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Answers (7)

Please help! Question about flight connections at LHR

Please help! Question about flight connections at LHR

  1. SeattleTodd

    Hello,

    I’m pretty familiar with LHR, but I’m stumped on the best thing to do in my situation.

    I will be flying from Edinburgh to LHR, then connecting on Virgin Atlantic to SEA. I already have my VS ticket for LHR-SEA.

    My options for flying from EDI to LHR are FlyBe or BA. Prices and times are pretty much the same, so it all comes down to making the connection to the VS flight at LHR. BA arrives at terminal 5, FlyBe arrives at terminal 2, and VS departs from terminal 3.

    Assuming I’m checking a bag, I’m guessing there’s no way in hell BA will check it all the way through to SEA with VS, especially since I’ll have separate tickets. FlyBe is a pretty close partner with VS, and I’ve written to them to see if they’ll check the bag all the way through. If they say yes, I assume it would be best to go with FlyBe because then I can avoid exiting security, claiming my bag, using the train to connect to terminal 3, handing the bag to VS, going through immigration, security, blah, blah blah, and just take the airside bus between terminal 5 and terminal 3. (Actually, what happens with immigration and customs in that scenario, since the flight from Edinburgh will be a domestic flight and I won’t have cleared customs/immigration in Edinburgh?)

    But if FlyBe says they won’t check the bag through, then with both BA and FlyBe I’ll have to resign myself to the lengthy process of leaving security, and getting my bag. So then it comes down to how easy it is to get to terminal 3, right? With BA, I’ll be at terminal 5, so I’ll need the train; with FlyBe, I’ll be at terminal 2 (I’ve heard “The Queen’s Terminal” is rather nice — I’ve never been in it) and so I can just walk to terminal 3, right? It sounds like it would be quicker/easier with FlyBe, but is is it significantly so?

    If I could get by without checking a bag, then it’s just a matter of the difference between the airside transit to terminal 3 from terminal 5 or terminal 2. Is one significantly easier than the other?

    Anything else I’m missing?

    Sorry to make such a big deal out of this, but I want to have plenty of time to enjoy the Virgin Clubhouse before my flight to Seattle! 🙂

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Todd

  2. Anonymous

    Well, the thing to remember is that there is no airside transit at Heathrow, even if you’re not changing terminals. You always have to re-clear security.

    You also won’t be going through immigration, as you’ll already be in the UK coming from EDI, and there are no exit formalities.

    Both BA and FlyBe have interline agreements with Virgin, so theoretically the bag can be checked through. Whether or not this actually happens depends on your checkin agent, as there’s no obligation for them to check bags across separate itineraries.

    I don’t know that there’s that much difference between walking or the train in terms of time — both are pretty easy.

  3. SeattleTodd

    Hello,

    I’ve read some posts elsewhere that suggest one can only take advantage of the airside “Flight Connections” path at Heathrow if your onward connection is on the same booking as your arriving flight. Is that true?

    I was considering whether I should try to make do with carry-on for my trip to the UK so that I could transfer from T5 to T3 airside, but if they won’t let me do it with my onward flight on a separate booking, then there’s no need to do that (except to avoid waiting to pick up my bag and having to wait to check it back in).

    Thanks,
    Todd

  4. SeattleTodd

    [QUOTE=”Tiffany, post: 24349, member: 7″]Well, the thing to remember is that there is no airside transit at Heathrow, even if you’re not changing terminals. You always have to re-clear security.

    You also won’t be going through immigration, as you’ll already be in the UK coming from EDI, and there are no exit formalities.

    Both BA and FlyBe have interline agreements with Virgin, so theoretically the bag can be checked through. Whether or not this actually happens depends on your checkin agent, as there’s no obligation for them to check bags across separate itineraries.

    I don’t know that there’s that much difference between walking or the train in terms of time — both are pretty easy.[/QUOTE]

    [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] — thanks so much for your reply. What’s the advantage, then, of taking the “Flight Connections” transit via the airport bus, vs. walking between terminals (where possible) or taking the train?

    In my case specifically, I’ll be transferring from BA or FlyBe to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class — in terms of access to Virgin’s lounge and fast track through security, is it better for me to do get from T5/T2 to T3 via the “Flight Connections” bus or go all the way out and walk or take the train? I’m confused about the value of the “Flight Connections” bus if you still have to clear security when making a connection. (I just posted separately about this but would greatly appreciate your advice!)

    Thanks so much as always,
    Todd

  5. Anonymous

    Typically, the Flight Connections bus allows you to avoid Immigration, as it’s a sterile transit as far as CBP is concerned. The other two options require you to enter the UK.

    So in your case it doesn’t much matter — you’ll get fast track either way, you’ll already be in the UK, etc.

  6. SeattleTodd

    [QUOTE=”Tiffany, post: 24465, member: 7″]Typically, the Flight Connections bus allows you to avoid Immigration, as it’s a sterile transit as far as CBP is concerned. The other two options require you to enter the UK.

    So in your case it doesn’t much matter — you’ll get fast track either way, you’ll already be in the UK, etc.[/QUOTE]

    [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] Thanks again. Is there any truth to the comments I’ve seen elsewhere that you can’t take the Flight Connections bus if your onward connection is on a separate ticket from your arriving flight? Some have suggested that if you have checked in for the onward flight and have a boarding pass you MAY be able use the bus, but that strictly speaking you’re not supposed to be able to and are at the mercy of personnel. Any truth to that?

  7. Anonymous

    I’ve never had anyone check my boarding pass for the bus. Ever. Sometimes I haven’t even [I]had[/I] a boarding pass prior to boarding the bus, which is common, as all the transfer desks are in the destination terminals anyway. I don’t know why that would be an issue, unless it’s an international/domestic thing I’m not thinking of.

    But I wouldn’t worry about it, especially if you’re checked in.

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