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Connecting T3-T5 at LHR and lounge access at T3

Connecting T3-T5 at LHR and lounge access at T3

Old Mar 18, 23, 2:50 am
  #1  
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Connecting T3-T5 at LHR and lounge access at T3

Hi,

I did my search and could not find any definite answers so hoping someone can help here.

I will be connecting from AA arriving into T3 to a BA flight departing from T5. I would love to use some of the nice lounges at T3 so was wondering if:
1. I could get into the departure hall of T3, after arriving there on AA and holding a boarding pass for a BA flight from T5? Would I need to take the connections route?
2. Cathay and Qantas lounges would accept my T5 boarding pass (I am a BA silver).

Also - assuming the above is possible - can I take the airside bus to T5 once I exit the lounges into the departure hall of T3?

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old Mar 18, 23, 3:00 am
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Have a look at these threads (there are several more):

Transiting in and out of Heathrow at T5 - but can I use a lounge in T3? - FlyerTalk Forums
T3 Access with T5 boarding pass - FlyerTalk Forums

Snap verdict: 1) yes you can access t3 lounges with a bp from t5, 2) but it creates a big mess for the reasons discussed in those threads, and is frankly not recommended given t5 lounges are fine.
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Old Mar 18, 23, 3:04 am
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Unless your connection is 4/5 hours there’s just no way I’d bother with the faff listed in the above threads. The lounges at T3 are fine, they get over pumped by some folk, but they’re just fine. I’d leisurely head to T5 use the lounges there and head on you way.

How long is your connection?

Last edited by mikeyfly; Mar 18, 23 at 3:15 am
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Old Mar 18, 23, 6:17 am
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Thanks for prompt responses and pointing me to the old threads. They talk about people willing to go T5-T3 and then back o T5.

My situation is different though as I will be arriving into T3 on AA (and will have a 4+ hours connection, BTW). I would like to stay at T3 but need to know if I can get into the departures hall being in the arrivals flow (do I go through flight connections)? And I then how do I get onto the airside transit bus to T5 from the departure hall?

I guess my BP should not be flagged as not ready to fly as I will use it to clear transit security at T5 once I have transferred there. Or am I wrong in this assumption and I should fix it somehow?
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Old Mar 18, 23, 6:43 am
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When you get to T3, follow signs for T3 flight connections. Then go through security and youre in the departures hall. The rest of the procedure is the same for getting to T5. Maybe someone else knows but Im not sure if going through T3 security marks you as ready to fly. But allow yourself plenty of extra time just in case theres any fannying around with your boarding pass required when you get to T5.

Its a lot of hassle and requires 2 trips through security and falls apart if you have a late arrival. Maybe a less complex idea would be to the AA arrivals lounge in T3 for breakfast and a shower before heading to T5.
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Old Mar 18, 23, 7:02 am
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Thank you, RichieMc. Much appreciated.
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Old Mar 18, 23, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by RichieMc View Post
It’s a lot of hassle and requires 2 trips through security and falls apart if you have a late arrival. Maybe a less complex idea would be to the AA arrivals lounge in T3 for breakfast and a shower before heading to T5.
I would opt for this for a layover of at least 4 hours?

Also, if arriving in the morning, CX F may be worth visiting for the sit down restaurant breakfast, but all of the others serve more or less traditional English breakfast fare. In my view, the T3 lounges would only be a consideration for the afternoons when the QF sit down dining room is open, Amex CL has their post-breakfast offerings, and assuming if and when AA's dining ever takes off.

Finally, as one who had made the T5 - T3 transfer several times, while I find it manageable, I'm not doing it again if it can be avoided.

PS - Oh, had forgotten to mention, the QF lounge here has like the best scrambled eggs I've ever had!

Last edited by Visconti; Mar 18, 23 at 7:12 am Reason: added PS...
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Old Mar 18, 23, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by chreesbed View Post
Thanks for prompt responses and pointing me to the old threads. They talk about people willing to go T5-T3 and then back o T5.

My situation is different though as I will be arriving into T3 on AA (and will have a 4+ hours connection, BTW). I would like to stay at T3 but need to know if I can get into the departures hall being in the arrivals flow (do I go through flight connections)? And I then how do I get onto the airside transit bus to T5 from the departure hall?

I guess my BP should not be flagged as not ready to fly as I will use it to clear transit security at T5 once I have transferred there. Or am I wrong in this assumption and I should fix it somehow?
The existing threads include the situations of people connecting from T3 or from T5 into T5 (also plenty of examples in the main threads on connecting at T5, etc). Those who depart from London T5 (rather than connect) can only use T3 for lounge use by manufacturing a "fake" connection - ie go to departures at T5, then exit back to flight connections as though they were arriving by walking through the tunnels and then heading to flight connection at T4 (it is only when you connect that you can).

As long as you are connecting, it makes no difference whether your first flight arrives at T2, T4, T5 or T3 - the only difference is that in your case you don't need a bus to get to T3 since you are already there. Everything else is as described in those threads: flight connections upon arrival, security check at t3 explaining you are just going there to use a lounge, then return to the arrival circuit to use the airside connection to T5, which is recommended at least 2 hours before your next flight as buses and flight connection security can be busy, reclear security a second time, and arrive into the T5 departure circuit. Use the links to the "connecting at T5" threads which are given in the two threads I linked above for more details.

As I summarised in post 2, perfectly possible, certainly not recommended as it is much hassle and wasted time for nothing whilst T5 lounges should be perfectly pleasant and you will have a lot more time to relax in them if you don't have to plan your bus back T5 with riskier timings, reclear flight connection security a second time, etc..
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Old Mar 18, 23, 7:22 am
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Originally Posted by chreesbed View Post
I guess my BP should not be flagged as not ready to fly as I will use it to clear transit security at T5 once I have transferred there. Or am I wrong in this assumption and I should fix it somehow?
You won't have an issue with Ready to Fly, since that's only once you get to T5. The problems there relate to people leaving T5 and then returning, but that doesn't apply to you.

You can go via Flight Connections T3 to get to the T3 lounges, however there is a security check and before that your boarding pass won't scan properly. You can then tell the security agent that you wish to use the T3 lounges - this is permitted but some agents will simply assume you have misunderstood LHR's layout and send you to T5. Other agents won't be impressed that you are going through security twice unnecessarily when staff are fully stretched. Assuming you get through this you can go to the lounges, then allowing perhaps 2 hours you go to T5 via Flight Connections again - there are signs in the vicinity of the AA lounge. That's a bus and then another security scan. Add that all up together and it's a lot of flapping around, so you are frankly better off going to T5 directly, though using the AA Arrivals lounge (which is landside) is a good idea too.

It's much better to save this T3 experience for a future visit when actually departing from T3. Good though the lounges are in T3 it isn't a life changing experience.
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Old Mar 18, 23, 7:37 am
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Everyone - thank you very much for your advice. Now I have all the datapoints. My trip is in June only so will decide closer to the date.
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Old Mar 18, 23, 8:20 am
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This is just personal opinion but I have been to all the T3 and T5 lounges and I would not try to go airside in T3 in your situation. It depends on your priorities obviously, but if I'm connecting AA T3-> BA T5 with 4+ hours but not enough time to go into the city, I would likely go landside to the AA arrivals lounge (which is much less hectic and easier to get a shower than the airside lounges in T5), shower, eat, and then transfer to T5 landside, and spend any remaining time in the T5 lounge. I would be willing to do this (rather than going through flight connections, which is slightly simpler) because I put a high priority on showering when coming off a TATL flight.

I would not voluntarily go through security (which is an almost uniformly unpleasant experience at LHR) twice just to access the CX lounge, particularly first thing in the morning where my main priority is showering and getting a basic breakfast. Two trips through security plus the terminal transfer, all the walking, and leaving enough time to get to the gate for your onward flight, could easily eat up the majority of your connection time.
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