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AA Hub Guide: LHR / London Heathrow, including AA T3 <--> BA T5 connection

Old Jan 11, 18, 3:51 pm - Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
Last edit by: JDiver
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NOTE: Connecting flights between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 - please allow a minimum 1 hour 30 minutes between flights.

NOTE: Some BA flights have moved. E.g.: On 30 June 2015 all British Airways flights that previously operated out of Terminal 1 switched to either Terminal 3 or Terminal 5. Others have changed to or from T-3 as well. See:

Link to LHR "Which terminal does my flight depart from / arrive?"


LHR is comprised of four terminals (Terminal 1 is now permanently closed). American Airlines and many oneworld airlines (e.g. AY, BA, CX, JJ, JL, QF, RJ, UL) use Terminal 3. MH and QR use terminal 4. BA and IB use Terminal 5. These terminals are not connected - you can not walk from one to the other. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.

Transferring/ Connections at LHR interterminal can be done two ways:

Link to interactive custom Heathrow Flight Connections Guide

1) Landside: exit your terminal and process HM immigration and customs as if you were arriving in the UK, then take the rail or busses connecting to other terminals (or with most hotels, if you are staying overnight you will most likely utilise the "Heathrow Hoppa" busses costing £4.50 per person one way, £8 return). You must proceed landside if planning to use the AA (or BA) Arrivals Lounge, which close at 1400 hrs / 2 PM as these are landside.

Inter-terminal landside connections can be via rail (free) or walking, depending on the terminals. See the diagram for Heathrow Express terminal connections, free when you are traveling within the airport's cconfines. See here

2) Airside: Follow the signage to Flight Connections, where you will proceed to an airlines desks area (you can pick up missing Boarding Passes here), have your flight documents checked and be approved "ready for flight" - checking that your carry-on baggage complies (some reports of full-sized rollaboards being taken for checking exist).

Once you do this, you will proceed to a bus waiting area at airport ground level and take a bus to your next terminal, where you will proceed through a standard airport security check. Now you are ready to catch your next flight. Flight connections Minimum Connect Times are ordinarily 75 - 90 minutes (the latter for connections between T3 and T5).

NOTE: You must be at your connecting gate 20 minutes prior to departure. If you must recover bags and re-check (e.g. oneworld to non-oneworld or LCC) you must check your baggage in at least 45 minutes prior to departure.

Use this tool available from this page on LHR's website that include a step by step guide through Flight Connections. The page also offers videos. Use this tool to see where your next flight departs / arrives.

Typical Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 Flight Connections path:
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

3. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here.

4. Ready to fly: Staff will check that you're in the right place, your hand baggage meets airline regulations, and you have time to catch your onward flight.

5. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

6. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

7. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
NOTE: Flight departure gates are listed in only sufficient time to get to the gate, not hours (or often an hour) prior to departure.


Typical Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 Flight Connections path:
1. Welcome to Heathrow!: On leaving the aircraft, please follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

2. Flight Connections bus: A dedicated bus will transfer you between terminals. Buses are free and depart every six to ten minutes.

NOTE: As there is a new AA desk at the bus boarding point, you can get your AA boarding pass and pass the AA oral security questioning while you await the bus.

3. Hand baggage check: At this point your hand baggage will be checked to ensure it conforms to UK and EU regulations. Please be aware that liquids in containers over 100ml are not allowed through security.

4. Security screening: You will pass through security screening at this point. If you are a non-UK resident and have goods to declare to HM Customs, please use the Customs telephone before security control.

5. Airline desks: Need to visit your airline's ticket desk? You'll find it here. But see 2A if flying AA.

6. Departure lounge: Check the screens in the departure lounge, which will be updated when your gate opens and again when your flight is ready for boarding.
Lounges: Terminal 3 AA offers AA Admirals Club and Flagship Lounges, and landside an Arrivals Lounge. BA offers Terraces First and Business, CX offers very highly regarded First and Business lounges which re-opened in late 2016 after extensive renovations. Please discuss these in the appropriate lounge threads - please use the "sticky" Lounge Dashboard guide.

Terminal 5 offers very nice BA lounges - an Arrivals Lounge landside, as well as a Galleries Business lounge in the North wing, Galleries Business and First lounges in the South wing as well as the Concorde lounge for those departing in longhaul BA First Class. The best descriptions of these are in the BAEC Forum as well as admission requirements.
Link to the most useful London Heathrow International Airport website. Click on "Connections" for a connection assistance tool.

For long connections where you might wish to go to London, you can use "the tube" (Underground, ~50 minutes, cheapest), busses to various locations, taxis (the most expensive, about 45 minutes) or "minicabs" and other hired cars, the Heathrow Express (15 minutes to Paddington station) or Heathrow Connect (30 minutes to Paddington).

For links to local and local hotels, other airports (such as Gatwick, ~1:30), railroad stations (Feltham, Watford, Woking and Reading), intercity coaches (such as Oxford) start at this page.

The Tube takes 50 minutes from the Central / Terminals 2/3, T-4 or T-5 stations using the Piccadilly Line. Link to LHR tube page; link to London Toolkit page on LHR and Piccadilly line; link to Transport for London page.

The Heathrow Express / HEX departs T-5 and takes 21 minutes (it stops at Central / T2/3, six minutes) and onward to Paddington (15 minutes, about 1/3 of the time a taxi would take, though a taxi or bus can tale longer in some traffic). The trains have 15 minute headway (depart every 15 minutes) and have baggage racks.

(If you stay at Hilton T-4, board HEX at T-5, go to Central / T-2/3, get off, take the connecting train to T-4 (4 minutes), all free. From T-4 follow the signs to the hotel, perhaps 10 minute walk by covered board walk).

The Heathrow Connect costs less, takes 30 minutes to Paddington from Central T-2/3 station (which you get to via free HEX).
This London Heathrow International Airport connection / transfer thread has been split off from the original thread, which can be read here: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow (obsolete, trailing thread).

For other terminals please see ARCHIVE: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow

Also see this page for MCT information.

Updated 04 Dec 2016 by JDiver
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Old Jun 13, 11, 5:13 pm
#1
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AA Hub Guide: LHR / London Heathrow, including AA T3 <--> BA T5 connection

This London Heathrow International Airport connection / transfer thread has been split off from the original thread, which can be read here: BA T5 <-> AA T3 transfer /connection at LHR / Heathrow (obsolete, trailing thread).

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 5, 15 at 11:59 am Reason: move info to wiki
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Old Jan 6, 16, 7:32 am
#2

Join Date: Jun 2000
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After arriving at T3 by bus, you now have to go up two escalators, walk quite a distance, and go down an escalator to get to flight connections. I don't remember it being quite so circuitous in the past. Has it changed in the last few years?

Also, my flight to JFK today is leaving from 24A, a bus gate. I've never had a bus gate flying AA out of Heathrow before (and I've done it a dozen times or so). Is this new? Temporary?
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Old Jan 6, 16, 7:53 am
#3
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Originally Posted by SJC AA View Post
After arriving at T3 by bus, you now have to go up two escalators, walk quite a distance, and go down an escalator to get to flight connections. I don't remember it being quite so circuitous in the past. Has it changed in the last few years?

Also, my flight to JFK today is leaving from 24A, a bus gate. I've never had a bus gate flying AA out of Heathrow before (and I've done it a dozen times or so). Is this new? Temporary?
Yes, a temporary flight connections centre is in place while the old one is being rebuilt.

Bus gates are unfortunate but they happens from time to time.
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Old Jan 25, 16, 12:30 pm
#4

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Checked bag through LHR: BA-AA experiences?

So I have a 7 hour connection at LHR in a couple weeks.

ATH-LHR-ORD and the first segment is on BA in J. The downline segment is AA J.

I'm actually tempted to check it at ATH for ATH-LHR-ORD despite multi carriers.

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?
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Old Jan 25, 16, 12:39 pm
#5
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Lots of people have positive experiences checking bags with oneworld carriers through LHR. And a number of people have had multi-day delays recovering their bags when LHR is plagued with OSO in particular.

The likelihood is the will be no problem, but that's far from 100% certainty.

With seven hours you could choose to check through and transfer using Flight Connections, or check baggage to LHR, recover baggage and go landside, trek to Terminal 3 and re-check, pass through security, etc.

It's entirely your choice. If I was doing this I'd check my baggage through. If my baggage is delayed getting home, it's not a major inconvenience for me. Doing the landside baggage dance at LHR is a PITA.
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Old Jan 25, 16, 12:46 pm
#6

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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Lots of people have positive experiences checking bags with oneworld carriers through LHR. And a number of people have had multi-day delays recovering their bags when LHR is plagued with OSO in particular.

The likelihood is the will be no problem, but that's far from 100% certainty.

With seven hours you could choose to check through and transfer using Flight Connections, or check baggage to LHR, recover baggage and go landside, trek to Terminal 3 and re-check, pass through security, etc.

It's entirely your choice. If I was doing this I'd check my baggage through. If my baggage is delayed getting home, it's not a major inconvenience for me. Doing the landside baggage dance at LHR is a PITA.
My original plan was to carry the bag on to LHR and then carry it from T5 to T3 landside and check it with AA. Then I realized that this would consume time that I need for my mission during the connection.

I'm trying to escape LHR quickly at 10AM but the bag is an issue unless I check it through. Checking bags violates my MO.....
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Old Jan 25, 16, 12:46 pm
#7

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Originally Posted by roberto99 View Post
So I have a 7 hour connection at LHR in a couple weeks.

ATH-LHR-ORD and the first segment is on BA in J. The downline segment is AA J.

I'm actually tempted to check it at ATH for ATH-LHR-ORD despite multi carriers.

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?
Yes I have had nothing but positive experiences with baggage handling at LHR (from BA originated trip connecting to AA at LHR). They seem to be very efficient. I would definitely check the bags all the way through to ORD. Otherwise you would need to clear customs at LHR, and then re-check in and go through security all over again. It would be such a hassle and wouldn't give you any more assurance. They should give you a boarding pass at at ATH for the LHR to ORD portion. You could use this to go through security at LHR in case you are leaving the airport during you're 7 hour layover.
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Old Jan 25, 16, 7:12 pm
#8

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Originally Posted by roberto99 View Post

Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?
I have flown LAX-LHR-DUS DUS-LHR-LAX every year for the past 25 years. A couple of times I've gone to CPH, BRU or AMS instead of DUS. The LAX-LHR flights have been in AA; LHR-Europe in BA.

Only once was my bag not delivered properly at baggage claim. They found it within a day and delivered it to my friend's house in Düsseldorf.
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Old Jan 25, 16, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by roberto99 View Post
Does anyone have positive experiences at LHR with BA-AA bag transfers (checked through)?
I've had my luggage lost twice in 10 years of flying frequently, both times at LHR on transfers. Both times I got it back the next day, once with damage.
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Old Jan 26, 16, 4:40 am
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Originally Posted by SJC AA View Post
I've had my luggage lost twice in 10 years of flying frequently, both times at LHR on transfers. Both times I got it back the next day, once with damage.
Much better ratio than me!
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Old Jan 26, 16, 11:08 pm
#11

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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
Much better ratio than me!
Well, 90% of the time I don't check bags at all.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:01 pm
#12

Join Date: Mar 2010
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Connecting at LHR

I am booked from AMS to LHR and connecting on to CLT. The schedule has changed and the layover went from over 2 hours to 15 minutes. Knowing that the 15 minutes won't work, the next best schedule will allow for a 90 minutes connection. I'll be flying BA from AMS to LHR, arriving at Terminal 5, and them departing on an AA flight from Terminal 3. Will the 90 minutes be enough time for a connection at LHR? I've flown through LHR in the past where we had a one hour wait for a gate - more than once!
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:11 pm
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Yes thats enough time.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:12 pm
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T3 > T5 / No Bags / Separate Ticket

So after reading the 30 pages in this very helpful thread, can someone please tell me if I have this correct?

I am a US citizen, transferring from an international flight (that arrives from the USA into LHR T3 at 650am) to a within-UK flight (that departs from LHR T5 at 955am), on separate unprotected tickets, with no checked bags, and with a boarding pass.

I do NOT have to go through Passport Control at T3, exit T3, take the underground to T5, go through security, and proceed to the gate?

Instead, I transfer airside, follow the purple Flight Connection signs, go from from T3 to T5 via the free connections bus, go through passport control and security, and proceed to the gate, all at T5.

I am trying to make travel plans and make good decisions. Thanks!

Proposed Itinerary Details
> Fly from Raleigh Durham USA on AA to LHR. Arrive at T3 at 650am. No checked bags.

> Fly from LHR T5 on BA on a separate unprotected ticket at 950am. No checked bags.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:18 pm
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I wouldn't be so quick with the 'yes'.

90 mins is MCT for a T5-T3 transfer and yes, if all is on schedule it is just enough time, but if there is any delay at any point then no, the flight will be missed.
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