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Is 1 1/2 hours enought time to transfer at Heathrow?

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Apr 7th, 2012, 05:55 AM
  #1
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Is 1 1/2 hours enought time to transfer at Heathrow?

I am traveling to Munich with a transfer at Heathrow in June, I have 1 hour and 35 minutes to make my connection. (Virgin Atlantic and Air Berlin) After going through customs in London, will I have enough time to make my flight? Though there are two airlines, I'm assuming that my bags will be checked through? I contacted the agency who booked these flights and was told it is a "legal" connection. Which means if I understand it correctly, I will be put on the next flight if I do miss my flight?
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Apr 7th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Double check your ticket - I'm pretty sure any Airberlin flights running between Heathrow and Munich are actually operated by British Airways. These are called "codeshare" flights - AB's flight number but BA's plane. In that case transferring from an incoming Virgin Atlantic flight (Terminal 3) to an outgoing BA flight (Terminal 5 in the case of Munich) within 90 min. may be "legal" but definitely tight. You will get off the VS (Virgin's abbreviation) flight and go to "flight connections" where you'll ride a bus to Terminal 5, then go through a passport and security check before being released into T5. You will NOT go through immigration or customs - both of those will happen in Munich.

The walk from the plane to the transfer bus at T3 can be either short or long (or VERY long) and if your Virgin plane is late it can be a pretty close call. Fortunately, there are numerous BA flights to Munich daily, and if both flights are indeed on one ticket, then you ought to be okay. If they're not on one ticket, then BA would not be under any obligation to put you on the next flight, and you'd be at risk of having to buy a brand new ticket.

If the travel agency that booked your flights didn't tell you that the ongoing flight was on BA metal, that would be grounds for further concern in my mind...
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Apr 8th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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Always have made it with time to spare never have missed at LHR.Still trip cover wise just in case mid day brings long lines especially and usually.2 check points for me between terminals when through there last year.

Good luck!
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Apr 8th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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If I booked the ticket from Boston to Munich, wouldn't they in fact be considered "one ticket?" As for my bag, I am still assuming that it will get transferred? Nice to know I am not going through customs until Munich, that alone would kill me in London having been through that line last year!
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Apr 8th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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"If I booked the ticket from Boston to Munich, wouldn't they in fact be considered "one ticket?" As for my bag, I am still assuming that it will get transferred? Nice to know I am not going through customs until Munich, that alone would kill me in London having been through that line last year!"

Yes, but please pay attention to my point above about who is actually taking you to Munich. Look closely at your ticket and make sure you know which airline is actually doing the flying between London and Germany. If I'm right and it is indeed British Airways, then be sure when you show up for your Virgin Atlantic flight that you see "MUC" on the bag tags.

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are arch competitors, and I've had instances where BA declined to "inter-line" bags (i.e. transfer them to a competitor) even though they may have an agreement to do so. I highly doubt you will encounter this problem (since it will be Virgin Atlantic checking you in) but double-checking that your bags are tagged all the way to Munich ought to add some comfort.

And please distinguish between "immigration" and "customs." Immigration is for humans; customs is for luggage. Customs in Europe just means going through the door out into the world 99% of the time. The line you mention is for immigration - when they check your passport.

Regardless, you will need every one of those ninety minutes at Heathrow.
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Apr 8th, 2012, 01:32 PM
  #6
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I have looked up the flight and found it is British Airways as you have said. It is not listed on my email confirmation/e ticket. Good point about making sure the bag is tagged through to Munich. As for customs vs. immigration, my bad! I am taking the 90 minutes seriously and will try and get information before I leave the plane!
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Apr 8th, 2012, 10:53 PM
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contacted the agency who booked these flights and was told it is a "legal" connection.

Well it is a legal connection - the question is whether you have a legal connection as VS / BA are arch competitors and connecting flights involving both are unusual.

I think you are in the lap of the Gods (ie checkin staff at Boston) as to whether you will be able to check luggage through.

It's the reason why I always book through the airline itself rather than a 3rd party as that guarantees a legal connection.
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Apr 9th, 2012, 05:32 AM
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I think this will be very tight. All you need is a small delay and it can be a long wait. LHR can don't have the best staff in the world when it comes to security checks, one machine and 6 staff chatting!!
Also keep in mind that the out going flight will be boarding around 30 -40 mins before the gate closes.

Good luck, Waca
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