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heathrow - transfers and connections

Old Jun 18th, 2007, 11:40 PM
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heathrow - transfers and connections

Hi There,

I currently have a flight booked to arrive at Heathrow at 1:50pm. It is an Air Canada Flight (international) flight arriving at Terminal 3. From there, I need to fly to Geneva. The flight that I think would probably work the best is a British Airways flight that departs Heathrow at 5:35pm, through Terminal 4.

I assume my baggage will not be checked through to Geneva because I am changing airlines.

Will I need to go through passport control, baggage reclaim and customs? Can anyone tell me how long does this process usually takes? Will the 3.5 hours I have between flights be enough time to get through all the steps in order to fly again?

Thank you for your advice!

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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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The first thing that I would try would be to interline the bags through to BA from AC. In many cases, airlines will do so - in fact, I know that UA will interline into BA as I've recently done that.
Considering that AC is a *A carrier, I have a suspicion that you can do that on them as well.
If you are succesful with the interlining then you have 2 options for the connection. The first is to use the Flight Connections Centre which will put you into a queue for a bus to take you "securely" to T4. Sometimes this is crowded and slow, although I don't know what the situation will be in the early afternoon.

Alternatively, you could always go through immigration (which you will need to do if AC won't interline) and then make the "relatively" short work to T4. I normally choose this route simply b/c immigration doesn't take that long and I like to get landside if even for a short time.

At the end of the day you have plenty of time to make the connection - don't worry about it. Simply try for the interlined baggage and then take a look at how "bad" the FCC is at the time you need to go through it.

Best wishes for a great trip! Dave
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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thank you!!!

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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Landside (i.e. after customs) T3 to T4 is not a short walk. You need to take the Heathrow Express train to T4, then up into the terminal area. There is also a lot of walking through tunnels between the HEX stations and the terminal lifts, made uncomfortable due to "crowning" on the tunnel floor which makes bag trolleys drift to one side. Do try to have your bags checked through if at all possible.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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See my other thread regarding Heathrow's T3 --- terrible!
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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I think it's very unlikely that Air Canada will check your bags all the way through to Geneva. A lot of airlines are getting stricter about this and are unwilling to do it unless: a) the two flights are on the same ticket (it seems you already have a ticket to Heathrow and are buying a separate ticket to Geneva); and b) the two airlines are part of an alliance (I think b is less important than a). BA and AC are members of rival alliances (Oneworld and Star Alliance, respectively).

However, you are planning a reasonably long layover at Heathrow. I fly through Heathrow a lot (at least once a month), usually on the same airline (BA) and frequently with flights connecting in the same terminal. Even so, I try to budget at least 2.5 hours for a connection. Flights often end up in a holding pattern over Heathrow and often have to wait for a jetway to come free; this can add 30 minutes or even as much as an hour to your travel time. It can be a long walk from your gate to Immigration - sometimes as much as 10-15 minutes. Usually, the line-up for non-British/non-EU passengers is long; you could be in line for 10-30 minutes. Going through security again could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and the HEX transfer could take 10-20 minutes.
You've got more than 3.5, which is good because there's a good chance you'll have to go through Immigration, pick up your bags, take the HEX to T4 and go through security again. What day of the week will you be travelling (Fridays and Sundays at 5:30 pm are likely to be rather busy). One good bit of news is that you should be able to check in online for your BA flight 24 hours in advance of its departure and before your AC flight leaves.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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There is an interline agreement between AC and BA. You "should" be able to check your bags all the way through.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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This topic is of interest to my family as well. We are flying AC to Heathrow in two weeks, landing in terminal 3 and then flying BA to Istanbul from terminal 1. We have four hours to make the connection. My travel agent advised that we would have to collect our luggage on arrival, transfer to terminal 1, check in and go through security again, I also understood that AC and BA were members of competing airline groups so our luggage could not be checked through to our final destination. What is an interline agreement and where can I find out more? How far is it from terminal 3 to terminal 1 and will we have enough time?
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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Most major airlines have interline baggage agreements, so one airline can check bags through on to other ones.

There are exceptions to the rules. One very well known one is that BA will not forward bags at LHR to other airlines. But you're not trying to do that, as you're doing AC->BA, not BA->AC.

Just ask the AC check-in agent to check bags through for you. If they resist, ask them again, and ask for a supervisor if necessary.

There is no point in calling. If you call AC 10 times, my bet is that you'll get one answer 5 times, the other 5.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Correction, rkkwan. My wife just did that a week ago, flying into LHR with BA (landing in T4) and changing to AA (taking off from the dreaded T3). Her luggage was transfered from her BA flight to AA.

Thank God for that...
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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Sorry I didn't make this clear. I was talking about connection on two separate tickets. This is where in most case interline baggage agreements will mean bags checking through, even on separate itineraries. But not BA->other airline at LHR, even if the two have interline baggage agreements.

If one's on the same itinerary, you're okay.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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Thanks for this information-we woll give it a try on our departure from Canada. I take it the situation will be different on our return as we are flying BA from Istanbul and connecting to AC at LHR. I am not so worried about missed connections and misplaced baggage on the way home, but it can be a very nasty way to begin a vacation!
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