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Suggestions for non-English-speaking travellers at London Heathrow Airport

Suggestions for non-English-speaking travellers at London Heathrow Airport

Oct 11th, 2014, 09:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4
Suggestions for non-English-speaking travellers at London Heathrow Airport

My mother and I plan to visit London together, however, I will be travelling from the Middle East while she will be travelling alone from Toronto.

The problem is...she does not speak English very well, and I know the London Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest and biggest airports in the world. I have not been to the airport before, so I really have no idea what it is like, and the layout of everything from de-planing to passport control to baggage pick-up to the arrivals hall.

Does anyone have any suggestions with regards to providing her with some assistance in terms of getting around the airport after de-planing? I was thinking of giving her some flashcards with both English and Chinese written on it. (The plan is for me to book her flight so she arrives several hours after me, or even the next morning, so I have time to figure out which arrival hall I should expect to meet up with her.

Does anyone have detailed information, perhaps a step-by-step guide, for when one flies from YYZ to LHR once the plane has landed?

Is there one particular terminal (out of the 5) that passengers from YYZ normally arrive at? Is there only one arrival hall / gate per terminal? Is the route that she has to walk through fairly straightforward?

Thank you in advance!
eeevachan is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,552
Which terminal depends on which airline is flown. So which airline are you on and which is your mom using?

Thousands of non-English speaking travelers arrive at LHR every day.
janisj is online now  
Oct 11th, 2014, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,466
Look at your mothers flight details , that will tell you what terminal, that way people can advise you better.....
Smeagol is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 11:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 13
Hi eeevachan

Like Smeagol and Janisj mentioned above, there is nothing set in stone regarding the gates and terminals, you're gonna have to check for the details of that specific flight.

As for your mother not speaking English, I'd say that there are about 80% chances she won't even have to. Once you're off the plane everyone is pretty much guided in the same direction and she'll be fine if she just sticks with the rest. I don't even think I said anything apart from 'thank you' last time I went through Heathrow. At any rate, all personnel seemed friendly and a lot of the people boarding spoke little to no English.

I think I remember reading on the airport's web page that it has an assist service provided by Diamond Air, who can help out non-English speakers, but I'm not sure how that works... Try doing a search on Heathrow's website and see what you come up with.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!
donotmisslist is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
From my experience at Heathrow Airport she won’t have to speak English to be able to deplane and get her bag etc. – there are signs that show visually where to go to pick up bags, where to go for customs, etc. She won’t have a problem getting lost or not knowing what to do. Plenty of people fly to and from this airport every day that don’t have English – it is one of the busiest in the world. If there are specific issues she needs help with, or she is really concerned, you can request assistance at the airport – look on the Heathrow Airport website (special assistance section) to find out more.
WilliamT is offline  
Nov 1st, 2014, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,343
The possible problem would be responding to the questions asked of every passenger at passport control. Assuming they have translators but have no experience in that area.
historytraveler is online now  

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