AH332
Topic Author
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:10 am

Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:35 pm

Hi,

Okay, so all I've read on A.net is that connecting through Heathrow is a nightmare. Is it REALLY that bad? Or are these exaggerations?

I ask because I'm headed to Stockholm from Miami this winter and connecting through Heathrow. I'm flying AA/BA, so I arrive at T3 and depart T1.


P.S: Can anyone tell me the best way to get to downtown London from Heathrow? Also, what's the best way to get around London if just spending the day there? Thanks in advance!  Smile

Cheers,
Imad
Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
 
Scorpio
Posts: 4806
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:46 pm

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Can anyone tell me the best way to get to downtown London from Heathrow?

If you have money to burn: Heathrow Express: fast (15 minutes to central London), but expensive.
Otherwise: Tube: cheaper, but takes a lot longer.

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Also, what's the best way to get around London if just spending the day there?

That'd be the Tube.

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Is it REALLY that bad? Or are these exaggerations?

Many are exaggerations. It's not exactly the most convenient airport in the world, but you'll survive.
 
PanAm747
Posts: 4713
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:46 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:51 pm

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/aviation_polls/read.main/135274/

In the "Polls & Preferences" section.

LHR's only benefit is its location - very close to the city center of London. The city is connected by The Tube, and is very convenient. If you are beginning/ending a trip at LHR, assuming you get your baggage, it is just fine.

Having said that, I posed the question to travellers in the know who have experienced transitting Heathrow, and without exception every set of eyes bulged in horror at the thought of changing planes and terminals. It is simply unable to keep up with modern demands, as the notorious breakdowns of the baggage equipment delay bags interminably and the crush of humanity tries to squeeze into the ridiculous amount of land dictated by the surrounding NIMBY's. Hopefully the new T5 will ease the pressure on this airport!!

I sincerely hope you have a pleasant flying experience is much better than the average!!
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
flytuitravel
Posts: 489
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 2:46 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:57 pm

To be honest I really don't see the problem with LHR. Its just your average busy intercontinental airport! I have never ever had any problems and I've travelled through numerous times....
But I guess it is just preference - I like to fly from Heathrow because... its just Heathrow, isn't it? Theres just
 
RIX
Posts: 1590
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2000 4:46 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:25 pm

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 3):
To be honest I really don't see the problem with LHR.

- same here. Not that I am a very frequent "Heathrow flier", but my connections were always fast and smooth.

Quoting Scorpio (Reply 1):
Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Also, what's the best way to get around London if just spending the day there?

That'd be the Tube

- get daily pass then. I think, it costs almost if not exactly the same as just round-trip from Heathrow to Zone 1 or 2.
 
Bozo
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:59 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:30 pm

@scorpio how expensive?
i had planned to fly to london for one week during the fall vacations but didnt make it, now i will fly during the christmas vacations, as far as i know it's around 30 mins from the airport to the center isnt it?
Virtus Et Honor - S.P.Q.R.
 
Scorpio
Posts: 4806
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:34 pm

Quoting Bozo (Reply 5):
how expensive?

£14.50 one way.

Quoting Bozo (Reply 5):
as far as i know it's around 30 mins from the airport to the center isnt it?

From T1/2/3 it's only 15 by Heathrow Express.
 
express1
Posts: 847
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:08 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:34 pm

Quoting Scorpio (Reply 1):

if you go by tube,the best one to use is the Piccadilly line as its a strait run to Hatton x and Terminals 1234 and with a oyster card its £3.50.

dave
David.S cavanagh since 1961,if you can do better,then show me.
 
Rivet42
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:47 pm

Hi, if you're going to spend the day sightseeing, then a one-day Travelcard for the tube is what you should do. It's GBP13.20 from Heathrow before 9:30 (includes the rush-hour), or GBP6.70 after 9:30 or any time at the weekend.

That's valid for underground lines (the 'tube'), most national rail and all London Transport bus services within the the London travel area - Heathrow is in zone 6 of that area, which is why you have to pay so much. You cannot use this pass on the Heathrow Connect (where it enters the airport) or Heathrow Express (at all).

Heathrow itself is a nightmare, but mostly for passengers with short connections, but as you have the whole day (so it sounds), then you should be ok, so long as you are able to check your luggage through to your final destination, and then don't have to pick it up yourself at Heathrow. Of course that means you have to rely on Heathrow managing to transfer your bags to the connecting flight, which is what has often gone wrong in the past, but you say you are arriving in T3, so at least you are avoiding T4, which is where most of the more recent problems appear to have occurred.

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
brilondon
Posts: 3021
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:56 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:50 pm

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 3):
To be honest I really don't see the problem with LHR. Its just your average busy intercontinental airport! I have never ever had any problems and I've travelled through numerous times....
But I guess it is just preference - I like to fly from Heathrow because... its just Heathrow, isn't it? Theres just

 checkmark 

I have never really had a problem with LHR but then I have never really connected through LHR on a day where there is chaos at airports such as on the security is increased as on the day the Plastic baggie thing started.

There is a video on YouTube that shows an incredibly long lines right during the summer rush when they had the liquids situation. This is an aberration as in the normal day to day operations at LHR are comparable to the day to day operations at JFK or LAX or ORD.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
Rivet42
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:09 pm

Quoting Scorpio (Reply 6):
From T1/2/3 it's only 15 by Heathrow Express.

.. that's to Paddington, which for a tourist is not a lot of use unless your hotel happens to be in the vicinty. Considering that it costs GBP14.50 or 15.50 (web or airport purchase) each way, on top of which you'd still need to buy a travelcard for going around London, it's really not worth it.

The tube (Piccadilly Line) from Heathrow gets into the West End (Piccadilly Circus) in around 45 mins.

There are other options for a stay of more than one day, all of which can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
SiouxATC
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:47 pm

Take the Tube into central London, maybe a 40 min ride but it is a lot of fun. Also take the tube when you are traveling around the city. Again, if you have some money to burn take a cabby, also a lot of fun. What would you like to see? I can recomend Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery (if time permits), Houses of Parliament, Hyde Park, Speakers Corner, Westminster Abby, Tower Bridge, London Eye.......... Keep in mind that you will not even come close to seeing everything in one day. If you are a fooball (soccer) fan, there are pleanty of Stadiums to see also.

In reguards to LHR, it is not nearly as bad as people on A.net make is seem. Just make sure that you allow yourself enough time, and it wont be all that bad. I think its kind of fun actually, seeing all different cultured people from different parts of the world. Its not as nice as say AMS, or MUC in Europe (duh), but dont sweat it. You'll be fine. As stated above it isnt the most convenent airport in the world. But that doesnt make it too bad.
 
AH332
Topic Author
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:10 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:53 pm

Hi,

Thanks for all the feedback. I wanted to clarify one thing.

On my way back home I'm spending all of New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) in London, arriving from ARN at 1:25 pm. My flight to MIA leaves at 9:45 am the next morning. I'm not planning to get a hotel room since I figured New Year's Eve celebrations will keep the city awake into the night. I'm planning on seeing Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Eye of London, Westminster Abbey, and do some shopping. Oh, and eat fish and chips!  Smile

My question: Will I be able to check my bags through to Miami, or will I have to pick them up. If so, is there storage at LHR I can pay for to keep them there for the day?

Cheers,
Imad
Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
 
SiouxATC
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:09 pm

Quoting AH332 (Reply 12):
On my way back home I'm spending all of New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) in London, arriving from ARN at 1:25 pm. My flight to MIA leaves at 9:45 am the next morning. I'm not planning to get a hotel room since I figured New Year's Eve celebrations will keep the city awake into the night. I'm planning on seeing Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Eye of London, Westminster Abbey, and do some shopping. Oh, and eat fish and chips!

Can I suggest that you do in fact get a hotel room just because jet-lag will be getting to you, and it would come in handy.
 
richierich
Posts: 3308
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:16 pm

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 13):
Can I suggest that you do in fact get a hotel room just because jet-lag will be getting to you, and it would come in handy.

There are plenty of hotels near LHR but on New Year's Eve they'll probably find good reason to jack up the price. Keep in mind that not all public transportation is 24 hours in the UK, the land of inconvenience!

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 11):
In reguards to LHR, it is not nearly as bad as people on A.net make is seem. Just make sure that you allow yourself enough time, and it wont be all that bad. I think its kind of fun actually, seeing all different cultured people from different parts of the world. Its not as nice as say AMS, or MUC in Europe (duh), but dont sweat it. You'll be fine. As stated above it isnt the most convenent airport in the world. But that doesnt make it too bad.

I agree. I've been fortunately and only connected a handful of times at LHR but it really was no better or worse than any other major airport. I think space is a premium, so the departure hall can become a mass of humanity relatively quickly... hopefully T5 will help that. And I find it amazing that a major world gateway like LHR can have remote parking stands (with the notoriously bad UK weather and all). But you take the good with the bad.
None shall pass!!!!
 
egcarter
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:09 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:36 pm

I swore never to connect through Heathrow again after a nightmarish "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" from UA to Lufthansa years ago. It was THAT bad. And once we got to the designated terminal, they didn't even know which gate the departure to Munich would be from until shortly before boarding time. Heathrow has just been cobbled together over the decades to increase capacity. Needs to be razed and redone from the ground up!
 
jouy31
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon May 05, 2003 4:59 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:45 pm

I disagree. When the tunnel between T4 and T1 breaks down, your baggage is gone. There were more than 20,000 pieces of baggage delayed or lost this past summer, so much that BA had to transfer the baggage to another European destination to sort them out. What remained in LHR was left in the open, so that when you got it back a few weeks later; your belongings had deteriorated due to mould. What had not deteriorated or been returned to their rightful owner found its way to a weekly auction ... When connecting between T1 and T4, even in business class, which entitles you to use Fast Track at the T1/T2 FCC, I now schedule at least 4 hours (3 is risky), check my baggage only to LHR, go through immigration, pick up my baggage, and use the Heathrow Express before re-checking my baggage. FRA and CDG don't even come close in termsof inconvenience.
 
vv701
Posts: 5805
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:16 am

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 3):
To be honest I really don't see the problem with LHR.

The problem with LHR is that the current facilities in T1, T2, T3 and T4 are designed to handle a maximum of 50 million passengers a year. Last year they were used by just under 68 million.

However next year T5 opens. It is designed to handle 30 million passengers a year giving LHR the capacity to handle 80 million. So, assuming a 4 per cent growth this year and another 4 per cent next year (which is almost certainly on the high side) once T5 opens there will be 73.5 million passengers using facilities designed to handle 80 million.
 
airbazar
Posts: 7133
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:18 am

It's not that LHR is a nightmare as much as every other option being better than LHR. And if those options include MUC or AMS, than those are much much better than LHR  Smile
Getting through the very long security lines at T4 however is close to the worst experience I've ever had at an airport. Allocate at least 2 hours for that ordeal. And if you're considering taking a city tour, remember that by Tube it's at least 1 hour each way plus the above mentioned 2 hours to get through security. So you've blown nearly 4 hours just getting to the city and back to your gate. As for checking the luggage through to your destination, that shouldn't be a problem. I did just that last year. I had a stopover in London on my return to the US on BA and checked my bags all the way through. If for some reason you can't do that, there's luggage storage at every terminal, for a fee.
 
AH332
Topic Author
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:10 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:23 am

Hi,

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 13):
Can I suggest that you do in fact get a hotel room just because jet-lag will be getting to you, and it would come in handy.



Quoting Richierich (Reply 14):
There are plenty of hotels near LHR but on New Year's Eve they'll probably find good reason to jack up the price. Keep in mind that not all public transportation is 24 hours in the UK, the land of inconvenience!

I was checking out some of the hotels around LHR on their website. If I book a room online, being 19 years old will I be able to check-in upon arrival myself? Or, is there an age limit over 19? Also, can I pay cash for the room? Sorry if these questions seem trivial, but not exactly sure how it works in the U.K.

Cheers,
Imad
Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
 
rwsea
Posts: 2426
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:24 am

I've been through there once, connecting from UA to BA on separate tickets. This meant we had to go through customs upon arrival, which meant going through a huge line. Then we had to wait for bags, for what seemed like forever. Then we had to walk through a confusing maze of underground walkways, all of which were extremely narrow, clausterphobic, and crowded. Finally we got to the BA ticketing area and checked-in. Security was next, which actually wasn't too bad although I hear it's gotten worse. Finally we got into the departure area, which is essentially a huge mall without many sitting areas. Then they announce your flight about 30 minutes before boarding and you make your way to the gates.

Overall I didn't find the experience pleasant. It's obvious that this place is way too small for what it's serving, and nothing is laid out in an easy to use manner. If you're good at following multiple signs, etc., then you should be fine. One thing I mentioned is that we were on 2 different tickets and connecting between un-aligned carriers, so maybe your experience would be different.

As mentioned, the Heathrow Express is expensive, but it's the fastest way in and probably the best if you're on limited time. Never got to try the tube as it was on strike during my visit to london.
 
swiftski
Posts: 1837
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:19 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:24 am

Quoting AH332 (Reply 12):
I'm not planning to get a hotel room since I figured New Year's Eve celebrations will keep the city awake into the night.

NatWest usually sponsor travel on the tube all night; the night where nothing shuts (every other night the tube closes for maintenance/engineering work); journeys were free from ±11pm to ±4am from 31st-1st.

Quoting AH332 (Reply 12):
Oh, and eat fish and chips!

Don't eat it in London. I'm British (A.net flag = where my family are from) and I can honestly say Fish and Chips, if you're eating it for the first time, should be enjoyed out of the paper, at the beach. Not in Central London.
 
Leezyjet
Posts: 3542
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 7:26 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:52 am

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 21):
Fish and Chips, if you're eating it for the first time, should be enjoyed out of the paper, at the beach. Not in Central London.

Preferably in Yorkshire which is pretty much home to the best fish and chips in the country. Although I did have some in Brighton a couple of weeks ago, which to say they were from darn sarf and cooked by Polish immigrants, were pretty damn good.

Quoting Egcarter (Reply 15):
Needs to be razed and redone from the ground up!

This is already planned for T2/Queens Building once T5 is open, then once the new terminal has been built, T1 will then follow and the new terminal extended into the space vacated. By 2020 the only original terminal left will be T3.

LHR is not a bad place, it's just a bit too busy and a bit too disorganised. Don't be put off by the negative comments, if you allow plenty of time, you will be just fine.

As regards your hotel on NYE, I wouldn't bother. Just see the new year in and make your way back to the airport and kip in the terminal for free.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
adriaticflight
Posts: 405
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:43 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:10 am

Quoting SiouxATC (Reply 13):
Can I suggest that you do in fact get a hotel room just because jet-lag will be getting to you, and it would come in handy.

If he's flying from Stockholm there won't be a jet-lag issue, its only a 1hour time change and a reasonably short (2hour) flight. London on NYE is alive, and transport works all night, although its packed soild! Have fun! (and Heathrow is not that bad, don't let the drama queens scare you)
 
SiouxATC
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:18 am

Quoting Egcarter (Reply 15):
I swore never to connect through Heathrow again after a nightmarish "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" from UA to Lufthansa years ago. It was THAT bad. And once we got to the designated terminal, they didn't even know which gate the departure to Munich would be from until shortly before boarding time. Heathrow has just been cobbled together over the decades to increase capacity. Needs to be razed and redone from the ground up!

Well theres your problem. You should have expected that. Connecting to two different airlines is a pain sometimes, espcially when you have to change terminals. If that needs to be done make a day out of it and spend the night like the threat-starter is doing.

Quoting AH332 (Reply 19):
I was checking out some of the hotels around LHR on their website. If I book a room online, being 19 years old will I be able to check-in upon arrival myself? Or, is there an age limit over 19? Also, can I pay cash for the room? Sorry if these questions seem trivial, but not exactly sure how it works in the U.K.

Most hotels require you to be 18, so I wouldnt think there would be a problem. And in reguards to paying in pounds, I am not sure. A lot a hotels need a credit or debit card of some type. So I not to sure. Hotels in London are very expensive, but you can find some small cheap places. Now dont be expecting much, hotel rooms in europe are very different than what the United States are used too. But it will be better than nowhere at all. London is a great city, have fun. Make sure to write a t.r!

Quoting Adriaticflight (Reply 23):
If he's flying from Stockholm there won't be a jet-lag issue, its only a 1hour time change and a reasonably short (2hour) flight. London on NYE is alive, and transport works all night, although its packed soild! Have fun! (and Heathrow is not that bad, don't let the drama queens scare you)

I took it as he will be inbound from MIA on AA. There will be some jet-lag there. Esp after a night of partying. Trust me.
 
tonystan
Posts: 1332
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:54 am

As someone who works there...YES, LHR is a dump of an airport with a totally unsuitable infrastructure from the Middle Ages BUT it still works as both a point to point terminus and a connecting airport. The transit system although crowded is still moderately efficient and does the job. However I would not want to be booked to the "minimum connecting time" between terminals. Its best to leave at least 2 hours if not more for same terminal transfers and perhaps 2-3 hours for terminal changes especially if one of those changes involves t4 or t5 (from next march)! This way you have buffered extra time incase you suffer from the usual LHR style of delays of ATC holding, no stands available, waiting to cross active runways, no ground staff to meet the aircraft, broken gate guidance system etc etc etc!!!! It also gives time for your luggage to make it!!!

Enjoy!!!
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
den346
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:07 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:07 am

I flew almost that same route back in may from ORD to ARN with AA/BA and the transfer was quite the pain! I spent about two hours in transit between arriving at the gate in T3 and reaching my departure gate in T1! It took me forever to get through the customs/security in T1! This could be in part due to the idiot who tried to make a run through the disabled line at security! He got tackled and it disrupted things quite a bit! Have fun in Stockholm and hit up Stureplan and go to club Laroy!! Best night of my life so far thanks in part to a Swedish model  Wink!
Would rather be flying!
 
FiveMileFinal
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:17 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:07 am

Okay, let's be real. LHR's a dive, especially if you have to use Terminal 3. Customs is a dungeon (so RUN off your airplane when it arrives - fortunately the 1300-1400 is usually dead so you'll be through there rather quickly) and the check-in hall is a Queen's royal disaster. Be sure to allow plenty of time for ingress and egress. I get to visit LHR in about 3 weeks and I'm not looking forward to it. I agree with the poster that says it needs to be razed and rebuilt from the ground up.

Still, it's a one-plane flight from where I live, and is ridiculously cheap compared to other European destinations. And it is quite convenient if you are looking to go other places in Europe, the Middle East or Asia. So, it definitely has its strong points.

Hopefully you won't get spun around southern England due to LHR's legendarily massive traffic delays!

As for after you row your way through customs, your best bet is Heathrow Connect (not Express). More expensive than the Tube but only nominally so at £6.50 a ride. Ten minutes more than on HEX but less than half as cheap. You get dumped in Paddington and have your choice of 3 Tube lines available to you. The Circle and District lines will take you where you're wanting to go. Spring for the day Travelcard if you can.

[Edited 2007-10-17 22:14:18]
You goin'? We fly you dere! You been? We done already flew up in dere!
 
AussieItaliano
Posts: 343
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:27 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:45 am

Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 22):
By 2020 the only original terminal left will be T3.

That's the first one that should be bulldozed!
Third Runway - LHR, Second Runway - LGW, Build Them Both!!!
 
rdwootty
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:28 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:51 am

The biggest problem will be getting back to heathrow at the right time for your flight on New years day.The best deal would be to go to the terminal you are leaving from and leave your bags.Then make sure you know the time for the tube from Central London to get you there by 0645 and that is where you will find a problem. There is a night bus from Central London and maybe leaving from there at about 5 am would be a good idea so you are at the airport about 0615. i am nrealy certain that the "tube" will not run that morning to get you there. There was last year tubes very late but I do not think they will know yet the times. The best website is www.tfl.org.uk for your travel plans.
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:47 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:00 am

Quoting Vv701 (Reply 17):
The problem with LHR is that the current facilities in T1, T2, T3 and T4 are designed to handle a maximum of 50 million passengers a year. Last year they were used by just under 68 million.

You know, I could probably cope with that. What I find infuriating is the attitude of the people working there and the general feeling you get that 'It IS broke, lets NOT fix it, or even worry about it".

An example (and I have many) T4 to T1 (to HKG) connection - had 2 1/2 hours and no checked baggage. Come down the stairs to the holding room for the BA transfer bus. Lots of people about, unusual for that late at night. Just as I'm about to get into the queue I hear the 'staff' at their desk (far corner from the door to the bus) talking. "Fire in the tunnel?" says one. "That's right" says the other. "No idea how long it will be closed for". I went up to them and asked if the buses were running. "Not at the moment", I was told. I asked why they hadn't made an announcement - nobody's told us to was the response. The other commented - lots of these people don't have visas for the UK, there's nowhere else for them to go.

Well I don't need a visa for the UK, so I turned around and went through immigration. After queueing there for 30 minutes, to be given the third degree from the officer who didn't believe my story about a fire in the tunnel - but who couldn't think of a good reason not to let me in. Took the HEX to T1 and then got into the security queue - 1 1/2 hours at 2130. Ran to the gate to learn the flight was delayed - no reason or estimated time given, but told I should wait in the gate area for more information. Rubbish, I thought, and went to the lounge.

The entire time it felt like nobody gave a sh*t and the frankly could care less about me making my connection.

T5 make a difference? I doubt it.
 
Jubilee
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 1999 11:03 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:14 am

I will be travelling from SIN to MIA in November on BA, and this requires me to make a transfer from T4 to T3 at Heathrow. This is the first time I will be connecting through Heathrow and I must say that based on the comments made on this thread, it is going to be an interesting ride!

I have one question - I have about 5 hours between flights, and I have so far seen posters suggesting a transfer time of between 2 to 4 hours, so I should be fine (touch wood). The question I have is whether I should be getting a lounge pass into the Servisair lounge at T3? My ticket wont get me lounge access, and if I do get through the transfer process sooner than expected, I would like to have somewhere to kick back and relax in between my marathon journey. Has anyone tried that lounge and can recommend it?
 
User avatar
aerorobnz
Posts: 7595
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:43 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:16 am

Apart from being bored silly I had no problems connecting through LHR from EBB/JNB/ZRH onto HKG/AKL. It all depends on whether you leave yourself enough time, and I rechecked my bags through LHR. I was connecting from T2 to T3.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
B747forever
Posts: 12889
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:38 am

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Is it REALLY that bad? Or are these exaggerations?

LHR is really not so bad. I has connected through LHR four times and I has not experienced any kind of problem.

LHR is not as bad as many says.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
imag
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:11 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:40 am

London is usually a cold wet place on New Year’s Eve… it also tends to quieten down a fair bit from 2am onwards… although with some searching you should be able to find venues which kick on into the morning… they will be pubs and clubs…

In terms of getting around – once into central London (if that’s where you’re going)… walk… most of the West End – which is the main entertainment area – and the river (where you’ll find fireworks – although the main display is usually about 9pm for the kids rather than a shorter midnight set) are a 20 minute walk apart…

Enjoy your stop over… but make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to LHR!!!
 
justplanecrazy
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:26 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:59 am

AH332,
I would not use the tube from LHR. It's a lot less hassle to book a airport cab for £25 into central london and it will drop you at the door of your hotel.Search on google for airport cars or i can give you the number of the company i use, if you want.The mini cab driver will be holding a sign with your name when you come out of the airport.Dont use a black cab because they will cost about £60.
Good day trip is to Kennsington palace gardens where you can feed wild squirrels and birds by hand along the flower walk.Also lots of swans there as well.
your pilots today on this 747 flight are captain oliver hardy and assisting will be FO stan laurel.Have a safe flight
 
GSM763
Posts: 573
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:35 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:20 am

Quoting Justplanecrazy (Reply 35):
AH332,
I would not use the tube from LHR

It's not that bad and also it can save £20 over the Heathrow Express or a cab, a cab won't take much less time either if the traffic isn't good. Having said all that PLEASE CHECK in advance to see if there are any maintainence works on the lines you will be using especially as it is the Christmas season
 
nzrich
Posts: 1098
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:29 am

Well i just recently landed in LHR from AKL on NZ and landed mid afternoon i was through LHR in about 30 mins its was so easy at that time .. Was though so quick i had to wait for my ride to arrive to pick me up !!!!! They were expecting me to take ages through customs !!!!
"Pride of the pacific"
 
AH332
Topic Author
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:10 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:15 pm

Hi,

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I really appreciate it!  Smile Now I'm just waiting for the trip and totally psyched about it.

Cheers,
Imad
Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
 
Rivet42
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:48 pm

Quoting Justplanecrazy (Reply 35):
I would not use the tube from LHR

There's nothing wrong with the tube, the Heathrow line is one of the best maintained and best run, and therefore most reliable. Many of us have used it every day, and continue to do so.

New Year's Eve can be an interesting night out in London - if the weather is mild, then wandering around outside is great, and there will certainly be plenty to see and do. However as pointed out above, things do tend to fade by 2am, although there are still thousands of people milling around waiting for their buses home.

If the weather is not so good, then you'll want to get yourself into a venue that is going to be open until 1am or later - most pubs (bars) in the centre of London should be open, although they will be very crowded just before midnight. Nightclubs can also be ok, but they are likely to sell tickets in advance if they are having an NYE party, so may be sold out.

If you are on your own, though, I'd recommend being around the south bank of the river Thames. That's always got a good atmosphere, will lots of tourists & locals wandering up & down, and on NYE you can gaurantee that there'll be lots of takeaway food options (to avoid having to fight your way into a burger bar or expensive restaurant).

Getting back to the airport - well, you will be pretty bored by around 2am, I'd guess, so either head for an all-night cafe in Soho (Old Compton Street) or around Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square to have a warm drink and a sandwich before going to the airport, or head straight to Heathrow where the cafes in T3 arrivals start opening up around 5... Best bet will be the night-bus, N9, which normally stops in Trafalgar Square, but will most likely go from somewhere else on NYE. You'll have to check www.tfl.gov.uk just beforehand, to see what the bus arrangements are on the night itself.

I'm not certain that you can rely on the tube on NYE - they usually run a bit later than normal, but there has been no announcement yet to us in London if they are going to run all-night or not. If they don't, then they will not be restarting on 1st Jan in time for you to get to the airport, so the N9 bus is still your best bet.

I don't really see the point of spending money on a hotel, because you won't get back to Heathrow in time to use it, unless you are leaving the centre of the city just after midnight! If it's a shower you're after, these can be paid for in some of the terminals, but an LHR staffer will be able to provide more info on that.

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:22 pm

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):

Don't do it!!!.... American got me across the Atlanitc with an early arrival at LHR..took me TWO (2) HOURS to be ground transported across the field to my connection...only to miss it,...RESULT...spent 7.5 hours in the smoking room in LHR until the next connection to Stuttgart and I don't smoke! Now regardless of cost, I take nonstops over, under and around LHR, but NEVER THROUGH IT! The Brit's, lovely as they are...have an airport I consider worse than the New York airports...but to be fair, they are all underconstruction to improve their problems...that is one of the reasons to avoid it currently...
 
YYZYYT
Posts: 909
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:41 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:32 pm

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 2):
LHR's only benefit is its location - very close to the city center of London.

Not true. There's lots of neat airplanes that we don't get to see on this side of the Atlantic.

Quoting Richierich (Reply 14):
There are plenty of hotels near LHR but on New Year's Eve they'll probably find good reason to jack up the price. Keep in mind that not all public transportation is 24 hours in the UK, the land of inconvenience!



Quoting Rdwootty (Reply 29):
The biggest problem will be getting back to heathrow at the right time for your flight on New years day.The best deal would be to go to the terminal you are leaving from and leave your bags.Then make sure you know the time for the tube from Central London to get you there by 0645 and that is where you will find a problem. There is a night bus from Central London and maybe leaving from there at about 5 am would be a good idea so you are at the airport about 0615. i am nrealy certain that the "tube" will not run that morning to get you there. There was last year tubes very late but I do not think they will know yet the times. The best website is www.tfl.org.uk for your travel plans.

I'd second those comments - I've been through Heatherow every year or two and have usually found that the lines are incredibly long. Nearly missed a flight last summer because the line to get through Passport control in T1 was nearly 2 hours long (not even security, but passport control). True, it was summer; but it was also before the liquid scare.

Count on long long lines and make sure you have a way to get there early; that way the worst case scenario is that you have extra time to watch the morning comings and goings.
 
aajfksjubklyn
Posts: 458
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:46 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:40 pm

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 40):
Don't do it!!!.... American got me across the Atlanitc with an early arrival at LHR..took me TWO (2) HOURS to be ground transported across the field to my connection...only to miss it,...RESULT...spent 7.5 hours in the smoking room in LHR until the next connection to Stuttgart and I don't smoke! Now regardless of cost, I take nonstops over, under and around LHR, but NEVER THROUGH IT! The Brit's, lovely as they are...have an airport I consider worse than the New York airports...but to be fair, they are all underconstruction to improve their problems...that is one of the reasons to avoid it currently...

I too took AA JFK-LHR, on my journey to BCN. The most miserable asepct after being awake all night was navigating in this bus though alleyways and wherever else the bus could go in LHR. It was a HORRIBLE experience to say the least.
Then I ran and rushed through all that mess, and my flight to BCN was delayed. Got to BCN, and walked out of the airport without my luggage!!!!!!!!!!! Blonde moment...but it was an ABSOLUTE hassel to get my bags back......horrible...I cant even think of that trip.
I was up about 30 or so hours when I forgot to get my bags.
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:48 pm

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 3):
Its just your average busy intercontinental airport! I have never ever had any problems and I've travelled through numerous times....

Most times I pass through LHR it is on a T1-T3 connection, but I have to collect my baggage and check it in again as I am usually on a non-rev standby out of T3. If you follow the signs and walk briskly, you can make it between the T1 baggage hall and the T3 check-in (Zone E) in just over ten minutes. It works the other way around too.

For a T1/T4 or T4/T1 connection I beleive the Heathrow Express is free - is that still the case?

If you are through-checked you can go via Flight Connections remaining airside, but I've never experienced this so can not comment on the convenience.

I don't think connecting through LHR with a reasonable connection time is too much of an issue - I would say that the dated and cramped infrastructure of T2 and the T3 check-in area are more of a concern but at least there is a plan in place to deal with these issues.
 
richierich
Posts: 3308
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:21 pm

Quoting AH332 (Reply 19):
I was checking out some of the hotels around LHR on their website. If I book a room online, being 19 years old will I be able to check-in upon arrival myself? Or, is there an age limit over 19? Also, can I pay cash for the room? Sorry if these questions seem trivial, but not exactly sure how it works in the U.K.

That may be a problem, I am not sure. Most of the hotels near the airport may be credit card only and I'm not sure if cash is going to work. I suppose you could always find a good one online and call them to check... They may require a payment upfront, meaning you'd have to send it to them now. it still might be worth it, however.

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 41):
I'd second those comments - I've been through Heatherow every year or two and have usually found that the lines are incredibly long. Nearly missed a flight last summer because the line to get through Passport control in T1 was nearly 2 hours long (not even security, but passport control). True, it was summer; but it was also before the liquid scare.

Count on long long lines and make sure you have a way to get there early; that way the worst case scenario is that you have extra time to watch the morning comings and goings.

Like most people, I just view LHR as a necessary evil for visiting the UK. I have also flown into LGW and MAN and, unless they are closer to the part of England I am visiting, they are only marginally better. As for transferring, the only times I have transferred at LHR have been to domestic flights and besides being awkward it wasn't particularly terrible. Just be sure to budget the time iand then some.

I guess the closest example on this side of the pond would be connecting at JFK and changing carriers. Imagine flying into JFK internationally on, say, Delta and then connecting to a domestic US Airways flight. I realize it would be pointless with Delta's sizeable domestic presence but I'm sure it does happen. You'd arrive at an antiquated terminal, wait in long lines, be treated like sh!t from the customs and immigrations officers, then have to connect to another terminal 10+ minutes away. Its sort of the same thing at LHR although some aspects are even less convenient!

It's an experience. Just view it as that.
None shall pass!!!!
 
EK156
Posts: 646
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 8:01 pm

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:35 pm

Last time I travelled through LHR was 4 weeks ago and I landed at 8pm and cleared immigration by 11pm. Yep a SOLID 3 hours in the Que. I was dead by the time I claimed my bag. Reached the hotel at Midnite!!!

Aweful! I only fly to Gatwick now
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:37 pm

Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 42):

Same here...when I finally arrived in Stuttgart I still had to drop my girlfriend off at the hotel then go back to Stuttgart airport to photo document a Gulfstream 200, (another six hours) so my day was also a 30 hour day.Didn't have to be that way if I avoided Londonhellthrow!
 
Rivet42
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:50 pm

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 43):
For a T1/T4 or T4/T1 connection I beleive the Heathrow Express is free - is that still the case?

Yes. It works well for T1 and T3, as they are at either end of the HEX station, but for T2 it's quite a long walk.

I assume it'll still be free when T5 opens next year - i.e. T4 <-> T1/2/3 on Heathrow Connect, and T5 <-> T1/2/3 on Heathrow Express...

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
richierich
Posts: 3308
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:10 pm

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 47):
I assume it'll still be free when T5 opens next year - i.e. T4 <-> T1/2/3 on Heathrow Connect, and T5 <-> T1/2/3 on Heathrow Express...

The last magazine I read on this subject indicated that it would still be free for intra-airport rides. Hopefully this will not change, but you never know...!
None shall pass!!!!
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Is Heathrow For Real?

Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:57 pm

Quoting AH332 (Thread starter):
Is it REALLY that bad?

It's dingy, dirty and very small thus crowded.

While something negative could be said about almost any national gateway airport, Heathrow is probably one of the least pleasant of them all.

As was said previously, it's main "draw" is its proximity to downtown London and the good transportation available to downtown.

That being said, I think Gatwick is eaually dark and dreary.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos