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Getting through customs and immigration at Heathrow

Getting through customs and immigration at Heathrow

Old Mar 10th, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Getting through customs and immigration at Heathrow

Our plane arrives at 7:10 a.m. and the direct bus to Bath that we'd like to catch leaves at 8:20. I know it's impossible to predict but what is the average time of getting through customs and immigration at Heathrow in Fodorites experience? I'm not going to pull out my hair if we miss that bus, but just curious to know if it's even a possibility.
Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 01:09 PM
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There is no 'average' really. It depends on the terminal, how many other long haul flights are landing at the same time, where those planes are arriving from and a ton of other things.

There is a loooooong walk from most gates into immigration and the luggage retrieval. That is a VERY close connection - but are you locked in to one specific coach? If not, just get there when you get there and catch the next coach.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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Much will also depend on the terminal you're arriving at and which bus station/stop (Heathrow Central? Terminal 5?) the bus departs from. In my view the odds are very much against making it.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 04:40 PM
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I agree on taking a later bus. Otherwise you will be in a panic trying to get through immigration, customs, and trying to find your bus. Schedule a later bus and relax.

Plus, Murphy's Law applies here. If you are in a hurry there will be a big line at immigration.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 05:07 PM
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We flew into Heathrow in November and got to customs about 7 a.m. It went quickly for us, and luggage went well, too. However, you don't know for sure whether you will arrive at 7:10, 7:20, etc, and maybe you will have to find your way to the bus stop in strange surroundings. I agree with the others -- don't count on making that bus.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 05:20 PM
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We were in line at passport control at LHR Term 3 last fall for an hour.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 06:35 PM
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Hi, mermaid I cut and pasted this from my trip report back in 2011 as I landed in LHR and caught a bus to the Cotswold. I would choose a later bus or buy a flexible ticket.

"BUS
Flew Chicago O’Hare to Heathrow on March 29, scheduled to arrive at 7:50 a.m. Plane delayed (30 min). Disembarking plane (10 min). Walk to and queue for border control (10 min). In line for border control (35 min). (The line was very long at my arrival time… I was very near the wall.) Then on to collect baggage at baggage reclaim (10 min).

I mention the time this took in case you need to catch a connecting bus as I did. Buying bus/rail tickets (not to London, but to other locations) in advance is much, much cheaper, but you need to allow time to get to your bus – as these cheaper bus tickets aren’t changeable/refundable.

(I used http://www.traveline.info to plan my Heathrow-Bibury-London travel and to link to sites to purchase my bus and train tickets.)"

Have fun planning!
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 06:36 PM
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Oh, and I flew American into Heathrow, so whichever terminal that is/was.
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Old Mar 10th, 2015, 11:29 PM
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Look at the conditions for airport coach bookings National Express offers (http://www.nationalexpress.com/where...rts/index.aspx )

You can predict neither how long immigration takes nor what time you'll get to the immigration queue. Obviously in Britain, getting through Customs is as predictable as the time the sun will rise tomorrow: it takes precisely as long as it takes you to walk 20 yards, uninterrupted.

But the time involved other two stages in the process is beyond any crystal ball. It may well make better sense to insure by paying for the flexibility option.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 05:47 PM
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Thank you all for your input. I really didn't think we'd be able to make the 8:20 bus, but was sort of in denial. If I reserve tickets for the next bus, which for some frustrating reason, is double the fare of the earlier bus, and happen to miss that one too, will National Express put us on the next bus?
Thank you.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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I don't think you'll make it if you have any checked bags to wait for.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 11:18 PM
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" will National Express put us on the next bus?"

As I said, "Look at the conditions for airport coach bookings National Express offers "
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