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Customs at LHR with connecting flight

We are flying United Airlines from Chicago to LHR and have a connection flight to EDI on British Airways. Will we go through customs at LHR and EDI or just EDI? I want to make sure we build in enough time if we have to go through customs at LHR. The flights were booked separately.

Posted by
1003 posts

With separate flights you will do both immigration and customs at LHR as part of the arrivals procedure. Immigration is the one that might delay you, customs is generally just a walk through unless the Border Force officers suspect you, usually based on advance information.

Ass using you are US citizens you can use the e-gates so it should be OK but there can be delays at peak times. In any event you should leave yourselves 4 hours for doing a self connection at different terminals.

Posted by
86 posts

Yes, we are US citizens. That's what I was afraid of, the lengthy immigrations at LHR. Thank you.

Posted by
15682 posts

Will you have checked luggage? If yes, this is the procedure.

As stated, you will go through immigration and customs at Terminal 2 at Heathrow. You then have to get to Terrminal 5 for your flight to Edinburgh. You will go through security at Terminal 5.

The Heathrow Airport website has lots of information on connecting between terminals, international flights, etc.

I agree four hour minimum.

Posted by
86 posts

No checked bags. The Heathrow website is very helpful for finding our way to terminal 5 which it says is 90 mins by tube. I wasn’t sure how long we would need for passport control and immigrations. I guess 4 hours is what we will go by.
Thank you.

Posted by
1177 posts

It won’t take anywhere near 90mins to travel between terminals. It’s probably more like 10 minutes.

Most of the time will be queuing for immigration.

Posted by
86 posts

Helen Will we still need 4 hours between flights? The Heathrow website mentioned being a member of a trusted traveler service speeding the process up. We both have Global Entry but I thought that was for re-entering the US. And British Airways is supposed to have an expedited security lane for Business/Club Europe class flights, which we also have.

Posted by
1177 posts

I think it’s wise to have 4 hours between flights to allow for any delays.

Posted by
634 posts

The real problems at Heathrow IME aren't immigration; they're security. Root canals are less painful.

Posted by
15682 posts

Where does it say it takes 90 minutes to get between Terminals? It shouldn't take more than 20 including walking to the train, waiting for the next one, and then arriving.

There is fast track security for people in business class. It does take a little less time although I have found that Terminal 5 is the worst security. Serious amateurs.

If you only have carry on bags, and have your boarding passes for the BA flight to EDI, I'd try using the Flight Connections route which should take less time since you go through a separate egate area, security area and get bussed over to T5.

Posted by
1003 posts

90 minutes is the minimum connection time if you are travelling between terminals and can use Flight Connections, not the physical time for the transfer - it is made by bus. This is primarily for people with genuine protected connections and keeps you airside with no need for immigration. As Frank says, if you only have carry on luggage and already have your boarding passes for the second flight you should be allowed to take that route also.

Posted by
86 posts

Thanks everyone! Very helpful info. United/StarAlliance flights from LHR to EDI all took longer than the train so we went with BA. We are flying business class on United and BA, carryon only, both have Global Entry snd I will make sure we have our BA boarding passes.
What is the least confusing and quickest way to get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5? Or is it limited since we are trying to stay airside?

Posted by
1853 posts

https://www.heathrow.com/connecting-flights

Here’s a link to the Heathrow connection tool again. From prior posts it’s basically follow the purple flight connection signs. Get on a bus that takes you to T5. Somewhere along the way you will encounter UK immigration. Security check at T5. This is assuming you can get your boarding pass for the BA flight.

ETA. I don’t think you get a choice of how to get there airside.

Posted by
15682 posts

If you stay airside you have no choice on how to change terminals. It's a Heathrow Airport bus. Just follow the flight connections signs.

Global Entry is only for entering the USA.

Terminal 5 has three buildings....the main terminal and Satellites B & C. To get to the Satellites you take an undergound tram. However, most domestic flights leave from the main terminal. Keep an eye out for which gate and leave yourself enough time to get there.

If you are flying Club World you have lounge access. There are two BA lounges in the main terminal. Head to the South Lounge as the North one is small and crowded. Sometimes so much they deny access and send you to the South lounge.

Posted by
86 posts

Thank you Frank.

I understand global entry is for the US. I read the following on the Heathrow website and misunderstood what it meant:

“To use them in the UK, you must have an eligible passport and meet specific requirements.

You can normally use eGates if you:

have a biometric symbol on the cover of your passport
are aged 10+ (10 to 17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult)
are either:
a British citizen
a national of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA

a member of the Registered Traveller Service. “ Which I now understand is one of several qualifications for using E-Gates.

They have a very helpful website. I’m glad I read the part about hand luggage and liquids. I very much dislike being the person who holds up the security process.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello! I would like to do a similar flight plan (US passport with echip) except United Newark to Heathrow, then a separate booking on British Airways Heathrow to Edinburgh. Did you already fly? What was the time needed to go through immigration then security for the domestic flight? Would be great if I could book the earlier flight to Edinburgh. Thanks so much.

Posted by
8871 posts

icycle

First rule of the Forum is not to hitchhike on someone else’s post.

Create and submit your own query.

Posted by
2233 posts

I’m not sure how United flights are doing, but we have run into issues with connection time the last two years. Our British Airways and Iberia flights have taken 40 minutes from landing to find an open gate. Going forward we’ll be looking at longer connection times as opposed to the 2.5 hours we’ve been doing.