We are going to be arriving at Heathrow airportin about two weeks, and will hve to go from terminal 3 to terminal 4 to meet others in our party. Has anyone used the shuttle service at Heathrow, and if so could you let us know how it works.
Good news, shuttle bus signs are clearly posted, and no different from most airports. Bad news is that when we went thru Heathrow 4 weeks ago it tooks 2 1/12 hours to clear customs, porters non-existant at night. Please allow extra time!
Thanks for the information Edward,cinnamon and Lady Jag. I have been to Heathrow several times, but always through terminal 3, and never had to go to another terminal. The facilities map shows terminal 4 quite a long way away, and access by way of the Heathrow Express train that goes into London. I know it can get very congested and have heard that that train can get crowded. I was hoping there was another way to go. Like Edwardv I remembered a shuttle bus but cannot remember any details. I hope I don't run into a baggage handlers strike, as the last one they had I was sailing out of Barcelona and a number of passengers that flew through London had to fly on without there baggage. The lucky ones got their bags the next day in Gibralter, and the others got theirs three days later in Madeira.
For Lady Jag, my experience has been that customs and immegration went pretty fast at Heathrow, with maybe 20 or 25 minutes in line. I don't want to think about how long it may take now that we have been so stong about getting passenger lists prior to flights leaving London. What I always remember are the long walks through the Heathrow terminal.
Okay, Peter, thanks. :thumb As long as I know what to expect, it won't be so bad. I'll just mentally prepare everyone in our family for long walks and about a half hour in the Customs line, give or take. After watching "Airport" (the original UK version), I was worried that maybe everyone gets drilled by the Customs Officials for hours!
Good luck with your terminal change. I can imagine that the Heathrow Express would be crowded. Hope you have a fantastic trip with no strikes! :thumb :wave
Thanks for the update, we sure didn't need any problem with our baggage. We have booked another Cruise out of Dover next spring, and I am going to try Gatwick for this cruise. Gatwick is a little closer to Dover, and you can get there without going through London. In addition the airport seems smaller and more manageable.
On Sept 5 at 7:10A we arrived at Heathrow with a chartered 18 pax mini-bus scheduled to pick up our party of 10 at 9:30A to be transferred to Dover. The late model Mercedes mini-bus cost us 210 pounds, and had more than adequate baggage space. Three couples arrived at terminal 3 between 7:10A and 8:15A, and two couples arrived at terminal 4 at 8:45. Our concern was that the bus cannot just pick up passengers in LHR, but must get clearance from the Coach Master and pick up at bus parking area. With pax coming in at two different terminals we would have to consolidate our group for pick up. Travel from terminals 3 and 4 is very difficult with baggage in tow. We had a cell phone available in each party, so we coordinated the pick up at term 4, and they were waiting for us as we got there, and did not have to go to the parking area. The transfer company (firstname.lastname@example.org), helped us work out the details, and provided excellent service. The same company provided vehicles and guidance for a pub crawl the night before sailing, and a great time was had by all the 20 cruisers that participated. Most of us were staying at the Churchill hotel in Dover, which was a great location near the terminals and the city center.
When my wife and I arrived at LHR at 7:10A there was a very long line for immigration that we took 50 min to clear. The other 4 couples took only about 15 or 20 minutes. Customs required essentially zero delay. After locating the Coach Master it took the bus driver about ten minutes to get to term 3, about 15 minutes to get to term 4, and we where on our way to Dover about two hours away. Careful coordination resulted in a very pleasant and reasonably priced transfer.
One way to bypass the terminal transfer problem is to fly American Airlines on Business class or First class. The last two times I flew to Heathrow , an American gate agent stopped us at the door as we were exiting the airplane. They took us down some hidden stairs to a private van and drove us through the airport taxi-ways right to the next terminal. Then up a crew elevator to the gate. Took about 15 minutes and no extra security check either.
Frank, that's what we're flying - Business Class into Heathrow (first class from SAN to DFW). That would be great if we could bypass those long lines! Should I ask for this service if they don't stop us and offer it to us? Who would I ask?
The first time it happened I flew Business Class. Just as we were leaving the plane in Heathrow there was a gate agent looking for us. We were the only people who were called and I assumed it was because we were running late to get our connection to Milan and they wanted to help us get our connection.
The second time, about 2 years ago, I was in First Class on American heading to Amsterdam. Again as we were just getting off the plane ( right in the jetway) they were looking for us...and another couple from Business Class. I asked what was the deal and they said we were part of a VIP service for connecting passengers that came with First or Business class.
I am not sure how or if you can verify this.
Also, I believe if you fly Business or First class you can use their private lounge the day you fly. It's nice if you have a long layover in Dallas or Heathrow coming back. Ask about this too.
We have a connection at DFW on our way out of the country. If they have a Bus. Class/First Class lounge (I think it's called the Admiral's Lounge?), then'll we'll definitely spend a little time there waiting for our connection to Paris. Also, maybe they can help us with our connection to a commuter flight out of LAX to SAN. It's always such a rush to get that connection, especially when you're coming from out of the country! I'll ask on http://www.flyertalk.com on the American Airline's board. Those people know flying like you wouldn't believe!!
BTW - they gave me a link to a website that is indispensible when it comes to finding 'the perfect seat' on an airplane - http://www.seatguru.com This site lists comments on just about every seat on every plane. It helped us get exactly what we wanted for our upcoming Europe trip. Thanks for the info., Frank, I appreciate it! :thumb :thumb
You will go through customs at the first airport you hit when you land. Do you stop at DFW again on the way home? Or O'Hare? As I recall, you need to get your luggage too then send it on again after the inspection.
On the way home, we're flying from LHR to LAX and then on to SAN. So we'll have to go through Customs at LAX and have our luggage scanned? We only have 1 hr. and 45 mins. Is that enough time on a weekday afternoon?
I thought you lived near L..A. Why are you flying to San Diego?
I have taken that non-stop from LHR to LAX. Customs is pretty organized at LAX. I think you will need to get to another terminal for the commuter flight to San Diego. It's a pain using those underground tunnels. You may get lucky and find one of those golf carts waiting on your end. Ask the airline about gates and terminals.
I think you can make it in time. But it may be close. At least there are lots of commuter flights heading down to SAN.
We're just about 30 mins. north of SAN. I think I'll ask the flight attendants when we're almost to LAX if there's a short cut of some sort to get us to the commuter terminal faster. I think having Bus. Class tickets will enable us to use a faster line at Customs, won't it? :? (I know there's a shorter line for Security.)