Heathrow Airport - transfers and time

Old Jul 24th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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Heathrow Airport - transfers and time


I will be traveling Budapest Airport to London-Heathrow on British Airways but will be connecting to United Airlines for my continued journey to IAD Dulles. I do not have a EU passport, being an American citizen, and was wondering if there is ample time to retrieve luggage, proceed through UK immigration/customs, and get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1. My connection time between arrival from BUD to departure on UA is a little over two hours. Should I keep this connection or choose the next UA departure which is about 4 hours later? Thank you for your advice and opinion.
bmurphypal is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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I don't think I have the answer but do have a question...why are you retrieving luggage rather than checking through to final destination? Does change of carrier require that? Yes, Heathrow tranfers are time consuming for sure, would think two hour sufficient.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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By all means have your baggage transferred: one less thing to worry about.

When you change terminals you will go through the "Connections" line at the arrival terminal and then be bused to your departure terminal...after a whole lot of walking. When you get to the departure terminal, more walking--but with luck you won't need to clear security, as you will be escorted to and from the bus. Since you're not leaving the terminals (as in heading to the exit) you won't need to go through Immigration and Passport Control.

All this is based on how the system worked last December; I don't have up-to-date info on how things work with Terminal 5 in the equation, but someone else here will know.

On balance, I think a 2-hour connection might be pushing the envelope. There's always the chance that your incoming flight might be late.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Yes why on earth you need to retrieve your luggage at LHR? Do you have 2 separate tickets?
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Old Jul 25th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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Thank you for your information. I must retrieve my baggage because I will be attempting a "stand-by" boarding on United. Thus, I must have them screened in LHR in the event I am denied boarding and the luggage goes without me. I don't believe BA will transfer the bags to UA. Thanks, again.
bmurphypal is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2009, 10:57 PM
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There is no standard rule for baggage connections.

BA generally will NOT through-check bags from their arriving flights TO a non-partner airline - though I believe they sometimes do this for full-fare premium passengers, and it's quite common at LHR for them to accept through-checked bags for mere mortals FROM arriving non-partner airlines

So you almost certainly need to do more than go through customs and immigration: you need to queue up again at T1 to check in - landside - for United by whatever time United require passengers to the US to have checked in. You know what this is in your case: we don't, though Americans are always telling us on this board they need to have checked in two hours before takeoff. Surely they're not ALL total worryworts inventing non-existent rules?

Though, unlike the people the US pays to deter foreign visitors, our immigration service puts 5-10 times as many people onto the job of processing foreigners as they have processing Europeans, it'll still likely take you up to an hour or more to get through immigration, collect your bags and get to the railway station for the train to T1. Unless United says you can check in 30 mins before departure (highly unlikely), you can't make this connection in two hours.
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