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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)

Microwave Mar 8, 16 11:31 am


Originally Posted by Blumie (Post 26302685)
Definitely not true. Some airlines and some flights absolutely have "usual" gates. Doesn't mean it happens every time, but, for example, you always know which gates the AA flights are going to fly out of.

There are a cadre of gates that AA often use, but amongst those it can be an absolute mashup as to which gate your flight will get on which days. Some gates are capable of taking larger aircraft while others are not, but I've not found any rhyme or reason to when I get 40 vs 31 vs 27 etc. I've also started to get the "further" gates occasionally, which we used to never get, so there really is no hard and fast rule at T3 anymore.

ijgordon Mar 8, 16 11:34 am


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26302781)
I think we both agree on the bottom line: When at Heathrow, stay in the departure lounge until the gate is announced on the TV monitor (or app). Start walking towards that gate in a timely fashion. There is nothing to be gained and much to potentially lose by waiting at a departure gate before it's officially announced.

Well, specific to T5 and thus BA, but I suppose still relevant for discussion, is the issue of the T5B Galleries lounge, which, from all reports, is much more quiet/relaxing than the lounges in the main building. So *IF* my flight is going to be departing from B (or C?), I would like to know in advance so I don't have to "suffer" at the North or South lounges. I suppose the "Departing from Terminal B" indicators on the screen help, assuming they're put out early enough (like 1-2 hours before departure).

Microwave Mar 8, 16 11:37 am


Originally Posted by ijgordon (Post 26302873)
Well, specific to T5 and thus BA, but I suppose still relevant for discussion, is the issue of the T5B Galleries lounge, which, from all reports, is much more quiet/relaxing than the lounges in the main building. So *IF* my flight is going to be departing from B (or C?), I would like to know in advance so I don't have to "suffer" at the North or South lounges. I suppose the "Departing from Terminal B" indicators on the screen help, assuming they're put out early enough (like 1-2 hours before departure).

As regards T5, BA generally will have a good idea 1-2 hours before departure which gate will be used, and will be even better at knowing whether it's T5A or T5B/C. That said, if you're stuck using Galleries Club then I find the one at the south lounge complex generally preferable to the others at T5. I can almost always find a quiet corner way in the back, and the food gets refreshed much more often than T5B (I've seen some truly gross, film-covered gloop at T5B in the not too distant past). One trick: if you need a shower, go directly to T5B–even if your next flight departs from T5A, it's worth the hike back through the tunnel to avoid absurdly long waits for a shower in the morning at both T5A lounge complexes.

brp Mar 8, 16 11:44 am


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26302851)
There are a cadre of gates that AA often use, but amongst those it can be an absolute mashup as to which gate your flight will get on which days. Some gates are capable of taking larger aircraft while others are not, but I've not found any rhyme or reason to when I get 40 vs 31 vs 27 etc. I've also started to get the "further" gates occasionally, which we used to never get, so there really is no hard and fast rule at T3 anymore.

It's actually quite easy to know with a good degree of certainty what the gate for a departing AA flight will be. Just look at the arrival gate for the inbound. While the inbound/outbound pairing does change based on flight delays and such, this information is updated on the AA app such that the new inbound flight is shown.

This is certainly not foolproof as things could even change last minutes, but the latter is unlikely. The pairing is typically established (IME) as soon as the inbound flight takes off from the US and arrival time can be reasonably well ascertained.

Cheers.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 11:49 am


Originally Posted by zitsky (Post 26302839)
Just curious about something. I'm doing 9/24 RDU-LHR-NCE then 10/5 LYS-LHR-RDU. I just noticed that LHR-NCE goes out in Terminal 5 but LYS-LHR returns to Terminal 3. I'm not complaining as that will save me from making one terminal transfer. But why would NCE (BA 346) go out of T5 and LYS (BA 365) fly into T3? Is NCE a much larger airport?

Someone else might be able to give you a good answer, but I would have no idea. Gates at LHR are assigned as needed. The only thing you can be sure of is your gate will appear on a TV monitor giving enough time for a slow walker to make it there on time.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 11:50 am


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26302851)
I've also started to get the "further" gates occasionally, which we used to never get, so there really is no hard and fast rule at T3 anymore.

I seem to get the "further" gate Everyone Darn Time, or so it seems.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 11:53 am


Originally Posted by ijgordon (Post 26302873)
Well, specific to T5 and thus BA, but I suppose still relevant for discussion, is the issue of the T5B Galleries lounge, which, from all reports, is much more quiet/relaxing than the lounges in the main building. So *IF* my flight is going to be departing from B (or C?), I would like to know in advance so I don't have to "suffer" at the North or South lounges. I suppose the "Departing from Terminal B" indicators on the screen help, assuming they're put out early enough (like 1-2 hours before departure).

Theoretically, if your flight will depart from T5B or T5C, they will announce "B" or "C" in enough time to allow you to spend your lounge time in the T5B BA lounge. You won't know exactly which gate until later.

I have seen "Departing from B/C" on the TV monitors for flights departing long after other "Wait in Lounge" (ie T5A) flights are listed.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 12:11 pm


Originally Posted by brp (Post 26302918)
It's actually quite easy to know with a good degree of certainty what the gate for a departing AA flight will be. Just look at the arrival gate for the inbound. While the inbound/outbound pairing does change based on flight delays and such, this information is updated on the AA app such that the new inbound flight is shown.

This is certainly not foolproof as things could even change last minutes, but the latter is unlikely. The pairing is typically established (IME) as soon as the inbound flight takes off from the US and arrival time can be reasonably well ascertained.

Cheers.

Yes, but what would you do with that information?

In T5, knowing a tentative gate ahead of time means you can sit and wait in the departure lounge near your tentative gate, saving yourself a long schlepp across the whole terminal. If you believe you will leave from A22, for example, wait in the South BA Galleries lounge or the south part of the terminal. If A6 is your tentative gate, then wait in the North BA lounge or the north part of the terminal. Watch the TV monitors (or app) so you can start walking when the gate is made official.

In T3, everyone funnels through the same place when their gate is announced. Even the airline lounges are in that same area. There is no advantage to knowing your gate ahead of time.

T5A is shaped like a long rectangle. T3 is shaped like a "Y".

brp Mar 8, 16 12:15 pm


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26303041)
Yes, but what would you do with that information?

Absolutely nothing :D

I stay in the lounge as long as possible as the food and drink are very nice. We now go a little earlier as we now plan to answer the security questions at the gate since this is better than the little room or transfer desk - last time it added about 30 seconds to our time at the gate.

But some folks here seemed to want to know the gate early, and you can known the good with high reliability like 6 hours in advance, so I just figured I'd point out the technique.

Cheers.

Ldnn1 Mar 8, 16 12:23 pm


Originally Posted by zitsky (Post 26302839)
Just curious about something. I'm doing 9/24 RDU-LHR-NCE then 10/5 LYS-LHR-RDU. I just noticed that LHR-NCE goes out in Terminal 5 but LYS-LHR returns to Terminal 3. I'm not complaining as that will save me from making one terminal transfer. But why would NCE (BA 346) go out of T5 and LYS (BA 365) fly into T3? Is NCE a much larger airport?

The basic answer is simply that BA can't fit everything into T5, so some routes have to go from T3. LYS is one of them, along with some others including MRS, LIS, PRG, VIE, WAW and BCN. The reason why it's those and not others isn't absolutely clear, but it's been suggested they are either routes with fewer BA-BA connections, more O&D and/or more oneworld connections than other routes. Some are/were also a legacy of former bmi routes previously in T1 (think LYS might be one of those but can't remember).There was a re-jig last October when a sub-group of longhaul also moved over to T3, with some shorthaul moving back to T5.


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26302944)
Someone else might be able to give you a good answer, but I would have no idea. Gates at LHR are assigned as needed. The only thing you can be sure of is your gate will appear on a TV monitor giving enough time for a slow walker to make it there on time.

Nothing to do with gate assignments here. You can be absolutely sure which terminal your flight will depart from. Occasionally there's a re-jig as mentioned above, but those moves are announced months in advance.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 12:56 pm


Originally Posted by brp (Post 26303065)
Absolutely nothing :D

I stay in the lounge as long as possible as the food and drink are very nice. We now go a little earlier as we now plan to answer the security questions at the gate since this is better than the little room or transfer desk - last time it added about 30 seconds to our time at the gate.

But some folks here seemed to want to know the gate early, and you can known the good with high reliability like 6 hours in advance, so I just figured I'd point out the technique.

Cheers.

Excellent answer, thanks.

QueenOfCoach Mar 8, 16 12:57 pm


Originally Posted by Ldnn1 (Post 26303098)
The basic answer is simply that BA can't fit everything into T5, so some routes have to go from T3. LYS is one of them, along with some others including MRS, LIS, PRG, VIE, WAW and BCN. The reason why it's those and not others isn't absolutely clear, but it's been suggested they are either routes with fewer BA-BA connections, more O&D and/or more oneworld connections than other routes. Some are/were also a legacy of former bmi routes previously in T1 (think LYS might be one of those but can't remember).There was a re-jig last October when a sub-group of longhaul also moved over to T3, with some shorthaul moving back to T5.



Nothing to do with gate assignments here. You can be absolutely sure which terminal your flight will depart from. Occasionally there's a re-jig as mentioned above, but those moves are announced months in advance.

And you would be the person offering an excellent answer here. Thanks for filling in my non-answer.

Microwave Mar 8, 16 1:12 pm


Originally Posted by brp (Post 26302918)
It's actually quite easy to know with a good degree of certainty what the gate for a departing AA flight will be. Just look at the arrival gate for the inbound. While the inbound/outbound pairing does change based on flight delays and such, this information is updated on the AA app such that the new inbound flight is shown.

This is certainly not foolproof as things could even change last minutes, but the latter is unlikely. The pairing is typically established (IME) as soon as the inbound flight takes off from the US and arrival time can be reasonably well ascertained.

Well... at the risk of sounding rude, which I'm genuinely not intending to do, duh. The point is that until a plane has a gate, it could be any gate, and the early LAX flight could get 5 different gates in 5 days.

brp Mar 8, 16 1:31 pm


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26303322)
Well... at the risk of sounding rude, which I'm genuinely not intending to do, duh. The point is that until a plane has a gate, it could be any gate, and the early LAX flight could get 5 different gates in 5 days.

I understand. However, at least IME, once the flight is paired, it also has a gate shown in the app, and it comes into that gate. So, yes, it could be a different gate from the previous day, but one can known hours in advance on this day which gate they're leaving from with a high degree of certainty - for whatever they want to do with that information. While I see little value in knowing the gate that far in advance, I see considerably less in knowing it more than a day in advance.

Cheers.

Blumie Mar 8, 16 1:56 pm


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26302711)
All true.

Some like to linger a bit longer in the lounge. They don't want to feel they have to jump up the instant "Go to Gate XXX" is announced. Perfectly valid.

Also valid advice to not dillydally if you see "Gate Closing". Valid-issimo.

I take a different approach in that I like to "be where I am supposed to be". It is my personal preference to be at the departure gate, perhaps waiting 15 minutes or so, than to linger back in the departure lounge. That's just how I live my life. I prefer to get someplace early (work, restaurant, meeting, airport, departure gate) than be even a fraction of a minute late. I hate being late and hate feeling rushed.

When I get someplace early (meeting, etc), I just pull out my iPhone and play a few rounds of Angry Birds.

I'm totally with you. There's absolutely nothing wrong with going to the gate as soon as they post it (though that often will mean sitting around for awhile with very few amenities until boarding begins). My primary point, however, is that it's rarely necessary to dash to the gate as soon as the gate is announced, as I read some of the posts in this thread to suggest. There is almost always enough time to proceed to the gate at a leisurely pace, or even to hang out in the lounge a bit longer for those who prefer to do that.

stifle Mar 8, 16 2:18 pm


Originally Posted by Blumie (Post 26302685)
Definitely not true. Some airlines and some flights absolutely have "usual" gates. Doesn't mean it happens every time, but, for example, you always know which gates the AA flights are going to fly out of. And the BA long haul flights are more likely to depart from the B and C concourses than the A concourse. But, again, it just doesn't matter: the gate will be posted in plenty of time to get there. And at LHR more than any other airport it makes no sense to go to the gate until you need to.

Indeed. There are a few certainties such as EI services always using gates A21-23 at T2 and BA to DUB being just about always the same gates in T5. And the reason T5 BA long hauls just about always go from B or C is because only one stand in A can take a widebody.

My theory on gates though is that they are only shown when ready to board so that passengers spend more time in the shops and less sitting down not in shops.

zitsky Mar 8, 16 6:02 pm


Originally Posted by Ldnn1 (Post 26303098)
The basic answer is simply that BA can't fit everything into T5, so some routes have to go from T3. LYS is one of them, along with some others including MRS, LIS, PRG, VIE, WAW and BCN. The reason why it's those and not others isn't absolutely clear, but it's been suggested they are either routes with fewer BA-BA connections, more O&D and/or more oneworld connections than other routes. Some are/were also a legacy of former bmi routes previously in T1 (think LYS might be one of those but can't remember).There was a re-jig last October when a sub-group of longhaul also moved over to T3, with some shorthaul moving back to T5.



Nothing to do with gate assignments here. You can be absolutely sure which terminal your flight will depart from. Occasionally there's a re-jig as mentioned above, but those moves are announced months in advance.

Thanks very much for that answer. Maybe I'll get lucky and my flight to NCE will move to T3. I won't hold my breath but I can always hope.

mordy2000 Mar 18, 16 10:29 am

Question about connection time in LHR
 
Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

:) Mordy

JDiver Mar 18, 16 10:41 am


Originally Posted by mordy2000 (Post 26351079)
Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

:) Mordy

Advanced search, search titles only, return as threads. Key word:

heathrow

or

"lhr"

Reading the wikipost reveals "Connecting flights between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 - please allow a minimum 1 hour 30 minutes between flights."

Use the links in the wikipost to determine which terminal your connecting flight will depart from - the operating carrier, not the marketing carrier (BA) will determine that. The link to a step by step connections tool exists as well.

Microwave Mar 18, 16 10:55 am

Plenty of BA flights leave from T3, you'd be well advised to check which terminal before you get to Heathrow...

JDiver Mar 18, 16 12:00 pm


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26351206)
Plenty of BA flights leave from T3, you'd be well advised to check which terminal before you get to Heathrow...

Exactly! And why we have those links to check which terminal one's flight departs from (or arrives). The member states "on a BA codeshare" and that makes it more important to verify (given the operating flight, not marketed, will determine the departure terminal).

But if the member arrives at T-3 and departs T-5, MCT is violated with 70 minutes and it's very tight - a typical LHR arrival delayed by prolonged pattern requirements, busy queues and waiting for a couple of busses because they're running full and that time is now two hours to connect.

QueenOfCoach Mar 18, 16 7:35 pm


Originally Posted by mordy2000 (Post 26351079)
Question for anyone with familiarity flying through LHR.

I am currently flying from JFK through LHR to another destination in Europe -- on a BA codeshare. It looks like my flight (AA #100) lands in T3 -- and I am assuming the BA flight will depart out of T5. My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Since you did not share the European destination, it's tough for anyone to offer you advice. Some BA flights to Europe leave from T3. Most leave from T5. Since you are very pressed for time, you are well advised to confirm which terminal it is beforehand.

Having said that, I would not at all be comfortable with a 70 minute connection at LHR T3 to T5 (or even T3 to T3).

After you land at T3, you have to wait your turn to get off the plane, walk a long distance to Flight Connections, wait for a bus, get on the bus, travel to T5, off the bus, up to T5 Flight Connections, stand in line for a boarding pass scan (Flight Conformance), go through Security and then hoof it to your departure gate.

Even if you are the first off the plane, the last on the bus, etc., you still have the "problem" that you must meet Flight Conformance. That means you must have your boarding pass scanned in T5 no less than 35* minutes before your departure. If you don't meet flight conformance, you will not fly, even if you are an Olympic sprinter capable of getting to your gate in seconds following the security checkpoint.

Personally, I wouldn't chance it. Do you feel lucky?



*I'm almost positive LHR T5 Flight Conformance is 35 minutes, but do indeed invite correction from BA people.

Calchas Mar 19, 16 10:02 am


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26353416)
*I'm almost positive LHR T5 Flight Conformance is 35 minutes, but do indeed invite correction from BA people.

Conformance is thirty-five minutes on an unconnected flight.

If connecting between two flights, it can be relaxed. My record is clearing "conformance" at 21 minutes before departure (that was coming from a late-running AA 101 into T3 to a BA domestic flight at T5)

brp Mar 19, 16 7:50 pm


Originally Posted by mordy2000 (Post 26351079)
My flight is scheduled to land at 6:20am and my BA flight departs at 7:30 -- that's just 70 minutes. Is that enough time?

Any advice or input is welcome. Thanks!

:) Mordy

We've done it in as little as 24 minutes, and earlier in the morning is generally easier. I wouldn't count on it being that fast, but 70 minutes is certainly doable. I'd still not want it and would look for something longer to be safe, though. Late inbound can kill everything.

Cheers.

gardengirl Apr 7, 16 1:41 am


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26302660)
In Heathrow, there is no "usual" gate. A couple of years ago I got the Heathrow app and tracked the departure gate for my upcoming BA LHR-DUS flight for about three weeks. I wanted to see if there was some kind of pattern, so I could sit in the departure lounge near the expected gate.

There was no pattern. None. That same LHR-DUS flight left from the north, south and middle part of T5A, and a couple of times from T5B. It was absolutely random.

In addition to having the Heathrow app on my iPhone, with a pop-up notice of the departure gate announcement, I just ask the person scanning my boarding pass prior to the escalators up to T5 Security if they see anything "penciled in" for that flight that day. (The "conformance" check.) So long as the BP checker knows I know it's tentative, they usually don't mind telling me so long as they actually have the info at hand. All that does for me is tell me what part of the T5 departure lounge (north? south? middle?) I should park my butt and wait, hoping for a relatively short walk to the gate. I still keep an eye on the app and the TV monitors. Things can and do change.

I'm pretty much used to the routine. I've been making the LAX-LHR-DUS trek every year for the past 20+ years.

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?

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?

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.

Microwave Apr 7, 16 2:31 am


Originally Posted by gardengirl (Post 26449385)
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?

QueenOfCoach was talking about gates, not terminals. Your PHL-LHR flight will always arrive to T3, and your LHR-VCE flight will always depart from T5. The exact gate changes day by day, but not the terminal.


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?

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.
OK, a few basics about Heathrow (and most airports outside the US): arrivals and departures are generally segregated. When you arrive from Philadelphia, you'll be in the arrivals stream, with two options. One is to follow the yellow Arrivals / Baggage Reclaim route, which leads you first to immigration, then baggage reclaim, then customs, and the kerb. That's the route to go if you want to come in to London (stay tuned on that). If you opt for this route, bypass the baggage reclaim as your bags should be tagged all the way through to Venice. The other option is to follow the purple Flight Connections signs, which will lead you to a bus area where you can get a bus to T5 (from where your VCE flight will leave), then to a boarding pass check, then to security, and then to the departures lounge of T5. You won't have a reasonable opportunity to explore any area but T5. Note that it is technically possible to also see the T3 departures area, but involves an extra security check and will leave you in the wrong part of the airport–if you're not a travel pro, I'd forget about anything but the two options I outline above.

Now... we need to have a chat. 11 hours at Heathrow. That's a lot of time. The Elemis "travel spa" is not actually a spa, they have very short treatments in a large, un-spa-like communal area with sheets to partition off the treatment areas. The treatments themselves are complimentary for people with onward long haul business & first travel on BA (and a small number of elites). You aren't in those categories though, so Elemis is out. There is a paid-for lounge at T5 with paid-for treatments available (see here), but I don't think they're worth it. Honestly, with 11 hours to kill, I suggest this:

  • When you get off the plane follow the yellow Arrivals signs to get landside
  • --- If you want to get a shower at this point, follow the Heathrow Express signs to the free transfer service to T5, and when you arrive there follow the signs for the British Airways Arrivals lounge. AA's arrivals lounge at T3 is closed for renovations.
  • Take the Piccadilly line in to London for some lunch and maybe a museum visit or two
  • Take the tube directly to South Kensington for several museum options, including one of my favourites, the V&A.
  • If you're in an antiquities kind of mood, stay on the train to Russell Square (also direct from the airport) and head to the British Museum.
  • There are oodles of lunch options near either of these tube stops, or along the Piccadilly Line in central London.
  • About 3 hours before your LHR-VCE flight is scheduled to leave, head back to the Piccadilly Line and take the next train to Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • Get off the train, head upstairs to departures level, go through security.
  • If you have time, check out one of the Galleries Club lounges.
  • Fly to Venice and be glad you didn't waste an entire day in an airport, and instead truly did make the day part of your "vacation experience". :)

Calchas Apr 7, 16 5:35 am


Originally Posted by gardengirl (Post 26449385)
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.

LHR cannot entertain you for eleven hours.

If you can entertain yourself for that long, find a quiet spot in a lounge. Otherwise, go to Windsor or London. Many museums in the UK are free to enter, particularly in London, and public transport from T5 to South Kensington is, as Microwave suggests, cheap, safe and easy.

Heathrow discourages entering into the wrong terminal. It is possible [except T5] if you are insistent but staff will assume that you are lost. You may also be denied lounge access except in the departure terminal.

JDiver Apr 7, 16 7:13 am


Originally Posted by Calchas (Post 26449840)
LHR cannot entertain you for eleven hours.

If you can entertain yourself for that long, find a quiet spot in a lounge. Otherwise, go to Windsor or London. Many museums in the UK are free to enter, particularly in London, and public transport from T5 to South Kensington is, as Microwave suggests, cheap, safe and easy.

Heathrow discourages entering into the wrong terminal. It is possible [except T5] if you are insistent but staff will assume that you are lost. You may also be denied lounge access except in the departure terminal.

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.

zitsky Apr 7, 16 1:14 pm

Train or bus?
 
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.

wrp96 Apr 7, 16 1:20 pm


Originally Posted by zitsky (Post 26451919)
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.

Trains are landside. Buses are airside.

JDiver Apr 7, 16 1:21 pm


Originally Posted by zitsky (Post 26451919)
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.

LAX/HKG Apr 7, 16 1:25 pm


Originally Posted by Microwave (Post 26242764)
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.

zitsky Apr 7, 16 1:28 pm

wrp96, thank you for that answer. I should have guessed it was something that simple.


Originally Posted by JDiver (Post 26451957)
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.

Calchas Apr 7, 16 2:58 pm


Originally Posted by zitsky (Post 26451919)
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.

JDiver Apr 7, 16 3:18 pm


Originally Posted by Calchas (Post 26452440)
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.

muishkin Apr 7, 16 5:45 pm


Originally Posted by gardengirl (Post 26449385)
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.

gardengirl Apr 7, 16 9:48 pm

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.

gardengirl Apr 8, 16 12:12 am


Originally Posted by muishkin (Post 26453130)
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.

gardengirl Apr 8, 16 12:45 am

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?

Microwave Apr 8, 16 1:23 am


Originally Posted by muishkin (Post 26453130)
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 (Post 26453853)
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 (Post 26454274)
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!


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