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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.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
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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 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 8, 16, 5:30 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Even when flying Y, I've always been able to do Fast Track through LHR Flight Connections by showing my EXP card. Yes in theory they should be able to see Emerald on the BP for AA, but the card seems to make it go faster.

Don't waste time at the AA connections counter, assuming you have a BP of some kind for your AA flight. Go directly to the gate where you will be shunted into a security interview and AA will probably reprint your BP.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 5:34 am
  #47  
 
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Haven't seen any AA security screeners at the entrance door of the LHR AC in recent months. But they're everywhere else.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 8:01 am
  #48  
 
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*****

Last edited by Geauxtigers; Aug 14, 16 at 10:22 pm
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Old Feb 8, 16, 8:36 am
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by Geauxtigers View Post
Is it really possible to avoid the AA connections counter with a boarding pass printed elsewhere or do I need the security sticker? I'm flying CPH-LHR-DFW in a few weeks and with only 95 min T5-T3 I was going to see if I could get the BA agent in CPH to print my boarding pass for LHR-DFW/ go immediately to security and the gate once at Heathrow
Yes of course it's possible.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 9:24 am
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by Geauxtigers View Post
Is it really possible to avoid the AA connections counter with a boarding pass printed elsewhere or do I need the security sticker? I'm flying CPH-LHR-DFW in a few weeks and with only 95 min T5-T3 I was going to see if I could get the BA agent in CPH to print my boarding pass for LHR-DFW/ go immediately to security and the gate once at Heathrow
I did DUB-LHR-ORD in December which was BA T5 to AA T3. The AA transfer counter process was security questions by ICTS, and then reprinting boarding passes I already had.

When I got to the gate, more ICTS people were doing security interviews, so I could've easily skipped the desk. It's before security, and as per the stories further above, you really can't risk wasting time at the AA counter if a 30-minute game of security theatre will kill your connection.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 9:28 am
  #51  
 
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Anything under 120 minutes to connect at LHR is uncomfortable. It's nice to have the F lounge access, but you'll never likely have time to use it. Heathrow really is my least favorite aspect of AA/OW TATL.

LHR does have the "theater" of security mastered. Most inefficient process I've encountered. If there is something "unknown" in your bag, your entire bag is unpacked piece-by-piece, rather than finding the one item pulling it out, re-scanning your bag. In my case it was an 8-once tin of cashews.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 9:32 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by UpInTheAir View Post
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.
Please see the wikipost in the existing thread, where your query has been merged. There's a link to a very easy to use tool for LHR connections. /Moderator
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Old Feb 8, 16, 10:44 am
  #53  
brp
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Originally Posted by WAS View Post

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.
Things have changed, although not sure how recently. There is now a room/set of counters prior to security where one must get a BP to be able to go through security (used to be that no BP was required for this and one could go to the desk after to get it). If one has a valid BP, of course, no need to stop in the room.

If getting the BP there, they also ask the questions.

The new area has moved and now lets out much closer to the lounges and gates than previously. The hike is quite a bit shorter and does not involve going through the shops.

Originally Posted by ccengct View Post
Don't waste time at the AA connections counter, assuming you have a BP of some kind for your AA flight. Go directly to the gate where you will be shunted into a security interview and AA will probably reprint your BP.
The connections counter that used to be after security often had a short line and we would stop there to avoid doing it at the gate. Failing that, we pop into the AC to answer the questions there. This way we can go to the gate just to board and not be shunted aside.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 11:35 am
  #54  
 
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Worried about a late arrival and early departure at Heathrow this summer; get a hotel or spend a night in a terminal, customs & passport control, restaurants closing down, transportation buses/trains shut down, etc.... I fear my wife and I will be sleeping in Terminal 3 until 5 AM when buses/trains start running again.

We arrive on a late Saturday night, 10:45 PM from Chicago on American Airlines #90 (Terminal 3).
We leave next day, Sunday morning at 7:00 AM from Heathrow on British Airways #638 (Terminal 5).

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 2:37 pm
  #55  
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Originally Posted by fresnojohn View Post
Worried about a late arrival and early departure at Heathrow this summer; get a hotel or spend a night in a terminal, customs & passport control, restaurants closing down, transportation buses/trains shut down, etc.... I fear my wife and I will be sleeping in Terminal 3 until 5 AM when buses/trains start running again.

We arrive on a late Saturday night, 10:45 PM from Chicago on American Airlines #90 (Terminal 3).
We leave next day, Sunday morning at 7:00 AM from Heathrow on British Airways #638 (Terminal 5).

Any advice would be appreciated.
You cannot get into Terminal 5 until the morning of your flight. Security opens about 5.30 am.

You are not supposed to go into the "wrong" terminal so sleeping in Terminal 3 would be discouraged (if it's even still possible?).

Therefore you might end up stuck outside next to the check in counters for 7 hours—rather unpleasant!

I advise you get a hotel room near Terminal 5.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 2:59 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by fresnojohn View Post
Worried about a late arrival and early departure at Heathrow this summer; get a hotel or spend a night in a terminal, customs & passport control, restaurants closing down, transportation buses/trains shut down, etc.... I fear my wife and I will be sleeping in Terminal 3 until 5 AM when buses/trains start running again.

We arrive on a late Saturday night, 10:45 PM from Chicago on American Airlines #90 (Terminal 3).
We leave next day, Sunday morning at 7:00 AM from Heathrow on British Airways #638 (Terminal 5).

Any advice would be appreciated.
LAST thing I want would be to slum around an airport for 8 hours after a torturous flight overseas.

land, get bag, clear customs- take the train from the terminal to T5/Sofitel. Asleep by 11:30, get 5-6 hrs and a shower!

The Sofitel is great- it is an easy walk to T5 in the AM, all connected. It can be pricey but a Saturday night is usually less by quite a bit than a weekday (business travelers). Keep searching and see if they drop prices- dont buy non-refundable unless you are sure it really IS a deal. Some consolidators offer sofitel on occasion. I usually spend US$150-300 for a weekday night, plus or minus over the last 3 years.

For me a few more $$ is worth not having to take the hotel shuttle (Hoppa?) as it adds a time uncertainty for me and cuts an extra 30+ minutes out of bed-time. Plus I like the sofitel and the restaurant.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 5:08 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
Failing that, we pop into the AC to answer the questions there. This way we can go to the gate just to board and not be shunted aside.
Yes I've done that too when I have sufficient time to visit the club. But if the connection is tight, it's straight to the gate.

Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
The Sofitel is great- it is an easy walk to T5 in the AM, all connected... For me a few more $$ is worth not having to take the hotel shuttle (Hoppa?)
Agree on both points!

Last edited by ccengct; Feb 9, 16 at 5:15 am
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:00 am
  #58  
 
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I'm not entirely clear on what is being recommended in the more recent posts on transfer.

What is the preferred way to go from T5 to T3 without excessive time and security annoyance, if travelling in a premium cabin, having printed BPs through OLCI?

The last time I went through flight connections there was no way to avoid the questioning security types at the desks.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:08 am
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
The last time I went through flight connections there was no way to avoid the questioning security types at the desks.
You will be questioned. The only variable is where... at the T3 transfer counter when you get off the bus, or at the Admirals Club, or at the gate, or at check-in if you decide to go landside through UKBA and then reenter.

People arriving BA at the satellite T5B and T5C should note that they can catch the T3 bus from the satellites without having to go all the way to T5 main.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:20 am
  #60  
 
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Originally Posted by ccengct View Post
You will be questioned. The only variable is where... at the T3 transfer counter when you get off the bus, or at the Admirals Club, or at the gate, or at check-in if you decide to go landside through UKBA and then reenter.

People arriving BA at the satellite T5B and T5C should note that they can catch the T3 bus from the satellites without having to go all the way to T5 main.
How do you avoid being questioned at the transfer counter?

A few months ago, the security types stopped us as we walked past the counters (this was T3-T3 and we already had BPs). In prior transits, we could just walk through if we already had BPs.
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