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Heathrow T5 - enough time to make connecting flights ?

Heathrow T5 - enough time to make connecting flights ?

Oct 6th, 2009, 12:43 PM
  #1  
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Heathrow T5 - enough time to make connecting flights ?

I will be flying from Toronto to St. Petersberg Russia connecting through Heathrow Terminal 5. Both flights into and out of Heathrow are on British Airways, both flights arrive and depart from Terminal 5, and are 1 hour and 15 minutes apart. British Airways has OK'ed and ticketed the connection.

I thought that the worse problem I might have (if any) with an hour and a quarter inbetween would be that of my luggage not making it off one plane and on to the next (even though it will be checked through to St. P from Toronto) until I spoke to someone who regularly flies through T5 from NY to Beijing.
He said that the luggage would be fine but that my problem might be getting MYSELF from one gate to the next. When asked to explain, he said that connecting passengers at T5 don't simply walk from the arriving gate to the new departing one, but - even though you'd think that transit passengers are contained in a secured area of the terminal with an onward Boarding pass in hand, - all passengers are required to go all the way round and down and re-check themselves through security and other formalities, in long, slow moving lines of other general outbound passengers, and thats where I could be cutting it close to make my next flight.

Can anyone who has connected through T5 recently confirm if this is true and if so whats the best strategy to cover the check-in process quickly ?
Mathieu is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 01:27 PM
  #2  
 
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If BA ticketed the itinerary they are responsible for getting you to LED regardless of delays not caused by you.

You should get your boarding pass for LED when you check in at YYZ. When you get off the plane at T5 you walk with all the other arriving passengers toward passport control, then shortly before you get to the passport control area you branch off where it says "international flight connections" or something equally straightforward. You then go through typical security screening (x-ray of hand luggage) etc. and then off you go into the T5 shopping mall.

If you were changing terminals it would be a slightly different process, but if both are through T5 it shouldn't be any problem at all. I don't think 1h 15m is too short.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 6th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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I can't offer any answers about getting through the airport, but do remember that if you have a possibly tight connection to have enough in your carryon for a day or so at your destination. I.e. meds, clean undies, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, etc.

Good luck and have fun!
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 03:29 PM
  #4  
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Thanks Gardyloo. If its as you describe, I'm fine with that, as thats how I imagined it to be.
I will be ticketed all the way to LED from YYZ. I was concerned with my friend's story as he described the 'having to go all the way down and re-check-in' (with hand luggage only) in great detail and he does this trip once every 2 months. Maybe it has something to do with the particulars of his flights and destinations.
And yes I knew that BA is responsible for getting me to my final destination if they've approved the itinerary.

Thanks too, Iowa. I always do that anyway. On this vacation, I'm experimenting with my newly improved photography skills (bigger camera, more lenses) and so have been looking for a proper camera bag that can not only hold the equipment, but also enough clothing and toiletries for a day or 2, so as to have just 1 piece of hand baggage. Its been quite an adventure trying to find something that fits the bill !
Mathieu is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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There IS an odd piece of bureaucracy on T5 BA-BA transfers.

Once off the plane, you follow signs, as Gardyloo says, for Flight Connections. You then have to show your ticket to a member of BA staff, before going through the transfer area security check.

BA's check is for a number of things, and their process normally takes a few seconds - but obviously can be delayed if more people arrive in the queue than they'd allowed for.

However, even allowing for this strange extra inconvenience, BA set connection times at T5 at 60 mins. The check may understandably irritate your friend - but I've never heard of anyone missing a plane because of it, and it's not the case that you have to re-check in.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 04:33 AM
  #6  
 
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I have just (Sept) made the exact connection timewise and while we succeeded it was not pleasant. We were ticked from PHL thru LHR on to NCE with the same time frame, all on BA.

I have some suggestions for you - make sure you get off the plane ASAP - we were way back in cattle class and so had to elbow our way up front as quickly as possible. Of course our plane didn't land at a gate so we had to take a bus to the terminal which slowed things down considerably. Once we reached the terminal we literally RAN thru to the Connections desk where we had our passports checked. Here is the key element - they have a "Fast Track" lane for business class and above types - show your connecting boarding pass and make sure you get into this line (begging and pleading if necessary). It allows you to bypass the hordes of people snaking around in a queue to take the escalators up to security. Once you get up to the security area, again wave your boarding pass around and make sure they let you get into the shortest line. In Sept they were making us take off our shoes, so be prepared for that and get those liquids out. we then sprinted thru the terminal to get to our gate. I was somewhat winded(!) when we arrived at the plane.

We were the last ones on the plane and we only made it because we ran/elbowed/made general pains of ourselves. You won't make the connection if you're polite (well, you don't have to be rude, but you need to be determined).

That being said, our luggage made it with no problems and was first off the plane in Nice. Also, I'm pretty sure it's BA's problem if you miss the plane, so I'm guessing you should be able to get the next flight without too much trouble.

I will not be booking that tight of a connection again.
telechick is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 07:11 AM
  #7  
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Thats very useful information Telechick, and I have been forwarned.
Since my flight gets in to T5 at 7.55am I can probably expect to encounter peak crowds. Its also good to know that I may have to deal with a bus ride to the terminal, so I may seek a seat as close to the plane and bus exits as I can.

Even though I know it may be BA's problem if I miss the connection I really don't want to as it only cuts down on my time in St.P

Thank you all for your perspectives and experiences.
Mathieu is offline  

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