We are arriving at Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic at 11:45 and will depart on BA at 14:15. Since I booked these separately (change in plans caused this) I will have to clear customs and immigrations. My question is: has anyone done this and is this enough time. BA said it was but I'm a little nervous.
That should be more than enough time, provided your flight is on time.
It should be plenty of time. You only have to pass through an immigration check if you are connecting to a flight which goes to the UK. If the connecting flight is outside the UK, there is no immigration; just a security screening.
Assuming your VA flight comes in in time you should be OK.
Have a backup plan to relieve your nerves.
If you are running short of time and there's a line at security or immigrations, don't be afraid to let them know you need to get through. I was allowed to skip the lines at security when I was late for a connecting flight... of course after panicking all the way through the bus ride from Terminal 4 to 1, security and immigrations, I arrived at the new gate to find out my flight was delayed at least 45 minutes.
Of course, BA can't be bothered to have any staff available to check such things or radio ahead to let gates know of tight connections. Nope, you are expected to go the transfer center, but of course if you are running late, you don't exactly have time to wait in line... Which is why I won't be choosing BA again any time soon.
Here's how you stand legally. Because you are flying on two full IATA airlines you have a huge amount of consumer rights. The information BA have given you is correct and you are well within the minimum connection times. Therefore if you should arrive too late to connect with your BA flight you must immediately inform Virgin. They are legally obliged to ensure that you are booked on the next available BA flight ( available in this instance means the next flight with seats available in the class of cabin you are booked into, this may not be the next flight that departs, in this instance they have to book you * at no additional cost to yourself * on the next BA flight with an empty seat in the type of cabin you were booked into. If you were booked in economy and there is only space in the business cabin Virgin are not obliged to upgrade you ). By using full IATA airlines you have given yourself a great deal of consumer rights. It does not matter that you have booked separate tickets
Al--Thank you so much! Posts with information like yours is the reason I check out the Graffiti Wall daily.
Thank you!! We are flying under similar circumstances with AirNewZealand to London. Then transferring with BA to Budapest. Where can we read what our rights are? My only real concern was if our flight is late and your information has greatly put my mind at ease. Thanks for the post!!!
Oh Gosh where do you find all the rules and rgulations? I just know them after years in the business. You could try http://travelcentre.iata.org/
Most of them used to be on the back of your ticket in small print, in the days when we flew using paper tickets. With the advent of e-tickets and paperless flight those days have gone. There is a manual that is stored under the desk at all IATA airline ticket desks.
Thank you so much Al. What I didn't say in my posting was that I will be travelling with my 86 year old mother who will be in a wheelchair and your answer has really put my mind at rest. This is what this board is all about...great people sharing information to help each other. Thanks again everyone who answered me.