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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)

JDiver Jun 13, 11 4:13 pm

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

SJC AA Jan 6, 16 6:32 am

After arriving at T3 by bus, you now have to go up two escalators, walk quite a distance, and go down an escalator to get to flight connections. I don't remember it being quite so circuitous in the past. Has it changed in the last few years?

Also, my flight to JFK today is leaving from 24A, a bus gate. I've never had a bus gate flying AA out of Heathrow before (and I've done it a dozen times or so). Is this new? Temporary?

Calchas Jan 6, 16 6:53 am


Originally Posted by SJC AA (Post 25970873)
After arriving at T3 by bus, you now have to go up two escalators, walk quite a distance, and go down an escalator to get to flight connections. I don't remember it being quite so circuitous in the past. Has it changed in the last few years?

Also, my flight to JFK today is leaving from 24A, a bus gate. I've never had a bus gate flying AA out of Heathrow before (and I've done it a dozen times or so). Is this new? Temporary?

Yes, a temporary flight connections centre is in place while the old one is being rebuilt.

Bus gates are unfortunate but they happens from time to time.

roberto99 Jan 25, 16 11:30 am

Checked bag through LHR: BA-AA experiences?
 
So I have a 7 hour connection at LHR in a couple weeks.

ATH-LHR-ORD and the first segment is on BA in J. The downline segment is AA J.

I'm actually tempted to check it at ATH for ATH-LHR-ORD despite multi carriers.

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?

JDiver Jan 25, 16 11:39 am

Lots of people have positive experiences checking bags with oneworld carriers through LHR. And a number of people have had multi-day delays recovering their bags when LHR is plagued with OSO in particular.

The likelihood is the will be no problem, but that's far from 100% certainty.

With seven hours you could choose to check through and transfer using Flight Connections, or check baggage to LHR, recover baggage and go landside, trek to Terminal 3 and re-check, pass through security, etc.

It's entirely your choice. If I was doing this I'd check my baggage through. If my baggage is delayed getting home, it's not a major inconvenience for me. Doing the landside baggage dance at LHR is a PITA.

roberto99 Jan 25, 16 11:46 am


Originally Posted by JDiver (Post 26078482)
Lots of people have positive experiences checking bags with oneworld carriers through LHR. And a number of people have had multi-day delays recovering their bags when LHR is plagued with OSO in particular.

The likelihood is the will be no problem, but that's far from 100% certainty.

With seven hours you could choose to check through and transfer using Flight Connections, or check baggage to LHR, recover baggage and go landside, trek to Terminal 3 and re-check, pass through security, etc.

It's entirely your choice. If I was doing this I'd check my baggage through. If my baggage is delayed getting home, it's not a major inconvenience for me. Doing the landside baggage dance at LHR is a PITA.

My original plan was to carry the bag on to LHR and then carry it from T5 to T3 landside and check it with AA. Then I realized that this would consume time that I need for my mission during the connection.

I'm trying to escape LHR quickly at 10AM but the bag is an issue unless I check it through. Checking bags violates my MO.....

Lakeviewsteve Jan 25, 16 11:46 am


Originally Posted by roberto99 (Post 26078438)
So I have a 7 hour connection at LHR in a couple weeks.

ATH-LHR-ORD and the first segment is on BA in J. The downline segment is AA J.

I'm actually tempted to check it at ATH for ATH-LHR-ORD despite multi carriers.

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?

Yes I have had nothing but positive experiences with baggage handling at LHR (from BA originated trip connecting to AA at LHR). They seem to be very efficient. I would definitely check the bags all the way through to ORD. Otherwise you would need to clear customs at LHR, and then re-check in and go through security all over again. It would be such a hassle and wouldn't give you any more assurance. They should give you a boarding pass at at ATH for the LHR to ORD portion. You could use this to go through security at LHR in case you are leaving the airport during you're 7 hour layover.

QueenOfCoach Jan 25, 16 6:12 pm


Originally Posted by roberto99 (Post 26078438)

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?

I have flown LAX-LHR-DUS DUS-LHR-LAX every year for the past 25 years. A couple of times I've gone to CPH, BRU or AMS instead of DUS. The LAX-LHR flights have been in AA; LHR-Europe in BA.

Only once was my bag not delivered properly at baggage claim. They found it within a day and delivered it to my friend's house in Düsseldorf.

SJC AA Jan 25, 16 8:24 pm


Originally Posted by roberto99 (Post 26078438)
Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?

I've had my luggage lost twice in 10 years of flying frequently, both times at LHR on transfers. Both times I got it back the next day, once with damage.

Calchas Jan 26, 16 3:40 am


Originally Posted by SJC AA (Post 26081017)
I've had my luggage lost twice in 10 years of flying frequently, both times at LHR on transfers. Both times I got it back the next day, once with damage.

Much better ratio than me!

SJC AA Jan 26, 16 10:08 pm


Originally Posted by Calchas (Post 26082295)
Much better ratio than me!

Well, 90% of the time I don't check bags at all.

CLTRob Jan 31, 16 3:01 pm

Connecting at LHR
 
I am booked from AMS to LHR and connecting on to CLT. The schedule has changed and the layover went from over 2 hours to 15 minutes. Knowing that the 15 minutes won't work, the next best schedule will allow for a 90 minutes connection. I'll be flying BA from AMS to LHR, arriving at Terminal 5, and them departing on an AA flight from Terminal 3. Will the 90 minutes be enough time for a connection at LHR? I've flown through LHR in the past where we had a one hour wait for a gate - more than once!

surftb15 Jan 31, 16 3:11 pm

Yes thats enough time.

gmoney90 Jan 31, 16 3:12 pm

T3 > T5 / No Bags / Separate Ticket
 
So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.

Mark_T Jan 31, 16 3:18 pm

I wouldn't be so quick with the 'yes'.

90 mins is MCT for a T5-T3 transfer and yes, if all is on schedule it is just enough time, but if there is any delay at any point then no, the flight will be missed.

Exec_Plat Jan 31, 16 4:15 pm


Originally Posted by gmoney90 (Post 26111555)
So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.

Yup.

I would check into the BA flight online, either at JFK or inflight. Even if you dont have a physical boarding pass. I was late on arrival and even though made it with time to spare, technically missed the check in window by 2 minutes. (arguably NOT time to spare ;) )

QueenOfCoach Jan 31, 16 4:15 pm


Originally Posted by CLTRob (Post 26111491)
Will the 90 minutes be enough time for a connection at LHR? I've flown through LHR in the past where we had a one hour wait for a gate - more than once!

90 minutes is a bit too close for my personal comfort, however, I am the type who would much rather sit in the departure lounge with a good book than sprint through the terminal on a fast connection.

If your incoming flight is late, then you are toast.

Many people would be willing to take the risk of a 90 minute T5-T3 connection. I am not one of them.

rjw242 Jan 31, 16 4:39 pm


Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach (Post 26111884)
If your incoming flight is late, then you are toast.

"Toast" is relative, though :)

Assuming this is the 9:45am flight to CLT, there are dozens of other ways for AA to get the OP to his destination that day. Worst case, AA pays for a hotel and gets him out the next day (since this is an EU departure). Of course, if getting back on time is critical, it may be worth scheduling in more time between flights, as others have pointed out.

Calchas Jan 31, 16 6:56 pm


Originally Posted by gmoney90 (Post 26111555)
So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.

Welcome to FlyerTalk.

Yes this is the best way. Just keep following the purple signs for Flight Connections Terminal 5 and then subsequently Flight Connections UK.

Even without a boarding pass you can collect it in T5 before passport control.

remedy Jan 31, 16 7:32 pm


Originally Posted by rjw242 (Post 26111998)
"Toast" is relative, though :)

Assuming this is the 9:45am flight to CLT, there are dozens of other ways for AA to get the OP to his destination that day. Worst case, AA pays for a hotel and gets him out the next day (since this is an EU departure). Of course, if getting back on time is critical, it may be worth scheduling in more time between flights, as others have pointed out.

It helps if you have FastTrack - and flights are on time. Flight OUT of LHR are sometimes late too.

gmoney90 Jan 31, 16 7:55 pm


Originally Posted by Calchas (Post 26112549)
Welcome to FlyerTalk.

Yes this is the best way. Just keep following the purple signs for Flight Connections Terminal 5 and then subsequently Flight Connections UK.

Even without a boarding pass you can collect it in T5 before passport control.

Thanks very much. This and your previous posts were very helpful.

aktchi Feb 3, 16 11:08 am


Originally Posted by gmoney90 (Post 26111555)
I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!
...

I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!

gmoney90 Feb 4, 16 5:24 am


Originally Posted by aktchi (Post 26127302)
I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!

I really appreciate your response and will definitely consider this. Thanks!

stifle Feb 4, 16 2:02 pm


Originally Posted by aktchi (Post 26127302)
I do something similar quite often (AA to LHR , then BA to DEL) and this is indeed the best way.

The question that none of us here can answer is, would the incoming AA flight be late? Now AA and BA are partners and should protect you in case of a misconnect, but I have never faced that situation while on separate tickets and don't want it on my conscience to tell you all would be ok. (I know that AA protects misconnects from OW partners, but not sure of BA policy.)

If you have not bought the tickets yet, and it is only a matter of a few dollars more, I would recommend putting both flights on one ticket.

Otherwise, if you feel like chancing it, 3 hrs seem fine. I would at least call BA in advance and let them know I would be arriving by AA flight XYZ. Good luck!

It is not BA policy to protect misconnects if a passenger chooses to purchase separate tickets. It comes down to agent discretion.

aktchi Feb 6, 16 2:12 pm


Originally Posted by stifle (Post 26133917)
It is not BA policy to protect misconnects if a passenger chooses to purchase separate tickets. It comes down to agent discretion.

Thanks. This would definitely make it even more desirable to put the flights under one PNR.

Inqui Feb 6, 16 2:40 pm

Just to note I do this connection on a regular basis and it can be a <pain>, AA tend to give you an express pass if its tight which helps, BA haven't done so in my experience, also to note only Exec and Exec Plat are entitled to use the priority queues, not gold members. It's minimum an hours connection with priority and can be 90 mins or more without.

Also to note, stack times at LHR are variable and I have often arrived in the London area early, and landed late.

tyr Feb 7, 16 8:43 am

I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?

Calchas Feb 7, 16 8:46 am


Originally Posted by tyr (Post 26146948)
I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?

The questioning is required of US carriers flying to the US. As you say, foreign carriers flying to the US do not seem to be required to do this.

A cynic might suggest that the point of the screening is to look tough and reassuring.

aktchi Feb 7, 16 6:07 pm


Originally Posted by tyr (Post 26146948)
I transferred from a domestic BA flight arriving in T5 to an AA flight to LAX departing T3 yesterday. Prior to security in T3 I was directed to the AA transfer desks to get an AA boarding pass.

I was expecting the usual 'how long have you owned these bags' style questions, but instead was asked about who my employer was, where their HQ is, what the CEO's name was etc etc. I was even asked who I was hiring a car with in LAX. Basically much more intensive questioning than I've ever got at the US boarder. Is this normal now? I was quite taken aback by volume and detail of the questions, especially since there was no prior warning that there was going to be so many.

What is the point of this screening anyway, if you take a BA flight they don't ask you anything like this?

That's an "AA thing" at LHR. They don't do this at other US or even foreign airports like HKG or NRT.

AA's LHR ops live in their own world. After you have done the real LHR security, you encounter a ring of AA-hired "security" to ask such questions. Then the actual check in agent. If you are going to the lounge, there may be an extra security person to deal with before approaching the reception desk..and then the lounge receptionist can also start on who were you visiting in London, where do you work, where do you live etc.

All of this has happened to me. And I have never seen this anywhere else.

UpInTheAir Feb 7, 16 7:48 pm

70 minutes to connect from BA to AA at LHR T3?
 
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.

sturges Feb 7, 16 8:26 pm

Where is your BA flight coming from?

LHR can take ages to connect at. I just did a T5-T5 Schengen-USA connection and it took ~65 minutes.

LukasVIE Feb 7, 16 8:28 pm

You should be OK if the flights are on time. AFAIK British Airways uses bus-gates at T3 for shorthaul flights and proper gates for longhaul flights.

ws8n Feb 7, 16 8:47 pm

AA closes gates early sometimes, so be prepared to be at gate no later than 20 mins before departure.
U need to take into account clearing security at T3. It will be a tight one.

Ready2Go Feb 7, 16 9:06 pm


Originally Posted by UpInTheAir (Post 26149429)
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.

Gate information won't really help you that much, because it's not like a domestic connection; you won't be going straight from gate to gate. You'll have to go all the way to the main part of the terminal, clear security, then go through the Flight Connections center and back out to your departing gate. Even if your arrival and departure gates are right next to one another, you still have to do that.

Carteeb Feb 7, 16 9:34 pm

IMHO T3 security is much better and faster than the nightmare that is T5. However I never leave less than 90 minutes between connections at the same terminal, even if I assume my flights will be on time. That's cutting it close. When is the next flight? Good to have in your pocket just in case

zebranz Feb 7, 16 9:40 pm

Even on time can be tight. Just did MXP-LHR-DFW (biz so first off BA). Plane late, bus to Terminal, then got a wasted "Express Connections" paper. Bus to Term for AA flight. Then over enthusiastic security people asking 10 questions, then AA counter for new BP and verify baggage tag, then security (and Express Connections did nothing). 1 lane for Fast Track and 1 for everyone else. Had multiple people on AA flight. About 30 people and moving slowly. Finally they let us cut ahead of about 7 people who were not happy. Ran to gate and we were last ones on. 90 minutes is what you should have.
You really can't make it faster than it happens to be that day. Good luck.


==sorry misread- Mine was Terminal 5 to Terminal 3

brp Feb 7, 16 9:47 pm


Originally Posted by zebranz (Post 26149772)
...bus to Terminal...

With a T3->T3 connection there are no buses. 70 minutes should be more than sufficient especially as the entry point has now been moved to be closer to the gates.

T5<->T3 has been about 35-55 minutes for us. Same terminal is more like 30 minutes, generally.

Cheers.

anc305 Feb 7, 16 10:01 pm

I agree with brp. 70 min for a T3-T3 is not that bad. I've done it several times. Just make sure your carry on luggage is good to go. I've been pulled aside for the mouth wash in an amenity kit I received on the plane. I had not opened the kit and put it in one of my bags. Took an extra 15 minutes to get thru security. Little things like that can make a big difference if time is tight due to your inbound being a little late.

nk15 Feb 7, 16 10:32 pm


Originally Posted by anc305 (Post 26149827)
I agree with brp. 70 min for a T3-T3 is not that bad. I've done it several times. Just make sure your carry on luggage is good to go. I've been pulled aside for the mouth wash in an amenity kit I received on the plane. I had not opened the kit and put it in one of my bags. Took an extra 15 minutes to get thru security. Little things like that can make a big difference if time is tight due to your inbound being a little late.

The LHR security is so maddening dumb you have to really compose yourself going through it. Your carry on has to be COMPLETELY empty of any kind of liquid, gel, crème, paste, anything, even a small drop of something will be picked up by the machine and it will kick your bag into secondary inspection. When that happens, you will join a long line of other unfortunates, who will have the carryon belongings opened, and every single item taken out and inspected in front of the group of said unfortunates. Every single item in your bag will be paraded in front of everyone. I had once left in my bag a miniscule quantity of a hair wax product, no bigger than the size of a fingernail. The scanner picked it up, the charade ensued, and the security guy proceeded to scan the fingernail quantity of hair wax for explosives on another machine. A fingernail quantity. I kid you not. Total wasted time about 20-25 minutes. People caught up in this often beg the other unfortunates to cut in front of them so they won't miss their flight. This airport is something else.

Markie Feb 7, 16 11:36 pm


Originally Posted by nk15 (Post 26149903)
The LHR security is so maddening dumb you have to really compose yourself going through it. Your carry on has to be COMPLETELY empty of any kind of liquid, gel, crème, paste, anything, even a small drop of something will be picked up by the machine and it will kick your bag into secondary inspection. When that happens, you will join a long line of other unfortunates, who will have the carryon belongings opened, and every single item taken out and inspected in front of the group of said unfortunates. Every single item in your bag will be paraded in front of everyone. I had once left in my bag a miniscule quantity of a hair wax product, no bigger than the size of a fingernail. The scanner picked it up, the charade ensued, and the security guy proceeded to scan the fingernail quantity of hair wax for explosives on another machine. A fingernail quantity. I kid you not. Total wasted time about 20-25 minutes. People caught up in this often beg the other unfortunates to cut in front of them so they won't miss their flight. This airport is something else.

This also happens if you have too many cables in your luggage so that the person cannot see what is there properly.


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