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Early Departure at Heathrow T2

Early Departure at Heathrow T2

Old Jul 12, 2016, 8:09 am
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Early Departure at Heathrow T2

I have a Lufthansa flight tomorrow morning, departing at 6:30am from T2 in LHR. I'm currently staying near Paddington station and came over on the Express, however it appears that the first Express back doesn't leave until after 5:00am. This would get me into the station at 5:15 and likely not back into the terminal until close to 5:30 which seems incredibly risky. There is a 4:42 train that arrives at 5:04 which is a bit better, but still only 75-80 minutes before flight time.

Do I have to clear passport control outbound (US passport)? How much time can I expect in queues at that time of morning in T2? I have one bag to check, but I'm Star Alliance gold, so check-in shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 12, 2016, 8:28 am
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thenateo, welcome to FT.

The first Heathrow Express actually doesn't leave until 5.10am, arriving at T1/2/3 at 5.26am. You should probably allow 10 minutes to reach the check-in desks from there, although it should be a little less.

Whilst there are no outgoing passport checks from the UK, I would still be nervous about only arriving at the terminal with less than an hour to spare - it's just enough time, particularly with the Star Alliance Fast Track security (where you may need to manually show your Gold card - the machines will not accept a non-J boarding pass, even though the Heathrow Airport staff always make you try) - but not really sufficient to be comfortable. If anything goes wrong, you'll be more than sweating.

Fortunately, LH usually leaves from T5A where their lounge is, so at least you're spared the 10 minutes across to B terminal.

I would personally take the 4.42 train. Note that it's a Heathrow Connect, not a Heathrow Express, so Express tickets are not valid (and vice versa). Allow some time in the morning to purchase a ticket, which you can do at either the machines (the regular ones, not the ones on the Express platforms, and make sure you buy for the Connect), or at a ticket office. (Alternatively, you could buy in advance online and collect at a machine, which would be a bit quicker.) The trains generally leave from the platforms around the corner from the main bank - and it will take two or three minutes to get to them - so if you're unfamiliar with the station layout I'd arrive there no later than 4.20am.

Last edited by NWIFlyer; Jul 12, 2016 at 8:35 am
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Old Jul 12, 2016, 9:27 am
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NWIFlyer,

Many thanks for the warm welcome and the excellent information. I've flown out of Heathrow a handful of times, but never this early so knowing there is no outbound passport control and that they have a Star Alliance expedited security checkpoint puts my mind at ease on the 4:42 option. All the best.
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Old Jul 12, 2016, 9:32 am
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Welcome to FT!

Ah, the good old LH921 to FRA, right? I do that far too often. At that time of day Gold Track at T2 is speedy. You should be through in under three minutes. The LH lounge doesn't open until 530, so there's no point in getting to T2 before 520. Both the HEX and Connect should be fine, but if you are slightly more risk-averse (trains are sometimes cancelled) I would just book a car to leave at 445. To repeat: you do not need to get there before 520, and even 540 should be fine. Boarding is usually very close to the LH lounge (one level below, typically - but not always - A18-A21). Sometimes the last flight from the night before (i.e. the first flight out) is parked at the B gates, so add 10 minutes. No outbound passport control.
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Old Jul 12, 2016, 2:23 pm
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That's the one, thanks for the advice. I will try to make the train and if it's cancelled, I assume I can just walk up the ramp and get a cab in front of the Hilton.
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Old Jul 13, 2016, 4:45 am
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Yes, plenty of cabs there.
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Old Jul 13, 2016, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by NWIFlyer
...

Fortunately, LH usually leaves from T5A where their lounge is, so at least you're spared the 10 minutes across to B terminal.

...
You must have been having a "moment" when you posted that!!
Lufthansa do NOT go from T5A/B/C, as that is a BA/IB terminal only. They go from T2
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Old Jul 13, 2016, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by antichef
You must have been having a "moment" when you posted that!!
Lufthansa do NOT go from T5A/B/C, as that is a BA/IB terminal only. They go from T2
Could just be a LH = Long Haul moment
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Old Jul 14, 2016, 1:22 am
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Obviously T2A was meant!
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Old Jul 14, 2016, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by antichef
You must have been having a "moment" when you posted that!!
Lufthansa do NOT go from T5A/B/C, as that is a BA/IB terminal only. They go from T2
Whoops. I have plenty of "moments". It's probably a miracle I've actually not managed to end up at completely the wrong terminal or airport at some point ...

Hopefully the OP managed to grasp what I really meant, even if I was incapable of writing it. I would assume if not we'd have had an anguished message from somewhere deep in the bowels of Heathrow asking how earth to escape and get to FRA.

Actually, that brings up a good point - very early morning flights from T5 starting from a central-ish London hotel are an even bigger nightmare because of the additional transfer from T1/2/3 to T5, requiring a walk to the Central Bus Station/Underground area and then either a tube running at 15 minute intervals or a N9 bus with a timetable which is advisory at best.
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Old Jul 15, 2016, 6:40 am
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The 5:10 will be fine. You arrive at 5:25, get to security at 5:35, airside 5:40 a comfortable 15- 20 minutes before boarding.
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Old Jul 15, 2016, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by NWIFlyer
Actually, that brings up a good point - very early morning flights from T5 starting from a central-ish London hotel are an even bigger nightmare because of the additional transfer from T1/2/3 to T5, requiring a walk to the Central Bus Station/Underground area and then either a tube running at 15 minute intervals or a N9 bus with a timetable which is advisory at best.
This is incorrect.

ALL Heathrow Express trains continue on to T5 after stopping at Heathrow Central (T2/T3). Travel time is 15 minutes from Paddington to Heathrow Central, if going on to T5, an additional 6 minutes after the train leaves Heathrow Central.

The Tube does essentially the same, however, the first train from Central London arrives too late for the earliest departures.

Last edited by Non-NonRev; Jul 15, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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Old Jul 15, 2016, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Non-NonRev
This is incorrect.

ALL Heathrow Express trains continue on to T5 after stopping at Heathrow Central (T2/T3). Travel time is 15 minutes from Paddington to Heathrow Central, if going on to T5, an additional 6 minutes after the train leaves Heathrow Central.
Yes, but the Connect doesn't, and that's the earliest train which gets in to T1/2/3 15 minutes before the Express. That leaves the choice of waiting for the Express or making a run for the Tube or a bus. There's probably not much in it, but my inclination would be that the Tube/Bus might be a few minutes quicker - but it's a risky one.

The first Express arrives at T5 at 5.32am, the first flight out is at around 6.20am, and there's a 35 minute conformance. That's awfully tight and there's absolutely no margin for anything to go wrong.
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Old Jul 16, 2016, 11:51 am
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I took the Aer Lingus 0640 flight to Dublin a couple of weeks ago, getting to the airport just a little before 0500 when the check-in opened. The terminal felt deserted and I was easily through security in less than 10 to 15 minutes. Ended up with way too much time to spare for that time of the morning. I should have left later.
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Old Jul 16, 2016, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite
Yes, plenty of cabs there.
At 4.45am or thereabouts?
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