Heathrow Advice

Old Nov 25th, 2017, 01:02 PM
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Heathrow Advice

Hello,
On 18/19 December, we are flying from DFW to LHR and then on to BLQ (Bologna). What was originally a 90 minute layover has been shortened to a 60 minute layover... we land at 7:35am and our flight to Bologna departs at 8:35am.
We connect through LHR once or twice annually and we've never had less than 80 minutes, so this adjusted schedule has me very concerned. Due to our almost 5-yr old and 7-yr old sons, we can't really race through an airport. We can move reasonably quickly, but sprinting isn't an option.
Both flights are on BA. I've already looked at BA's flight schedule on 19 December and the next flight to BLQ departs 6 hours after our currently ticketed flight. I hate to seek out that type of layover (7 hours) with two young children beforehand if there's a chance we might make the original flight.
Thoughts?
Thank you for any and all input - please speak frankly!
Jill
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 01:05 PM
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P.S. It appears that we arrive in Terminal 5 and depart from Terminal 5.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 02:03 PM
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Are you flying Business? If not, that is awfully short if you have to shepherd a 4yo (the 7 yo is on his/her own )

Getting small children off the plane and to another gate (it can be a very long walk) will be difficult.

I would contact BA and see if they will arrange to have a motorized cart/driver meet you.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 02:18 PM
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Hi janisj,
No, we are not flying business Our kids have been flying routinely since infancy and have never had a bad flight (knock on wood), but I just never wanted to risk the disturbance to others in the pretty expensive business class if it ever did happen.
Thank you for the suggestion to contact BA about a motorized cart!
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 02:19 PM
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That's a very short amount of time to transfer. Remember that 7:35 a.m. is when your flight lands on the tarmac assuming it's on time. Then the plane has to get to the gate, passengers disembark and then you'll have to make your way through to connecting flights and departure gate. Having a motorized cart transport you may help, but it may not be enough especially if flight is delayed. Letting the flight attendants know you have a short connection time may help or not. Really depends on your fellow passengers. Some will be accommodating and others simply won't care. I'd suggest contacting BA but getting answers/solutions from them may be next to impossible.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 10:50 PM
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3 weeks ago I came into Heathrow on a BA flight and out again on another BA flight, to Rome, both T5 and I assumed that being in transit I'd avoid a security check. But there was one, no immigration but another security line. It wasn't time consuming but in your situation it will slow you down.

But even so, I probably wouldn't change my flight. It's BA's responsibility, assumjng your flights are on a single itinerary, to get you to your destination and you'd likely be put on the later flight if the worst happens. But I suspect you'll be fine.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 11:12 PM
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Yes -- there definitely will be a security check. Everyone transiting to another flight through the UK - even staying airside, will pass through security.
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 02:16 AM
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too tight, talk to BA
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 07:50 AM
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Thank you all for the input.
Our flights are on a single itinerary, purchased through AA as the return part of our trip is on AA. The troublesome DFW-LHR-BLQ jaunt is all BA flights. When we looked last summer, there was a longer layover. BA later adjusted the schedule which is how we ended up with only 60 minutes.

I'll call BA in a bit. Our oldest son, the 7 yr old, has a disability (very high functioning autism). We do not ever utilize special services or lines because he doesn't need them, but he certainly legally qualifies. We've just never felt comfortable using things he doesn't need when others really do need them.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 07:58 AM
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My niece is like that, by now, if she knew she would be calling BA herself...
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 08:06 AM
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The minimum connection time for flights in Terminal 5 is 60 minutes, so they may not change your flight times. But I'd still ask.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 09:01 AM
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a 4yo and a special needs 7 yo - it is a 'legal' connection but will be VERY difficult without motorized transport.

Call BA TODAY.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 09:04 AM
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>

No, that's gate arrival time, not landing time.

>

This isn't an issue of usurping the needs of others. You'll need BA to help you make that transfer. And even most high-functioning residents of The Spectrum (which is really how the medical community should label this because it always discusses where kids fall on the autism "spectrum," especially now that the docs have stupidly rejected Asperger's) usually are thrown off by non-routine situations (dunno if true for your #1). Don't feel guilty when BA is creating a situation that screws you.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 09:28 AM
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There aren't many options to change to, either it will be a long wait at T5 or arrive on AA at T3 or connect via another city to LHR or to BLQ. None of them are great. I'd be inclined to leave the booking as it is. If it arrives at the gate at 0735, there is a chance to make the connection.

Alot of the time transatlantic flights arrive early in the UK, especially the early morning ones, hopefully this will be the case. Some gates at T5 are only accessible by transit train and no one knows which gates in advance of the day of travel. If the connection is missed, BA will put them on the next available flight, which on these dates, might not necessarily be the next flight. BA already know it is a short connection, the cabin crew will know who those passengers are on the day, ask to be let off the flight first, ask BA for meet and assist service to help escort thru flight connections (needs to be prebooked).
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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I was wrong about arrival times but you still need to contact BA as it's going to take every advantage you can get to make your next flight. BA can be helpful at times. Let them know your situation, request motorized transport and don't be shy about asking for meet and assist services to help you get to/ through security and to departure gate on time. Hope all goes well for you.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 11:53 AM
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Updating... The BA representative insisted that motorized transport could not be arranged ahead of time or even from the departure airport (Dallas). He said that it could only be arranged upon arrival in London.

He also said that since we had a 60 minute layover and 60 minutes is the minimum recommended layover, motorized transport wouldn't normally be granted except in the case that disability made it appropriate. That's not quite a shoe-in for us. As Russ pointed out, autism is a vast spectrum and our son is one of the fortunate ones, so to speak. From severely affected at age 2 to very high functioning now due to a childhood spent in dawn-to-dusk therapy. Mainstream in school, sports, and every area of life. In any case, he isn't going to melt down over rushing (but he's 7, and we also have one that isn't quite 5!). Where the challenge would be is if we miss the transfer and have a 7 hour layover in an unfamiliar place. That's hard on any kid. It's particularly hard for a kid on the spectrum. But those dots couldn't connect for the BA agent who said that since we didn't need wheelchair-type mobility assistance, to just take it up with the staff in London.

He was willing to assign us seats together without charging us (not sitting right next to the noise of the lavoratory is a legitimate need), but he wouldn't assign any closer to the front than Row 42. Perhaps the first section of economy - rows 28-37 - is premium economy? I'm guessing we won't be off the plane for a good 12-15 minutes after arrival at the gate with this seat position. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this estimate .

His overall guidance was to leave the reservation alone because BA would just book us onto another flight if we don't make the transfer.


I wish I had my 45 minutes of hold time back!
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 12:40 PM
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I would also have some change of clothing in my hand luggage, you might make the connection, but your luggage may not
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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>>He said that it could only be arranged upon arrival in London. >Where the challenge would be is if we miss the transfer and have a 7 hour layover in an unfamiliar place. with four available seats. That could easily be the next day, especially the week before Christmas

I would get back on the phone to BA - at least if they change you to the later flight you will KNOW what is happening, and not that you might need to spend a night in London.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 04:37 PM
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If you do get stuck with a 6-hour wait, please book a day room at the Sofitel in Terminal 5. Definitely worth it to have a quiet place to nap.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 06:00 PM
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Are your two flights on the same booking number (PNR)? If not, there's the problem that BA won't interline luggage, even from BA to BA... at least you won't be able to count on it and that alone could mess up your transit time.

If your flights are all on the same booking number, you are protected and if you don't make it, they will rebook you. If your flights are on different booking numbers, you probably won't be able to get through immigration and recheck your luggage in an hour.

Since they changed the flight time, they should rebook that flight without charging any change fees.

If everything were to go perfectly, you could possibly make it especially from business class, but so often things don't.
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