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GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5

GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5

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Old Dec 27, 19, 8:41 am   -   Wikipost
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Link to LHR page on aa.com

Link to London-Heathrow web pages

Link to Wikipedia page on LHR

Link to FT - AA thread London Heathrow (LHR) <-> Gatwick (LGW) Transport / Transfer (master thread)

The vast majority of arriving passengers with a passport from the European Union, Switzerland or, effective 20 May 2019, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or USA can now use arrival immigration eGates without any fee or pre-registration requirement. But for those transiting LHR with a non-UK/non-Ireland destination and no luggage to claim during transit at LHR, the eGates are generally irrelevant since most such passengers don’t enter the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area.
NOTE: Connecting flights between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 - please allow a minimum 1 hour 30 minutes between flights.


NOTE: Some BA flights have moved. E.g.: On 30 June 2015 all British Airways flights that previously operated out of Terminal 1 switched to either Terminal 3 or Terminal 5. Others have changed to or from T-3 as well. See:

Link to LHR "Which terminal does my flight depart from / arrive?"

For gate to gate connection assistance in T-3, AA Five Star Service can be used (fee, must be in AA Business or First on incoming or outbound flight). For interterminal assistance, see https://www.heathrow.com/airport-gui...cierge-service for Heathrow Meet and Assist.

LHR is comprised of four terminals (Terminal 1 is now permanently closed). American Airlines and many oneworld airlines (e.g. AY, BA, CX, JJ, JL, QF, RJ, UL) use Terminal 3. MH and QR use terminal 4. BA and IB use Terminal 5. These terminals are not connected - you can not walk from one to the other. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.


Transferring/ Connections at LHR interterminal can be done three ways:

Link to interactive custom Heathrow Flight Connections Guide

1) Landside: exit your terminal and process HM immigration and customs as if you were arriving in the UK, then take the free train or busses connecting to other terminals (or with most hotels, if you are staying overnight you will most likely utilise the "Heathrow Hoppa" busses costing £4.50 per person one way, £8 return). You must proceed landside if planning to use the AA (or BA) Arrivals Lounge, which close at 1400 hrs / 2 PM as these are landside. (See post no. 627, here, for local land & hotel transport options.)

Inter-terminal landside connections can be via rail (free) or walking, depending on the terminals. See the diagram for Heathrow Express terminal connections, free when you are traveling within the airport's cconfines. See here

2) Airside:

Follow the signage to Flight Connections, where you will proceed a bus waiting area at airport ground level and take a bus to your next terminal, where you will proceed through boarding pass, carryon check a standard airport security check. Now you are ready to catch your next flight. Flight connections Minimum Connect Times are ordinarily 75 - 90 minutes (the latter for connections between T3 and T5).

NOTE: You must be at your connecting gate 20 minutes prior to departure. If you must recover bags and re-check (e.g. oneworld to non-oneworld or LCC) you must check your baggage in at least 45 minutes prior to departure.

Use this tool available from this page on LHR's website that include a step by step guide through Flight Connections. The page also offers videos. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.

Typical Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 Flight Connections path:

T3–>T5 see posts 674, 675.
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

3. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here.

4. Ready to fly: Staff will check that you're in the right place, your hand baggage meets airline regulations, and you have time to catch your onward flight.

5. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

6. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

7. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
NOTE: Flight departure gates are listed in only sufficient time to get to the gate, not hours (or often an hour) prior to departure.


Typical Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 Flight Connections path:
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

NOTE: As there is a new AA desk at the bus boarding point, you can get your AA boarding pass and pass the AA oral security questioning while you await the bus.

3. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

4. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

5. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here. But see 2A if flying AA.

6. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
[quote]Lounges: [Airside lounges at LHR are designated departure lounges, so it’d be unusual to be allowed to return to use them if you’re connecting to a flight departing from Terminal 5.

[B]Terminal 3 lounges include:

Airside, departure lounges:
American Airlines Flagship / First Class Lounge - Lounge Zone H
American Airlines Admirals Club - Lounge Zone H
British Airways First and Club / Business lounges - Lounge Zone F
Cathay Pacific First and Business lounges near Gate 11
Qantas Airways London Lounge - Lounge B / Gate
Landside, for arriving premium passengers and Emeralds (no guests)
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge (recently renovated)
Terminal 5 lounges:

Airside lounges:
British Airways Concorde Lounge (longhaul BA First)
British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge - South Concourse
British Airways Galleries Club / Business lounges both North & South Concourses
British Airways Galleries Club / Business lounge T5B Satellite
Landside, for arriving premium passengers and Emeralds (no guests)
British Airways Arrivals Lounge (recently renovated)
For hours, access, amenities, etc. consult the oneworld lounge access tool here./quote]

Link to the most useful London Heathrow International Airport website. Click on "Connections" for a connection assistance tool.

For long connections where you might wish to go to London, you can use "the tube" (Underground, ~50 minutes, cheapest), busses to various locations, taxis (the most expensive, about 45 minutes) or "minicabs" and other hired cars, the Heathrow Express (15 minutes to Paddington station) or Heathrow Connect (30 minutes to Paddington). You can also Uber or bus to nearby Windsor town, and with sufficient time even tour Windsor Castle.

For links to local and local hotels, other airports (such as Gatwick, ~1:30), railroad stations (Feltham, Watford, Woking and Reading), intercity coaches (such as Oxford) start at this page.

The Tube takes 50 minutes from the Central / Terminals 2/3, T-4 or T-5 stations using the Piccadilly Line. Link to LHR tube page; link to London Toolkit page on LHR and Piccadilly line; link to Transport for London page.

The Heathrow Express / HEX departs T-5 and takes 21 minutes (it stops at Central / T2/3, six minutes) and onward to Paddington (15 minutes, about 1/3 of the time a taxi would take, though a taxi or bus can tale longer in some traffic). The trains have 15 minute headway (depart every 15 minutes) and have baggage racks.

(If you stay at Hilton T-4, board HEX at T-5, go to Central / T-2/3, get off, take the connecting train to T-4 (4 minutes), all free. From T-4 follow the signs to the hotel, perhaps 10 minute walk by covered board walk).

The Heathrow Connect costs less, takes 30 minutes to Paddington from Central T-2/3 station (which you get to via free HEX).
This London Heathrow International Airport connection / transfer thread has been split off from the original thread, which can be read here: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow (obsolete, trailing thread).

For other terminals please see ARCHIVE: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow

Also see this page for MCT information.

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Old Mar 7, 16, 11:44 am
  #106  
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Originally Posted by N830MH View Post
I went through LHR last month and I took terminal bus from T5 TO T3, and then I passed through at security again, and went onto the concourse. I wait for my flight is leave and they didn't telling me for which the gate number. They never told me about gate number is it. The gate number is 27, and purple coats told the gate agent and she gave me a gate number. I have wait for the gate is open. I didn't needs any helps and it was so much easy for me. I knows how to catch the next flight out.
LHR doesn't announce gate numbers until close to boarding. That can be challenging if a passenger is far from the announced gate. Glad you made it OK.
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Old Mar 7, 16, 11:47 am
  #107  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
LHR doesn't announce gate numbers until close to boarding. That can be challenging if a passenger is far from the announced gate. Glad you made it OK.
Gate swaps at LHR are common because there are insufficient gates for the number of flights, so if someone lands late they lose their assigned gate and someone else gets it.

If you go to somewhere like NRT there are about five gate change announcements per hour. I think this could be even more confusing/annoying than not knowing until is definite.
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Old Mar 7, 16, 4:48 pm
  #108  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
LHR doesn't announce gate numbers until close to boarding. That can be challenging if a passenger is far from the announced gate. Glad you made it OK.
Thanks! I appreciate that. I have no idea about gate numbers announces. Oh well!
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Old Mar 7, 16, 5:20 pm
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Originally Posted by N830MH View Post
I went through LHR last month and I took terminal bus from T5 TO T3, and then I passed through at security again, and went onto the concourse. I wait for my flight is leave and they didn't telling me for which the gate number. They never told me about gate number is it. The gate number is 27, and purple coats told the gate agent and she gave me a gate number. I have wait for the gate is open. I didn't needs any helps and it was so much easy for me. I knows how to catch the next flight out.
Specifically, the best place to look for gate number announcements is on the TV monitors located throughout the terminal. Just find a comfy place to wait and look up at the monitor from time to time. When you see your flight getting close to the top, look at the monitor more often.
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Old Mar 7, 16, 8:27 pm
  #110  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
Specifically, the best place to look for gate number announcements is on the TV monitors located throughout the terminal. Just find a comfy place to wait and look up at the monitor from time to time. When you see your flight getting close to the top, look at the monitor more often.
Got it. Thanks! I have to be patient and they will tell me when. I have to be more patiently, am I right?
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Old Mar 7, 16, 8:51 pm
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NEW LHR / London Heathrow AA T3 &lt;---&gt; BA T5 connection / transfer master thread

The way it works at Heathrow is that gates are assigned at the last minute. Other airports have the luxury of advance planning, but Heathrow is too busy for too much advance planning.

Thus: when it's time to move towards the departure gate, they put a note "Go To Gate XX" on the TV monitor. When you see that, go to gate XX.

Don't wait for "someone" to tell you. Just watch the TV monitors. That is all you need to know.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 8:32 am
  #112  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
the best place to look for gate number announcements is on the TV monitors
For BA departures there's also the BA app, which is more convenient than standing close to a monitor if you want to eat, shop or just sit somewhere comfortable. Passengers with lounge access can also ask when entering a lounge. The person scanning your BP can see the most recent information for your flight, which will typically include the expected gate long before it goes up on the big screens.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 10:44 am
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I always ask "so where does the flight to XYZ usually depart from?" and "I know I cant rely on that, but it will help me plan"

This will elicit a bit more that "not announced yet"
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Old Mar 8, 16, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by IMH View Post
For BA departures there's also the BA app, which is more convenient than standing close to a monitor if you want to eat, shop or just sit somewhere comfortable. Passengers with lounge access can also ask when entering a lounge. The person scanning your BP can see the most recent information for your flight, which will typically include the expected gate long before it goes up on the big screens.
All true. I have the LHR app and use it to see my departure gate. I also keep an eye on the TV monitors, just out of lifetime habit.

This is the take-home lesson that I wish to impart to N830MH. No matter where you are, no matter what airport, always check the TV monitors for your current gate. In airports other than LHR, they might print your departure gate on your boarding pass or the ticket agent might tell you. Usually that's accurate.

However, for various reasons, departure gates can change between the time you check in and the time you depart. The latest and correct information will be on the TV monitors. Check a TV monitor before heading off towards your departure gate. Don't just depend on your boarding pass or whatever someone might have told you. The gate may have changed, and you might find yourself alone at the wrong gate.

(The only exception to this rule is when you, and everyone else, are at the announced departure gate and a gate agent announces that a gate has changed. You and everyone else pick up and move to the new gate all together.)

In Heathrow this advice is imperative, since gates are assigned at the last minute. A flight might be "penciled in" for a given gate, but you can't rely on that tentative gate assignment absolutely. In addition, at Heathrow, some gates are locked closed until airline personnel come to open them and check documents before the passengers can even enter the gate area and sit down. If you get to one of those gates early, you will have no place to sit and will have to wait. You also run the risk of being at the wrong gate, should your departure flight's gate change at the last minute. Going to a gate at Heathrow before seeing the "Go To Gate XXX" on the TV monitor is risky.

If you are visually handicapped and cannot easily read the TV monitors, ask someone to read them for you.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 10:57 am
  #115  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
The way it works at Heathrow is that gates are assigned at the last minute. Other airports have the luxury of advance planning, but Heathrow is too busy for too much advance planning.

Thus: when it's time to move towards the departure gate, they put a note "Go To Gate XX" on the TV monitor. When you see that, go to gate XX.

Don't wait for "someone" to tell you. Just watch the TV monitors. That is all you need to know.
Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
I always ask "so where does the flight to XYZ usually depart from?" and "I know I cant rely on that, but it will help me plan"

This will elicit a bit more that "not announced yet"
I have to say that I have transited LHR as much as the next person, and never once have I experienced the least bit of anxiety about the gate posting practices. The gates may not be posted as early as at some other airports, and yes the walks can be long, but I have never had an experience where I felt rushed due to a late posting of the gate. And usually (not always, but usually) the gate is posted early enough that when the board says "GO TO GATE XX," I can make the decision that I don't need to go just yet as there still is plenty of time before boarding and departure. Even when the board switches to "GATE CLOSING," you typically have plenty of time to get there (although at that point I would not dillydally and just head to the gate ASAP).
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Old Mar 8, 16, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
I always ask "so where does the flight to XYZ usually depart from?" and "I know I cant rely on that, but it will help me plan"

This will elicit a bit more that "not announced yet"
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.

Edited to add 4/8/2016: I want to make it clear that predicting the terminal that a flight will departure from is easy. That you can do from the LHR website. You will know, well in advance, if your flight will depart from T5, T3, etc. Predicting the exact gate is far more problematic. When tracking my LHR-DUS flight, I knew I would depart from T5, but had no idea if there was any particular gate assigned to that flight on a regular basis. I was interested in knowing in advance so I could wait in either the North or South BA lounge closest to my gate.
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.

Last edited by QueenOfCoach; Apr 9, 16 at 5:38 pm Reason: Clarify part about predicting the departure gate vs the departure terminal
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:01 am
  #117  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
In Heathrow, there is no "usual" gate.
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
I have to say that I have transited LHR as much as the next person, and never once have I experienced the least bit of anxiety about the gate posting practices. The gates may not be posted as early as at some other airports, and yes the walks can be long, but I have never had an experience where I felt rushed due to a late posting of the gate. And usually (not always, but usually) the gate is posted early enough that when the board says "GO TO GATE XX," I can make the decision that I don't need to go just yet as there still is plenty of time before boarding and departure. Even when the board switches to "GATE CLOSING," you typically have plenty of time to get there (although at that point I would not dillydally and just head to the gate ASAP).
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:18 am
  #119  
 
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
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.
OK, I'll meet you halfway.

It has been my experience that the longhaul AA flights usually depart from T3 Gate 35 or so. They are more or less predictable. Last year we all went to Gate 35 for the LHR-LAX flight, only to find there was a mechanical delay. After a while, we were all moved to an alternate aircraft at Gate 32.

True also about longhaul BA flights leaving from T5B and T5C. (The TV monitors will say "Departing from Terminal B" or "C" well in advance, giving you time to go to T5B or T5C, then wait for the final gate announcement.)

But also true that shorthaul BA flights, such as LHR-DUS or LHR-CDG or LHR-AMS can leave out of any T5A gate and sometimes T5B or T5C. My own tracking experiment and personal experience sure proves that one.

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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:28 am
  #120  
 
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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?
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