LHR - arrival and transfers

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by ChicagoEric, Jun 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    All - looking for advice from those more experienced than me at travel through LHR.

    I am arriving LHR in F on AA and will depart in Y on Air France (separate ticket). Questions:

    - Will I have to go through immigration in the UK?
    - Will I be able to make use of arrivals facilities? Lounge options?
    - How long should I allow to get from AA/lounge to the AF flight?
    - Any changes to any of the above when I make the return journey (AF to AA)?

    In both cases I will have about 3 hour layover.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    On the SkyTeam side, if you are SkyTeam Elite Plus (DL GM or higher or the rough equivalent on other carriers), you should get lounge access before the AF flight. Do you have Priority Pass or a credit card that gives lounge access?
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I've only transited through LHR once, and that was from AA to AY all within T3. I didn't go through immigration or customs, just an additional security check. I'm assuming yours would be the same except you'd need to change to T4.
    AA has an Arrivals Lounge that you'll have access to, but I believe it's after customs and immigration. If you're transiting directly to AF, I don't believe you'd be headed in that direction. I suppose you have the option of clearing customs and immigration just to use the lounge, but with your time constraints I'm not sure that's wise with LHR's reputation for being a bit of a mess, slow with security/ticketing lines, etc.

    In terms of AF's lounge access, I'd see MSPeconomist's suggestions above. He raises a good question about status. Do you have status on SkyTeam or Oneworld?

    On the way back, you'll have several lounge options in T3 depending on your ticket class/OW status. AA has an Admiral's Club and a Flagship Lounge that you'll have access to if you are still flying F on your return. BA and CX may be options as well.

    I've had limited experience, but that's what I can pull together from my memory. I might have confused something, so hopefully someone with more LHR experience can come in with additional tips or to correct anything I got mangled.

    Enjoy your trip. :)
     
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  4. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    - You will not have to clear UK Border Agency passport control - follow the purple flight connections signs - you'll take a bus from T3 to T4.
    - I don't think you can access the secure side of T3 = no AA/OW lounge access. As far as T4, see comments about the SkyTeam Lounge. You can use Priority Pass (if you have it) at the 4Deck Lounge (by Gate 14) in T4 - I think they may offer a day pass as well.
    - The Heathrow website estimates 90 minutes for the transfer, although there have been reports it can take a lot less.
    - Returning to LHR, T4 to T3 should be the same - follow purple signs, etc...

    Have a great trip!

    :)robin
     
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  5. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Thanks everyone - very helpful. I do have Priority Pass, so it sounds like that's my option on the way over and plenty of options on the way back...
     
  6. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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  7. Skye1
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    Skye1 Silver Member

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    Noting Tom's post---Arriving on AA from where? If from LAX, you won't land at LHR in time to use AA's AArivals Lounge

    On the return, BA's Galleries F at T-3 is, imho, the best overall OW lounge offering for T-3. Far better than AA's AAdmirals Club/Flagship Lounge. Different people like the different OW lounges there for different reasons, and each has their own unique +'s, (CX has floor-to-ceiling windows, for example), but I think the consensus is that both CX and BA are far, far better than what AA has there, and BA, whilst perhaps not ticking all of everyone's boxes, is the better "overall". If you're flying back in F on AA, then you can use BA's Galleries F lounge, including a sit-down dining area, or their buffet area, wine bar, champagne bar, loads of workstations, etc. etc.
     
  8. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Tom - thanks for the photos.

    I'll be arriving from Chicago - supposed to get in at 9AM and depart for Paris at 12:30. It's tempting to try to hit the arrivals lounge as it would be nice to take a shower as I will have to head straight to a meeting in Paris. That said, the thought of going through LHR passport control is not exciting to me. And I really have no idea what to expect in the way of checkin and security for Air France - and I really cannot afford to miss that flight.

    On the way back I may actually geek-out and check out all the lounges. I used to travel Star, so it will be fun to see what Oneworld has on offer at LHR.

    Thanks for helping me mull this over - it's what makes forums like this fun...
     
  9. pfdlt

    pfdlt Silver Member

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    If I recall correctly, the T off to Flight Connections is not that far from the customs arrival hall in LHR. I suppose you could take a look at the backup in the arrivals hall and backtrack if you decided not to enter the UK. As you are in F, you will get a little pink card that allows for Fast Track entry, located at the far side of the Arrivals Hall, so be sure to check out that line (rather than the mass of people in the center of the hall).

    The AA Arrivals Lounge is after Passport Control/Customs. Elevators on the right as you exit the gauntlet.

    As posted above, if you enter the UK, and use the AA Arrival Lounge, you can connect from T3 to T4 on the Heathrow Express (free).

    However, with 3 hours, and mid-morning, if your ORD-LHR flight does not arrive early or on time, your visit to the AA Arrivals Lounge would need to be efficient.
     
  10. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I used the Fast Track entry today on my ORD-LHR flight and had only one person in front of me. I've heard this is hit or miss though.

    That being said, I spent a good amount of time in the AA Arrivals Lounge waiting for my hotel room to be available. It was a nice option, but I really wouldn't clear customs/immigration just to go to it if I was connecting. If I had a shower before a meeting like the OP? Maybe, but I'd still debate it.

    The OP is headed to France, and doesn't specify where. Most likely CDG? I've heard that the airport hotel at CDG sells passes for the gym where you can use a shower. Maybe a better option? Does anyone know if they still offer this? Or did I imagine this offer? :confused:
     
  11. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    With separate tickets I'd definitely want to be at the AF counter at least 2 hours out. What does their web site say about minimum check in time? Can you check-in online?

    I've had too many delays on flights to Europe to even consider buying a separate connecting ticket that leaves within a few hours of arrival. My last one was this winter on a UA LAX-LHR with a water leak problem, followed by a passenger smoking in the lavatory. Took about a 2 hour delay there. I still buy separate tickets but always spend a night in London before continuing on. Hopefully you'll go out on time and not take a delay.

    Do you have a backup plan if you can't make the Air France flight?
     
  12. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Do I have a backup plan? That is the question, no? I guess my backup plan is to buy a ticket on whatever the next flight to Paris is and hope I can move the meeting back. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either. I

    I like David's idea about finding a shower at CDG - might just do that.

    In an ideal world I would hustle over to Air France and hop on an earlier flight - but without status I suspect that might not be possible or be quite expensive. An earlier flight might allow me a brief stop at my hotel before the meeting.
     

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