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Connection at Heathrow on different tickets (but same airline, same terminal)

Hi all,

We have a connection at LHR this month and both flights are on British Air and in the same terminal, BUT the first and second flights are on different reservations. Wondering how much time we would need. Would greatly appreciate any advice. Below are the details:

Arrival into Heathrow:

  • Flight: BA282 (LAX-LHR)
  • Arrival ETA: 10:55am, Wednesday
  • Terminal: T5
  • Checked Bags: none
  • Class of Ticket: Business
  • Airline Status: One World Sapphire

[Connection time = approx. 2 hrs]

Flying out of Heathrow:

  • Flight: BA314 (LHR-CDG)
  • Departure ETD: 1:05pm, Wednesday
  • Terminal: T5
  • Checked Bags: none
  • Class of Ticket: Economy
  • Airline Status: One World Sapphire

My questions:

1) Do we need to exit and re-enter the airport? Given that we are flying with the same airline, into and out of the same terminal, and have no checked bags, do we need to exit airside to arrivals and then reenter through the check-in process? Or, can we stay airside and just follow the Flight Connections signs through to security checks (thus avoiding passport controls and re-checking in)?

2) Where is there Fast Track? (i.e. Is Fast Track available at the Arrivals passport line / Departures check-in / Departures security / Connections security?) And does One World Sapphire status or our first leg Business Class ticket give us access to Fast Track?

3) Is 2 hours enough time? If we do have to exit the airport and re-enter, will 2 hours be enough time? (taking into consideration the time needed for our arrival plane to find a gate, and then for Arrivals passport controls, Departures security, etc.)?

Thanks for your help!

Posted by
4700 posts

You shouldn't have to enter the UK (immigration) - should be able to connect airside in T5, just through security, though I haven't done it.

This connection helper is pretty cool:

https://www.heathrow.com/flight-connections/personal-connection-planner/BA282/BA314/07-NOV-2018/07-NOV-2018/5/6B

Two hours with carry-on bags should be plenty of time, if your incoming flight is on time. Could be you will get some understanding from BA if your inbound is 3 hrs late and you miss another BA flight (to put you on the next one for free) - but I would't bet on it.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks, @Andrew H.

That is what I'm hoping, since I've never noticed anyone checking for separate reservations at the Connections area.

I used the Heathrow website's handy guide for making connections, and it suggested having a minimum of 60 minutes for my transfer. However, then I noticed this fine print at the bottom of their Connections main page:

"If you bought separate arriving and departing flights, you’ll need to follow arrivals, pick up bags and check in again for your onward flight."

But if I don't need to go to baggage claim, and I can check in for my next flight via my mobile, how would they enforce this?

Posted by
4700 posts

I'm pretty sure all that is meant by that disclaimer is that you can't check your bags through to Paris with your separately booked tickets. (Actually...maybe you can because they are both BA, not sure.) In other words, you have to go through immigration to get to your checked bags at baggage claim, then check your bags again, go back through security and passport control out of the UK, etc. But that won't be an issue for you if you have just carry-on bags.

It's not that they are going to try to check your tickets in Heathrow to see if you have a continuing ticket and force you to go through immigration if you don't have one. They don't care, as long as you have a flight back out. It's the checked bags that would be the issue. Try to check in for the LHR-CDG flight before you leave the US, so you have a boarding pass, though you may be able to do that after you get off the plane from LA.

Posted by
3647 posts

You will follow the purple signs that say "flight connections" to the line for international flight connections. You do go through security again.

2 hours should be plenty of time. You real risk is if your first flight is late and then you might be a "no show" for the second ticket.

Posted by
12552 posts

You can connect airside without going through immigration even though it is a separate ticket. Fallow the purple "flight connections" for T5 as stated above. MJust make sure you have your boarding pass for the second flight in hand. You will go through security again.

Two hours is pretty tight, as the plane may take 15-20 minutes to reach the gate and begin exiting after it lands. But being i n business class helps a lot, as you are first off the plane. Just move along quickly.

FWIW, we are doing this ourselves in May, flying in business class with Avios and then using a separate paid ticket to our destination (Barcelona). We have done this before. In both cases we allowed four hours between flights, not two.

It chances are very good you will be fine. See if the flight attendant can give you a gate number before you land. On our last flight, she was looking up gates for a couple of passengers in Club World who had a tight connection. But thy may not be posted yet.

Posted by
5098 posts

The real risk, as stated above, is if your inbound flight is delayed, If it's not, you should be fine.

You can mitigate the risk a little if you can manage to get a boarding pass for the second flight in LAX along with the TATL flight. It won't have the correct gate number and wouldn't be valid to board, but you could exchange it for an update BP at the gate (and since you're on two different ticket, they may or may not do that for you). Could help a little if things get tight. Just hope your outbound flight from LAX goes out on time!

Posted by
4700 posts

Two hours is pretty tight, as the plane may take 15-20 minutes to reach the gate and begin exiting after it lands.

That should be irrelevant. The scheduled arrival time is the scheduled arrival time at the gate, not the time to land. If the average time to taxi to a gate at T5 at Heathrow is 20 minutes, and the scheduled arrival is 10:55am, then it should land at about 10:35am to be on time.

Posted by
10276 posts

Fast track is for security. As a Business class and Sapphire customer you get it. For economy you don't.

Not sure if there is fast track for connections.

The only difference is the line should be shorter. Same rules as the regular security line.

Posted by
3647 posts

I don’t remember seeing a fast track for security through connections, but I wasn’t really looking.

I do know that you want to make sure that you have everything out that needs to be out at security and make sure you dump any water you picked up on your last flight. I forgot that I had filled my water bottle after security for my first flight once. My bag was switched over to the dreaded secondary screening belt where you must go through it with security staff after waiting with others who need to do the same thing. That only had to happen to me once and I learned my lesson!

Posted by
4538 posts

The real drop dead time you need to meet is to have your boarding pass scanned at the security entrance no later than 35 minutes before the gate closure time for your flight. This time should be on your boarding pass. Arrive one second after this and you are too late without exception.

At Terminal 5 the connecting and originating passengers are comingled for security in the main terminal 5A, in the North Hall. If your arriving flight and departing flight both use one of the satellite terminals 5B or 5C then you can save time by doing security at the transfer point at the satellite you are departing from, without the need to go all the way back to 5A. If either flight uses the main terminal then you have to do security there.

Fast track at T5A North is reserved for connecting passengers who qualify by class of travel or flyer programme level.

All Airbus 380 flights use 5C; however this flight appears to have been changed to a 744 with the UK change to winter time.

Posted by
6861 posts

If you were leaving LHR then you would have FAST TRACK with One World Sapphire at passport control. We have it through AA but fly partner BA to LHR and get those great benefits.

Posted by
258 posts

We did this in reverse and it was a nightmare. Flying from Dublin to Heathrow and then Heathrow to Los Angeles with a separate ticket. First flight was late, we had checked bags and had to go out and come back in. Since you don’t have checked bags, that’s a big advantage. We asked the British Airways person who was answering questions at checkin for help and kept asking until we found one who was cooperative. Otherwise would have missed our flight home. Good luck.

Posted by
3647 posts

I am not sure why this post was resurrected. The flight was in November. The original poster has now received the definitive answer on whether her connection worked or not.