Transfer between Heathrow terminals

Old Mar 7th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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Transfer between Heathrow terminals

I booked airline tickets to travel with my 2 young infants thru Heathrow to Chicago, USA. I didn't notice till later that we only have 1.5 hours of transit time and I'm concerned that it won't be enough to transfer between terminals. We will be arriving on British airways to terminal 4 on a Friday at 2:50 PM and have to depart on United airline from Terminal 3 at 4:20. Would appreciate any opinion about the risk of missing our flight. Do we have to go thru security again when we change terminals and how far are they from each other. Thanks, Sarah
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Are you booked on one ticket or 2 separate tickets? If you have 2 separate tickets, you WILL NOT make it. You will have to go thru immigration and pick up your luggage and then go to United to check in your luggage and get your boarding passes.

1.5 hrs is pretty tight. The minimum connection time between Term 4 and 3 is listed as 90 minutes. It usually takes me less time than that to connect but with 2 infants you may need all the itme you can get. If your arriving BA flight is late, you most likely will not make it.

Yes you do have to go thru security again. Security at LHR has been taking much longer than it used to with the new procedures. That being said, what I experienced was going into the terminal after check-in, not the security with connections. Don't know if this is also much slower.

You will have to take a shuttle bus to get from one terminal to the other.
You will also have to go to the United connections desk to get your boarding passes. BA cannot issue those, even on one ticket.

If you have 1 ticket, make sure BA checks your luggage all the way thru to Chicago. They may resist but with one ticket they are SUPPOSED to do it. Insist on it. Check the luggage tags after they are put on to make sure they are for your final destination.

If you are on one ticket and miss you flight because of a late BA flight, I believe BA will be responsible for getting you home. Happened to me with Lufthansa. I would have missed my connection because of a late LF flight. They saw this ahead of time and put me on a different connecting flight (not LF or even * alliance).
However, if you are on separate tickets and miss your second flight, you will be responsible for finding your own way home, i.e., arranging for new tickets, paying any differnce in costs and for any fees. BA's responsibility to you ends when the get you to LHR.

Any chance you could change your ticket? High probability you will miss your connection to Chicago if your first plane is late.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for the advise. I should have my boarding passes for the 2 parts of the trip and my luggage should be checked to the final destination so no need to check it again.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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as I've posted on another thread, I am pretty much in the same boat. I booked with VA with a connection at LHR on Ba on my way to Paris. It's all on one ticket and I only have 1.5 hours between flights. Both airlines have told me that they will not through check my bags and initially both denied responsiblity if I missed the connecting flight. Called VA back and supposedly it is noted in my reservation that they will take the responsiblity. Now tonight, I was looking at the VA website, and there is a statement about connecting flights on one ticket will be through checked. A consistent answer would sure be welcome from these airlines.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 08:45 PM
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With two small children and a T4 > T3 connection of 1.5 hours, I think the chances are, sadly, very high that you'll miss the ongoing flight. BA are highly unlikely to agree to through-check your bags (they are under intense criticism worldwide about this but haven't yet cracked.) They may or may not issue your Boarding Pass when you originate (- where?)

Having to do your own baggage transfer between T4 and T1/2/3 is just awful and not a good idea for someone with babies.

Here's what I'd do.

First, if they issue you BPs and through check your bags at your check-in point, then fine and no further issues. I would seriously plead my case with the BA check-in agent (or a supervisor) when you arrive at the first airport. If you don't have to re-check bags, then you go to the Flight Connections Centre and follow the signs to T3 buses; there will be a security check but 1.5 hours will be ample time.

If you have to collect and re-check bags at LHR, I think you should go to one of the information desks or look for a green phone kiosk and phone for the "Heathrow Help Bus" - a service (free I think) that will take you by bus to T3.

I would only embark on a do-it-yourself transfer as a last resort - bag trolly, lift to Heathrow Express train, long walk through tunnel to T3 lift, bag check, security check, yadda yadda. Awful.

Notwithstanding all the above, is there an earlier BA flight you could catch? Your UA flight is the last one of the day so if you miss it it's overnight in London. So I would check out your initial departure and phone BA to tell them about your problem.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 10:28 PM
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". . .my luggage should be checked to the final destination so no need to check it again."

Who told you this? Or are you just assuming? Please pay close attention to what Gardyloo has said. BA is about the least cooperative airline when it comes to through checking.

(namaka: just FYI - I'd guess you are talking about Virgin Atlantic. If so, its code is VS, not VA.)
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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The official word is 70min:

http://www.heathrowairport.com/
then "Airport Information"
then "Connections" under Quick Links at right
then "connecting passengers/terminal 4"

But I did this just last fall and it took me 80min. No, I did not get lost.

What took time?

The terminal 4 is large. I walked and walked and walked before getting to the shuttle bus stop.

Then I had to wait in "queue" to get on the bus.

Terminal 4 and 3 are NOT close to each other.

Yes, you DO HAVE to go thru security again!

When I saw a long security line upon arriving terminal 3, I didn't think I would make it.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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My tickets are all issued by United and unfortunatly they're non-refundable. United custmoer service assured me that they'll be responsible to put me on another flight if the first flight is delayed or I couldn't make it on time. They all said that my luggage should be checked all the way to my final destination. After what I read now I'm getting really worried and I'm really not sure if I should trust what United is telling me now.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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I've read that you can transfer between terminals 3 & 4 using either the heathrow express or the shuttle bus. Which one is usually faster and closer to the gates?
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Take the shuttle bus. This is dedicated for transfering passengers. They leave as they fill up. And they are quite frequent (no set schedule, just keeps coming).

HEX means you would exit the connections area and go down to the HEX area. It is farther compared to the connections shuttle. HEX runs on a fixed schedule and will not leave until it is time. So it may be 15 minutes before it leaves depending on your timing. The trip takes less than 10 min to get to Term 3. But then you have to go to departures and thru main security when you get to Terminal 3. The last time I went thru departures security, it took nearly an hour just to clear the security line. At that rate, you WILL miss your next flight. However, they do check to see who has flights leaving soon and will move those people towards the head of the line. But remember, you are only bypassing the line somewhat. The security procedures themselves are still the same and will NOT be short-cutted.

I have not gone thru the connections security but I imagine it may be a bit quicker.

I'm surprised BA can give you the United boarding passes for your connecting flight. I have always been told that non-partners can't do that, even on one ticket. If that is the case, no worries. The connections desks are immediately after transfer security and are usually very efficient. If you choose to use HEX and don't have your boarding passes already, you will have to go to the departures desk. This will take much longer than connections.
Take the shuttle bus.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 10:18 PM
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The "shuttle bus" that runs from the Flight Connections Centre is for pax who don't need to claim their bags. Pax who have to fetch their bags from one flight and re-check them for another have to go outside security to get bags and then re-check them. For them the HEX (and the special bus for disabled/"special handling" pax) are the options.

Phone BA and explain your problem to them. Maybe they can put a note on your reservation record ("PNR") that can be seen when you check in for your BA flight (where?) so that they can do whatever they can to interline the bags.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 11:34 PM
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I'll be encountering a similar situation. Wow! I didn't realize the hassel, now I might reconsider....

I'm traveling with two older kids, 14 & 9. My flight schedule is like this:

Depart: Paris (CDG), 16-Apr-06 at 10:10 AM Terminal: 1
Arrive: London (LHR), 16-Apr-06 at 10:25 AM Terminal: 1
Flight: bmi 174

Depart: London (LHR), 16-Apr-06 at 3:00 PM Terminal: 3
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX), 16-Apr-06 at 6:35 PM Terminal: 2
Flight: Virgin Atlantic 23

I should have plenty of time for the transer, but would it be easier if I took the train from Paris to London through Chunnel instead of flying to avoid the hassel of collecing luggages and transporting between Terminal 1 and 3? If so, what's the easiest way to get from Waterloo to Heathrow? Thanks.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 03:00 AM
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"would it be easier if I took the train from Paris to London through Chunnel instead of flying to avoid the hassel of collecing luggages and transporting between Terminal 1 and 3? "

Not in a milion zillion years.

Do you know for certain you'll have to collect your bags anyway? My experience with bmi is that they've been very happy to do interline transfers on separate tickets.

T1 to T3 is about 400 yards. Even if you do have to collect your bags, it's about the same distance as from the train at Waterloo to the taxi rank. As is the walk from the LHR railway and tube stations to T3.

The following 20 miles from Waterloo to LHR is across Europe's largest and most congested city. There's any number of threads here about how to do it: it's a choice between a £50-70 taxi ride and a number of 45-75 minute bus/train/tube combinations.

And, BTW, my experience of Eurostar is I've never been on one that's punctual.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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The tough connections at LHR are between Terminal 4 and anywhere else. It sits on the opposite side of the airport from T1/2/3.

And the baggage interlining issues are overwhelmingly related to British Airways. Other airlines may or may not interline bags through LHR, but BA is very reluctant to do so when connecting to a non-BA airline. Even though BA's internal regulations require them to interline between Oneworld partners (AA, Finnair, Iberia, Cathay, Qantas, Lan, Aer Lingus) regardless of one ticket or two, they still won't most of the time, and raging against them is pretty much like yelling at the wind. It's one of the reasons I try to avoid LHR if possible. Sadly, I'm seldom successful.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Cotswold: I've never flown BMI and have no clue of the distance from T1 to T3. Thanks for reassuring that flying from Paris to Heathrow is a better choice.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Terminals 1, 2 & 3 at LHR are next to each other and are connected by a maze of tunnels with the Bus station & Tube station sitting in the middle. If you are groundside it's not more than 10 minutes between any of them
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Those interested in BA's position on interlining might like to try wading through the following:

http://www.iata.org/NR/ContentConnec...nfidential.pdf

As far as I can tell - and I used the word 'wade' above advisedly, this is a long document! - whether BA will interline the bags depends on whether they believe the customer has paid for a class or type of ticket that covers the costs of the interline service. They use the term "IATA interlineable ticket" whatever that is. (I'd always assumed this was a single itinerary ticket).



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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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I'm flying AA to Heathrow (Terminal 3) and connecting with a BA flight (code share w/AA) on to MUC (Terminal 1).

I have a 90 minute connection. Can I assume my luggage will be checked all the way thru to Munich?

I understand I will have to go thru immigration at Terminal 3 then back thru security at Terminal 1, correct?

Will I have plenty of time to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 so I can relax and have a pint prior to boarding the BA flight?

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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Budman,
If you are all on one ticket, AA should thru check your bags to MUC. AA and BA are partners and according to BA's own web-site they will thru-check partners.
Since they are partners, AA should be able to link your tickets even if you have separate tickets. AA should be able to give you the boarding passes for your onward flight, esp since it's a codeshare.
You will NOT have to go thru immigration. You will do that when you reach MUC. But you will have to go thru security again when you change terminals. 90 minutes should be fine.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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Are you sure about immigration or do you mean customs? I will be arriving from the States to an International Terminal and then transferring to the Domestic/EU terminal. I know I have to go thru Customs in Munich.
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