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LHR transfer security procedures

LHR transfer security procedures

Old May 26, 11, 10:49 am
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LHR transfer security procedures

Can someone who has experienced it recently describe for me the security, customs, and passport procedures that one goes through and the distances one walks to transit LHR between the US and a continental European country (EU) within terminal 1 both ways. In particular, SFO/LHR/LIS and the reverse with TAP United code-shares as the connections. I am trying to figure out how much connecting time to allow.

Thx.
mdspadeccom is offline  
Old May 26, 11, 11:00 am
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Security check upon entering Flight Connections, and then you are deposited into the departures area of T1 again. No immigration or customs in the UK, both happen when you arrive in LIS.

Depending on the time of day the security line can be quite long - I would allow 90 minutes between the flights and you should make it comfortably. If it's booked together as a codeshare you'll be protected on a later flight in the event of any delays without issues.
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Old May 26, 11, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Security check upon entering Flight Connections, and then you are deposited into the departures area of T1 again. No immigration or customs in the UK, both happen when you arrive in LIS.

Depending on the time of day the security line can be quite long - I would allow 90 minutes between the flights and you should make it comfortably. If it's booked together as a codeshare you'll be protected on a later flight in the event of any delays without issues.
90 minutes seems very generous to me, but as a UK citizen I go through the immigration line very quickly and I've never arrived at a time when security was busy. I've gone from arrival to departure lounge in 15 minutes before (10 minutes of that is walking to immigration from the plane).

I think the key issue is one of whether they are separate tickets or not - and whether you have lounge access at LHR while you are waiting.
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Old May 26, 11, 11:55 am
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The last time I did this in January I got off the plane at 6:38 am and was through security and at the *A lounge by 6:51 am.

In the past I have clocked similar times (at roughly the same time of day) even when connecting to DUB (meaning I had to do immigration as well).

I do walk fairly quickly, but it really is pretty seamless. Of course if the security line can be ugly that would change the equation...
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Old May 26, 11, 11:57 am
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Are the above comments correct for both directions of transit?

Thanks,
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Old May 26, 11, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by mdspadeccom View Post
Are the above comments correct for both directions of transit?

Thanks,
Yes, they are. At LHR (unlike in the US!) when you transfer from a US-origin flight to a flight to Continental Europe, you will never enter the UK, so you will never have to clear either Immigration or Customs. The same will be true when returning from Europe to the US.

This is even true if you have two different tickets: after following the signs to "Flight Connections" and clearing security, you are deposited into a customer service lobby, with desks for all the airlines flying from Terminal 1. So even if you need to get your ongoing boarding pass, you don't need to enter the UK. The only exception would be, if you are on two different airlines which don't have an interline baggage agreement: then you would have to check your bags to LHR and clear Immigration to pick them up and check them back in.

By the way, the biggest variable really is the time of day. At certain times, you can clear Security in the Fligh Connections Center in 5 minutes. At other times...well, I have waited about 40 minutes at the most, but I know others have seen it even worse...
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Old May 26, 11, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Security check upon entering Flight Connections, and then you are deposited into the departures area of T1 again. No immigration or customs in the UK, both happen when you arrive in LIS.

Depending on the time of day the security line can be quite long - I would allow 90 minutes between the flights and you should make it comfortably. If it's booked together as a codeshare you'll be protected on a later flight in the event of any delays without issues.
Not quite correct. There is a passport check in the flight connections centre. No customs. But you do need to show your passport.
Also lots of good information in this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...light=heathrow

Last edited by UAPremExecflyer; May 26, 11 at 12:53 pm Reason: added thread link
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Old May 26, 11, 1:08 pm
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On the return trip to the US, you may need to stop by the UA service desk just outside of the *A lounge. They will do the passport check there, and probably hand you new BPs on UA stock.

The *A flight transfers in LHR are much better today since most of the *A carriers are in T1 now, and that BA has moved out of T1 to T5. A few years ago, I almost missed my connecting flight to VIE despite having a 3 hour window between flights due to the long security check queue. I would be very comfortable with a 90 minute window today, mostly to account for possible landing hold delays into the airport rather than security line wait.
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Old May 26, 11, 1:36 pm
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You can never tell with LHR. A few years ago, I had to clear immigration at T1 and re-check in for a flight on a different itinerary. Total time from deplaning, immigration, bag check-in, and security was 20 minutes. Would I assume I can do that again? Not a chance.

My advice to the OP is leave a comfortable amount of time. OP appears to be 1K (*G) so enjoy the BMI lounge. It's pretty good.
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Old May 26, 11, 11:03 pm
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Originally Posted by UAPremExecflyer View Post
Not quite correct. There is a passport check in the flight connections centre. No customs. But you do need to show your passport.
Also lots of good information in this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...light=heathrow
star_wonder is correct about not clearing immigration, since the "passport check" you describe is conducted by the airlines or security contractors and not by the UKBA. It is a cursory "Yeah, you've got a passport that's valid, so we won't get stuck sending you back after being denied entry to the US for lack of a valid passport." check, not an actual passport control with entry stamp conducted by the UKBA. These passport check things generally don't add any measurable time. However, UKBA can easily add an hour if you arrive at the wrong time. (And I've done that twice in the month of May so far).
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Old Sep 18, 11, 3:36 pm
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I know this thread is a bit old... not ancient, though, so can anyone elaborate on the SFO-LHR-LIS route and when would be the bad times to be going through LHR? I'd like to book the connection to LIS with a 2 hour window (11:35 a.m.- 1:30 p.m) if possible. Does day of week matter? Separate tickets because the difference per person appears to be in almost 4K on .bomb (ridiculous)...hopefully will be more reasonable if I call...

Thanks in advance for any info...
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Old Sep 19, 11, 1:25 am
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Originally Posted by sfkittee View Post
I know this thread is a bit old... not ancient, though, so can anyone elaborate on the SFO-LHR-LIS route and when would be the bad times to be going through LHR? I'd like to book the connection to LIS with a 2 hour window (11:35 a.m.- 1:30 p.m) if possible. Does day of week matter? Separate tickets because the difference per person appears to be in almost 4K on .bomb (ridiculous)...hopefully will be more reasonable if I call...

Thanks in advance for any info...
Which carriers? Can't advise unless we know if there's a terminal change involved.
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Old Sep 19, 11, 1:30 am
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I'm assuming the ".bomb" reference means it's a UA-TP connection, so entirely within T1.

Weekday lunchtime is generally very quiet - weekends a little busier. It also means fewer staff, but I used to love flying BD from T1 around that time of day, it was so relaxing!
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Old Sep 19, 11, 11:26 am
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Yes, UA-TP so T1. Wouldn't do a terminal change at LHR with a 2 hour window if someone paid me for the displeasure!

Thanks for the info, stut. It's the Friday after Thanksgiving, so weekday with a possible twist... though I assume most Traveling Turkeys will be in flight earlier in the week, as I usually am.
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Old Sep 19, 11, 11:32 am
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You should be fine. You're not quite at "consultant hour" on Friday, and most of the traffic at T1 is intra-European anyway.
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