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1 hour Heathrow connection possible?

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Jun 26th, 2014, 11:30 AM
  #1
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1 hour Heathrow connection possible?

I am arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3 from New York on Virgin Atlantic at 7:40pm, and have a separate flight on British Airways to Paris at 8:40pm from Terminal 3. Unfortunately this was the latest departing flight I could find.

Even without checking in baggage, will be possible to make this connection? I will have to travel between terminals, go through immigration and security again, but I plan to have my ticket on hand.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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You say you have to travel between terminals, so when you say your flight to Paris leaves from T3, I assume you mean your BA flight departs from T5?

It's possible you can make it - if you hustle and also take the flight transfer bus airside. In this case there is no need to go through immigration. There is a security checkpoint for flight transfers, however, which can be backed up, but the lines usually move pretty quickly.

Your main worries will be: will my flight arrive on time? And how long will it take to get off the plane. You can't do anything about whether your flight arrives on time, and whether you have to wait for a gate to open up. You can try to minimize the time getting off by talking to your cabin service director, mentioning your short transfer time and asking for assistance. Sometimes he/she will let you come to the front of the cabin and be one of the first off. Sometimes not.

Check in for your BA flight before you depart NYC and print your boarding pass is possible. Or check in on your phone and retrieve the boarding pass when you touch down at LHR. (Get the BA app for your phone before you leave the US if you don't have it already.)Follow the signs for Flight Transfers. Check the gate-closing time on your boarding pass for your BA flight. Keep an eye on the clock. And like I said above, hustle. Good luck.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #3
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Thanks for the response. Indeed, I meant arrival at T3 and departure from T5. What did you mean by "take the flight transfer bus airside"?

I plan to check in by phone before departing NYC—it seems BA has this handy 'mobile boarding pass' which can be accessed once I check in.

Especially appreciate the tip on talking to cabin service director.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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The biggest problem I see with a tight connection like this is, what if your first flight lands late? Then you wouldn't have a chance. More than once arriving our plane circled Heathrow waiting to be able to land.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:06 PM
  #5
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That is what I am worried about the most. Google Flights seems to think that the BA flight is "often delayed 30+" mins, but of course there is no guarantee with that..

Any alternate travel suggestions from Heathrow to Paris are welcome! Unfortunately for some reason all the outgoing flights and trains all leave before 9pm..
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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I wouldn't risk it personally, I was at T5 last week and if your departing flight is at a C gate you have to take a train... Sometimes there can be a bit of a wait ( not ages but all those precious minutes add up) but that said I am not a tight connection kind of girl

If you do go for it, do let us know how you get on!
You could always get the train to London and get on the Eurostar!
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:24 PM
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T3 and T5 are very far apart. There is no way to make such a connection even if everything is on time. The minimum connecting time is 90mins.

http://www.heathrowairport.com/heath...-international
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:36 PM
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Yes, I would take the Eurostar but the last train out is at 8:01pm, even earlier. I am getting a little worried.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Can you not get the early flight out the next day and stay at Heathrow ?
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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I am unsure if checking in for a separate ticket is always a good idea. Perhaps someone else can chime in, but
A couple of years ago I had a separate ticket on different airlines booked ATL-EWR-ARN and then ARN-HEL with 2.5 hrs in EWR and 4 or so hours in between in ARN.

My flight into EWR was 2.5 hours late due to weather, missing connection to ARN. I went to the ticket counter for the separate airline, explaining my need to change/rebook my ARN-HEL flight and he said "sorry" you already checked in, I can't help you. It got quite complicated and frustrating with the agent closing the desk and leaving while I was online trying to do what he said. I finally had to talk to a person at their offshore call center to get rebooked.

Bottom line--the agent implied he could have rebooked me if I hadn't checked in yet. For some reason I couldn't rebook online either. The telephone agent could do it, but I had to call Latvia. She also said checking in then missing the flight as a no-show was worse than not checking in and missing the flight.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:04 PM
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What did you mean by "take the flight transfer bus airside"?

On leaving the aircraft, follow the purple signs for Flight Connections. A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes. Make sure you get into the queue for T5. The bus will transport you around the air field to T5. If I remember from the last time I did this a year or so ago, it will take 10-15 minutes. But sometimes the queues can be slow and quite long and you may have to wait for several buses to go before you get on.

If you have your onward boarding pass, you can bypass the airline desks when you arrive at T5. You will then be directed to the queue where airport staff will check for conformance, then direct you on to security screening. Heathrow implements conformance at all terminals. At this time I believe it is 35 minutes.

Conformance kicks in at the point your boarding pass and passport are scanned, before you go through security. If a passenger tries to go through with too little time before their flight is due to depart, he/she will be asked to return to check in and seek assistance from the airline.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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QUESTION: I will be going from a VA/Delta flight to a BA flight, so it is NOT a through ticket. Will I have to go through immigration or could I simply make the connection? It seems the connections bus for connections is much quicker than the Heathrow express for others.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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One more comment: I assume you carefully thought it through before purchasing separate tickets on airlines which are not even in the same alliance. Consequences can be expensive. If you miss your flight, you have no protection and neither airline owes you any assistance.

Not Virgin, because their responsibility ends with delivering you to London. And not BA, because their responsibility is to deliver you from London to Paris.

If you miss your flight BA have every right to treat you as a no-show, cancel your ticket and require you to purchase another at the walk-up fare. If it's the last flight of the day, no one will take responsibility for putting you up overnight. If you are very fortunate and BA staff are feeling benevolent, they may let you stand by on a space-available basis for a later flight, but in summer you may have a long wait for an available seat.

Good luck and hope you make your connection!
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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QUESTION: I will be going from a VA/Delta flight to a BA flight, so it is NOT a through ticket. Will I have to go through immigration or could I simply make the connection?


Yes, you can still use flight connections. Yes, it is usually quicker because you don't go through Immigration.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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You won't go through immigration since you will stay airside.

But IMO/IME this booking is a BIG mistake. If everything works absolutely perfectly and you land a bit early (which can happen) you could make the connection - just. But perfect seldom happens. Even if you land early/on time, deplaning a jumbo cam take 10+ minutes after the doors open. Then the walk from the gates at T-3 can be very VERY long -- like 15+ minutes just to get to Flight Connections. Then you need to wait for the next bus to T-5, go through security and another longish walk to your departure gate. Your chances are slim to none.

IMO it would be worth it to pay a change fee and get an early flight the next morning. you can price line a hotel at LHR for about $75.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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PS: you'd need to make the change now - not wait til you've missed the BA flight
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:33 PM
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Here is more info about the latest times you can be at T5 for your flight. What julia1 is talking about when mentioning "conformance" is called positive boarding, where you have to be at certain points at a certain time otherwise you won't be able to board the flight.

http://www.britishairways.com/en-us/...on-heathrow-t5

Also on this page you can read more info about Flight Connections.

The Cabin Services Director equivalent on VS is Flight Services Manager, you can tell them about your short connection and asked to let off first if possible.

Hopefully your VS flight arrives early. If you miss the BA flight, you will have to pay the additional to be rebooked on the next available flight. They will not put you on standby.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:46 PM
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>>If you miss the BA flight, you will have to pay the additional to be rebooked on the next available flight.<<

Which apparently will be the next day and it will be at FULL fare which would be hundreds of $$/££

From Odin's link
>>• You must have entered Security at least 35 minutes before your flight departs.
• You must be at your boarding gate at least 20 minutes before your flight departs.
• If you do not meet these times, you will not be allowed on to your flight.<<

Like I said - slim to none. Getting from your seat on the Virgin plane @ T-3 to security @ T-5 in 25 minutes would be very VERY difficult.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:57 PM
  #19
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Thanks for the replies. Just so i can be realistic: what will it make it very difficult to get from the plane in T3 to security at T5?

Getting off the plane will require the favour of the Flight Services Manager, of course. Then the Flight Connections ride take 5–10 minutes I am told?

And again, I should not count on the BA flight being delayed, yes? Even though the same VS flight today arrived on time and BA flight was delayed almost half hour, according to the live tracking.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 04:26 PM
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It will make no difference if the BA flight is delayed. You still have to be through security/at the gate by the specified time.

I think the rest you can work out by yourself: getting off the plane, walking to Flight Connections, waiting for the bus, the journey time itself, being through security 35 mins before the scheduled flight departure time and at the gate at least 20mins beforehand. Some flights depart from different satellites at T5 which involve a train to get to the gate, doubt that will be the case for Paris though.
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