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Minimum Connection Transfer Time at London Heathrow (LHR): The Definitive Thread

Minimum Connection Transfer Time at London Heathrow (LHR): The Definitive Thread

Old Jan 24, 08, 7:48 pm
  #1  
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Minimum Connection Transfer Time at London Heathrow (LHR): The Definitive Thread

Folks:
This is obviously a new issue for those of us who fly DL mostly, as Heathrow is a new destination for DL. I just scored two Skysaver tickets today to London/Heathrow (YES, it still can be done), and plan to connect on a BA flight to the south of France. As a DL captive, almost all of my prior flights to London have been via LGW, so I'm not really familiar with the connection times, and challenges, at LHR.
My itinerary has my wife and me landing in LHR at 9:00 a.m in late September, on a flight out of JFK. We have two choices for a connecting flight on BA to NCE: one leaving an hour and 40 minutes after our scheduled landing at LHR, and another one leaving 2 and a half hours after landing.
My conservative instincts tell me I should book the later connection flight, but I would welcome everyone's input. I am particularly interested in any information concerning where, in Heathrow, the DL flights from JFK and ATL are anticipated to park, and the proximity of those gates to the intra-European BA flights.
Thanks to all.
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Old Jan 24, 08, 10:38 pm
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I don't know where at LHR the incoming DL flights will end up, but the chances of it being at one of the BA terminals is virtually nil. Two hours is the absolute minimum I would allow for connecting to another airline, and in some cases that might not be enough. There are some threads on the AA forum with a lot of helpful, detailed information on the subject. If you can do carry-on luggage only, you should, because BA not only has issues with getting bags from other airlines on time, but they have one of the worst records in the business for losing them once they have them. Good luck!
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Old Jan 25, 08, 12:17 am
  #3  
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This sounds like two completely seperate intineraries. My question is, will you have your boarding passes for your connecting intinerary before you land at LHR? Or will you have to get them after you land? I would suggest the longest connection you can find (obviously within reason).

From BA's website: "You need to be at your departure gate at least 40 minutes before departure time"
http://www.britishairways.com/travel...r/public/en_gb
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Old Jan 25, 08, 10:01 am
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I would, without hesitation, take the longer connection time. Everything at LHR takes longer.
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Old Jan 25, 08, 10:58 am
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Concur with most that you should take the later BA connection. DL will initially go to LHR Terminal 3 (from what I've heard so far - though eventually all of SkyTeam is supposed to be in T4) and BA flights will leave from either Terminal 1 or 4 or 5 (depending on when you're going, BA flights are being moved around Terminals in stages) which means you will most likely have to take a rickety bus to the FCC (Flight Connection Center) if your BA flight leaves from T1 - a centralized connecting-passenger-processing facility (which will include UK security though 2 carry-ons are now allowed at LHR). After security there, you will be able to get your BA boarding passes (essentially check-in for your BA flight then - DL will not be able to do any check-in for BA except check your bags through).

If BA leaves from T4, there is a separate bus from T3 to T4 bypassing the FCC.
If BA leaves from T5, I have no clue how that will be done...
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Old Jan 25, 08, 11:26 am
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Here are the published MCTs for LHR:

Code:
LHR-LHR      FROM      -             TO         D/D D/I I/D I/I                 
CC FLTN-FLTR ORGN EQPTM-CC FLTN-FLTR DEST EQPTM HMM HMM HMM HMM                 
                      1-                     TN 130 130 130 130                 
                      2-                     TN 130 130 130 130                 
                      3-                     TN 130 130 130 130                 
                      4-                     TN 130 130 130 130                 
                     TN-                      1 130 130 130 130                 
                      1-                      1 045 045 045 045                 
                      2-                      1 115 115 115 115                 
                      3-                      1 115 115 115 115                 
                      4-                      1 100 100 115 100                 
                      5-                      1 200 200 200 200                 
                     TN-                      2 130 130 130 130                 
                      1-                      2 115 110 115 115                 
                      2-                      2 --- --- --- 100                 
                      3-                      2 --- 115 115 115                 
                      4-                      2 130 130 130 130                 
                      5-                      2 200 200 200 200                 
                     TN-                      3 130 130 130 130                 
                      1-                      3 115 115 115 115                 
                      2-                      3 --- 115 115 115                 
                      3-                      3 100 100 100 100                 
                      4-                      3 130 130 130 130                 
                      5-                      3 200 200 200 200                 
                     TN-                      4 130 130 130 130                 
                      1-                      4 130 100 100 100                 
                      2-                      4 130 130 130 130                 
                      3-                      4 130 130 130 130                 
                      4-                      4 130 045 045 045                 
                      5-                      4 200 200 200 200                 
                      1-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      2-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      3-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      4-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      2-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      3-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      4-                      5 200 200 200 200                 
                      5-                      5 100 100 100 100                 
             IE       1-                      4 --- --- 115 115                 
             ACI      1-                      4 --- --- 115 115                 
             GCI      1-                      4 --- --- 115 115                 
             JER      1-                      4 --- --- 115 115
However, with regards to the OP, since those are two seperate tickets on two spereate reservations, I strongly recommend not to cut it to close since BA will very likely charge a walk-up fare if the ticketed flight would be missed...
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Old Jan 25, 08, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
Concur with most that you should take the later BA connection. DL will initially go to LHR Terminal 3 (from what I've heard so far - though eventually all of SkyTeam is supposed to be in T4) and BA flights will leave from either Terminal 1 or 4 or 5 (depending on when you're going, BA flights are being moved around Terminals in stages) which means you will most likely have to take a rickety bus to the FCC (Flight Connection Center) if your BA flight leaves from T1 - a centralized connecting-passenger-processing facility (which will include UK security though 2 carry-ons are now allowed at LHR). After security there, you will be able to get your BA boarding passes (essentially check-in for your BA flight then - DL will not be able to do any check-in for BA except check your bags through).

If BA leaves from T4, there is a separate bus from T3 to T4 bypassing the FCC.
If BA leaves from T5, I have no clue how that will be done...
Unless I am mistaken, BA flights to NCE, operated by 757s, are expected to move to T3 sometime in September, so this could make things easier for the OP. Nevertheless, I usually plan at least 2, or better 3 hours for connections in LHR, to take care of any problems. I would hate to have just 1h40, even for a T4/T4 connection.
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Old May 27, 09, 3:10 pm
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Connection time from DL-LX in LHR

I am planning on flying from JFK-LHR on DL in Business and then connecting on to a Swiss Flight to Zurich. I think DL flights arrive terminal 4, and LX (Swiss) leaves from terminal 1.

I think I need to claim bags, and recheck.
I think I need to clear customs.

Any ideas of how long this will take? I am not familiar with Heathrow airport, and have heard horror stories. If I book the Swiss flight I want, I will only have a two hour layover.

Thanks for the help!
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Old May 27, 09, 3:26 pm
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A few thoughts:

1) Swiss flies from Terminal 2. Not the nicest terminal - you don't want to spend a lot of time there. DL does indeed arrive at Terminal 4.

2) I would be surprised if you can't just check your bags all the way through. Simply bring a copy of your itinerary, show it to the agent at check-in, and ask if you can check your bags through to Zurich. I've done this numerous times, with multiple airlines. BA is the only major legacy carrier that I have read about that will often refuse.

3) If DL will check your bags through, then you don't need to collect your bags. Follow the "Flight Connections" signs to change terminals without going through customs or immigration. You can use the connecting lanes without an onward boarding pass, there will be desks at the other end where you can pick up the pass.

4) In the unlikely event that DL won't connect your bags, then you will need to clear passport control (make sure to fill out the landing card), collect your luggage, clear customs, and make your way to the train station. At the train station, take the Heathrow Connect to the Terminal 1,2,3 stop. Bring your walking shoes, as the walk from the Terminal 1,2,3 stop to Terminal 2 is loooong.

Assuming that DL will check your bags through, 2 hours should be enough time (though 2.5 would make me feel safer). If they won't, then it will be tight, and might not be doable if the lines at immigration are long. To that end, does anyone know if you get a Fast Track pass when flying BE?
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Old May 27, 09, 4:03 pm
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Thanks for the reply. I called SMS and unfortunately they told me that they do not have a luggage transfer agreement with Swiss. They did seem surprised though. Anyone know if it's true?

As a platinum in BE, will I be able to fast track the immigration?

Realistically, does 2 hours seem doable if I cannot check the luggage all the way through?
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Old May 27, 09, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinglots View Post
As a platinum in BE, will I be able to fast track the immigration?

Realistically, does 2 hours seem doable if I cannot check the luggage all the way through?
Hopefully someone can weigh in about fast track. I've never flown DL into or out of LHR, so I just don't know.

Personally, I don't think 2 hours will be enough time if you can't check the bags through. I mean, if everything breaks just right (no lines, bags waiting, Heathrow Connect pulling away as you board) then it could work, but if the Heathrow Connect pulls away just before you get there, for instance, I think you are looking at a 15 minute wait for the next one. Assume even a 5 minute wait at each of immigration, baggage claim, security, and LX check-in, and I think you get an idea of how the time will start ticking away. And don't forget the walks can be long. Just too much can go wrong, IMO.

Any chance of getting on a slightly later LX flight? Don't they have one basically every hour?

Enjoy Switzerland.
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Old May 27, 09, 4:39 pm
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Can you take the 10pm DL 757 straight into Zurich?
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Old May 27, 09, 4:58 pm
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Even though I fly through London quite a bit, I try to use LCY as to prevent this situation entirely. But, I would leave at least 3-4 hours as you have to take the Connect back from T4 to T1,2,3 which leaves every 20 minutes or so. Or you could take the Picadilly Line, but that wait is generally longer about 30-40 minutes wait.
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Old May 27, 09, 6:25 pm
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The nonstop is not an option unfortunately, because I'm flying in December and it only runs in the summer.

I am not locked into Swiss for the flight to ZRH but I would like nonstop which leaves them or BA. Ironically they both leave at the same time.

How long to other airports? I'm trying to get to ZRH as early as possible.
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Old May 27, 09, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinglots View Post
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The nonstop is not an option unfortunately, because I'm flying in December and it only runs in the summer.

I am not locked into Swiss for the flight to ZRH but I would like nonstop which leaves them or BA. Ironically they both leave at the same time.

How long to other airports? I'm trying to get to ZRH as early as possible.
Given the time-frame, then your options may be relatively limited. What about going via AMS or CDG on AF or KL - AMS would get my vote? Or are you trying to use PMU's, which wouldn't work to either destination? If you have to be on DL for the over water segment, I struggle to think of many better options, given that you can't interline with LX.
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