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Heathrow 11 hour lay over. Can I go into London

Heathrow 11 hour lay over. Can I go into London

Mar 12th, 2011, 09:45 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Heathrow 11 hour lay over. Can I go into London

I am flying American Airlines in to Heathrow in June transferring to El Al to Tel Aviv . I get in at 5:20AM and have an 11 hour lay over. I don't know if they fly out of different terminals and the re-checking of my bag process. Is there a place to store carry-ons at Heathrow? I have never flown through Heathrow only in and out.
I would like to see the National Portrait Gallery. The closest tube story is Leicester Square. How long will it take to get to Leicester Square? It this possible without making myself crazy. Or should I do something more reasonable? I really don't want to spend 11 hours at the airport.
Thanks for you help.
Gail
stormyhd is offline  
Mar 12th, 2011, 10:00 PM
  #2  
 
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Relax, a visit to the National Portrait Gallery is easily doable during your 11 hour layover. You can leave your carry ons at left luggage at LHR, and travel by tube to Leicester Sq stn, which is on the Picadilly Line (the same line that serves the airport). Expect the tube ride to take 45 mins, and on your way back make sure you get on a train for Heathrow, and not a Uxbridge train. It's very easy to travel by tube from Heathrow to Leichester Sq and back, just be sure to leave extra time for getting your luggage from left luggage and security lines.
RJames is offline  
Mar 12th, 2011, 10:09 PM
  #3  
 
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Yes, you can certainly go into London.

I do not know whether you will be able to recheck your bags after going through customs. The airlines can tell you whether you will be in the same terminal or not. If you need to, you can leave your luggage at Heathrow.

http://www.heathrowairport.com/porta...0357e120a____/

The fastest way into London is the Heathrow Express. It's a super fast train from the terminals at Heathrow (there are two stops) to Paddington Station. The train runs every 15 minutes on average, and the ride is also about 15 minutes.

http://www.heathrowexpress.com/Home

From Paddington you can take the subway (tube) to the museum. Count on approximately 3 minutes between each stop for planning purposes. Allow yourself an extra cushion of time to return to the airport...you don't want to miss your plane!
absthegal is offline  
Mar 12th, 2011, 10:26 PM
  #4  
 
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AA arrive at T3: El Al leave from T1. THere are left lugage facilities at all terminals, and it's a ten minutebwalk by underpass between the two. You're best advised to check your bags at the departure terminal. T1 and T3 share railway and tube stations

I'd also suggest you check with El Al whether they accept interline bags from AA: their security measures (lengthier than any other airline) might require you to leave your hold baggage at T1 left luggage as well.

THe fastest routes are, in ascending order of time:
1. HEX to Paddington. Bakerloo Line tube to Charing Cross. Trafalgar Square, the Natonal Gallery, exit
2. Heathrow Connect to Paddington, then as above
3. Direct Piccadilly Line tube from T1/3 to Leicester Square.

The walking distance to the gallery is virtually identical from either tube station. The exit from the Bakerloo line is one of the very few spectacular tube exits in the city
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 06:48 AM
  #5  
 
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"The fastest way into London is the Heathrow Express."

The fastest way to Paddington is the HEX - to somewhere like the National Gallery there's probably a 3-4 minute difference in overall travel time and as the HEX only runs every 15 minutes there's a good chance that it's slower to use the HEX.

The cost of the HEX (£32.00) plus a one day zone 1-2 Travelcard (£6.60) against a zone 1-6 Travelcard (£15.00) or half that if you travel after 9:30am or at weekends or on public holidays.
alanRow is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 07:11 AM
  #6  
 
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The OP gets into Heathrow at 5:20 am, so what's the rush getting into town?

Assuming passport control takes an hour (which it shouldn't), then another hour for storing luggage and transit, that's still only 7:30 am or so, a good 2.5 hours before the NPG opens.
The OP could either take a stroll (if the weather is cooperative) or head someplace for breakfast (if the weather isn't cooperative or the OP is hungry or needs a caffeine fix). In addition to the Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa etc chains, The Wolseley is one of the best breakfast spots in town. http://www.thewolseley.com/DocsAndMedia/Cafe%20Web.pdf
Opens at 7 am on week-days. Easy walk from Picadilly or Green Park tube stations.

Time is much more of the essence for the return trip back to Heathrow. Gail should be on his/her back by 1 pm latest (I'd personally opt for 12:15 pm latest as I'm not an incurable optimist about London mass transit)
FoFoBT is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 09:18 AM
  #7  
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Thanks everyone. Getting breakfast is a great idea. I would hope it wouldn't take longer then an hour to get through customs. At JFK or Detroit is never has, but you never know. I will call El Al to see what their policy is. I have never flown them before so I don't know. I should have plenty of time to get through customs and figure out how to get to T1 before 9 AM...jet lagged and all.
Gail
stormyhd is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 11:04 AM
  #8  
 
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The National Gallery doesn't open until 10AM so even if you want to walk around and see some sites before entering the Gallery, getting into town by 9AM will be plenty (you'll probably get there earlier).

So relax and don't rush. When you get through arrivals go over to T-1 and leave your carry on. Then jump on the tube. If there are hiccups and you're running late - take the Piccadilly line straight through to Leicester Sq.

BUT most likely you'll be on the tube before 8:00. If so, I'd take the tube to Hammersmith, walk across the platform and jump on an eastbound Districh line train to Westminster. Come up out of the tube station and Big Ben is looming in front of you, plus the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey are right there. An westminster bridge/the river. the Eye are over your other shoulder.

Then either walk up Whitehall or the Mall/park to Trafalgar Square.

There is no need to pay extra for the HEX since you will land so early in the AM.

You will need to get back to LHR early due to El Al's security procedures.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Come out of Westminster Tube station by the Bridge Street exit for the big - now spoiled - surprise.
alanRow is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 01:29 PM
  #10  
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Do you know if I re-check my bag on El Al before I leave the airport for London?
stormyhd is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 03:20 PM
  #11  
 
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Probably not, most airlines only allow you to check in bags within X hours of the flight's departure (my guess is that it would be 3 hours) from LHR. Also, I doubt the El Al counter will be open until approx 3 hours before the flight's departure. Your best bet is to check the bag in the US for TLV, if AA and El Al allow for that. I'd call AA to check. Are you travelling on one ticket or two separate tickets?
RJames is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 05:33 PM
  #12  
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I am traveling on two separate tickets. Rjames, I think you are right. There never seems to be an attendant at the counter in foreign airports until a few hours before the plane. I called El Al they said I could, but I don't think she knew what she was talking about.
stormyhd is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 05:34 PM
  #13  
 
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But if they won't check the luggage through - just put it w/ your carry on in Left Luggage at T-1.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2011, 05:49 PM
  #14  
 
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stormyhd, call AA NOT El Al as your first flight is with AA and it would be an AA agent that would be checking you in to either LHR or TLV. Don't call El Al, they are not the airline you need to check in with for the first flight.

I've had two separate tickets one with AA (for my first flight) and then a connecting flight with another airline that I knew AA had an agreement with, all I had to do at check in is show my ticket for the non AA flights and my bags were tagged for final destination. Of course, El Al may work a little differently than other airlines.

Only AA can give you an answer as to whether you can check your bags for your final destination.
RJames is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 11:06 PM
  #15  
 
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"I'd also suggest you check with El Al"

I'm sorry I raised this possible red herring.

It's often a basic rule of travel that phone enquiry desks know tiddly-squat about airport procedures. It's also the case that El Al have the world's most intrusive (and effective) passenger and luggage screening systems.

The person who'll certainly know whether you can through-check your bag onto non-Oneworld airlines in general and El Al in particular on youir ticket is the agent you'll deal with at your departing US airport. If "yes", just deal with your carryon at London: if no, just retrieve your bag at London. The possible extra 30 mins, and the possible extra time for El Al checkin, still allow you bags of time to get to Trafalgar Sq and back.

And DO make sure you know when El Al need you back. There are many more important things than customer service, and El Al is utterly uncompromising about them.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 07:01 AM
  #16  
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Thanks for the suggestions. The El Al person said I had to "identify" my bag before I could check it through. To me that means I cannot check it through to TLV on American.
I have to go to NYC on American at the end of the month. I am going to ask them when I get to the airport about the procedures. I know El Al has the toughest/best security. The El Al person said rather then 2 hours before the flight she said I have to be there at least 3 hours before the flight.
stormyhd is offline  

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