Heathrow Arrivals Time

Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:30 PM
  #1  
Aaron
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Heathrow Arrivals Time

Hi,

I'm arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3 at 7am from the US at the end of December. What exactly is the arrival procedure?

How long will it take? I have heard 5 min... and I have heard allow 2 hours. I need to be in central London around 9:30am, so I am hoping allowing 75 minutes at Heathrow and 75 minutes in car to London is sufficient.

I welcome any tips as well as time estimates.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:36 PM
  #2  
Grasshopper
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I am guessing that if your flight is ontime you will have plenty of time. Aaron, if it's just you and you don't have a bunch of luggage I would recommend you consider Heathrow Express. It takes 15 or 20 minutes to get to Paddington and you can take a taxi from there to your location. In the morning there can be a ton of traffic between Heathrow and Central London. I've had it take well over an hour.

Also, nearly every time I've arrived at Heathrow it's been ahead of schedule (SFO to LHR). It's a bit of a walk to customs, and the line has been as long as 15 minutes there but I've never taken more than 30 minutes to exit the airport. The only reason you would not make your schedule is if your flight is late.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #3  
xxx
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If having a car is not absolutely necessary , you can save a LOT of time by taking the Heathrow Express into London, the train runs every 15 minutes and the trip is 15 minutes in duration. Then after you arrive at Paddington Station, you can take a tazi to your destination.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:43 PM
  #4  
xxx
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Grasshopper and I were sending our messages at the same time . LOL
You can even save more time , buy your train ticket while on the train.. £15.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:13 PM
  #5  
Aaron
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I'm traveling with one other person, and its between Xmas and New Years... will rush hour traffic be lighter? I'm trying to get to Waterloo for a Eurostar train. The problem I hear with taking Heathrow Express to Paddington is cabs have a long wait, or the tube is a long ride. I have been told a car service for 40 pounds (for 2 people) is best cause it is door to door.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:16 PM
  #6  
Grasshopper
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Aaron, I've never waited more than a few minutes for a cab at Paddington. Even with two people I'd take the train. It is SO much faster than a car. If it's M-F the traffic is likely to be heavy.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:18 PM
  #7  
xxx
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Oh..does the Eurostar depart at 9:30 ? Or is that the time you have been told to be there to clear security, etc?
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:24 PM
  #8  
David
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Aaron

The rush hour traffic will be much lighter between xams and New Years - almost non-existent
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:48 PM
  #9  
Nigel Doran
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If there are two, then a £40 car ride sounds best. It will cost you £30 for the Heathrow Express and then about another £10 for the trip to Waterloo. The car will be door-to-door and you'll have a chance to have a sit down. And if you're wondering about tipping, two or three pounds is adequate. (It's optional, but most people do leave a couple of quid.) Traffic will be lighter than usual, but it won't be that quiet.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:26 PM
  #10  
Aaron
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I was told to be at Waterloo around 930... 945 at the latest.

Whats the deal with Heathrow arrivals procedure itself? What does it entail? How long?
 
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:26 PM
  #11  
Aaron
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I was told to be at Waterloo around 930... 945 at the latest.

Whats the deal with Heathrow arrivals procedure itself? What does it entail? How long?

Also, I'm leaning towards a car service.. any recommendations?
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:25 AM
  #12  
Gordon R
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Arrivals procedure is pretty straightforward ,but can be time-consuming early in the morning when most of the trans-atlantic flights get in:

1. Disembark plane and follow signs to Arrivals (take care not to divert to the "Flight Connections Centre" by mistake). Depending on what gate you arrive at, this can take between 5 and 15 minutes.

2. In arrivals hall, join the queue (line) for "non-EU" passport holder (I'm assuming you're a US citizen). Have your passport and completed landing card ready for inspection. You will eventually be processed by an immigrations clerk and will have your passport stamped. Times vary enormously , but likely to be 10 minutes wait.

3. Proceed to the baggage reclaim hall (from memory, this is on the floor below the arrivals hall in T3). Trolleys (free) are available at bottom of escalators. Check which carousel your luggage will be on from the overhead monitors. Depending on how long you spent in the immigration queue, this can be a longish wait - say 20 minutes.

4. Having collected your luggage, pass through the Green customs lane (assuming you don't have anything that requires declaration - unlikely). Assuming you don't get stopped by a customs officer, you'll exit through a small duty free shop into the airport arrivals area. Should take 3 minutes if not stopped, 20 minutes plus if stopped.

5. Meet up with your driver if you decide to book a transfer in advance (and this is a good idea if you have lots of luggage or are daunted by the prospect of using public transport). Otherwise follow the overhead signs to the onward transportation of your choice.

All said, expect minimum one hour from disembarking to getting out of the airport - your 75 minute estimate looks OK as long as there are no unusual immigration/customs/baggage delays.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 04:01 AM
  #13  
Ira
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Hi Aaron,

May I ask why you are flying into London if your destination is Paris?

 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 05:20 AM
  #14  
ron
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That is an excellent and accurate step-by-step description by Gordon R. I would only add two things.

As he infers, steps 2 & 3, immigration hall and baggage collection, will take about half an hour, which may be 10 minutes in the hall and 20 minutes waiting for luggage or 30 minutes in hall and no wait for luggage.

Second, he is a bit cryptic in step 5, “Meet up with your driver...”. As you exit the customs area, you will see about 200 car service drivers holding hand printed signs with client’s names on them. If you have booked ahead, one of those signs will have your name on it.

If you want to spend £40 for a car service, that’s cool, do it. If you would rather spend about £5 each to get to Waterloo, leaving you £30 for other things, take the 285 bus to Feltham train station and train from there directly into Waterloo. Buses every 10 minutes and 6 trains per hour, transit time 40 to 60 minutes, depending on connections and road traffic to Feltham.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 06:56 AM
  #15  
Lori
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I can't imagine why you'd fly to Heathrow and then go all the way into London to take the Eurostar when you are already at an airport with hourly flights to Paris ... it makes no sense. But since you have already made the arrangements I'd take a car service to Waterloo. Traffic will be light over the holidays and it is worth it in convenience. Anytime there are more then 2 of you it is more economical and less hassle. We've gotten through immigration in just a few minutes and other times it over an hour - it depends on the lines, number of flights landing, how closely they are questioning people, etc. Getting baggage can also be one of those 5 min. waits, or 50 min. waits. We've had both. If it is not too late (if you have not actually bought your Eurostar ticket) I'd get a flight over to Paris and then take a taxi into the city from CDG.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 11:06 AM
  #16  
kate
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I've taken a car service before (when someone else paid) and it's convenient if you're really tired and have lots of bits of luggage, but I'm not sure you'll save a lot of time. My driver picked me up at arrivals, but then we had to walk to the car, get it out of parking and then the drive into the city took at least an hour (but this was rush hour). I frequently take car services from central London to the airport - without rush hour, the drive is about 25-40 minutes.

So, let's do the math. Heathrow Express:

Arrive and get through customs and luggage: best case about 15 minutes, worst case (arriving at the same time as other jumbo jets full of non-EU passengers) about an hour. Probably about 30 minutes.

Walk to Heathrow Express: a bit less than 10 minutes. Travel to Paddington - best case 20 minutes, worst case 40 minutes (if you just missed a train). Probably 30 minutes.

Get off the train and find a cab. Probably 10 minutes max.

Cab it to Waterloo: best case 15 minutes, worst case 30 minutes. The tube is probably the same amount of time.

Car Service: Instead of "walk to Heathrow Express", you've got "find your driver and then find his car": probably 10 minutes. Then 30 minutes to 75 minutes to get to Waterloo.

If you want to pre-order a cab (much cheaper), try Swiss Cottage Cars: 011 44 7431 2700. They'll probably want you to fax them your flight details. Cost - about $25-40 pounds (depending on wait time, etc.)

Note - if you're doing this trip in reverse, I would strongly recommend booking a car service to the airport. It's about the same price as Heathrow Express tickets plus cab/taxi fare ($21 from central London) - and there are some service disruptions at Baker St station (the station you'd pass through if you came North from Waterloo on your way to Paddington).
 
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