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Arriving at LHR, what time to give car service for pick up

Arriving at LHR, what time to give car service for pick up

Feb 15th, 2018, 09:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,612
Arriving at LHR, what time to give car service for pick up

We're arriving at 7:00 am on a SFO - LHR flight on a weekday. We have a car service picking us up that says they normally advise their drivers to go in around 45 minutes to an hour after our flight arrives. Once the driver arrives, we have 15 minutes free waiting time before additional charges are incurred at 21 per hour.

I've had varying experiences arriving at LHR - once I arrived and I guess several flights had arrived at around the same time. There were massive lines just to get onto these buses to take us to the main terminal - I think it took me about 30 minutes just to get on the bus. If this happens I am sure we will need longer than an hour to go through customs and collect our luggage before meeting our driver.

Any insight as to whether an hour is adequate time for us to meet our driver from when we land or should I advise the car service something more like 1.5 hours?
chepar is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,552
Several variables -- are you flying Business? (that gets you off the plane first and expedited immigration). Will you have checked luggage? Anyone impaired (if you need a motorized cart it is MUCH faster than the long walks).

When I use a car service I give them the flight #/arrival time and they figure out what time to pick me up -- and monitor the flight so I've seldom ever been charge extra.
janisj is online now  
Feb 15th, 2018, 04:16 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,142
Agree it is hard to say. Even beyond the normal variables, sometimes you breeze through and sometimes you don't - it can be random. To my mind, it really comes down to whether the potential penalty is more important than your time. If it is (or if you just feel bad about "wasting" someone's time), then I'd go for the 1.5 hours and, worst case, get some coffee or something in the terminal. Otherwise, I'd go for the hour.
travelgourmet is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,506
I'm with janise on this - I just give the car service company my flight info and leave it up to them when to arrive (no matter which airport/country I'm traveling to). Except for one or two rare occurrences the driver has always been waiting for me as I exit the Customs Hall (or baggage claim area if a domestic flight) and I almost always just have to pay the agreed upon fee. I can think of only once or twice in 30+ years of travel where I've been charged extra for "wait time".
RoamsAround is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 07:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,612
Thanks for the replies. We're flying economy plus, so no expedited immigration. We do have checked luggage. No one needs a motorized cart.

After some thought I've decided I'll provide the car service with our flight details and just let them handle the rest. After having being in transit for about 22 hours (flying from Hawaii including layover time) I would just rather have the driver waiting for us so we can get on to our hotel, rather than us waiting for the driver.

However, I always seem to have an uncanny knack for choosing the slowest immigration line (as an example this past summer in Lima we were one of the first off the plane and took so long to exit the building our driver told us he thought we missed our flight) - hopefully this won't be the case this time.
chepar is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,075
Didn't fly business, but we were over an hour in line. I used justairports and had to pay extra.
TDudette is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 05:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,351
I recently used Blackberry. They give you 90 minutes of free waiting time and charge 9GBP for parking. I'm pretty sure they monitor the flights b/c my flight arrived an hour and a half late and the driver arrived about 10 minutes after I did.
I breezed thru' immigration - my flight was the only one there at the time, and the flight was half empty to begin with. But you never know.
panecott is offline  
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