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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.


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