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BA connecting flights at Heathrow T5: never again

BA connecting flights at Heathrow T5: never again

Old Jul 1, 13, 2:53 pm
  #1  
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BA connecting flights at Heathrow T5: never again

How bad can an airport be? What a disaster to connect at Heathrow T5.

We connected AMS to JFK at LHR two weeks ago and YYC to AMS at LHR today.
On both days, queues for security at T5 were ridiculously long. There was absolutely no information / queue management so people with longer connections were in the same line as people with very short connections. Only those passengers who know LHR well moved to the fast track which quickly became another slow track as more and more passengers were afraid that they were going to miss their flight. Within fast track, people were trying to create a faster track ("My flight is leaving in 10 minutes!")

On the outbound. we barely made our flight with a 1:10 actual time at the terminal, and with me being pro-active and jumping the queue and talking ourselves into fast track. We had to run to catch the JFK flight. Of course our bag didn't make it.

How can Heathrow / BA get it so wrong?

Wasn't T5 supposed to improve Heathrow's terrible image? Well, they failed miserably.

Advice to all: avoid connecting at LHR T5 at all costs! I have never seen a worse big airport in a developed country.

Last edited by Sjoerd; Jul 2, 13 at 4:22 am
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:01 pm
  #2  
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You started at a nice airport like AMS then expected Heathrow to make your journey better? Bad mistake There's very few airports in Europe that are a pleasure to transit like AMS. Just a pity what the French did to Flying Dutchman or I'd probably be flying KLM to this day! Fortunately T5 domestic to international connections are painless so BA T5 is still an excellent option for me if I'm starting from MAN or NCL.

Remember security is the responsibility of the entity formerly known as BAA (Heathrow Airport Holdings). BA have no control over this aspect.

Today, as I was starting at Heathrow this time, security was pretty bad. Most of the time I've been lucky at Heathrow and would rate it higher than the likes of FRA and CDG. Although, you being based at AMS would at least not have to go through security at FRA or CDG being in Schengen.

Only thing you can do to improve this is send feedback to Heathrow tell them how you were almost in tears at the thought of not having time to spend a couple of thousand in their beautiful shops.

You'd think it's in Heathrow's interest to get people through quickly as shopping seems to be the major revenue source for the airport.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:04 pm
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BA uses HAL to punish those who take advantage of those cheap AMS TATL CW fares
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:26 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Sjoerd View Post
...<snip 1 > One both days, queues for security at T5 were ridiculously long......

.....<snip 2 >.......On the outbound. we barely made our flight with a 1:10 actual time at the terminal.....<snip>......,
First of all sorry to hear of your experiences however

Snip 1: It is the start of the holiday season for many around the globe so that is to be expected and

Snip 2: Unfortunately with a 70 minute connection time then that is a bit tight. For future reference I would leave at least a minimum of at least 2 hours personally when transiting at LHR from elsewhere.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
Only thing you can do to improve this is send feedback to Heathrow tell them how you were almost in tears at the thought of not having time to spend a couple of thousand in their beautiful shops.

You'd think it's in Heathrow's interest to get people through quickly as shopping seems to be the major revenue source for the airport.
An excellent argument, and one it would be worth repeating to the airport; a happy flyer is a happy customer.

To the OP; please do complain. If they don't attract connecting passengers it will have a direct impact on their bottom line. Connecting (non-captive) passengers are probably the most important passengers/customers for them because they are the ones who could choose the which airport to connect through.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by PETER01 View Post
For future reference I would leave at least a minimum of at least 2 hours personally when transiting at LHR from elsewhere.
Really? The minimum connection time is 60 minutes within T5, why would you suggest 2 hours? Just for comfort/lounge time?
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by NeverFirst View Post
Really? The minimum connection time is 60 minutes within T5, why would you suggest 2 hours? Just for comfort/lounge time?
Totally agree after 40+ years of connecting at LHR. 2 hours is the absolute minimum I would build into an LHR connection. Especially if you are checking bags.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by NeverFirst View Post
Originally Posted by PETER01 View Post
For future reference I would leave at least a minimum of at least 2 hours personally when transiting at LHR from elsewhere.
Really? The minimum connection time is 60 minutes within T5, why would you suggest 2 hours? Just for comfort/lounge time?
The clue is in the term minimum connection time, if it is a minimum of one hour best to give it two or three hours to be safe. I did a ninety minute connection once, I made it ok but not my luggage. I would suggest that BA should change the MCT to two or even three hours. It can never do any harm getting there early.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:46 pm
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Dumb question but if recommending 2 hours to connect isn't it easier to go out to landslide and back in again?

I've never connected in the UK and so not sure if that's possible. It does however make me glad of the speed in connecting in Oslo.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by yawa View Post
Dumb question but if recommending 2 hours to connect isn't it easier to go out to landslide and back in again?

I've never connected in the UK and so not sure if that's possible. It does however make me glad of the speed in connecting in Oslo.
Yes it can be quicker provided you have right of entry to the UK.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by yawa View Post
Dumb question but if recommending 2 hours to connect isn't it easier to go out to landslide and back in again?

I've never connected in the UK and so not sure if that's possible. It does however make me glad of the speed in connecting in Oslo.
With an EU passport I take that option most of the time
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by NeverFirst View Post
Really? The minimum connection time is 60 minutes within T5, why would you suggest 2 hours? Just for comfort/lounge time?
I know it's 60 minutes and of course very doable but you then have the worry (well I do) of any delays and queues to potentially account for. Personally I usually leave about 3 hours to allow for any delays, make sure my bags connect, can browse about the shops and use the lounges, plane watch and not rush but I appreciate not everyone has that luxury when connecting.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:53 pm
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I always think of minimum connect times as the time it would take an Olympic champion sprinter to make the connection. In other words, I always start with the MCT and add time to it to determine my comfort zone. How much time would depend on personal experience and comfort with a terminal. And things like do I have checked bags, if traveling with others are they able to move fast, etc. Would I necessarily double the amount of time required? Not usually, but sometimes it definitely makes sense to book well above the MCT.

As to worse terminals than T5, I personally nominate CDG as worse for connections.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:56 pm
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At least you made your connections which was the main thing.

I do agree that passengers at most airports are treated like cattle. The price one pays for keeping fares down no doubt.
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Old Jul 1, 13, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
I always think of minimum connect times as the time it would take an Olympic champion sprinter to make the connection.
Plus factor in that there aren't many Usain Bolt types handling your connecting checked bags or operating jetbridges @ T5
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