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Connection Time at Heathrow

Blues

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My wife's chorus is singing at the 2012 Olympics in London next July/August :cheer: I'm joining her for the concert tour, which is a 9 day tour including Paris and London. We're paying for a "deviation" to the standard tour, to allow us to return 11 days later than the rest of the group.

We're using the 11 days to tour Scotland, starting and ending in Edinburgh. We then have to get ourselves to Heathrow and meet up with our "deviation" flight back to the US which leaves at 3PM.

I have several choices for flights from EDI to LHR. The safest and cheapest will give us a 4.5 hour layover at LHR. I may well take that one. I can get one equally as cheap, but with only a 55 minute connection time at LHR. Is that too tight for a connection to an international flight? Finally, I can pay almost 3 times as much and get a BA flight that gives us a connection time of 1:45.

My inclination is to just take the 4.5 hour layover, and be safe. What does the collective wisdom of TUG think? Thanks.

-Bob
 

scotlass

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I would opt for the 4.5 hours. Depending on which airlines you are taking, it can take a long time to change terminals at Heathrow and most likely you will. The domestic airlines generally use Terminal 1 and the international use Terminal 3, unless any of your flights are on BA which is Terminal 5. There will also be mobs at the airport during Olympic time so the more time, the better. Also, there are lots of shops in each terminal so there is something to do to while away the time! Just my opinion.

Have a wonderful time in Scotland! Good decision!
 

Timeshare Von

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When I flew BA from the USA to Kenya through Heathrow, they would not allow me to book anything less than a 2 hr connection. I was disappointed in that, but once I had to actually make the connection I was happy they did that.

Not sure about your flights/connections, but I had to go through the security clearance again in Heathrow even though I never left the secured area of the airport . . . and then had to schlep a good distance to my connecting gate/stand. (It was that way in both directions to/from the USA/Kenya.)
 

Ireland'sCall

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The 4.5 hour is really the only option . Most likely you will be switching terminals and there is even a chance your initial flight will be delayed . Sounds like a great trip ....enjoy !
G
 

MALC9990

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My wife's chorus is singing at the 2012 Olympics in London next July/August :cheer: I'm joining her for the concert tour, which is a 9 day tour including Paris and London. We're paying for a "deviation" to the standard tour, to allow us to return 11 days later than the rest of the group.

We're using the 11 days to tour Scotland, starting and ending in Edinburgh. We then have to get ourselves to Heathrow and meet up with our "deviation" flight back to the US which leaves at 3PM.

I have several choices for flights from EDI to LHR. The safest and cheapest will give us a 4.5 hour layover at LHR. I may well take that one. I can get one equally as cheap, but with only a 55 minute connection time at LHR. Is that too tight for a connection to an international flight? Finally, I can pay almost 3 times as much and get a BA flight that gives us a connection time of 1:45.

My inclination is to just take the 4.5 hour layover, and be safe. What does the collective wisdom of TUG think? Thanks.

-Bob

55 mins is NOWAY enough. The time will fly by anyway so go with the 4.5 hours.
 

vacationhopeful

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Another vote for the 4.5 hours. I did the gate change from terminal 5 to 1 and had to go thru security again. It seemed I was arriving on the furtherest Terminal 5 gate from anywheres, had to catch a bus to Terminal 1, thru security and sit til 30 minutes before departure to learn the gate I was going out on (again the furtherest from where I was waiting).

I swore off Heathrow as a future airport IF at all possible. Yeah, yeah ... that is almost impossible, but I stay out of there if connecting to another European city.
 
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definitely go with the 4.5 hour connection - or longer if you can get it!

you WILL be changing terminals, and WILL have to go through security before your international flight. and, unless you are on a "through ticket", you will need to collect your bags and check in again for your onward flight.

LHR is definitely not a user-friendly airport, especially at busy times, but even after a lifetime of using it (why does it have to be grandma's "local" airport???!!) we still do so if it means a cheaper or more convenient flight.
 

Blues

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Thanks everyone. The consensus is definitely to take the 4.5 hour layover.

Unfortunately, I forgot that we'll actually be at HGVC Craigendarroch, in Ballater Scotland, the night before. That's a 2.5 hour car trip back to Edinburgh. To make that flight that gives us a 4.5 hour layover, we'll have to leave at 5AM. Ouch!

I'm now looking at flying from Aberdeen, which is just over an hour away from Ballater. It will involve doing a one-way car rental, from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, but the drop charge is reasonable, so I may do that. But the choices are similar. The early flight gives a 5 hour layover, and has us leaving Ballater before 6AM (5:30 would be better). More doable, but still ouch; I'm not a morning person. There's another cheap flight with a 55 minute layover, which I now know is not possible. And there's an expensive BA flight that will give us 1:55 layover.

I now know (thanks Von!) that BA requires 2 hours. So 1:55 is pretty tight. I know everyone will still recommend the (now) 5 hours. But is 1:55 feasible? Am I taking too great a chance if I book that?

Thanks again. Sorry for confusing the issue.

-Bob
 

Conan

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If you don't already have the Heathrow ticket, take a look at Delta.com - - you may find a flight home (Codeshare between Delta and Air France or KLM) that starts in Aberdeen (ABZ) connecting via either Paris (CDG) or Amsterdam (AMS), and from there to New York (JFK).

Also, Aer Lingus goes ABZ-Dublin-New York and may be cheaper. Although they're not my favorite airline, there's an easy express bus from Dublin airport to the city center, so another option is to stay a night in Dublin and continue on the next day - - we added a weekend in Dublin at the end of our Scotland trip.
 
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Blues

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Thanks Conan, but unfortunately, the transatlantic segments are cast in stone by the company that puts together the choral tour. We were able (at much too high a cost) to get a different day of departure. But they choose the international flights, and we have to live with them. And we have to depart from Heathrow.

-Bob
 

Blues

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Booked

Thanks everyone! I was gonna wait for more responses, but I got nervous about how few seats remained on the flight I picked. So I booked the flight from Aberdeen that results in a 5 hour layover. It means leaving at 5:30 or 6AM, ouch. But probably worth it for peace of mind.

-Bob

P.S. The total amount was just $140, so if I have to throw it away and get a different ticket, I'll consider it insurance. An earlier flight that had the cheap seats booked would have been about $450.
 
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x3 skier

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The 4.5 layover was a good choice. I was going to suggest the overnight train from Edinburgh to London depending on your departure time.

Cheers
 

Timeshare Von

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Excellent point about the delay factor. My flight from Dulles to Heathrow was delayed by nearly 90 minutes at time of departure due to weather issues, of which only about 30 were made up in flight. I was happy to have had the extra cushion for my connection to Nairobi, especially since they only fly there once a day!

Ironically, I had an even longer delay out of Heathrow coming home (to Ohare) which resulted in arriving nearly 4 hours late! I was glad I didn't have another flight to take to get home.

It was my first (and maybe to be only) experience with BA. Many people on my flights mentioned that they are not very reliable in terms of flight times so you should rest easier with the longer connection time.
 

Blues

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Hi everyone. I'm BAAACK here again :D

So, I took everyone's advice, and 2 months ago I booked the flight from ABZ to LHR that would result in a layover of nearly 5 hours. Great, I have plenty of time to connect.

But today, I just received an email from BMI informing me of a schedule change (don't you love how airlines do this?) And not just a slight change, but a change of over 1 1/2 hours!

So with this change, we now have a layover at Heathrow of 3:25 - three hours and 25 minutes. What does the combined TUG wisdom think? I'm thinking to accept this change and assume that it will be enough time. Especially since there are no convenient alternatives. Will I be OK? Thanks again, everyone.

-Bob
 

urban5

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I scheduled my wife and MIL from ABZ to LHR this past summer on BA with a connection time of 3 hours connecting with AC. Flight left ABZ at 6:30 AM and connection left LHR at 10:30 AM. No problems even with terminal change, but both flights were on time. This occurred during second week of July.
 
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Timeshare Von

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Blues I would say you "should" be OK. If there are no other convenient options, I would just go with it and pray for the best.

p.s. It is possible that the change is really a short term change. I have had airlines make a change to an existing summer schedule to their current winter one only to change it back when spring comes and they go back to summer scheduling. Maybe that will be in play in your itinerary.
 
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MaryH

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it could be due to a change in schedule or a change in aircraft.

That should be enough to connect. But to be safe, check what the next flight would be if something goes wrong with that one. Since they are separate tickets, if your Aberdeen-LHR flight is late or cancelled, you may be up the creek with your US flight since they are separate tickets. If they are the same alliance, try to link the tickets if you can.

LHR is a bad airport for connection times and I am pretty sure during Olympics it is going to be a zoo.
 

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Another vote for the 4.5 hours. I did the gate change from terminal 5 to 1 and had to go thru security again. It seemed I was arriving on the furtherest Terminal 5 gate from anywheres, had to catch a bus to Terminal 1, thru security and sit til 30 minutes before departure to learn the gate I was going out on (again the furtherest from where I was waiting).

I swore off Heathrow as a future airport IF at all possible. Yeah, yeah ... that is almost impossible, but I stay out of there if connecting to another European city.

LHR is my second least favorite gateway airport anywhere, with only JFK being worse. I have always made it a point to avoid it, which was easy as long as I was flying Sky Team or Star Alliance carriers. Until a couple of years ago, even on flying to the UK itself most of their flights went into Gatwick, a much better airport, rather than Heathrow. Now, however, having moved my elite status to AA, that is no longer the case. With AA it is hard to avoid Heathrow as a connection. It is hard to route even through other One World gateways like Madrid or Helsinki or Berlin. The only saving grace is that as an AA Plat on international flights I get access to the BA lounges at Heathrow, and they do make a layover there palatable.
 
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