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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 donít 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:

T3Ė>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 itíd be unusual to be allowed to return to use them if youíre 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 8, 16, 11:31 am
  #121  
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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.
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:34 am
  #122  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
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).
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:37 am
  #123  
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:44 am
  #124  
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:49 am
  #125  
 
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Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 11:53 am
  #127  
 
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 12:11 pm
  #128  
 
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
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".
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Old Mar 8, 16, 12:15 pm
  #129  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
Yes, but what would you do with that information?
Absolutely nothing

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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 12:23 pm
  #130  
 
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Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
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 View Post
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.

Last edited by Ldnn1; Mar 8, 16 at 12:30 pm
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Old Mar 8, 16, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
Absolutely nothing

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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 12:57 pm
  #132  
 
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 1:12 pm
  #133  
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 1:31 pm
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
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.
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Old Mar 8, 16, 1:56 pm
  #135  
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
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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