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Will some kind soul please explain the process of making connecting flights at Heathrow?

Will some kind soul please explain the process of making connecting flights at Heathrow?

Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Will some kind soul please explain the process of making connecting flights at Heathrow?

Yes, I've read that Heathrow is terrible, and that making connections at Heathrow is terrible and frustrating and close to impossible. But the tickets have been purchased and we have a connection at Heathrow, so we have to deal with it.

I've printed out the "Connecting at Heathrow" info from BA's website, but it gives precious little info. We'll be arriving into LHR on "Iberia operated by British Airways" from Barcelona-I've been told into Terminal 1. We'll be departing from Terminal 3 on AA to O'Hare (then Dallas). Everything is ticketed on one ticket through AA.

Can a kind person please take me through the process? I assume that our luggage will be checked through. Do we have to go through passport control? Since we leave one terminal and go to another, I guess we leave the secured aread and have to go through the metal detector again? What is "flight connections" that seems to be the longest step on the process (happens before the transfer bus)?

A step by step explanation would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Follow signs to "Flight Connection Centre" then get on the right bus.

Apart from passing through security at your departure terminal (THIS means ONE PIECE of hand luggage) that's about it.

see the information on http://tinyurl.com/psry7 which is from the Heathrow Airport website.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Once you arrive at Heathrow, you will need to transfer (by bus) from your arrival terminal to your departing terminal. (It never seems to be the same terminal) Then you go through security again--everyone does. Then you wait in a common area until they tell you what gate your departing flight is at (sometimes they don't tell you until 30 minutes before the flight) and when you get to the gate, you might need to go through security again.

I assume your bags will be transfered automatically because they are checked through.

It really isn't that bad.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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should be "Apart from passing through security before you get on the bus..."
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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So the "Flight Connections Centre" is where you go through "customs and security"? The Heathrow site says, "On arrival, head for the Flight Connections Centre. Pass through customs and security, then visit our airline desks before taking a coach to the departure gate."

Why do you need to go through security to get OFF the plane? Then you go through another security checkpoint at the next terminal? Or is "security" actually passport control?

And why does one need to visit their airline desks? Will I need to get a boarding pass there for the next leg?
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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<<< Why do you need to go through security to get OFF the plane? >>>

You aren't you have to pass through UK security in order to get to the departure area - even if it's the same terminal.

You MAY need to visit the airline desks if you don't have the boarding card for the next leg of your flight, if you don't have a boarding card then you can't go through security.

And in the UK "Customs" are the people who look at your possessions, "immigration" are the people who decide if you are to be allowed into the UK or taken away to a small room and interrogated.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I'm having a bad night, you are allowed through security if you have a valid flight ticket but you may need to go to an airline desk for a boarding card or some other form of assistance
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Sorry-still not making sense. Maybe if I restate what I think you're saying...

Get off plane.

Follow signs to "Flight Connections."
At Flight Connections:

go through another metal detector?
go through passport control?
go through customs?

Then - perhaps - go to the ticket counter - but maybe only if we need boarding passes?

Then get on bus.

Go though security again.

Wait for gate number to be announced.

Is that right?
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Hi Missypie,

From what I've heard, saying a few prayers or buildig up a lot of good karma in advance is helpful!

Buona fortuna!
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Hi missypie,
I just went through Heathrow for the first time, en route to and coming back from Nairobi. It was really not a big deal - just a matter of following the signs. We were coming from Stuttgart so we had to transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 (or vice versa - I can't keep them straight). It is really no big deal - you just follow the signs, and there are plenty of people around to ask for help if you need it. The info on the website makes it look more complicated than it really is. And it's England, so of course everyone speaks English! Hopefully you'll already have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, so all you need to do is find your gate. Yes, there are several security checks that seem redundant - you just deal with them. Honestly, I didn't find it nearly as difficult as trying to navigate my way around Charles de Gaulle. You'll be fine!
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Funny you should mention CDG....While there, we never quite knew WHAT line we were waiting in, or if we even need to be in that line. I have a fear of standing in unnecessary lines. The Heathrow web site says "visit our airline desks" - not "visit our airline desks if you don't have a boarding pass." But you're right-being able to communicate in English should be a plus.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Hi missypie,

I have just a vague-jetlagged memory of the proper sequence, but I'm pretty sure it went like this:

Get off plane.

Long walk ``to connection centre''

Shuttle bus to other terminal.

Arrive at connection centre.

Some sort of customs/immigration/security ritual.

Airline desks. One time we didn't have to stop because we had boarding passes, the other time everybody had to re-check in, and answer security questions, whether or not we had boarding passes. There is an information desk and you can ask.

Wait in general area until gate number is announced.

Go to gate.

Sometimes take bus to board the plane.


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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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missypie, I know I'm having a bad night readin' and ritein' but where, in the link I provided does it say a) you pass through security twice or b) pass through passport control aka immigration?

You follow signs to Flight Connection centre, go through Security, pass the Customs desk (rarely manned) then get on a bus to the other terminal.

End of story.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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It all depends on what airlines you are arriving and departing from. If it's the One World both ways with BA as a partner, and the connection is tight, then someone from BA will be there and help you to the next departing flight. It's happened with me many times, particularly with a tight connection. In my last trip they personally escorted about 12 of us from one terminal to another.

Google up a map of LHR and figure out if you have to change terminals or not. This part is very important. Once you do that, figure out if you have to change terminals or not. Plan ahead and save a lot of confusion and mistakes.

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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Right now, from what AA and BA is telling me, we have to get from terminal 1 to terminal 3.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Tell them you are on your honeymoon and they will rush you directly to your flight!
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Traveling with kids ages 16, 14 and 11, I doubt that we could pass for honeymooners.
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