 pm
  #35  
 
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IMHO T3 security is much better and faster than the nightmare that is T5. However I never leave less than 90 minutes between connections at the same terminal, even if I assume my flights will be on time. That's cutting it close. When is the next flight? Good to have in your pocket just in case
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:40 pm
  #36  
 
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Even on time can be tight. Just did MXP-LHR-DFW (biz so first off BA). Plane late, bus to Terminal, then got a wasted "Express Connections" paper. Bus to Term for AA flight. Then over enthusiastic security people asking 10 questions, then AA counter for new BP and verify baggage tag, then security (and Express Connections did nothing). 1 lane for Fast Track and 1 for everyone else. Had multiple people on AA flight. About 30 people and moving slowly. Finally they let us cut ahead of about 7 people who were not happy. Ran to gate and we were last ones on. 90 minutes is what you should have.
You really can't make it faster than it happens to be that day. Good luck.


==sorry misread- Mine was Terminal 5 to Terminal 3

Last edited by zebranz; Feb 7, 16 at 10:40 pm Reason: add on
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Old Feb 7, 16, 9:47 pm
  #37  
brp
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Originally Posted by zebranz View Post
...bus to Terminal...
With a T3->T3 connection there are no buses. 70 minutes should be more than sufficient especially as the entry point has now been moved to be closer to the gates.

T5<->T3 has been about 35-55 minutes for us. Same terminal is more like 30 minutes, generally.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 10:01 pm
  #38  
 
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I agree with brp. 70 min for a T3-T3 is not that bad. I've done it several times. Just make sure your carry on luggage is good to go. I've been pulled aside for the mouth wash in an amenity kit I received on the plane. I had not opened the kit and put it in one of my bags. Took an extra 15 minutes to get thru security. Little things like that can make a big difference if time is tight due to your inbound being a little late.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 10:32 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by anc305 View Post
I agree with brp. 70 min for a T3-T3 is not that bad. I've done it several times. Just make sure your carry on luggage is good to go. I've been pulled aside for the mouth wash in an amenity kit I received on the plane. I had not opened the kit and put it in one of my bags. Took an extra 15 minutes to get thru security. Little things like that can make a big difference if time is tight due to your inbound being a little late.
The LHR security is so maddening dumb you have to really compose yourself going through it. Your carry on has to be COMPLETELY empty of any kind of liquid, gel, crème, paste, anything, even a small drop of something will be picked up by the machine and it will kick your bag into secondary inspection. When that happens, you will join a long line of other unfortunates, who will have the carryon belongings opened, and every single item taken out and inspected in front of the group of said unfortunates. Every single item in your bag will be paraded in front of everyone. I had once left in my bag a miniscule quantity of a hair wax product, no bigger than the size of a fingernail. The scanner picked it up, the charade ensued, and the security guy proceeded to scan the fingernail quantity of hair wax for explosives on another machine. A fingernail quantity. I kid you not. Total wasted time about 20-25 minutes. People caught up in this often beg the other unfortunates to cut in front of them so they won't miss their flight. This airport is something else.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 11:36 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
The LHR security is so maddening dumb you have to really compose yourself going through it. Your carry on has to be COMPLETELY empty of any kind of liquid, gel, crème, paste, anything, even a small drop of something will be picked up by the machine and it will kick your bag into secondary inspection. When that happens, you will join a long line of other unfortunates, who will have the carryon belongings opened, and every single item taken out and inspected in front of the group of said unfortunates. Every single item in your bag will be paraded in front of everyone. I had once left in my bag a miniscule quantity of a hair wax product, no bigger than the size of a fingernail. The scanner picked it up, the charade ensued, and the security guy proceeded to scan the fingernail quantity of hair wax for explosives on another machine. A fingernail quantity. I kid you not. Total wasted time about 20-25 minutes. People caught up in this often beg the other unfortunates to cut in front of them so they won't miss their flight. This airport is something else.
This also happens if you have too many cables in your luggage so that the person cannot see what is there properly.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 1:14 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by LukasVIE View Post
You should be OK if the flights are on time. AFAIK British Airways uses bus-gates at T3 for shorthaul flights and proper gates for longhaul flights.
Originally Posted by zebranz View Post
Even on time can be tight. Just did MXP-LHR-DFW (biz so first off BA). Plane late, bus to Terminal
Originally Posted by brp View Post
With a T3->T3 connection there are no buses. 70 minutes should be more than sufficient especially as the entry point has now been moved to be closer to the gates.
I think the first two posters were talking about BA's maddening propensity for using remote stands that require a bus from plane to terminal. The good news is that they say all their flights, LH and SH, into T3 now arrive on airbridges, so assuming no fluke exception on the day that eliminates one time suck on this connection. But as others are pointing out security is still likely to be the main bottleneck and at LHR "variable" is the only word you can use for that...
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Old Feb 8, 16, 1:23 am
  #42  
 
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If you are flying J, you will be allowed the fast track security screening. Make sure you don't forget to remove any liquids and have them in a small plastic bag. If you forget, it may cost you 15-20 minutes while they go through everything!
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Old Feb 8, 16, 1:31 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
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.
AA do this as well at CDG

(Never encountered the lounge questioning anywhere though)
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Old Feb 8, 16, 1:54 am
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
The LHR security is so maddening dumb you have to really compose yourself going through it. Your carry on has to be COMPLETELY empty of any kind of liquid, gel, crème, paste, anything, even a small drop of something will be picked up by the machine and it will kick your bag into secondary inspection. When that happens, you will join a long line of other unfortunates, who will have the carryon belongings opened, and every single item taken out and inspected in front of the group of said unfortunates. Every single item in your bag will be paraded in front of everyone. I had once left in my bag a miniscule quantity of a hair wax product, no bigger than the size of a fingernail. The scanner picked it up, the charade ensued, and the security guy proceeded to scan the fingernail quantity of hair wax for explosives on another machine. A fingernail quantity. I kid you not. Total wasted time about 20-25 minutes. People caught up in this often beg the other unfortunates to cut in front of them so they won't miss their flight. This airport is something else.
Originally Posted by Markie View Post
This also happens if you have too many cables in your luggage so that the person cannot see what is there properly.

Had both of these experiences at lhr, and yes, composing yourself is critical. It is maddening to see the emptying of all items of every person. I've seen this with young children to the elderly in wheel chairs with every prescription bottle opened and swiped. And yes, T3 makes T5 look good.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 2:04 am
  #45  
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I make this connection regularly several times a year. 70 minutes is pushing it, but definitely possible. They opened a new security screening area recently, which helps a bit.

Like others said, you basically go back to the terminal entrance, go through security (I've had success getting into the Fast Track lanes by showing an elite card, even when flying Economy). After security, you also might have to stop at the AA desk to get an AA boarding pass and answer some of those stupid security questions. After that, it's a bit of a hike to the gate, so allow time for that.

90 minutes is comfortable, with time for a drink in the lounge. 70 minutes is possible, but you have to move quickly.
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