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Heathrow Connection Times

My wife and I are taking a trip to London/Amsterdam at the end of this month. We will start out in London and visit Amsterdam next. Our return flight to the US is a United Airlines flight that departs from Heathrow at 11:25.

The question I have is about our positioning flights from Amsterdam to London. Right now I have booked two refundable fares with British Airways as follows: (1) a flight for the evening preceding our transatlantic flight departing Amsterdam at 22:20 and arriving at Heathrow at 22:35; or (2) a flight departing Amsterdam on the same day as our United flight with a departure time of 7:20 and arriving at London at 7:40.

I know the safer course would be option #1, but do you guys think that #2 is feasible as well? I suspect my wife will want to check bags; however, with such an early arrival date would I be able to clear customs/immigration and still have time to grab a bite to eat in the lounge if I chose #2

Posted by
5042 posts

This is just from my perspective-

Leave Amsterdam in late evening. Arrive LHR and go thru Passport Control, head to an airport hotel for a good night's sleep. Get up in the morning, have breakfast and head over to the check in counter and security. No fuss. No muss. No anxiety.


Get up in the middle of the night. Arrive at Schiphol with adequate time for check in (check the time), security and Passport Control (check the time). Hopefully arrive at LHR on time.( check the time) Go through Passport Control, baggage (check the time), security, and check in during the morning rush ( check the time). Then security again before heading to your gate. Breakfast too? If the stars are perfectly aligned.

I know which one I'd pick.

Posted by
6839 posts

What CJean said. :-) And I'd make the same choice. I do not like surprises, especially when I'm trying to get someplace.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks, I appreciate the candid response. I do have a reservation at the Schiphol Hilton, which I understand would only require a short walk to the terminal…but I get you guys’ point.

I’ll just take the late flight the evening before to Heathrow and eliminate any possibility of a mishap. I booked the United flight in business class with airline miles so I definitely don’t want to miss the flight.

Posted by
5646 posts

I’d also agree that you should stay the night at LHR. If for some reason your BA flight is cancelled, you still have the possibility of taking the morning flight. Also, United and BA use different terminals. Last year when I flew a short haul flight on BA, the flight was delayed, we disembarked by stairs and took a bus to immigration, and there was a big delay getting the luggage to the baggage area. I know that this is all anecdotal, but I wouldn’t take the risk before a transatlantic flight.

If you have the United app and check in via the app, United lets you use the express baggage drop at the United counter at LHR. That saved me a lot of time last year.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you so much, Laura! I enjoy learning about any travel tips and any time we can save with the checked bags process will only mean more time in the airport lounge.