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Old 21st January 2007, 03:58 AM   #1
jjpb3
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Default LHR (pre-T5) Airport Guide

Overview:


Given the sprawling mess that is LHR, here's a first attempt at gathering information about it. Please chime in with yours, and I'll incorporate them as soon as I can.

The airport’s website: http://www.heathrowairport.com/

Arriving:

Formalities:

A landing card is required for non-EU, non-Norwegian (cheers, MovieMan ), and non-Swiss citizens. These should be handed out during your flight; if not, ask the cabin crew.

There should a fast track service for business class and first class passengers flying into T1, T3 and T4 on longhaul flights. You'll need the pink form from the cabin crew, and this will entitle you to a quicker passage through immigration compared to the non-EU and non-IRIS (see below) options. Note, however, that some airlines might not be happy for you to take this option if you have an EU passport. I remember a UA FA snatching the fast-track folder away from my hand after I returned the landing card.

Those who travel frequently to the UK can apply for IRIS, which takes a picture of your, yes, iris, so that you can bypass the usual immigration hassles. Applying in T3 was very painless for me, so I heartily recommend this option. IRIS, when it works, saves me time even compared to the EU/Swiss line.

Enrolment details here: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/app...ntopeningtimes .

Tips for those with IRIS clearance. (1) First, don't look into the viewfinder until you see the white light turn on (there will be three potential options, only one of which will turn on). (2) Put your eyes close to the screen then VERY SLOWLY move back. Really, just imagine yourself in a slow-motion world. Ignore the irritating voice message; just move back very slowly so that the machine can catch an image of your irises. The biggest mistake people make is to try to move back quickly to try to center their eyes on the two green dots on the screen. (3) The fastest way to get your iris scanned (IME) is to center your left eye on the correesponding green dot, and then move back slowly so that your right eventually hits the other green dot. (Alternatively, you can use your right eye as the anchor. Same process, though: move back slowly, keeping the anchor eye on the green dot, until the other eye aligns with the other green dot.)

Luggage reclaim: Do priority tags work?

In T3 with the quality airlines (SQ and CX), yes, they work. In all the other cases (IME), it's a roll of the dice.

Transport to Town tips: what’s the best way?

The cheapest way is to use the Underground, which is most convenient if your stop is on the Piccadilly line. (Thanks to jhm for reminding me of an option I use myself. ) This option isn't so convenient if you have heavy luggage and you have to change Tube lines.

The next cheapest and often the most convenient option is to take the Heathrow Express (HEX) into Paddington station, and then take a cab from there to your ultimate destination. This is particularly quick when you arrive at rush hours (0800-1000 and 1700-2000).

The downside to this is that taking the HEX requires a fairly long walk in the subterranean passages beneath LHR. If you have a lot of luggage, you might find that taking a cab (and spending £20-£30 more than with the HEX + cab option) is worth the hassle.

Are there any left luggage services? Where and how much?

Yes, see the website. In T3, it's to the left near where you exit the terminal towards the cab stand. £4 per item per 24 hours.


Departing:

Best way to get back to the airport from town: how much will it cost?

When I'm not laden with luggage, I prefer the cab + HEX option. It's around £40 from Central London. If with heavy luggage, I prefer the cab option, because it requires less huffing and puffing. Cost = £50-60 from Central London.

Which terminal? Who flies out from where?

Summary of key flights:
T1: BA, BD
T2: Most intra-Europe non-BA carriers (e.g., LH, LX, OS)
T3: Asian and North American carriers; SK; VS; BA (LHR-MIA)
T4: BA, QF, KL, SA

See the LHR website for more specifics.

Who has lounges here, and which one can I use?

Highlights:
T1 and T4: BA (for oneworld Sapphires and Emeralds); if you're Sapphire and you're in T4, use the Gate 1 Lounge (see tips below)
T3: *A = London Lounge (run by SK and AC) , SKL , UA; oneworld = CX , AA; KrisFlyer Elite Gold and PPS = VS CH
T2: formally, the LH lounges (note: non-Senator *G will get access only to the business side), but really the lounge situation in T2 is dire


Any immigration forms on departure?

No, but you'll be asked to show your passport after the first security check at T3.


Any airport tax to be paid on departure?

No, it's included in the ticket price.


Is there free internet around somewhere?

AFAIK, only in the lounges. If using SKL wireless, you will need to get the login details from the front desk. At the VS CH, the computer terminals are wireless laptops.


How strict are they with hand luggage here?

As of 7 January 2008, two pieces are allowed: one measuring at most 56 cm x 45 x 25, plus a 'personal item'. Weight isn't regulated by BAA, but it might be by your specific airline. There is no published definition for the size of the 'personal item', so be cautious of the fact that whether your item violates the definition will be within the discretion of the personnel watching the security area.


Security: Laptops out? Shoes off? Tips? Any No-Liquid restrictions?

As of 7 Jan 2008, laptops are no longer required to be taken out of bags. Jackets and coats must be removed, and technically, it's shoes off. I have, however, seen instances when this last requirement was waived.

Per EU regulations, carryon liquids and gels must be in containers no more than 100 ml, all of which must fit inside a closed, transparent, resealable plastic bag (itself no more than 1 liter/1 quart in volume).


Can I smoke in this airport? Where?

None after England banned smoking in enclosed areas.


Anything I should avoid?

Yes, transiting at LHR.


Other general tips

T1: If you're a oneworld Sapphire or Emerald, or travelling in Club Europe, Club World or First Class, use Zone R to check in. Much more civilized, and the security lines are shorter. If you're using the Terraces side of the BA lounge, the upstairs section (head towards the toilets and showers, and you'll see a staircase) is quieter and generally more relaxing.

T2: Arrive as close to your departure time as allowed. This terminal is the pits, and the lounge options suck.

T3: If travelling in Y, arrive to allow for the clueless passengers who hold up the security lines. The best lounge for *A is SQ's (I don't like the food selection at the London Lounge); the best lounge for oneworld is CX's; and the best lounge overall is the VS Clubhouse (accessible to SQ *G even when travelling SQ Y). Good shopping opportunities (I think the Gucci and Bally outlets are particularly good).

T4: If you're OW Sapphire, use BA's Gate 1 Lounge: hot food (mmm, bacon baguettes at breakfast) and window views of the tarmac. If you're OW Emerald, the BA First Class lounge isn't too bad outside the peak hours (early morning, late afternoon / early evening). The bacon sandwiches are larger, the menu selection isn't too shabby, and they often have some special dessert .


Connecting through LHR

Connecting through here:

Sorry, no experience there, thank God. But SQFAN shares his experiences here.

Basically, you follow the signs to the Flight Connection Centre for intra-terminal transfers. Navigating the line can take a VERY long time; it depends on the time of day. Consider yourself warned.


Overnighting at this airport:

Is it possible?

No. You'll have to book a room in the hotel close to the hotel. See this thread for advice.

Last edited by jjpb3; 14th January 2008 at 04:06 PM.. Reason: clarifications
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Old 22nd January 2007, 05:23 AM   #2
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Great first attempt, jjpb3! Just two comments at the moment:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpb3 View Post
The cheapest and generally quickest way is to take the Heathrow Express (HEX) into Paddington station, and then take a cab from there to your ultimate destination.
Perhaps also mention:

(i) Heathrow Connect - I've never taken this but understand it's the same line as the HEX but stopping at some intermediate stations. It may be quicker if going to places in west London convenient from an intermediate station. It's cheaper than the HEX as well.

(ii) the Piccadilly line - actually my preferred option but that's due to my circumstances, i.e. I live at the other end of the Piccadilly line and I only pay a small supplement to get to zone 6 beyond my zones 1-5 travelcard. I find taking the HEX inconvenient because once I get to Paddington and don't want to take a cab, I still have to walk to the tube etc. The Piccadilly line may also be more convenient (and definitely cheaper than the HEX) for those who don't mind lugging their luggage up and down the tube and also are going to central London, e.g. Le Meridien Piccadilly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpb3 View Post
Technically, it's shoes off, but I've seen instances when the requirement was waived.
I understand that the requirement is that only 20% (or thereabouts) of pax have to be screened with shoes off. As such, BAA specify certain security lines as requiring this but obviously don't advertise which ones.

I don't know anything about Heathrow hotels other than for SPG at Heathrow, there's the Sheraton Skyline and the Sheraton Heathrow hotel (with the latter being, I believe, the cheapest SPG in the UK - it's only a category 3).
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Old 22nd January 2007, 06:42 AM   #3
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I've got another tip that does work - if you want to save on a cab fare - hold out a carton of popular cigarettes on the kerbside (away from the taxi rank) - Marlboro Lights usually work, and buy them duty free from wherever it is you're coming from. That's a ride into central london for free.
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Old 22nd January 2007, 07:02 AM   #4
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jjpb3...I can provide some comments on Transiting.

As you have said, it's quite straight forward.

Follow signs to FCC. You will be taken on a bus while will drop you at your terminal. For instance, going from T3 to T1 (Domestic): Bus drops you at T1. Go up the escalators and go through the infamous security check (long long queues depending on time of day). For BA J/F pax (coming from or going to), they have the use of a priority lane. After clearing the security checks, proceed to the relevant counters to get your BP if you have not done so. Then make way to end of the building towards Immigration clearance. After that, continue following the signs to T1. BA facilities are on the left by Gate 5 and the lounge is nearby. BD is on the right and uses Gate8.

If you don't have any FF credentials (ie no lounge access), then a good quiet place to wait is the waiting area at the ned of the terminal near Gate8 on the left. Here, you will have full acess to the views of the tarmac and be able to see planes take off/land (depending on time).

Are you planning to address LHR airport Hotels and how to get about them on Hoppa busses?
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Old 22nd January 2007, 07:10 AM   #5
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Something else to add - whilst you can access other terminals at LHR, you're only entitled to lounge access in the terminal from which your flight departs. It's a BAA rule which the lounges must comply with regardless of any open door policy, e.g. SQ PPS.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 12:40 AM   #6
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Good job, jjpb3.

A tiny addition:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpb3 View Post
Formalities:

A landing card is required for non-EU and non-Swiss or Norwegian citizens. These should be handed out during your flight; if not, ask the cabin crew!
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Old 23rd January 2007, 03:27 AM   #7
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Revision duly incorporated, MovieMan.

So, Norway remains outside the EU? Goes to show you my knowledge of European politics is, well, probably outdated.

Thanks for sharing your experience, SQFAN. And thanks to you too, jhm.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 09:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpb3 View Post
So, Norway remains outside the EU? Goes to show you my knowledge of European politics is, well, probably outdated.
Yup, Norway has had a couple of plebiscites on whether to join the EU, but both were defeated narrowly.

As a member of the European Free Trade Association (like Switzerland), however, it is part of the European Economic Area along with the EU and therefore is afforded many of the benefits and rights given to EU member countries, such as the free movement of people.

A little European trivia for you!
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Old 16th May 2007, 10:53 AM   #9
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I am just in the stage of planning for one posible trip but am not sure about this. When transitting in London from a international flight (from SIN), do I need to re-check my luggage or i can check my luggage through to my final destination from SIN (either BA or SQ).

I'm not sure if this is correct board about this queries. My final destiniation might be Newcastle or MAN, i know SQ flying direct to MAN but the airfare is quite expensive compare to BA (transit in London). And no flight direct to Newcastle from SIN. Is there any other recommendation. Flying a *A is a preference but not essential.

Sorry if this has been mentioned before. Thanks for information.
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Old 16th May 2007, 11:13 AM   #10
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One thing to add here - no more smoking areas airside post July 1
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Old 16th May 2007, 12:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airlineslover View Post
I am just in the stage of planning for one posible trip but am not sure about this. When transitting in London from a international flight (from SIN), do I need to re-check my luggage or i can check my luggage through to my final destination from SIN (either BA or SQ).

.
In the UK you normally clear customes and immigration at your final destination. So if you Fly SIN-LHR-MAN then you can check your bags all the way to MAN. At LHR you stay airside and use the flight connection centre so there is no need to clear immigration.

Of course if you use different airlines who do not interline then you may end up having to re-check for the domestic flight.
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Old 16th May 2007, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQflyergirl View Post
One thing to add here - no more smoking areas airside post July 1
One more reason to avoid this airport for me.
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Old 16th May 2007, 03:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savage25 View Post
One more reason to avoid this airport for me.
You don't say.......
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Old 18th May 2007, 11:40 AM   #14
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the only reason why i even throw up the option of going DUB - LHR - SIN instead of my usual DUB - FRA - SIN - is that there is the VSCH
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Old 2nd June 2007, 04:17 PM   #15
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Plans for the new Terminal East have been approved. This involves demolishing T1 & T2 and replacing them with one new Terminal.

New Terminal
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