LHA is often described as difficult to get around. I thought it wasn't that bad, ppl are helpful, directions are described pretty good and distances are as regular as they are at any huge airport. Yet, again, it's all about scheduling in enough of time. I think trying to get on a connecting flight in less than 2 hrs is an hopeless case. As for the lines/security measures I found'em at any US airport way more organized and there for way smoother (in comparison to the UK). At any airports in the US additional assitants along the lines of passengers are helping out ahead and make sure things are going as fast as possible. Scary the low security measures at European airports for national flights.
London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), often referred to as Heathrow, is the United Kingdom's busiest and best-connected airport. It is the busiest airport in Europe and by international passenger traffic is the busiest international airport in the world. By total passenger traffic it is the world's third-busiest airport. Heathrow is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon, 15 miles (24 km) west of Charing Cross in Central London.
The current terminal system at Heathrow sees British Airways having operations in Terminals 1, 3 and 4, and does little to align airline partnerships within terminal buildings. This should change once T5 is opened (as detailed above).
I have never tried their Left Luggage Service but I am putting this info from the Heathrow website for my own (and others) reference is you're stuck for a few hours at LHR (London):
Each terminal has a left baggage facility for storing luggage for a number of hours or days. Items are security checked. Left baggage offices also offer competitive unaccompanied baggage rates and services and sell luggage and travel accessories. Charges are £6 per item per 24 hours (or part thereof). The service is operated by the Excess Baggage Company, who can be contacted on +44 (0)20 8745 4599. Opening times are:
Terminal 1 (06:00 - 23:00)
Terminal 2 (05:30 - 23:00)
Terminal 3 (05:00 - 23:00)
Terminal 4 (05:00 - 23:00)
Just be sure the terminal is open by the time you need your bags (ie, if you have a ridiculously early flight!) Hope this helps, Norman :)
I've had the "pleasure" of transferring through Heathrow on a couple of occasions to other European cities and if you can possibly avoid doing it, it is advisable. Heathrow may not be the world's busiest airport but I'd be shocked if it wasn't the world's largest and the one it takes the most time to get through.
If you are traveling in and out of different terminals, you'll want to give yourself at LEAST 2 hours, 3 is preferable, to cover the inevitable circling around the aiport waiting for a landing spot, the LONG walk through the terminal, the transfer via either bus or Heathrow Express and the pass through security. We had 90 minutes between flights going to Bucharest and we were literally jogging through the airport to make our flight, our bags were not as lucky. I've never had to collect my bags at Heathrow between flights but it is a possibility if you purchase the legs of your journey separately.
Traveling in club or first class on British Airways is an entirely different experience, you can use the Fast Track system to go to the front of the security queue and you can use the extra time to visit the BA lounge.
Anything you could possibly need to know about transferring terminals at Heathrow can be found on their website Heathrow's website including how to do it and how much time you need. Note that the times listed for transfer are the minimum time needed, if your in bound flight is delayed or security lines are unusually long you may need more time.
Americans are often routed through Heathrow when travelling to destinations around Europe and Eastern Europe. On my last trip, I tried flying daytime rather than over night...and I would highly recommend it. Jet lag was much less because I had a normal night of sleep on both ends. (cannot sleep on the flight) I pampered myself terribly by staying overnight at the hotel in the airport before continuing on. Height of luxury.
HOWEVER... I really wasn't happy with Heathrow. It's huge, poorly planned, and definatelyl NOT user friendly. You walk for miles for everything. Hallways with people movers are dismal and in great need of paint. The general maintenance of the airport is poor. When you are transported within the complex on a bus...the route takes you through the most twisted unappealling areas you would ever imagine. I understand they are trying to expand the airport again because their ratings are slipping. I say they had better clean up what they already have.
The main terminal area is dominated by retail sales and passengers have minimal uncomfortable seating ... none of which is restfull. Corridors are too narrow to accomodate the crowds. Restrooms are minimal. There is one quiet room provided with a couple of computers and it is like being in a 1955 closet. Next trip I will use another airport for my connecting flights...for sure.
Luton airport, when it was plain (or is it plane ?) Luton airport was run by the local council and happily ferried people to their two week annual packaged holiday on the Spanish costas.
It's only claim to fame was that it was the rather surreal catchphrase of Lorraine Chase who would answer any sophisticated question with the immortal words 'nahh Luton airport"
About 10 years ago it began to get ideas above it's station and was a some point re-named London Luton Airport.
Once Easyjet moved in the place really began to take off. Nowadays you can use this airport to get to London from any number of places across Europe.
The picture shown is part of the offices complex known as 'Easyland' which is not as the name suggests an Amersterdam red-light district amusement park, but rather the corporate HQ of Easyjet and its other offshoots.
Located to the west of the city, from modest
beginnings, Heathrow has blossomed into
one of the world's busiest airports, handling
over 64 million passengers each year.
234 Bath Road
Hayes, Middlesex UB3 5AP
Distance from city: 24km (15 miles)
The below pictures were taken from onboard our favorite
airline .... Virgin Atlantic
Gatwick Airport is situated around 30 miles south of the city that’s why it’s not very comfortable to fly to/from there. Its advantage is that it is cheaper than Heathrow and it’s not impossible to get in London for less money. There is a train Gatwick Express which runs to Victoria station and it’s like 15 pounds one way ticket.
Our flight was early in the morning that’s why we had to spend the night at the airport but it was not a problem. It is clean and comfortable, there are many places to eat even in the night.
We came through last Friday morning on a flight from Chicago landing at 9:05 a.m. By the time we cleared through customs it was 10:35 a.m. We reached the line for customs at 9:25 am and were handed some bottled water by Heathrow staff. 2 lines, the one to the left for EU citizens wait was about 10 minutes or even less from what I could time. 3 flights had arrived about same time as ours. We arrived on American Airlines in Terminal 3. They had anywhere from 6 to 8 custom agents really couldn't count how many until we got close to front of line.
London and Europe's largest airport and the world's busiest airport in terms of international passenger movement, with services from most available major airports world-wide. Flights landing in Heathrow often are delayed by up to 30 min as a simple result of air traffic congestion. As a result of Heathrow's size and overcrowding, disembarking the plane can also take considerably longer than at London's other airports. That also makes customs a good wait.
To get to the centre of London you have a few alternatives:
Piccadilly Line tube line takes around 50 minutes. 3.60 Pounds (2005). This option is much cheaper than the Heathrow Express, and can be faster if your destination is in the suburbs west of London.
The Heathrow Express, a high-speed rail link between the airport and London Paddington Station runs every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes from terminals 1,2,3 or 23 minutes from terminal 4. It's 13 Pounds for a single and 25 Pounds for a return ticket (2005).
A taxi to town will cost about 50 Pounds. Don't do it unless you absolutely have to.
With the latest terrorist threats, security at Heathrow and other UK airports is tighter than ever. Liquids are prohibited in hand luggage, and the extra time needed to check hand baggage means more time is needed to clear emigration.
I flew out a few days after the emergency and we were delayed an hour waiting for clearance to take off. Everyone was very cooperative though. It makes things easier if passengers obey all instructions and have their coats and shoes off before reaching the screening equipment.
When flying in/out of London mind that Gatwick and Heathrow are humongous airports and it could take you at least 30 minutes from the plane to kissing your boyfriend at Arrivals (and that's with hand luggage only, a EU passport and at midnight mid-week...).
Not taking into account security measures which can take up to an hour due to the sheer number of people to check and the limited personnel and equipment, there is often a solid 20 minutes walk from Security Control to you plane's waiting lounge.
Give yourself a break and allow ample time. I count 1.5hrs for a european flight at off-peak times (e.g. 7am or midnight take-off) and 2+hrs at peak times. This takes into account the journey from the tube/train station (didn't think of that one did you? Can take a good 15 minutes...), picking up my boarding pass, security and walking to the boarding lounge. I might have time for a coffee but not much more.
You can check the BAA websites for maps of the airports and details of how to access them.
London Heathrow is one of the biggest airports in the world. I love it! There are also the Stansted and the Gatwick Airport. From mainland Europe you can take a ferry to Dover when you are travelling by car.
The London taxis are very beautiful and unique! But it´s expensive to take one, the Underground is a cheaper way to travel in London
A nice airport to break your journey to the US from India.Plenty of window shopping to do here to kill time until the connecting flight.I was happy to see the Concorde in action when I spent a few hours in September 2003 on my way to New York City.
I really love visiting Great Britain, and appreciate all aspects of British culture. I thought it would be fun to have a 2.5 hour layover to transfer flights at London Heathrow, time to enjoy the British gift shops, enjoy some tea, Cadbury bars and Walker's crisps, maybe even get some lunch. However, you barely have time for any of that if you need to switch terminals- there are no high-speed trains as far as I know, after going through security( long lines) in the main International Terminal- to get to your departing flight's terminal - specfically flights to the USA- British Airways uses very slow buses- which only hold 50-60 people, there were over 300-400 in line..I'm glad I decided to leave to fly out when I did and skip lunch or I never would have made it in time. My tip is to allow yourself plenty of time to transfer fights, and don't shop around too much unless you have 3-4 hours at Heathrow. It is stessful. At Chicago O'Hare it always takes awhile to get around, but at least they have trains between the terminals. How can Heathrow, the world's largest and probably busiest airport not afford this service?