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london to paris...fly or eurostar

we arrive at heathrow at 11:50 and move on to paris the same day...i think it will be easier, as we are already at the airport, to fly british airways to paris rather than go to the eurostar. how much time do we need to allow to catch another flight to paris? do we have to go thru customs at heathrow?

Posted by
5669 posts

Are you doing one ticket? Then three hours is what I've had in the past. If it's one ticket, then they have to help you get another connection if you are late. Generally, though, transatlantic flights are on time. Although having said that my last trip to Brussels was a couple of hours late. ; (

Posted by
43 posts

thanks, pamela. it is not one ticket...we were to start our trip in london but a timeshare in paris was only available starting on the day we arrive in london...so, i am thinking to purchase a ticket on british airways (same carrier as our transatlantic flight) from london to paris....so, we would already be through security...i just don't know if i have to go through any additional hoops to get on a paris flight?

Posted by
13210 posts

Mary, we did something similar last spring- we had tickets to London on BA and added a flight to Spain, departing Heathrow the same day we arrived there. So it was separate tickets. The Heathrow website shows minimum connect times for various terminals. I am assuming you are taking the BA flight from Seattle? This arrives in London at T5 right around noon. There is a flight to Paris departing at 13:00 but that is too tight. The next one departs from T5 at 15:15 which should be fine. Since you will BA the whole way, if you are checking bags ask when you checking at SeaTac if you can check your bags through, even tho they are on separate tickets. Getting to baggage claim to pick up and re-check your bags would be a major hassle. Or best of all, just carry on if you can. BA has a pretty generous allowance ( but they are strict about the size).

Posted by
8700 posts

You will not go through customs at Heathrow, but you will have to go through security before boarding your plane to Paris.

Posted by
43 posts

Wow! you are so very helpful! this is the first time that i have used this site...thanks so much! we are indeed flying out of seattle so..sounds like the later flight to paris will do well! thanks again all!

Posted by
111 posts

Getting to the Eurostar involves taking the tube into London and then transferring to St. Pancras station, which will take at least 2 hours and can be annoying with luggage if the tube is crowded. Really annoying if they are having any service disruptions on the tube. BA is a good airline, but they are often late coming in from the U.S. so give yourself a buffer of 2-3 hours between flights. In my experience, security at Heathrow takes 30-60 minutes on average, depending on the day you arrive. I've ridden the Eurostar, and I guess I just don't see doing that unless you wanted to spend time in London first or for the novelty of it. It takes longer and while perfectly pleasant, it's not especially scenic.

Posted by
27 posts

Those who talk about the time to get to central London from Heathrow have a point. It will take an hour on the Piccadilly line. You then have the 30 minute checking for Eurostar before you depart, so adding another 30 minutes for luck is a good idea. Checkin tim for your flight to Paris, however, could be similar. However, the time taken to get off Eurostar at the other end and be right in the centre of Paris (the Gare du Nord) is about 10 minutes. Compare this with the time to get out of Charles de Gaulle airport and into central Paris and you gain on Eurostar on that leg of the trip. I prefer travelling by Eurostar - it's very comfortable and civilised compared with travelling by air, and tends to be less subject to delays. It's also greener, if you are into that kind of thing.

Posted by
28086 posts

Getting to the Eurostar involves taking the tube into London and then transferring to St. Pancras station, which will take at least 2 hours While I grant that sufficient time must be left I wonder why the answer says at least 2 hours? Heathrow Terminal 3 station to Kings Cross St Pancras by Underground (Piccadilly Line) is a 56 minute journey.

Posted by
1014 posts

Just to add another dimension to this, a bus trip to Paris from London entails a ferry ride, which I love to do. Really relaxed way to travel. Can be fairly cheap if booked early out. Look at Eurolines.com or nationalexpress.com

Posted by
43 posts

so much to think about! we are going to take the eurostar BACK to London after our stay in Paris...so, we shall get the experience of train travel...i think it may boil down to which way is the easiest as far as customs....entering england or entering france? or do we have to do both anyway? except for canada...i haven't been outside the usa in forever.

Posted by
28086 posts

easiest as far as customs Mary Do you mean Customs or Immigration? Customs is about what you have with you (on you, etc.,), Immigration is about you. In both directions on Eurostar the two processes are before you board. You will notice the Immigration step because somebody will look at your passport. You may not notice the Customs bit unless you or somebody in your party is stopped by the dog or Inspector. Because this occurs at the same time as the check-in 30 minutes and security check there is no additional delay, unless, as I said you are selected for additional interview by the dog or person. On the ferry (its been a few years so my info is old) it tends to be as you are disembarking, adding additional time. Dunno about flying - last flight was 14 years ago.

Posted by
43 posts

Nigel, thanks so much for explaining customs vs immigration...i feel rather sheepish about my lack of travel knowledge :) your explanation really helped. since we will be using only carry-on luggage we should move quickly....i hope.

Posted by
13210 posts

Mary, since this is your first trip outside the US in a long time, and you are going straght to Paris (not spending a nigh t in Londong on the way), I think it would be far simpler for you to stay at the airport and take that BA flight onward to Paris. Your BA flight from Seattle will arrive in T5 (in our experience with that flight, 6 times in the past 10 years, it has always been on time). The BA flight to Paris also departs from T5. If you leave Heathrow to catch the Eurostar, you will have to go throug immigration. Just getting off the plane and getting through immigration (long lines, often) can easily take more than an hour. Add that to the travel time into London that others have given you, and you have several hours of standing in line and tube travel just to get to St. Pancras, where you will again stand in line to go through security and immigration before boarding the train. As much as I like the Eurostar, I think it works much better for people who are already IN London, not arriving at Heathrow after the long flight from the West Coast of the US. In that situation, when we are tarveling onward, we much prefer to stay at Heathrow, freshen up, walk around a bit, and maybe have a bite to eat, before boarding a plane for the quick flight to Paris.

Posted by
3580 posts

What I like best about the Eurostar trip to Paris is that the train takes me to a train station that is in the city (Gare du Nord) and only a Metro ride from my hotel. The Metro is a mere escalator ride down from the train tracks. Usually I stay in London overnight (Crestfield Hotel near St Pancras Station) after my long flight from the west coast. Then I hop on the train early the next day and I'm in Paris mid-day, fairly rested and ready to go. I don't disagree with your choice of flying BA on to Paris the same day. I'm "older" and have less stamina than I used to have, so I find ways to preserve my energy.

Posted by
43 posts

i am older too :)...but, our timeshare starts the day we arrive...so on to paris!

Posted by
4637 posts

If you are stopping in London then by all means Eurostar. If you are not stopping and just want to change planes then it's more practical to fly.

Posted by
166 posts

If you're arriving in Heathrow, flying on to Paris makes the most sense, because it's so far away (time wise) from the Eurostar train station. BA should be able to check your bags directly through to Paris so you won't have to deal with them at Heathrow. If I am in Paris or London (vs Heathrow / Charles de Gaulle), I'll take Eurostar every time because it is so much less hassle than flying if you need to get from city center to city center. Mathew

Posted by
43 posts

you all have been so helpful! sounds like BA is the way to go for the easiest transition. we will use eurostar on our way back! thanks again for taking such good care of me. mary

Posted by
993 posts

Lola is spot on. While the Eurostar is fun, it's not worth of agro of going into Town. Great if you only have carry on luggage.. If you find you will have to check your cases, best take the later flight. Love BA but an hour is not enuf time to transfer luggage. Ours was lost once (London-Paris) and took 2 days to catch up...more the fault of the hotelier however.

Posted by
643 posts

Mary, you're already at the airport, just fly to Paris. Taking Eurostar is great if you're in central London, but for you it is easier to just stay at the airport and check in to your flight to Paris, which is only about an hour from airport to airport. Eurostar is 3 hours from London to Paris, so not only would you have to take the train to London from the airport (Heathrow Express + tube to St.Pancras) you'd have to haul all your luggage up and down stairs yourself (unless you can locate the lifts) and then check in to your train no later than 30 minutes before departure (Eurostar check-in ends at the 30 minute prior to departure time). Much easier to stay at Heathrow and fly! Have a great trip!

Posted by
43 posts

yup! you all have been very helpful...i think that staying at the airport is the way to go...i am so excited for this trip that i am having a hard time waiting!

Posted by
28086 posts

Eurostar is 3 hours from London to Paris Just to present correct facts - London to Paris by Eurostar is now only 2:20, plus only a 30 minute checkin, including security, down town to down town. I don't know how long security and check in is at Heathrow, I believe the actual flight is around an hour, nor do I know how long it would take to reach central Paris from whichever airport the flight would go to (Beauvais, Orly, or CDG).