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Early am heathrow flight advisement, pls!

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Nov 10th, 2009, 03:01 AM
  #1
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Early am heathrow flight advisement, pls!

Hi, Fodorites! I am flying out of Heathrow on a Lufthansa 9:50am flight. They say to be there three hours prior. Will be staying in the city. Are the trains running that early? I have forgotten how long it takes to get from the city to the airport. I am wondering if I should stay at the airport. Have not been through the new airport. Is there a hotel in the airport proper? I would imagine that there are some surrounding it. What would you advise, pls? Thanks in advance?
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:29 AM
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Arrival two hours before the flight is ample time to check in, clear security, etc. I've never heard of three hours.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:39 AM
  #3
tod
 
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Tarquin, I have recently seen somewhere that the airlines are requesting a 2.5hr pre-flight arrival time at the airport, so I think if they say 3hrs they really mean 3 hours. It seems awful to have to kill all that time before take-off but let's face it, they wouldn't ask passengers to arrive that early if they did not need the time to get it all together.

ateabag: the tube runs from around 5am as far as I know.
Cholmondley_Warner or Patrick London could have a more accurate answer.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:40 AM
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PS: ateabag - it takes approx. 1 hour to the airport on the tube from central London.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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Assuming you're staying somewhere near the Piccadilly Line, the first train from Russell Square Monday to Saturday leaves at 0537 and gets to Heathrow T1-3 at 0635, but on Sunday, the first train is an hour later.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloa...ly-1705209.pdf

Alternatively, the Heathrow Express starts running from Paddington at 0510 every day, and takes 15 minutes to get there.

So, yes, you can make it on public transport, depending on where you're starting from. If you do need to be that early.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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If your Lufthansa flight is across the Atlantic and not to some point in continental Europe, then it is indeed wise to be at LHR three hours ahead of your scheduled departure time.

As PatrickLondon says, taking the Tube can work; but it depends if trains on the line closest to your hotel will be running early enough for you.

If you depart from Paddington, take the Heathrow Connect rather than the Heathrow Express. The fare is 7.90 GBP. For the HEX it's 18.00 GBP.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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I really wouldn't worry about this 3 hrs stuff. I don't believe it for a start: Lufthansa flies only to Germany and says 30 mins for economy checkin at Heathrow on its site. Most airlines at Heathrow only start the process 3 hrs before: they certainly don't stop it at the same time.

If you want peace of mind, aim to be there 60-90 mins before checkin, and don't fret if that turns out to be 55. Assuming your hotel's reasonbly central but not on a direct line, allow 75 mins to get the tube, so leave the hotel around 7.15.

And don't worry. I live 70 miles away, always go to LHR by public transport and I'd leave home at 0700 for an 0950 TRANSATLANTIC flight on BA.

Online checkin, of course, adds to peace of mind.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 10:34 AM
  #8
hsv
 
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I absolutely agree with Flanner. So you are booked on LH4725 to FRA - 45 minutes in advance are plenty. If you need to check in luggage make it 60 min. to be on the safe side.

Note that the LH check-in desks in T1 are somewhat separate from the other airlines in T1 (far end of the hall if you are coming from the tube; if you arrive by cab on the near side from where the cabs approach, i.e. to the far right of the building).
Follow the signs for Zone K around the corner from where the Swiss check-in is.
The good thing is that there is a separate and usually less frequented security check right behind the LH check-in desks.

I am on these flights on a farily regular basis and there is no way I'd ever even consider to be there more than 60 min. in advance.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Hi, thx so much! I will be going transatlantic home-connecting in Frankfurt so when would you suggest I get there? I am staying on Queensgate in Kensington. It has been a a few years since I have been in London. What would you recommend as transport as how to get there,pls? Thx so much again
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Nov 10th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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This is one of those situations where there are too many variables to reliably predict. You MIGHT be OK getting there 1 hour before takeoff, but I would not chance it at LHR, especially in the morning when so many international flights depart. Three hours seems a bit excessive, but I am known for cutting it close; two is just about right, sufficient to allow for a minor snafu like the person in front of you in line having a messed up itinerary that takes forever to fix. If you hold elite status or are flying in a fare class that lets you get into an expedited check in and security line you might get by with 90 minutes.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:25 PM
  #11
hsv
 
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The transatlantic transfer is irrelevant for this segment. As far as LHR is concerned you are on a European flight to Frankfurt. So you would still need to be there only an hour in advance if you have luggage to check, slightly less if not. Try to print your boarding passes before you arrive at the airport to speed things up a bit.
No need to be there 90 min. or even 2 hours in advance.
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Nov 10th, 2009, 08:51 PM
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"there are too many variables to reliably predict. "

There are NO variables.

The poster is taking a midmorning (Heathrow's least busy time)flight to Frankfurt (not Tel Aviv) on a major airline that's got dozens of checkin machines and also mans its desks with enough people to make "the person in front of you in line having a messed up itinerary that takes forever to fix " impossible.

The airline requires checkin 30 mins before takeoff (God knows where this 3 hour stuff's coming from).

Flying's a pain. It's an even bigger, unnecessary, pain if inexperienced worrymongers tell a traveller they've got to get up at 0500 to catch a European flight that leaves at 1000 from an airport just 16 miles away.

It's pointless getting to LHR any earlier than 0900, unless you're on a mission to stuff BAA's profits with purchases from the airport shops. Gloucester Rd or South Ken tube stations are 40 minutes' tube journey from T1-3 and there's a direct tube train every 10 mins. Leave the hotel at 0745, walk to whichever station's nearer (and don't fret about that either: just walk) and relax.
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Nov 11th, 2009, 06:24 PM
  #13
 
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Two words: online check-in.

I'm somewhere in the middle between flanneruk, who might be cutting it a bit tight, and other who say 2 or 3 hours is needed. Having been on a Heathrow Express train that stalled just outside of Paddington station (and on countless delayed Underground trains), I would leave a bit more of a cushion in case you experience delays getting to the airport or longer-than-usual lines at check-in or security at Heathrow.

Yes, there are hotels at the airport, if you need them. The new Sofitel at Terminal 5 is really nice; on the other end of the spectrum, the Yotel at T4 offers a tiny, utilitarian room at the airport. The Hilton at terminal 4 is decent. Many other "airport" hotels are not actually in the airport–they require a shuttle bus ride to reach a terminal.
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Nov 12th, 2009, 02:18 AM
  #14
 
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Who advised the 3 hour checkin? The airline or an agent? I would try and contact Lufthansa and see what they think. One possibility that occurs to me is that if this is seen as a through flight for luggage then US requirements for scanning etc may apply. So one of the variables might be how much luggage the OP is taking.

From a personal point of view I find the longer checkin times mean that it is easier to eat in comfort on the departure side. You can usually read most of a book in one of the bookshops too.
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