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Old 04.05.2010, 00:56
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Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Anyone had any experience of flying Zurich - London - onward long-haul destination?

I'm flying out of Heathrow Terminal 1 at 21.05. It's an international flight, so need to check-in from 18.05. I need to work out how much connection time I'll need between arriving from Zurich and checking in.

I'd rather not be hanging around in the terminal for hours and hours, but equally, wouldn't want to miss my long-haul flight because my CH-UK flight was late.

Thanks for your travel advice!
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Old 04.05.2010, 01:34
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Your airline or travel agent should be able to supply that information.
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Old 04.05.2010, 01:42
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

It's Heathrow and you'll be flying it pretty much at peak time.

Therefore you need to allow time for possible late departure from ZRH.
Plus circling over LHR.
Plus the time to get round the nightmare that is LHR security.
Plus more time if you also have to change terminals / airlines.
Plus anti-ulcer time.
Plus possible shopping time.

I personally would aim for a scheduled arrival time some time after 1700,
and if it all goes swimmingly, go for a nice relaxed meal and a feet-up.
If any snafus do happen (eg knock-on effects from late / misplaced flights
due to Irish airspace closures), then you still got a good margin and low
stress levels.

HTH
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Old 04.05.2010, 01:44
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Is it in the same terminal? And if it is on the same/allied airlines you can often check right through from ZRH even if on separate tickets.

Within terminal 5 I usually leave 1-2 hours to transfer to a flight to Edinburgh, but lhr-edi flights are very frequent so you can catch a later one if you're delayed.
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Old 04.05.2010, 09:14
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

If you haven't fluent through heathrow before you need to know it is huge. This is bad ifyour flights are with different airlines and so different terminals as travelling between them can take a while. However, size does matter and you can kill a couple of hours in heathrow just as easily as you would in any shopping mall. Even if you gave kids with you, you can often find a tv showing cartoons. So my suggestion would be to check your terminals then allow for a bit of shopping, buy a good book, have a glass of champagne and relax!!
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Old 04.05.2010, 09:54
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

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It's Heathrow and you'll be flying it pretty much at peak time.

Therefore you need to allow time for possible late departure from ZRH.
Plus circling over LHR.
Plus the time to get round the nightmare that is LHR security.
Plus more time if you also have to change terminals / airlines.
Plus anti-ulcer time.
Plus possible shopping time.

I personally would aim for a scheduled arrival time some time after 1700,
and if it all goes swimmingly, go for a nice relaxed meal and a feet-up.
If any snafus do happen (eg knock-on effects from late / misplaced flights
due to Irish airspace closures), then you still got a good margin and low
stress levels.

HTH
Agreed.

The only caveats are whether you are travelling business class and what terminal changes you are making - this makes a huge difference at LHR. Even staying within T5 takes at least 30-40 mins transfer time (& that's business).

Would also suggest that you book your ticket from here to London with the same carrier (or partner airline) as this should provide you with added "security" should your connection be missed.

LHR is still really anal about number of carry-on luggage items - as are most UK airports. Much less control here in Basel and/or Zurich, so it means that while you may get on flights in CH without a problem, if you have to go through security at LHR (which you will do) you could end up with a problem and having to go landside to check in your luggage...
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Old 04.05.2010, 10:09
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Can't you just check in for the whole trip from Zurich?
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Old 04.05.2010, 11:50
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

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Can't you just check in for the whole trip from Zurich?
It appears the OP has or is going to book the trips separately...

If this is the case, OP, you will need to transfer out of security, probably go through some sort of passport control and pick up your luggage. I would recommend one hour minimum for this. It can also be this long just to transfer. I remember the advisements posted in LHR saying that if you are going to leave the airport (say you just have a long layover), they recommend a minimum of six hours to do everything. But that is leaving and coming back.

With all the possibilities for problems traveling these days (especially into and out of LHR), I would give yourself more time, just to be safe.

http://www.heathrowairport.com/ and then click the 'airport information' tab on top. This has approximate travel times between terminals as well as other advices...
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Old 04.05.2010, 11:57
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

indeed - booking yourself with this transfer not managed by the airlines, I'd aim for leaving lots and lots of time. And then maybe some more.
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Old 04.05.2010, 12:36
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

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indeed - booking yourself with this transfer not managed by the airlines, I'd aim for leaving lots and lots of time. And then maybe some more.
Agree. If you don't fly "through" using an affiliate allow plenty of change over time.

Worth noting is that if you are have time to travel (IE aren't in a rush) you are wise to hub swap. It is typically cheaper to fly London-Paris-US with Air France than BA or a US carrier.

In the past KLM and Lufthansa were offering very good deals doing this out of Heathrow - I suspect the same will be true from Zurich.
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Old 04.05.2010, 13:02
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

I've not had to transfer at LHR for a while. Before security was tightened again the minimum connection times that airlines would honour were about 1 hr with the same terminal and 2 hours if changing terminal - that's when you were buying the tickets as a combination and the airlines were aware of the need to manage the transfer. Those times were very tight as well

If you're booking flights separately the airlines will not know anything about your connection so they will not be able to do anything to help.

That might mean that if you have a long delay into LHR and miss your flight then you count as a no show - depending on ticket class you could have to pay a change fee or possibly lose your fare.

If I were you I'd look at buying a combination ticket anyway. Quite often buying combinations is cheaper than one or two legs only plus you know that you will have some alternative should you arrive late in Heathrow.

You'll also be able to check in for the whole journey most likely so save on time at Heathrow. You'll still have to go through security a second time though when you get there and you may well have to go through passport control too.
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Old 04.05.2010, 13:07
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Quote:
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Agree. If you don't fly "through" using an affiliate allow plenty of change over time.

Worth noting is that if you are have time to travel (IE aren't in a rush) you are wise to hub swap. It is typically cheaper to fly London-Paris-US with Air France than BA or a US carrier.

In the past KLM and Lufthansa were offering very good deals doing this out of Heathrow - I suspect the same will be true from Zurich.
oh don't forget the "if you stuff up your connections, your airlines won't help".

Don't forget also the old "my flight leaves on day x but arrives day x + 1" when considering your connections for the return leg
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Old 04.05.2010, 13:16
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Here you will find the required minimum connectin times, choose Terminals.
http://www.heathrowairport.com/porta...0036821c0a____

Anyway you should get in touch with the airline to make sure.
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Old 04.05.2010, 18:03
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

Those connecting times in the last post are for people on ONE TICKET. They are totally irrelevant if you have two tickets.

This question comes up all the time on thorntree.lonelyplanet.com. Basically, when you book two separate tickets, you are taking a gamble. If your first flight is late, you lose the second one.

You need to consider the consequences of this. Since you are long haul, the costs could run into thousands of pounds. No travel insurance will cover you for this.

I personally wouldn't risk it- it's always better to either buy a through ticket, or to arrive in London the day before. It would be different if it was a connection to a domestic flight or something that wouldn't be so expensive if missed. DON'T DO IT if you haven't already booked the second flight.

If you do go ahead, it might take 1 hour to get landside, and half an hour to get between terminals. Add to that a 2 hour check in time and you already have 3 and a half hours before you've even left any time at all for delays.

And I wouldn't count on your first airline checking you through for both flights like someone else suggested. It can happen but is by no means standard practice.
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Old 04.05.2010, 19:54
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Re: Flight connection time allowance at Heathrow?

I've done the T1 to T4/T5 connection a lot around the time you're suggesting to catch overnight flights to Asia. Late evening's not the busiest time at Heathrow to use the "Flight Connections" route between Terminals - morning is the busiest when overnight incoming flights from Asia and North America all arrive one after the other. Then the flight connections channel gets choked. Most of the transatlantic traffic is gone by 7pm and that cuts passengers down a lot.

For evening departures I usually allow 2 hours connection time and in 15 years I've never missed a flight - although once or twice it's been by the skin of my teeth. But I always arrange carriers so I can check through to final destination so I don't need to to check in or check bags on arrival at Heathrow.

Obviously the great unknown would be a big delay on your incoming Heathrow bound flight - a delay of an hour would put you at risk of missing your onward flight if you only allowed a 2 hour connection time, although that's happened to me and I've still made the connection.

I'm sure there are horror stories where folks arrived in Heathrow on time and 2 hours wasn't enough but they are are the rare exceptions rather than the rule, especially in the evening.

If you and your bags are not checked through to final destination in Zurich that means you will have to get off the plane, follow arrivals and walk to baggage collection, wait for your collect your bags in T1, exit T1, walk to the train and take the train to T5, then check in again and clear security. That could easily add 60 to 90 minutes to your connection time, even when things are running smoothly and you will have to factor in the time the check-in closes so you arrive before that.
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