heathrow airport maze

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Mar 5th, 2010, 10:01 PM
  #1
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heathrow airport maze

I'm wondering what the the procedure is when getting off the plane at Heathrow and proceeding to check out...immigration, bag pick up and then out...just that?
Are the queues clearly marked? someone alarmed me by saying that you can easily get on the wrong queue because there are queues everywhere.
Coming from Australia with an Australian passport.
Someone's meeting me after all that to drive me to my hotel.
Thanks for any info you can give me.
moonrise
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Mar 5th, 2010, 10:11 PM
  #2
 
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All I can think of is the (possible) queue at passport control. You will get there automatically if you follow signs for baggage reclaim. For an English-speaking person I can not imagine any difficulties navigating Heathrow airport. Once you picked up your luggage, you walk through customs area (spot controls, most people can just walk through without any delay).
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Mar 6th, 2010, 02:47 AM
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LHR is big and busy, but you'll doubtless find the arrivals procedure a great deal faster and less frustrating than when entering your native Australia :0)

When you get off the plane, follow the signs to "Baggage Reclaim", ignoring (in your particular case) the alternative flow of people heading towards the "Flight Connections Centre". Then you'll pass thru UK Immigration: the only significant queues arriving at LHR are at this point (and make sure you get in the right queue for non-EU nationals, which is clearly marked).

After that, you head for the baggage reclaim carousels, pick up your stuff and go through the appropriate customs channel(which unless you've attracted unusual suspicions on the various CCTV's, is normally a non-event which you pass straight through).

You then pass thru a small arrivals duty free shop (you'll begin to realise that LHR is basically operated as a shopping centre first, an international airport second). Then your're out the doors into the arrivals area where you can meet the person waiting for you.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 03:08 AM
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Just make sure you know which terminal you are arriving at to tell your friend where to pick you up. And make sure you actually arrive at that terminal.

I once had the experience of going into the immigration line for terminal 2 (I think) when I should have gone to the one for terminal 3 (I think). They were both accessible from the same corridor coming from the gate at which our flight was deposited, and the closest one turned out to be for the wrong terminal. I didn't realize this was a possibility, so I probably wasn't paying as close attention to the signs as I should have.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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I haven't ever found Heathrow particularly confusing. You just follow the signs like at any other big airport.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 12:57 PM
  #6
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Thank you so very much. What a great group on this forum...sound , clear replies.You have allayed any doubts I had.I've never had problems at airports before and wondered what the fuss was when told how puzzling Heathrow was. I take my time and read the signs and if in doubt I check with anyone standing around looking a bit official so I'm sure now armed with your directions it should be a breeze!
Thanks so much!
moonrise
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Mar 6th, 2010, 10:22 PM
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The problem Nikki recounts doesn't exist any more (half a dozen gates were shared between T1 and T2, but T2's now closed and neither terminal's ever handled flights from Australia anyway).

I suspect the real confusion is that Britain has for decades let some people from outside these islands use the "UK citizens" passport queue. Till 30 years ago that included Australians: it doesn't any more, and some Australians resent finding they have queue up with Americans and similar lowlifes while Estonians and Bulgarians go through with us.

What they don't understand is that over half the foreigners arriving here share the UK queue, which typically has two checkout operators, while the minority of travellers who use the non-UK queue get anywhere between 10 and 20 people to process them.

But since we exported the last of them years ago, most of the world's whingers are now in Oz, our queue system is the first thing they find when they come here, they're hard-wired to find something to whine about, so they choose the queues as focus for doing what they do best.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 10:29 PM
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The whole thing is a snap. Easy. Don't sweat it. Plus, you speak English so you can read the signs!
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Mar 7th, 2010, 02:04 PM
  #9
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This is most reassuring! Thank you flanneruk and Surfergirl.
Yes, some people will complain about anything.I'm so looking forward to my trip to England and can't imagine I'll have any hassles. If I do, I'll just think it is part of trip and see the funny side.That's what I've doen in the past...cockroaches in the bed on one island holiday which was a hoot with me in the dead of night chasing and swatting these quick-silver insects!I go on trips for enjoyment not to whine as some people who like to pick all the time.
Anyway, so called problems make entertaining dinner tales!
Thanks for your up to date info.
moonrise
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Mar 7th, 2010, 10:21 PM
  #10
 
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The main problem with LHR is that anyway you want to go is invariably a long way from where your are starting from.

I've come to the conclusion that LHR is a front for the Health Mafia who are trying to get people to walk more
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