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DFWandOMA
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Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:41 am

London Connection Customs Question

Thu Dec 01, 2022 7:24 pm

I will be traveling from ATH to DFW next year with a layover in LHR. These flights are on BA/AA. Will I have to go through customs once I land in London? I only have a 1.5 hour layover in LHR, so didn't know if I will have to go through customs in London in addition to Dallas.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: London Connection Customs Question

Thu Dec 01, 2022 8:00 pm

No, as long as both flights use the same terminal you don't have to go through customs. You can just walk from your arrival gate to your departure gate.

British airports are different from American airports in a sense that they have a sterile international area. It has mixed departures and arrivals but the only way to get landside from that area is to clear customs. But you don't need to do that, only passengers bound for London or other domestic destinations do.

It becomes a different story if both flights use a different terminal. Some terminals are connected air side but not all of them.
 
DFWandOMA
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Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:41 am

Re: London Connection Customs Question

Thu Dec 01, 2022 9:06 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
No, as long as both flights use the same terminal you don't have to go through customs. You can just walk from your arrival gate to your departure gate.

British airports are different from American airports in a sense that they have a sterile international area. It has mixed departures and arrivals but the only way to get landside from that area is to clear customs. But you don't need to do that, only passengers bound for London or other domestic destinations do.

It becomes a different story if both flights use a different terminal. Some terminals are connected air side but not all of them.


Yes, I expect that I would arrive into Terminal 5 and then depart from Terminal 3.
 
leftcoast8
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:59 am

Re: London Connection Customs Question

Thu Dec 01, 2022 11:20 pm

DFWandOMA wrote:
I will be traveling from ATH to DFW next year with a layover in LHR. These flights are on BA/AA. Will I have to go through customs once I land in London? I only have a 1.5 hour layover in LHR, so didn't know if I will have to go through customs in London in addition to Dallas.


No, you just have to go through a security screening.

Sterile transit makes intl->intl connections much more convenient. Almost every country in the world allows sterile transit: the only exceptions I know of are the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Sterile transfer also means you can stay on the plane during stopovers. I've flown YVR-LHR-HBE-ADD, didn't go through UK immigration, didn't have to disembark in Egypt (compare that to ANZ's AKL-LAX-LHR).

In Canada, if you're arriving at YYZ T1, YUL, YVR or YYC, your baggage will be checked through on an intl->intl connection, but you still need to disembark, get a cursory passport check, and stay in the sterile holding area before it's time to reboard. This is how it works for PPT-YVR-CDG.

For intl->transborder connections (like HKG-YVR-SEA), you get a cursory passport check then go straight to CBP pre-clearance. Arrival in the U.S. is treated as a domestic flight. CBP has the right to pull and inspect your luggage in Canada if anything arouses suspicion, but you will be informed of this by a CBP agent at preclearance.
 
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hawaiian717
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Re: London Connection Customs Question

Fri Dec 02, 2022 5:58 am

Heathrow airport has airside shuttle busses to transfer between terminals without having to go through UK customs. Follow the purple Flight Connections signs. You will need to go through a security check at Heathrow.

https://www.heathrow.com/connecting-flights
 
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eurotrader85
Posts: 473
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Re: London Connection Customs Question

Fri Dec 02, 2022 9:40 am

Yes, it is an incorrect statement to say "It becomes a different story if both flights use a different terminal. Some terminals are connected air side but not all of them." They are all connected by bus and 'sterile' to customs as hawaiian717 and leftcoast8 say. I personally have regularly landed in T5 and flown out of T3. 1.5hrs is plenty of time to make your connection.
 
leftcoast8
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:59 am

Re: London Connection Customs Question

Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:04 am

hawaiian717 wrote:
Heathrow airport has airside shuttle busses to transfer between terminals without having to go through UK customs. Follow the purple Flight Connections signs. You will need to go through a security check at Heathrow.

https://www.heathrow.com/connecting-flights


I have taken these coaches. In 2007, BA moved YVR from T4 to T1, and I was connecting to BMED's LHR-BEY-ADD flight out of T4. So I took the T1->T4 bus without having to go through customs. Incredibly handy and I wish Canada had something similar.

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