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LHR T5 to T3 transit - meet someone landside

LHR T5 to T3 transit - meet someone landside

Old Nov 14, 19, 10:18 am
  #1  
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LHR T5 to T3 transit - meet someone landside

Hello.

In December, we (2 adults, 3 kids) are arriving from YYZ into LHR T5 at 10:10, and flying onwards to HEL from LHR T3 at 13:50. In that 3h40m connection time, we wanted to meet some UK-based family landside. We are Canadian citizens, so visa is not an issue.

I believe I can clear customs/immigration in T5 using the ePassport gates, and then take the shuttle train to T3, and re-clear security in T3. Somewhere along the way, we'll stop and spend time with them.

A few questions:

1. Any obvious flaws in my plan?
2. If I was to do this, I assume I'll have 1-1.5 hours of time to spend with them. Is that about right?
3. Can I airside transfer to T3 and then clear customs/immigration in T3 instead? If yes, will that be faster or slower?
4. What's a good place landside in or within a few minutes of T3 where we can hang out with them?

Thanks in advance!
nabeelj is offline  
Old Nov 14, 19, 5:53 pm
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I would do it this way (because it eliminates one security and passport check during the airside T5-T3 movement)

1. clear immigration at T5 and then do the landside transfer to T3*

2. Meet friend landside (but note not that many cafes etc landside but check the terminal maps on the LHR website for details)*

3. After meeting your friends clear security at T3 to take flight to HEL

* Or you could meet your friends at T5 and then lansdide transfer to T3
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Old Nov 15, 19, 12:42 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
I would do it this way (because it eliminates one security and passport check during the airside T5-T3 movement)
So, you're saying that arriving at T5, taking the airside shuttle bus to T3, then entering the UK Border at T3 and going landside involves two passport checks? One is obviously entering the UK Border at T3; but where is the other one?
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Old Nov 15, 19, 4:14 am
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There can be queues for the airside transit buses between T5 and T3 at busy times, buses roughly every 10 minutes. Train is free, every 15 minutes, need to pick up a free transfer ticket from the machine. The train station at T5 is very close to arrivals, and at Heathrow Central it's close to T3 (not so much T2). You can also use the tube (London Underground) for free to transfer terminals, but that needs a contactless card for every passenger even for the free transfer, and the station at T2/T3 is further from T3 than the train station, so probably best take train.

Not that much at T5 in the landside after arrivals, fairly similar to at T3, few shops and cafes. With a 3.5 hour layover, not really time to go anywhere else

You can't easily see the T5 to T3 bus queue without going down to the ground floor. You can see the UK immigration queue in T5 fairly easily without joining it. On the whole, I find immigration at T5 works better than at T3

What I'd suggest, assuming that your children are too young to use the e-passport gates:
  • On arrival at T5, follow arrivals
  • Look at how long the queues are
  • If not bad, clear UK border in T5, walk through customs, head right to station. Pick up free transfer ticket, HEX train to T3, few mins walk to arrivals, meet family in cafe
  • If immigration queues in T5 are bad, walk 20m back, follow Flight Connections. Down to buses, queue up, bus to T3, enter UK in T3, out and find family
  • When done with family, it's a little fiddly to get from T3 arrivals to T3 departures, going outside and walking is often easier. Allow 10 minutes to get to security (it's probably 5 mins even if you know where you're going!)
If your kids are old enough for the e-passport gates, those queues move fast, so I'd say enter the UK at T5 and do the landside transfer
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Old Nov 15, 19, 8:57 am
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Definitely meet in T3. There's no point meeting in T5 and glancing nervously at your watch every 90 seconds because you need to get a train that leaves every 15 minutes.

There's a pub and a Caffè Nero in T3 arrivals, which would seem to be the best bet for convenience. Perfectly pleasant, if not earth-shatteringly exciting! Easily enough time for a late breakfast / early lunch. You would have no problem getting there for 1100 and leaving at, say 1300.
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Old Nov 15, 19, 10:21 am
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Last edited by UKtravelbear; Nov 15, 19 at 10:42 am
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Old Nov 19, 19, 9:42 pm
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nothing stopping your friends meeting you in t5 arrivals and then you travel together to t3 and spend some time together landside there
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Old Nov 20, 19, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by Gagravarr View Post
If your kids are old enough for the e-passport gates, those queues move fast, so I'd say enter the UK at T5 and do the landside transfer
Thanks for reminding me about this. My kids are too young for the e-passport gates, so that's definitely a time factor I'll have to account for in my planning.
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