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Travel Help

I will be studying abroad this upcoming fall in Scotland and was wondering if anyone could help me with the following situation:

  1. My roundtrip flight will be operated by British Airways, However, when I leave from my hometown to Dallas Fortworth, I am under American Airlines. I bought my ticket using Student Universe and my itinerary says British Airways all the way to scotland and back..
  2. Will I need to check in to get my boarding pass on both websites separately to get my ticket? Or can I just do it under British Airways?
  3. Since my flight to DFW is under american airlines, do I have to get my luggage after I land and re-check in to British Airways? Or will my luggage be checked through all the way?
  4. Any other tips you have for my long flight? This is my first time flying internationally.

Thank you!

Posted by
15644 posts

Are you flying non-stop or changing planes? Where are you changing planes?

I don't know what Student Universe is, but if your ticket is BA, then you would normally use only the BA website, but if you have any special requests (seat assignment, meals, etc) for your AA flight/s, then you may need to contact them directly.

It is possible, assuming you are changing planes, that you will only be able to check-in online for the first leg of the flight. However, when you physically check in at the airport, you should be able to get your second boarding pass - if they don't give it to you, ask for it.

Where you get your luggage depends on your itinerary. If you are changing planes in the U.S., then your luggage would go usually not see it until Scotland. But if you are changing planes in the U.K., then you'd usually have to clear immigration, collect your luggage and clear customs, then recheck before your next flight. Coming back, it would be the reverse - you get your luggage at the entry point into the other country after the international flight, then continue on the domestic flight to your destination.

Posted by
4062 posts

My tip: Don't worry. Thousands pass through Heathrow every day with no problem.

You can check your flights by going to the Internet site of the airline that issued the tickets. I looked at British Airways, DFW to Edinburgh, and see that both American and BA operate flights to London Heathrow (the two airlines sell each other's flights across the Atlantic.) From London you almost certainly will fly on a different British Airways plane. Without knowing what city you are going to in Scotland it is impossible to be 100 per cent sure. If Student Universe is a travel agency, they're not involved once you have your tickets. Your ticket should say what airline is actually flying the plane -- that is who you check in with at the airport.
I can't speak from experience about changing planes for a domestic flight at London Heathrow, a vast place (you can get a better idea by looking at its website which includes terminal maps you can print out.)
You might go through Customs there with your luggage, which you then hand back to the airline, usually at a desk nearby; you don't go into the main lobby. Or you may not go through Customs until your final destination. Either way it is no big deal; only a small minority of luggage is actually inspected by Customs officials. More significantly, you probably will go through Immigration and border security at London Heathrow, which can be time-consuming but is still routine. Be sure to check the departure screens for the gate number of your second flight since these can change at the last minute.
On-line check-in may be possible, from the airline issuing the ticket. Go to its website and read the fine print. Usually you can get both boarding passes at the originating airport if not on-line. You might also want to select your seats in advance. You can try on-line using your tickets numbers, but BA is not very generous on this procedure.

Posted by
7 posts

@chani and @southam: I've never flown internationally, so I'm am unsure of where to check if I'm changing planes or even my gate/terminal number. I'm assuming I am changing planes though. Also, I will be flying to Aberdeen in Scotland. Thank you!

Posted by
5356 posts

You can check on line on each airlines websites using the record locator for the appropriate airline. These are not the same as AA uses Sabre and BA Amadeus as booking systems. I suspect that as your first flight is on AA your ticket is probably on AA stock so you will need to ask them for the BA record locator.

If the previous paragraph just comes over as gobbledegook, you can always just check in at the airport where you should be able to collect all boarding passes.

Your bags should be checked through to Aberdeen and you won't need to pick them up before then. Flights from Dallas arrive at Heathrow at Terminal 3. Flights to Aberdeen leave from Terminal 5. You will need to take the connecting bus first, go through immigration in Terminal 5 followed by biometric capture, had baggage check and security.

At Aberdeen you and your checked bags will go through customs. Note that if you have anything on you that needs to be declared this should be done at Heathrow.

As you are coming as a student immigration may take a bit longer in processing compared with entry as a visitor.