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Heathrow to St. Pancras. PLEASE HELP

My flight to London Heathrow was suppose to land at 6:00 AM so I purchased a Eurostar ticket at 10:24 AM to Paris. I was just notified that now my flight will be landing at 6:50 AM in London and I am really afraid I am not going to make it to that 10:24 train. I tried to see if I can change my train ticket but it is way to over priced at over $200 for a time change. Is there any way that I can somehow make it to that train or should I look for other ways to get to Paris?

Posted by
18911 posts

This is a purely theoretical comment, because I haven't traveled from London to Paris in the last 30 years:

I wouldn't be inclined to throw any more money at this transfer until my flight had landed--and perhaps not until I had cleared Immigration. At least not unless you want to buy a ticket of some sort for travel on the day after your scheduled arrival. There is no guarantee that your rescheduled flight will actually arrive at 6:50 AM, or that there won't be a significant delay at Immigration. Any onward transportation after a transatlantic flight (or really after any flight) is a gamble unless it's on the same ticket.

You can check skyscanner for London-Paris flights. I suppose if there's something really inexpensive still available for you travel date, departing much later than your train, that wouldn't be a bad purchase. However, if you have to change airports, that will add to the time you need.

Posted by
1946 posts

You don't mention when you are traveling. A few options come to mind.

If your airline has changed your flight itinerary, you may be able to contact them and ask to be rebooked on another flight that gets you in on time for your train. Depending on their rules on how much of an itinerary change qualifies for a courtesy rebooking, you may be able to do this with no change fee or fare difference.

If you stay on your existing flight, you may still land earlier than the new 6:50am time, and if you get through immigration and customs quickly, you could still make the train.

If you land too late or clear immigration and customs too late, you could fly.

I just checked flights for tomorrow (though I doubt you are in the air now) and found flights on Eurowing, London Heathrow to Paris CDG:
- £109.99 (with 1 checked bag) at 12:40pm (1 stop) arriving CDG 8:15pm
- £90.99 (with 1 checked bag) at 3:40pm (1 stop) arriving CDG 8:15pm

(Yes, they both arrive at 8:15, each with layovers in Dusseldorf, one obviously a longer layover than the other.)

Those flights are cheaper than the $200 fee you mention for your train, but then you also have to factor in any difference in price to transfer from Paris CDG airport to your hotel.

Posted by
9 posts

Hello! So the weird thing is that my flight leaves from Dallas/FW to London on Thanksgiving day 11/28, arriving on Friday 11/29. So I was confused on why they gave me a delayed notice when the flight isn't leaving for another two weeks. This is my first time flying into London and I know most of the variables are dependent on whats going on the day of that I can't really plan for but I do plan on taking Heathrow Express to Paddington to St. Pancras because I believe that is my best chance of getting there the fastest. Would anyone know when is the last possible moment they will not let me on the train? Their website says please arrive 60-90 minutes before the train departs, but I don't think that will be a possibility for me lol.

Posted by
1946 posts

So I was confused on why they gave me a delayed notice when the flight isn't leaving for another two weeks.
It could be related to their own operations (e.g., availability of flight crew) or airport operations.

Did the airline send you an email notice of the change in arrival time? Did that notice contain any wording to the effect of "if this change no longer meets your requirements, please contact us."

Their website says please arrive 60-90 minutes before the train departs

On their website I am seeing:

"For Eurostar Standard and Eurostar Standard Premier customers, check-in must be started at least 30 minutes before departure. On weekends and bank holidays, the check-in window extends to 45 minutes."

The day after Thanksgiving isn't a "bank holiday" in England :-)

Posted by
18911 posts

I've seen multiple posts on this forum from UK residents, saying that travelers should plan to arrive at St. Pancras at least an hour before their Eurostar is due to depart. I think the deal is that security procedures are taking longer now, and you may need an hour or even a bit longer to get through and make the cut-off for the train. It's not that you have to be on the train 60 or 90 minutes ahead of time, though.

Posted by
25771 posts

From somebody who has used the Eurostar many times and kept an eye on it when not - the key thing about the time restriction for the Eurostar is that word "commenced".

That doesn't mean in the queue. The ticket has to have been scanned in and you need to be through the barrier gate. If you are late it will not scan and you will not be allowed in, and the Eurostar staff are strict. Very strict. You won't travel on that train.

I always suggest at least an hour before, year round, and more on busy days.

I think your original time was too tight for me. Unless your plane is early and you hit it just right at Border Control at Heathrow your new time is unlikely.

I always allow 90-120 minutes at Heathrow between touching down and passing out through the frosted glass doors, then an hour into London, and then an hour prior to departure at St Pancras International. That's 4 hours or a bit less, minimum. So for a 10:24 train to Paris I wouldn't want to be landing any later than 6:24.

Although there is no Bank Holiday here that week, Friday is always a busy Eurostar day.

The amount of time after your ticket is scanned at St Pancras International Eurostar check-in has very little wasted time. The first thing is the line up for the airport type security (no 3-1-1, no shoes off though), then the line up for UK Border control with passport checks and stamps, then the line up for French Border control for immigration into the Schengen Area. Once clear there, then you go to the Departures area and wait, sometimes not long for your train to be called and then you go up the travelator up to the train and find the car you are in and then your seat.

Not a lot of time spare.

Posted by
3533 posts

Eurostar service is efficient, crowded in St-Pancras, and not cheap. The real puzzle is why you aren't flying to Paris nonstop? The Eurostar ticket will eat up whatever cost saving on the ticket to London, while guaranteeing plenty of stress and longer travel time. If travel points are involved, well, their value has all these hidden costs.
My comments are just general since you probably are committed at this point. My recent experience of St-Pancras is that a great deal of patience is required but the staff work hard to get everyone aboard. They are clearly experienced in dealing with crowds. I wish you luck.

Posted by
4899 posts

A mystery why you didn't fly to United's Houston hub and direct to Paris. Anyway, if you are a normal US Passport you can use the fast eGates LHR Immigration, probably 5 minutes at most. What is your citizenship?

The Eurostar checkin time is not only for full Airport security but also for Immigration. If there is ever a Brexit, this will get even longer.

Posted by
9 posts

Hi everyone,
The real puzzle is why you aren't flying to Paris nonstop?
The reason why I did not fly direct to Paris is because I found really affordable non-stop tickets to London from my home city and I plan on spending a few days in London after Paris so it made sense to me to just spend $100 for a return Eurostar ticket.

A mystery why you didn't fly to United's Houston hub and direct to Paris? Anyway, if you are a normal US Passport you can use the fast eGates LHR Immigration, probably 5 minutes at most. What is your citizenship?.
I live in Dallas and American Airlines is the hub here so I much rather fly direct from Dallas to London than to stop in Houston. I also generally use American so all of my miles are with American. I am an American citizen and I do have a chip on my passport, so I don't have to see a border patrol attendant?

I just really want to avoid having to spend an additional arm and a leg on changing to a different train on the Eurostar or buy another plane ticket from London to Paris. Originally when my plane was suppose to land at 6:00 AM I really thought that a 10:24 AM Eurostar wouldn't have been that much of a problem but that additional 50 minutes really makes a difference.

Posted by
2166 posts

The best way to get to Paris would obviously be to book a flight to Paris instead of flying to London and then trying to connect to a train to Paris.

I do plan on taking Heathrow Express to Paddington to St. Pancras
because I believe that is my best chance of getting there the fastest

I think so, but there is change involved so if you have a lot of luggage or are a slow walker, the direct tube might be faster.

Posted by
25771 posts

Faster, yes, but by only a small amount.

You need to factor not only the time when the wheels are moving but the time when they aren't.

Piccadilly Line tube trains are frequent, just a few minutes between them. If one is pulling out as you get to the platform just wait a short time and there will be another very soon. Travel time depends slightly on which terminal you are boarding at.

At the time you would be using the Tube the end to end journey is 59 minutes and there is one every 5 minutes. Get on at the airport and get off at Kings Cross St Pancras.

If you take the Heathrow Express it goes faster but less frequently. It runs 4 times an hour so if you just miss one you will be cooling your heels for 15 minutes. It then takes 16 minutes, depending on terminal, to Paddington. Then if you know where you are going it is an 8 minute walk within the station to the Underground. If you don't, or if you have luggage it will take longer. If a Bakerloo Line train is ready to go as you get to the platform it will take 7 minutes to Oxford Circus where you just cross the platform and take the Victoria Line 4 minutes to Kings Cross St Pancras. Total time IF everything goes like clockwork and you are able to hop eveything just as you arrive - 40 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes faster, probably about a wash and maybe slower, especially if you just miss a Heathrow Express which is guaranteed to add 15 minutes on. It will be faster to take the tube connection noted here than to go outside Paddington Station and try to get a taxi. The taxi queue is often very long, especially in the morning peak, especially on a Friday, even more so if the weather isn't great (likely at the end of November in London) and then there is the sitting in the taxi in traffic.

EDIT: Ooops - the cross platform change at Oxford Circus is only for trains heading in the same direction - southbound Bakerloo to southbound Victoria, and northbound to northbound. I didn't think that you will be southbound Bakerloo to northbound Victoria. So the connection is a bit more complicated involving changing levels.

Posted by
18911 posts

For future reference: If you want to do something like this again, be sure you price out a "Multi-city" ticket into your first destination and home from your last. For London and Paris, this plus a one-way Eurostar ticket might not have been much more expensive that the round-trip to London and the round-trip on the Eurostar. If you had to change planes somewhere, you would have been protected if an airline delay caused you to miss the connection.

Posted by
4899 posts

Of course I can't promise that there won't be a security alert or a tech breakdown your day, but when I arrived at LHR in September, 2019, my plain USA Biometric Passport was used for an instant passage through the eGates, less than 2 minutes. I didn't HAVE a student visa (for example) or a business visa, so I didn't need to see a live agent, no.

Posted by
12218 posts

I booked a train departing from Kings Cross ( right next to St. Pancras). 4 hours after our scheduled landing time. We took the Heathrow Express ( tickets bought way in advance at a discount) and changed to the tube for the short ride to St. Pancras/ Kings Cross. Immigration was very smooth and the total journey time was under two hours, so we had a loooong wait for our train.

It just might turn out OK for you.

Posted by
4546 posts

I agree with Nigel that you will likely get their faster and more easily if you take the tube all the way to Kings Cross St Pancras. While the Heathrow Express to tube takes slightly less travel time, what they don’t factor in is waiting for the train and buying a ticket.

If you take the Piccadilly line the whole way, you buy one ticket at Heathrow and wait 5 minutes for the tube. You will be getting on at the first stop so the tube won’t be packed yet. It will get packed en route. Sit as close to a door as you can.

If you take the Heathrow Express (HEX), you will have to wait for the HEX (up to 15 minutes),stand in a queue to buy your tube ticket at Paddington, transfer between the HEX and tube during a very busy rush hour, wait for the tube, and then squeeze onto a tube already filled with commuters.

If your flight arrives on time and you figure an hour to get through immigration and an hour on the tube, you could make it in time. I see two choices:
1) Take the risk (and be prepared to buy a much more expensive ticket if you don’t make it)
2) Find the cheapest option in the late afternoon (e.g., another Eurostar ticket or a flight) and buy it as an ”insurance policy”.

I’d probably chance it unless I could find a really cheap flight or train ticket later in the day.

Posted by
9809 posts

I spend a lot of time in London and fly in and out of Heathrow a great deal.

First, relax. Let's look at this realistically.

When you arrive in London with a U.S. passport, you get to use the egates. Scan your passport, look at the camera and you are through. Even if the gates don't read your passport there is a desk on the side that will verify its you. I have to do this due to a damaged computer chip in my passport and it has never taken more than a few minutes.

Next, the tube, Piccadilly Line, to Kings Cross/St. Pancras. It takes about an hour. The Heathrow Express may sound faster but it involves a change of trains at Paddington and the walk is not short. Heathrow Express trains don't run as often as the tube and costs a lot more.

Let's say your plane landed on time and it took you an hour at Heathrow--it shouldn't anymore-- and then an hour to St.Pancras. You are looking at arriving at the train station at 8:50. Let's say 9:00. That leaves you plenty of time for check in.

If there are glitches you will have to deal with them. But you do have some leeway.

Posted by
346 posts

I travel a lot from Heathrow into central London. Have taken both HEX and the tube.

In your circumstances I would take the tube. As noted above, the time differential is not necessarily very much. But taking the HEX you change at Paddington and then have to sort out a taxi (may be a long queue) or find the tube - and you will have luggage and it will be the rush hour and you are not familiar with the station. The tube you get on at Heathrow and will get a seat and you can keep your luggage near you - would be much less work.

Katy

Posted by
3173 posts

Sandy, you said you fly American regularly so you must be familiar with the fact that if the airline changes anything about your flight, in this case a delayed arrival, you can contact an agent and request taking an earlier flight. In fact go on American’s website to locate an earlier flight (including a codeshare if British Airways flies into DFW) and look at the seating chart to see what the availability is. By doing that, you are saving the agent time which might be appreciated by that agent. If the agent doesn’t comply, say thank you, hang up, and call back to speak with somebody else.

Posted by
2166 posts

The reason why I did not fly direct to Paris is because I found really
affordable non-stop tickets to London from my home city and I plan on
spending a few days in London after Paris so it made sense to me to
just spend $100 for a return Eurostar ticket.

How much did you save compared to an open jaw ticket?

I live in Dallas and American Airlines is the hub here so I much
rather fly direct from Dallas to London than to stop in Houston.

If your destination is Paris I would not call a flight to London direct. But American airlines has daily flights from Dallas to Paris, why not book a seat on one of those instead? An open jaw ticket would have been perfect for you.

Since the airline has changed the arrival time it can, as mentioned, be worth it to call them and ask to be rebooked. If there are no earlier flights to London, ask to be rebooked on a Paris flight instead. I don't know if their rules allow that, but it can't hurt to ask.

Posted by
9 posts

This might be hard to believe but I paid $650 for an American roundtrip fight from Dallas to London Heathrow. Even with the additional $100 I spent on the round trip Eurostar ticket from London to Paris, I consider $750 spent total on transportation pretty affordable. Especially for a non stop flight. I'm also traveling to both Paris and London and I decided to do Paris first and London last so that I can fly back to Dallas from London. So yes, flying direct to Paris would have been a good idea if I was only traveling to Paris. I also could have done a multi-city ticket but when I bought the tickets, I had a budget and booked my tickets that best fit my plans and budget. All the other options were at least a few hundred dollars more expensive. Having only 3.5 hrs from landing to making the Eurostar is a tight turn around which is why I thought it'd be a good idea to come here to ask.

Posted by
25771 posts

I hope everything works out for you. We never welcomed you aboard the Forum - welcome.

When you got a return trip on Eurostar for $100 US you got a real bargain.

Posted by
817 posts

Not sure if this will help but this last May we took the 7 day London tour. Our plane arrived at heathrow at 6:00 am . We caught the tube at the airport at got on it and off at Green Park and walked to our tour hotel in Mayfair area and arrived around 8 am. So I would hope you would be ok on time.

Kim

Posted by
9 posts

Did you assign any value to your time when were calculating costs and making your choices?

Joe,

Yes I certaintly did assign value to my time when I was calculating costs and making my choices. Thats why I gave myself plenty of time from landing to get myself to St. Pancras. I made that decision with help from friends that have been to London before. I don't regret the decision I made in the type of ticket and transfer I purchased. My original question is since there is this delay (and yes I checked with American, 6:50 AM is still their earliest arrival on that day to Heathrow) if I should make other arrangements. The ticket is booked, there are no changes to my flight or changes to my Eurostar ticket that can be made.

With help from other comments I think it will be a 50/50 chance when I get there on either making it or not making it.

Posted by
3418 posts

Time out!

The poster has asked for input and help about a specific travel transfer. There has been a great deal of good and helpful feedback. However, there is no reason to keep going on about the travel choices made. When a poster feels he/she has to come back and defend their plans on the forum, then some responses have been off target.

I hope that all goes well for your trip and you thoroughly enjoy yourself.

Posted by
2166 posts

The ticket is booked, there are no changes to my flight or changes to
my Eurostar ticket that can be made.

Are you really sure about that? It says so in the conditions of carriage:

We do our best to be on time but our flight schedule is not guaranteed
and not part of this contract. We are not liable if:

  • We're late or you don't make your connection
  • We change the schedule of any flight

But, have you actually asked them if your outbound flight can be changed? Even if you have no right to be rebooked, you might encounter a friendly customer service agent that can rebook you on an earlier flight or maybe even a flight to Paris, since it is them who changed the schedule. There is no guarantee, but there is chance it will work. So it is worth a try.

Posted by
9 posts

But, have you actually asked them if your outbound flight can be changed? Even if you have no right to be rebooked, you might encounter a friendly customer service agent that can rebook you on an earlier flight or maybe even a flight to Paris, since it they who changed the schedule. There is no guarantee, but there is chance it will work. So it is worth a try.

Hello! Yes and unfortunately 6:50 AM is still the earliest that I can get in. I did call American and talked to an agent and there was nothing that they could do. I checked Eurostar and while I can change to a later train, I really don't want to spend (as of today) $224 for the change fee to get on the 11:31 AM train. That's quite a lot of money that i'd love to save and spend in Paris/London. I really don't have much playing room when it comes to my budget.

Posted by
2166 posts

Sorry to hear that, but at least you tried. I hope everything works out and that you don't miss your train.

Posted by
25771 posts

rather than the change fee hassle for the Eurostar you could consider just paying for a later ticket.

On that 11:31 it is £191 (don't know what that is in your dollars), but a little later, if time is not more valuable than money, you can at the moment get a ticket on the next three trains for £151, but if you can wait until tea-time the 16:01 (4:01pm, arrives in Paris at 19:17 (7:17pm) for only £123.

Is that any help?

Posted by
213 posts

I tend to agree with Nigel that taking the tube is the safest bet to make it in time. Airlines plan for a lot of cushion with their set arrival times so it is possible, likely even, that you will land prior to 650. If I were you and I had a tight budget (and you are not able to get to the Eurostar in time), I would fast forward to your Paris lodging and see if you can arrive one day late without incurring a penalty. If you can, worse case is you trade one night of Paris accommodation with London-likely a wash. Plus, hanging out in London for a day/night getting over jet lag still beats being in Dallas and working. Whatever happens will be fine and best to just go with the flow.

Posted by
9 posts

Just wanted to update in case anyone else that might come across this forum or if anyone is curious. So I did land on time at 6:50 AM and it took me approximately 30 minutes to de-board, go through passport control and get my luggage. I ended up taking the Heathrow Express and I made it to the platform (waited about 12 minutes for the next train) at around 7:20. Took me an hour to make it to St. Pancras. My travel buddy and I ended up having enough time to eat breakfast at St. Pancras since it was too early to let the 10:24 train go through security and passport control. Thanks to everyone who helped me and gave me tips, I appreciate it and i'm glad I ended up making the train with plenty of time!

Posted by
921 posts

Thanks for looping back and posting what happened. Glad it worked out.

Posted by
25771 posts

I'm so glad that it worked out for you so smoothly. I don't think I've been through Heathrow's procedures so quickly. Good for you!

How was the Eurostar ride to you?

Posted by
9 posts

Nigel,

Thank you! I was insanely surprised as well. I think it helped I was in terminal 3 and that my bag (along with other passenger's bags) was already put off to the side so I had 0 min wait time at the luggage carousel. I think I very much had combination of good timing, luck and the e-gates really sped up the process.

The Eurostar ride was great actually! I got there right when they were allowing the 10:24 train to go through check in and security, the process took maybe 15minutes? There was no one in line in front of me when I went through passport control. The ride was pretty empty and very comfortable.

Posted by
4899 posts

sandy, thanks so much for coming back to report. Did you use the eGates or see a human for Passport Control? What was the line for that immigration process?

Posted by
9 posts

Hi Tim,

I used the E-gates at Heathrow and didn't have to speak to anybody to enter the UK. I did have to "interact" with people at the Eurostar check in but that was just to stamp my passport.

When I de-boarded and walked to passport control, there was a clear line that told me which passport control line I could go to. Since I have an American passport, I was allowed to use the e-gates. There was about (i'm guessing here) 15 or so e-gates, probably more. There is a person that directs you so the line moves as fast as it can. I waited in line for a total of 5 minutes if that, took 1 minute to scan my passport and go through the gates and I was on my way to baggage claim. The whole process was very fast and easy and took me less than 7 minutes.