Not sure if this tip is in the correct place but you will find that the check in process at Heathrow , T4 is easy and fast. Once you have found the location of your check in counter, head for the immigration and security checks which are also very efficient. In no time you will find yourself in the duty free area where all the information regarding your departure gate is clearly shown. The whole process from entering the terminal to arriving at duty free took less than 20 minutes, but of course this can be much longer at busy times.
Sorry for the late update. Just to let you know that my bags were tagged through from Osaka to Belfast, despite korean and BA not being partner airlines and being told by korean that the bags would need to be picked up at heathrow. Also there were no long queues at terminal 1 at that time (17:30) so everything went smoothly. Good luck for anyone with a similar query!
Often on the forum there are questions regarding transfers between terminals so i just like to mention that you can transfer between T 4 and T1,2 or 3 by tube. From terminal 1,2,3 just hop on the tube and the next stop is T4, but from T4 you must hop on the train to Hatton Cross which is the next stop where you get off and hop on the train going in the other direction to the next stop which will be T1,2,3
We have traveled with BA to Bulgaria and then caught the internal flight, which was with Bulgaria Air. As part of the process, i would expect to collect baggage and then proceed to the next check in point with your luggage and check in again with your party and luggage, clear boarding checks and await your flight.
I would check if BA land at the same terminal as you are departing, other wise you will need to take one of the buses outside to the next terminal of your departure. Fare is single and shouldn't cost more than £3-5, paying the driver. You may need to ask for assistance getting your bags on. Good luck. Do your search before leaving and i hope you have left time in between your connecting flight. ONLY do the taxis if you have the money.
The tip is in reply to a traveler to the UK.
My wife and I flew from Chicago to Heathrow 3 weeks ago and then had a connecting flight to Paris Orly. Let me go through our entire schedule. It doesn't fit yours exactly, but hopefully will give you an idea.
Thursday - Had a 7:15 p.m. American Airlines flight from Chicago O'Hare to London Heathrow. Flight left on time. American Airlines and British Airways are partners and the flight was listed as both AA and BA. I believe your flight may arrive at Terminal 3 for the U.S. as ours did
Friday - Arrived at Heathrow about 10 minutes early at 9:00 a.m. Again we arrived at Terminal 3. We were in the back 2/3 of the plane and 2 other large planes had arrived at the same time. We walked a good distance to get to passport control where they were handing out water (nice touch probably getting ready for the Olympic hoards in a few months). We filled out our entry card while waiting. Finally got to passport control at 10:30 a.m. Cleared that within a minute or so and then went to claim our baggage.
Hopped onto Heathrow Express train which took us to Terminal 5 in about 5 minutes. Once we arrived at Terminal 5 we checked in with our British Airways flight to Orly and dropped off both bags. Proceeded through another quick passport check and security lines which only took about 10 minutes.
We arrived in the waiting area at about 11:20 a.m. and stood around watching the tote board until it posted the gate that our flight would be heading out of. The posting came at about 12:10 p.m. at one of the closer gates about a 5 minute walk from where we stood. We were in pre boarding area at 12:15 p.m. and our flight to Paris Orly took off about 12:45 p.m. The original departure was scheduled for 12:35 p.m.
So from our recent experience it took about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the waiting area.
I really like Heathrow airport. It might be a bit crowded but there are many transfer options available. I think that the cheapest transfer option is to use the underground. However if you have more luggage, like 2 suitcases it’s not very convenient to carry them. One day when I came back from America with lots of luggage had to use an airport transfer company and was really impressed. The price is not that high especially when you share with one or two other people. It’s really fast and convenient to get from the airport to your home.
I haven't done much international travel, but having flown around Europe within the past month and having flown in and out of Heathrow Airport in London from Chicago during that time here are my answers.
As already said you will not have to declare any of those items, and if anything is breakable you should carry it on board. In fact, with those 3 items you could easily carry those on board.
I am going to assume you are flying into London Heathrow. If not, ignore all the following advice. We landed at Heathrow at the same time as 2 other jumbo jets, so most of the people going through customs were not UK citizens. (They have 2 separate lines for passport control - one for UK citizens and the other for everyone else.) The line for passport control was about 90 to 100 minutes. You will fill out a card that they will give you on the plane with your name, address, passport number, occupation, length of stay and reason for visit. When you finally get up to passport control you will give your passport and this card to the agent who will check the passport and the card and probably ask the purpose for your visit. You will then go pick up any checked in luggage and then proceed past the customs area as others have said because you really don't have anything to declare.
the one question not addressed above is the nationality of the passenger. if non European passport holder, the lines at the immigration can be long, does not matter whether you are coming in from EU. T4 immigration may take longer since T4 has flights from the sub continent and all people needing visa now have to be fingerprinted. I have waited up to one hour to get through immigration coming in from France to T4.
If you dont have a whole heap of luggage, I would go through immigration (if you are EU citizen the lines are always shorter and much faster), walk to Heathrow central and connect to T4.. there are trains every 10 to 15 minutes connecting heathrow central and T4. The security lines are not that long in T4 departure.
By the choice of terminals, I might guess that you are flying Etihad or Emirates or Qatar via Gulf to NZ.
If you dont have too much luggage to schlep I do think that 3 hours is enough .
London Heathrow Airport can be a human jungle particularly in the weekends, and if there has been a terrorist alert then passengers waiting to board CAN EVEN SPILL OUT OF THE AIRPORT! If you are flying from airport then my advice is that you arrive early and check-in (preferably online) as soon as you get there to beat the crowds.
The fastest way to get to central London is Heathrow Express, which will take you to the center in 15 minutes. However, it is not the cheapest method. With 14,50 pounds one-way it is rather an expensive experience. National Express services are available from 4,00 pounds one-way. But if you need to travel within central London, take the tube. An off-peak 1-day travel card is available for 7,00 pounds already. The tube ride (Picadilly Line) into central London takes around 35 minutes. All prices are as of early 2008.