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-   -   Heathrow Airport (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/heathrow-airport-882815/)

az530 Mar 20th, 2011 11:11 AM

Heathrow Airport
 
when traveling back to the states from Heathrow, how much time should we really allow to get through security and to the gate area??

BigRuss Mar 20th, 2011 11:24 AM

2.5 hours minimum.

surfmom Mar 20th, 2011 11:39 AM

last time I came back, the line at the gate was horrible - they unpacked every single thing out of every carryon. I don't know if they are still doing that? but it took a long time.

The downside is that once you are through that last check, the gate has nothing in it- only non-operable vending machines, no toilets, etc.

berhbs Mar 20th, 2011 11:41 AM

2- 3 hours. Never had any problems going through security. Altho' lines can be long

RonDace Mar 20th, 2011 12:41 PM

Give youself PLENTY of time. And if you don't need all of the time you have alloted, there are plenty of shops for last-minute items before you go to your gate.

az530 Mar 20th, 2011 12:44 PM

thank you all for your comments. I'm going to allow at least 3 hours.

qwovadis Mar 20th, 2011 12:44 PM

Took me over an hour just in lines plus xport between gates

when through there last May probably 2 1/2 hours.

Lines upon lines very poorly organized.

Allow 3 hours minimum unless connecting through on BA.com.

A little smoother though not much.

Doing this in 2 weeks on the way to Rome with them

I am not looking forward to it but free with FF miles

so will have to suck it up.

Weekender Mar 20th, 2011 02:00 PM

Just returned from London today. Took about 10 minutes to go thru security at Terminal 1 at 8:30 AM which was unusually fast. Departed from Gate 32 which is about a 10-15 minute walk.

xyz123 Mar 20th, 2011 02:30 PM

Security comes in different sizes and shapes; especially as I noted elsewhere on flights to the USA. Because of its paranoia, the US government requires more stringent security than the flimsy security some international airports provide but not really Heathrow. Most of the carriers to the USA now have machines where you check in and for the most part, there aren't very long queues. Then you go through whatever normal Heathrow security is and it's the usual take the laptops out of the case, take off your belts your jackets and whatever through a scanning machine. This is highly variable...I've been through in 5 minutes and I've been through in 25 minutes. All passengers go through the same screening here. Then you go into the departure lounge and wait for them to post the gate...gates for flight to the USA generally open 90 minutes before departure....you walk to the gate where you are asked several questions and may or may not have a further "random" search where they wand you, go through your carry ons again (I had mine gone through by the Heathrow people...I had a few electronic adapters and a couple of cameras....no problem, never mind that)...it's the unnecessary one at the gate for US flights ordered by the US government that bothers me...Heathrow does a pretty doggone good job. In any event, I would leave 2.5 hours....you can always sit in the departure lounge and shop or eat.

Weekender Mar 20th, 2011 02:33 PM

You should also take into consideration boarding time. Boarding began today 45 minutes prior to departure and we pulled away from the gate 5 minutes before scheduled departure.

hsv Mar 20th, 2011 03:22 PM

I am amazed at the recommendations you are getting.
I'd do the online check-in (so just bag drop at the airport) and then be there at max. 1.5 hours prior to departure.
Everything longer than that is excessive in my opinion, will just bore anyone half sane stiff and will unnecessarily prolong what's a long day of travel anyway.

xyz123 Mar 20th, 2011 03:30 PM

hsv.....checking in is the least of the problems on flights to the USA out of LHR...unless you have only carry ons you still have to go through lhr security and that is where the longest queues occur....

Underhill Mar 20th, 2011 03:43 PM

It's not just the lines to go through security--sometimes one's gate is quite far from where security ends. It took us close to half an hour to reach our AA gate last December, as it was at the far end of the terminal.

hsv Mar 20th, 2011 11:26 PM

xyz123,
I travel out of LHR to the US on a regular basis. And of course one has to go through security - whether one has check-in luggage or a carry-on only. My experience is 1.5 hours is enough.
I do admit that I have never needed more than about 10 min - 15 min. to reach any gate at LHR T1 - T3 and T4 after security.

Italyagain Mar 21st, 2011 11:40 AM

I will never ever fly into Heathrow for a connecting flight without 2 1/2 hrs ever again. I have had to sweat those lines and beg and run too many times. That security bottleneck is horrible.

arundex Mar 21st, 2011 11:50 AM

Average time to consider to get to gate area is 2 hours. Sometimes, it may be sooner than that. But, most of the time it takes around 2 hours, probably more.

BigRuss Mar 21st, 2011 02:00 PM

Italyagain: Huh? Were you going from US to Europe (customs in UK to meet a connection) or reverse (flight transfer only)?

I'd think Europe to US and connecting through LHR wouldn't suck as long as your intra-Europe and transatlantic flights are arriving and departing at the same terminal.


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