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coming and going in airports

We have a trip planned in March. Technically this is an official business trip that goes from Tuesday - Thursday. Our flight arrives the Saturday before and leaves the Saturday after. We want to maximize our trip and explore Scotland. We were looking at flights that left from London (same airport) 3 hours after we land. We are only taking a carry on. Do you think we can get through customs, and then turn around and catch the next flight? We also looked at trains to Edinburgh as well as renting a car. But an hour flight (that is super cheap) would maximize our time in Edinburgh. I was wondering if anyone has experience in getting off one plane and then going through all the airport security again to catch another flight in just a few hours. Or is this a crazy idea?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Posted by
3304 posts

I love combining pleasure with a business trip as you are doing. That you found an inexpensive airfare to/from Scotland makes it that much better.

Customs is a walk-through. This is not your issue. The lines at Immigration/passport control are the uncertainty.

When I have two separate flight itineraries as I assume you have, I allow 4 hours to transit through a major international airport like Heathrow. Also, find out if your arrival at LHR and departure to your Scotland destination are from the same terminal.

Posted by
31471 posts


I've made that exact trip. Your profile doesn't indicate where you're located so I don't know what your flight options are?

It's not a crazy idea, and is quite feasible. My suggestion would be to buy your flight to Edinburgh on one ticket as the airline will configure the connection times so that you'll be able to connect with the second flight on a partner airline. If for any reason you miss that flight (ie: your first flight is late), it's their responsibility to get you to the destination.

My flights were via Air Canada into LHR and then British Airways to EDI (Star Alliance). There was enough time between flights for me to enjoy a Full English Breakfast in the airport.

As I recall, I used the Airlink Bus from EDI to Waverley Bridge, and then a short Taxi ride to my hotel. Here's a link on the transportation options from the airport - .

Posted by
2560 posts

Any other persons experience is simply anecdotal and it really all depends on what happens to you. Are you feeling lucky? An hours flight delay, a slow disembarkation, a hold up at immigration (we had a 4 hour one in Lisbon last year) and you are toast. If the short flights are cheap you can always take a chance and if you lose your money, well then. But of course then you have that same day flight to buy, and it will be pricey.

Posted by
27720 posts

the only stories that would mean anything to you would be related to the particular airport where you contemplating this exercise.

London has 6 airports. Which do you expect to arrive at, and which airline is the super cheap connecting fare on?

Posted by
2 posts

We are flying into LHR from DC on Virgin Air and then hoping to catch a flight to Edinburgh from the same airport. I think that airline is British air. The flight from DC lands at 0720 and the Scotland flight leaves at 1120

Posted by
4685 posts

All bets would be off of course off if your incoming flight was severely delayed. However, the flight time here are four hours apart. You should follow the TRANSFER directions and not arrivals. This will mean taking a bus airside from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5, where you will go through immigration in a different area to those arriving, as well as having your picture taken. Security is next, now comingled with those starting out from Heathrow. Best to have checked in online already with BA.

As an added precaution, if you take the economy fare type 'Plus' rather than 'Basic' you can change your flight for free on the day of travel, up to one hour before your scheduled departure time (subject of course to space being available). Also you can pick a seat 48 hours in advance free of charge.

Posted by
361 posts

I think from your post you have a 4 hour window- so you should be fine- it can take over a hour or so to go thru Immigration depending how crowded it is- so with that long of a window you should be fine. And Virgin is a great airline to fly into Heathrow.

Happy Travels✨💫

Posted by
5157 posts

The airport transfer itself can easily be done within a 3 hour window. You follow the purple flight connections signs. There will be a line for UK connections. You go through passport control there, have a biometric reading done, go through security, and you are on to the next gate. If you find the time is getting short on your connection, tell the attendant at passport control and they will put you at the front of the line. It has usually taken me about 30 minutes from the time I arrive at UK connections until I clear security.

Your biggest risk is a delay on your first flight since you will be on two separate tickets. If you are delayed and miss the second flight, you will need a new ticket.

The airport tram is just outside the doors of Edinburgh airport and is quite convenient for transport. We stayed at Premier Inn York Place and the tram stops at its front door.