ag92
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Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:58 pm

Well here is the aim, and for some reason I don't think its possible in this day and age, but I am traveling tomorrow night from Asia to America on British Airways with a transit at London Heathrow, and was wondering if there was a way to get my british citizen friends to meet me airside as I am an Indian citizen and not eligible for a transit visa on arrival. Any solution would be appropriate, and we were just thinking of maybe doing a system where they have a noshow on their tickets, but that wouldnt work either because of the price, but if it is reasonable then we would be willing to do it
 
petertenthije
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:06 pm



Quoting Ag92 (Thread starter):
was wondering if there was a way to get my british citizen friends to meet me airside

No.
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ohthedrama747
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:05 pm



Quoting Ag92 (Thread starter):

Unless they possess a ticket they have no chance, plain and simple.
 
ajd1992
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:44 pm

The only way is if they have a ticket or you have a visa.
 
JRadier
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:59 pm

Or if they work at LHR...
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Tugger
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Can you reschedule tickets once you have checked in? I would think so as I have shifted mine to at least the next flight at times. So would it be possible to get a ticket, check in, go to "inside" and then reschedule to a date that you actually need? (I don't know what the airlines can or would do, and how far out they are willing to move a ticket. I am certain there would be a fee)

Tugg
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N1120A
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:43 pm



Quoting Tugger (Reply 5):
Can you reschedule tickets once you have checked in? I would think so as I have shifted mine to at least the next flight at times. So would it be possible to get a ticket, check in, go to "inside" and then reschedule to a date that you actually need? (I don't know what the airlines can or would do, and how far out they are willing to move a ticket. I am certain there would be a fee)

What are you specifically talking about? The OP's friends going inside? The only way they could really do it is by buying a fully refundable ticket and CXing it, while losing part of their credit line for probably a week.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:49 pm



Quoting Ag92 (Thread starter):
and was wondering if there was a way to get my british citizen friends to meet me airside

Not possible.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:03 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 6):
What are you specifically talking about? The OP's friends going inside? The only way they could really do it is by buying a fully refundable ticket and CXing it, while losing part of their credit line for probably a week.

Yes, that is what I was referring to.

So it would seem that it is possible to get "airside" and then not travel but there will be some type of financial hit either temporary or a fee for a ticket change (which of course means they need to have a need for a ticket later on or they just lose the cost of the ticket).

Tugg
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andz
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:29 am

With the current security situation, buyng a ticket at short notice, checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention.
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varigb707
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:10 am

Send them postcards. Oh yeah, try not to do what some guy did at EWR. You may get in trouble.
Bye for now.
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WestJetForLife
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:37 am



Quoting Ag92 (Thread starter):
wondering if there was a way to get my british citizen friends to meet me airside

Not a chance.

When I was doing my stint at UPS working airside, I got a briefing that I was to wear my RAIC (restricted area identity card, similar to a U.S. SIDA pass) at all times while on the ramp or face a $250 fine and possible detainment for 'trespassing on airport property'.

Suffice it to say, unless they have a RAIC/SIDA or whatever the Hell the British call it security cards and/or a job at LHR, they won't get through the security checkpoint.

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MadameConcorde
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:58 am



Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
With the current security situation, buyng a ticket at short notice, checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention.

Best post I have read on this thread so far.

Your friends could buy full fare fully refundable tickets to destination X leaving from the same terminal but I would refer to the above post first.

Better you do without going air side. Say goodbye before security and immigration.

I hope you will enjoy your trip.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:00 am



Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
With the current security situation, buyng a ticket at short notice, checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention.

If they really want to meet, getting "significant attention" isn't a problem - it's not that they're doing anything illegal.

I would buy a fully refundable ticket, go airside, then "change my mind", cancel the ticket and get a refund. And I'd also show up early to allow some time for the extra scrutiny...
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747438
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:01 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 13):
And I'd also show up early to allow some time for the extra scrutiny...

Yes and allow some serious extra time afterwards too. This is a highly irresponsible action.
 
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:24 pm



Quoting 747438 (Reply 14):
Yes and allow some serious extra time afterwards too.

I'm trying to picture all this. If I am airside then re-exist, at what time will they "bust" me? What people do you meet in LHR when going from airside to landside? Will the customs official ask me "where are you coming from?", and when answering "from nowhere" I will be taken to secondary screening?
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andz
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:38 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 15):

You arrive at the airport and buy a ticket.
You then present yourself for check in with no luggage.
Assuming there are no alarm bells, you go through security and have your pointless little jolly with your friends.
The flight is called, they are a passenger short, the flight eventually leaves.
Little social visit over, you go back through security and ask for a refund.
The flight has left without you but you checked in, why should you be entitled to anything?

Even if you pulled this move with a flight leaving much later than the end of your visit and you manage not to inconvenience the rest of the passengers on your "flight", I think it is a stupid pointless plan.
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signol
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:55 pm

With some advance notice, the best option might be for them to buy a return ticket to the closest destination, eg Manchester, from LHR, then go through security, spend some time with you, take their flight and have a quick turnaround before coming back to London. Or get a one-way and a train back, as there are some cheap one way book in advance train fares out there too...
If this is at short notice, how much is a walk-up fare to MAN? There's a oneway tomorrow for £85, departing in the evening...

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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:40 pm

Quoting Andz (Reply 16):
Even if you pulled this move with a flight leaving much later than the end of your visit and you manage not to inconvenience the rest of the passengers on your "flight", I think it is a stupid pointless plan.

Of course you'd have to do it with a flight leaving much later, so that you can un-check yourself in, free up the space on the flight and get a refund. Or is the refund void from the moment you check in, even if you "un check yourself" later?

Stupid and pointless, yes. But if it's the only solution, why not.

Quoting Signol (Reply 17):
With some advance notice, the best option might be for them to buy a return ticket to the closest destination, eg Manchester, from LHR, then go through security, spend some time with you, take their flight and have a quick turnaround before coming back to London.

That's not any different from a security point of view.

The only reason why someone has to do this "stupid and pointless" plan is because airports don't allow people to go airside without a ticket. As you can see, it can be with a ticket but without leaving the airport - a waste of resources. So why not change it?

[Edited 2010-01-15 07:40:17]
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:13 pm



Quoting 747438 (Reply 14):
This is a highly irresponsible action.

Why is it "highly irresponsible"? If it follows the rules, i.e. they have a ticket and go through security, what is so bad about it? So what if people want to meet someone airside, they went through security so their is no risk to the airlines, airport, or passengers. And if they bought a ticket and then reschedule (or refund it if that is an option) they are doing the same as thousands of others do on a daily basis.

Quoting Andz (Reply 16):
The flight is called, they are a passenger short, the flight eventually leaves.

As I envision it this would not happen. After you meet with your friends you then go to any gate desk and ask for your flight to be changed or whatever. As long as you have enough time prior to flight, (say six hours?) they should do it. I know for a fact that you can at least reschedule your flight, for a fee.

Quoting Andz (Reply 16):
Even if you pulled this move with a flight leaving much later than the end of your visit and you manage not to inconvenience the rest of the passengers on your "flight",

HOw does it inconvienience the other passengers? The flight isn't being delayed because of this.

Quoting Andz (Reply 16):
I think it is a stupid pointless plan.

We do lots of stupid and pointless things as humans: We like to go to airports and take pictures which apparently scares the heck out of a lot of people and security is sometime overly concerned by. We like to take short flights in rented planes for a lunch somewhere and then come straight back. We like to jump out of perfectly good airplanes just for a few moments of joy and freedom in the sky. How many unnecessary things does any person do just because it is enjoyable?

If it can be done legally and safely why does anyone care if it is "pointless"?

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 18):
Or is the refund void from the moment you check in, even if you "un check yourself" later?

I am wondering this same thing. My only guess is that it is likely not refundable and one should plan on having to just reschedule to a day when you actually need to fly.

I find it curious the passions that this question has stirred. Its as if people think this is something bad or dangerous. Its not like this is talking about skirting security. And if this is a problem for the airlines then they will have policies in place to protect themselves (as I mentioned, I don't think they will refund the money, they will likely charge a fee, and they may not even allow a significant change once you are checked in).This is just discussing the best, safe way to meet someone airside at an airport.

Tugg
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sudden
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:10 pm



Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 1):
No.



Quoting N1120A (Reply 6):
Not possible



Quoting WestJetForLife (Reply 11):
Not a chance

Simple as that.

Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention.

A very valid point.

Basically,
Drop the whole idea as it might cost you and your friends h*ll of a lot more then your were asking for.

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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:08 pm



Quoting Sudden (Reply 20):
Drop the whole idea as it might cost you and your friends h*ll of a lot more then your were asking for.

At this point I'm really curious why everyone thinks this is such a big deal. I actually want to do it myself and find out "just because" and report back... unfortunately I can't do it in LHR (as I'm not really close to that airport). Would ZRH be any different?
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RussianJet
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:54 pm

You could go airside for a flight, miss it on purpose, explain to security that you missed your departure, and you will be escorted back out. Simple as that.

All of this 'attention' people are referring to is massively overstated. Missing a flight is not a criminal offence. Lots of people do it every day. It is unlikely to raise a single eyebrow.

Alternatively, as others suggest, your friends could actually take a short round trip to somewhere.

But, back to the original question, there is otherwise no way of getting them airside to see you.
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TLG
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:58 pm

This can easily be done in the US (and has been done, at least some form of it), and as far as I know with no repercussions. Is the procedure any different in the UK? Buy a fully-refundable, full fare ticket, go airside, and after leaving simply get a refund. Not a big deal, here in the US.

There is one thing different about the US though, in that there is no immigration/customs to worry about; only security.

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sudden
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:07 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 21):
At this point I'm really curious why everyone thinks this is such a big deal. I actually want to do it myself and find out "just because" and report back... unfortunately I can't do it in LHR (as I'm not really close to that airport). Would ZRH be any different?

The "because" is there as you are not allowed access to airside if you don't have a (valid) boardingcard.

Quoting Sudden (Reply 20):
Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention.

Andz said it pretty good here.
Why on earth buy a ticket, check in, go through security, and then deliberately miss your flight?
When you are on your way out and customs might ask you where you come from and purpose of your stay, you just gonna say that you didn't come from anywhere and that you just checked in to be able to catch up with a friend!? Trust me, customs will not let you off easy in that case.

And no, ZRH would not be any different.

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Sudden

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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:12 pm



Quoting Sudden (Reply 24):
The "because" is there as you are not allowed access to airside if you don't have a (valid) boardingcard.

The whole point of this discussion is that I want to try to book a flight, get a valid boarding card and go airside, then go back out and get a refund. And report back to tell everyone if anything special happened.

Quoting Sudden (Reply 24):
When you are on your way out and customs might ask you where you come from and purpose of your stay, you just gonna say that you didn't come from anywhere and that you just checked in to be able to catch up with a friend!? Trust me, customs will not let you off easy in that case.

The OP wants to meet a British friend in LHR. Customs is not going to ask a British citizen "what's the purpose of your stay?" as the answer will be "going home" - just as in ZRH they won't ask me as a Swiss why I'm coming to Switzerland. If they ask me where I'm coming from, I'd say "nowhere, I just missed my flight to *wherever I booked*". This will hardly get me in any trouble.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:32 pm



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 22):
All of this 'attention' people are referring to is massively overstated. Missing a flight is not a criminal offence. Lots of people do it every day. It is unlikely to raise a single eyebrow.

+1 This is an everyday occurrence.

My father has had instances where he has checked in for his flight to travel for a business meeting and waiting in the departures area the meeting was called off because of illness/family emergency/etc. etc. He was on fully refundable ticket so the agent in the lounge or ticket desk got the ticket refunded and if I remember (for Heathrow) he had to be escorted from the departures area back landside. This is because unlike US terminals the departures and arrivals are segregated.

What I wouldn't suggest is booking a fully refundable F class ticket and guesting your buddies into the lounge, then getting the ticket refunded and PO'ing home!

Quoting Sudden (Reply 24):
When you are on your way out and customs might ask you where you come from and purpose of your stay, you just gonna say that you didn't come from anywhere and that you just checked in to be able to catch up with a friend!? Trust me, customs will not let you off easy in that case.

Where does customs come into this? The person wouldn't have even left the country!
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:37 pm



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 26):
What I wouldn't suggest is booking a fully refundable F class ticket and guesting your buddies into the lounge, then getting the ticket refunded and PO'ing home!

Hah, now *that's* something even my convoluted mind didn't think about  Wink
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AirstairFear
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:20 pm

Ok, so is the consensus that it is easily done? (Even though many feel that it is silly/irresponsible/take-your-pick) You are allowed to make changes to an unrestricted ticket at the gate desk, as long as your flight hasn't left?

I think doing this just to meet up with a friend would be a little overboard, sure. But I would like to do something similar so I can go planespotting a lot more often without shelling out $hundreds per outing.

I couldn't care less about being given the 3rd degree by security. I'm not doing anything terribly wrong so an extra hour or two sitting in a small smoky room with a bright light shining in my face would just be an added bonus after a good day of planespotting. After a few trips to the same airport I think they would cease with all the fuss.

On a side note, and I know this is _way_ out there in the realm of "wrong", what's to stop someone from going airside with a Ryanair home-printed boarding pass that has been photoshop'd? As long as you don't attempt to board the plane with it, I'm not sure what law you'd be breaking, if any. Not that they'd even catch on.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:34 pm



Quoting AirstairFear (Reply 28):
what's to stop someone from going airside with a Ryanair home-printed boarding pass that has been photoshop'd?

Don't boarding passes have barcodes? I don't think you can photoshop the barcode to create a valid one. At least in ZRH with LX, to go airside they scan the boarding bass and check on the screen if you're on a real flight. But maybe that's not the case for Ryanair, I don't know.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:41 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 29):
I don't think you can photoshop the barcode to create a valid one.

Unless security's scanner has realtime communication capabilities with the airlines' systems, I could do it rather easily. For what it's worth, our small town of DSM cannot afford such toys, so a human just looks at your pass. Last time I flew out of here anyway; things may have changed in light of recent events. But then again of course Ryanair isn't anywhere near here so that's moot for me.

Also, there have been several comments in here about "missing" your flight intentionally. I thought you weren't necessarily _entitled_ to a refund of your full fare ticket if you missed your flight? Suppose it depends on the airline? Much safer just to cancel before it leaves I think.
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Leezyjet
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:51 am



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 15):
If I am airside then re-exist, at what time will they "bust" me? What people do you meet in LHR when going from airside to landside? Will the customs official ask me "where are you coming from?", and when answering "from nowhere" I will be taken to secondary screening?

You would have to stand in line at Immigration, then clear customs where you could be stopped, but simply saying you fell asleep and missed your flight is a good enough answer to satisfy them. The only issue at LHR (and a lot of other airports) is that departures and arrivals are segregated, so it isn't just as easy as "walking back out".

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 26):
Where does customs come into this? The person wouldn't have even left the country!

They would come in to it if the person decided to take a trip to the Duty Free shop. It is little known, but criminals have been exploiting this for years, doing exactly what has been suggested, (or even just buying the cheapest tickets possible and not bothering with a refund), going through, buying loads of duty free item's and then simply leaving again without actually flying out of the Country. This however is highly illegal. If you don't fly for whatever reason, you are "supposed" to take your stuff back for a refund. This used to be a pain in the @$$ if a flight cancelled when all pax were airside, as they would have to go sell back their DF, before leaving the building !!.

Personally, my views on this are that it is a little extreme, but you are not technically breaking any rules (unless you are actively trying to circumvent the security)- yeah it is a pain in the @$$ for the airline, but it does happen many times each day for honest legitimate reasons so if your relatives can afford to stump up the costs in the first place for the tickets to come and see you, then why not. Are you sure your relatives will want to see you enough to go through all this hassle though ?.  scratchchin 

Let us know the outcome.

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RussianJet
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:12 am



Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 31):
You would have to stand in line at Immigration, then clear customs where you could be stopped, but simply saying you fell asleep and missed your flight is a good enough answer to satisfy them. The only issue at LHR (and a lot of other airports) is that departures and arrivals are segregated, so it isn't just as easy as "walking back out".

No, you would not have to go near immigration or customs. if you do, someone has royally screwed up.

Whilst it's true you can't just re-exit by yourself, security would merely escort you from departures back landside on explanation of having failed to make your flight or whatever. Again, it happens a lot.
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Maverick623
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:30 am



Quoting Andz (Reply 9):
With the current security situation, buyng a ticket at short notice, checking in with no luggage then "changing your mind" about boarding is going to get you some significant attention

This whole thread is gonna get him some attention. I clicked on it because it just sounds wrong.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 19):
Why is it "highly irresponsible"?

See:

Quoting Ag92 (Thread starter):
but I am traveling tomorrow night from Asia to America on British Airways with a transit at London Heathrow

The OP will not be clearing HM Customs, and if his friend has contact with him and then exits the terminal, it raises the possibility of being able to easily smuggle contraband.

So, to the OP:

It's technically possible, but not a very good idea.
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:57 am



Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 33):
The OP will not be clearing HM Customs, and if his friend has contact with him and then exits the terminal, it raises the possibility of being able to easily smuggle contraband.

But the same exists with any traveler departing LHR, you go through the same security and have to go through the same end point customs clearance. If it were circumventing security or customs or introducing some new weakness in the system then it might be irresponsible but its not, all the normal tools to secure flights and country are still in place.

Tugg
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Leezyjet
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:43 pm



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 32):
No, you would not have to go near immigration or customs. if you do, someone has royally screwed up.

Whilst it's true you can't just re-exit by yourself, security would merely escort you from departures back landside on explanation of having failed to make your flight or whatever. Again, it happens a lot.

Well from what I'm aware of in T3, you would have to - that's the way the airlines I've worked with have to do it. In T1 or T5 I suppose you could go back out through the Domestic arrivals, but either way you would need escorting by someone.

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RussianJet
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RE: Access Heathrow Airside Without Departing

Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:21 pm



Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 35):
but either way you would need escorting by someone.

I believe I already stated that.
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