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"Connecting" on separate tickets at Heathrow

Hi,
I recently booked a trip from Stockholm to Toronto on two separate tickets. The route is Stockholm -> Heathrow (on SAS) and Heathrow -> Toronto (Air Canada), with 2 hours in between the flights. They are leaving from the same terminal (2), and I will be flying in November. I booked them on separate tickets because it got me into Toronto at a more ideal time. Now, of course, I'm stressing out about if I will have to go through immigration in Heathrow and out into the landside area and going back through security instead of being able to follow the flight connections signs and staying within the terminal. I will not be checking any bags. From what I read on this forum, if I don't have to pick up bags I won't have to leave the terminal/secured area and can follow flight connections? If that's true, it seems like I should have enough time. Leaving the terminal seems like it would add a lot of time and stress.
An explanation of what route I will follow would be appreciated. I am a Canadian, if this helps.

Posted by
4566 posts

If you have your boarding pass for your second flight and have carry-on only, you will be able to stay airside. You will go through a security check. You can check the Heathrow website to see the route. I hope that your inbound flight arrives on-time.

Posted by
7809 posts

Looking at skyscanner and expedia, the only options that went through LHR had at least a 2 hr 25 min layover. The airlines do not schedule anything that tight. I will let you draw your own conclusion.

If all goes well you could make it, but it seems the airlines plan a bit more time.

You may want to have a 'plan b' ready, in case you do not make the LHR departure

Posted by
4538 posts

Be aware that Heathrow T2 can involve an awful lot of walking. You will arrive at the A concourse and most likely depart from the B concourse, although AC have a few flights that leave from A.

The Minimum Connection Time if you had a single through booking would have been 60 minutes.

Posted by
6855 posts

We have made connections ( on one ticket) with only one hour at LHR, flying back to US. The Heathrow.com website is very helpful. You should be fine as long as flight #1 is on time and they’re in same terminal.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone for your answers. I will definitely have my second ticket with me. It sounds like I should be okay.

Is there a way to get Air Canada to know that I’m on an incoming flight ahead of time? In case there’s a delay?

Posted by
6875 posts

Is there a way to get Air Canada to know that I’m on an incoming flight ahead of time? In case there’s a delay?

You bought separate tickets.
They won't be liable if the first flight is delayed causing you to miss the flight to Toronto.
So there is really is no point in doing that.

Posted by
6855 posts

There is no reason to contact Air Canada as they have no responsibility with the fact that you bought two separate tickets.

Posted by
5213 posts

It would never hurt to mention to airline staff, when checking in, when boarding, etc. what your connection arrangements are. The flight attendants, check-in staff, and Heathrow people might make things easier, within their abilities. And speak up, if it gets close.

We once had a fairly tight connection, and landed at the same time a dozens of other planes. The line to get to the few immigration kiosks was long, and not moving. I spotted an airport person and told her about our upcoming flight, departing quite soon. Immediately, she moved us up to the front of the queue. We didn’t hold up everyone else, really, but it made a difference in us getting on our plane. Had to do this once in Dallas, connecting back home to Colorado. You gotta do what you gotta do, and they won’t make exceptions if they’re not reasonable. Have a great trip, and hope your connection goes smoothly, and quickly!

Posted by
8959 posts

Air Canada as they have no responsibility with the fact that you
bought two separate tickets.

While this is true, if you feel you might miss your connecting flight it's always best to contact the airline anyways. By keep them informed they can sell your seat to a standby passenger at full fare without holding up the flight and in reward they can try to make alternative arrangements with a later flight or partner airline.

Posted by
5663 posts

You should consider paying the SAS seat selection fee and reserve an aisle seat as close to the exit door as possible. Pack light and run fast.

I believe (but can be certain) that you will have to go through security screening even with an airside transfer. Take care to avoid items in your carry-on that could trigger the need to open you bag for closer inspection or chemical tests. Same with what is on your person.

Posted by
6875 posts

and in reward they can try to make alternative arrangements with a later flight or partner airline.

but you would still have to pay for a one way flight; they won't be doing that for free

Posted by
8959 posts

they won't be doing that for free

That's at the discretion of the airline. They have no legal obligation to honor your ticket, but they have option to rebook free of charge if you help them out by communicating any delays with them. It's happened to me a couple of times.

Posted by
5663 posts

...they have option to rebook free of charge if you help them out by communicating any delays with them.

An airline can certainly go above and beyond their contract of carriage. But SAS would have no legal obligation to pay for an Air Canada transatlantic flight that they have no connection to because of the desperate ticket choice of the flyer.

Does anyone know if trip delay/cancellation insurance covers this situation?

Posted by
3645 posts

You can expect to exit the plane and follow the purple signs for "Flight Connections" as quickly as possible as long as you do not have checked bags. You need to have your boarding pass for the next flight. You will need to go through security once again. The advice above to make sure that you don't have any liquids is very good. I don't think security will take more than 10 minutes (my experience in terminal 5 for many connections) unless you get sent off for secondary inspection. That adds significant time.Then go directly to your gate. Don't stop for anything.

If your original flight is on time, I believe you can do this. I had a 90 minute connection change to a 40 minute connection this month when the first flight was delayed due to air traffic control. I made it in time for boarding, but believe me I blew as fast as I could through that airport.

Posted by
8959 posts

But SAS would have no legal obligation to pay for an Air Canada
transatlantic flight

That's kind of obvious:) I was referring to communicating with Air Canada.

Posted by
5663 posts

https://www.aircanada.com/content/aircanada/ca/en/aco/home/fly/customer-support/frequently-asked-questions.html

Air Canada will cancel any purchased ticket and provide a full refund
without penalty up to 24 hours after purchase.

Beyond 24 hours of purchase, a non-refundable ticket offers no options
in the event that an unexpected medical emergency or other unforeseen
circumstance forces you to cancel your trip or modify your travel
plans. And we can’t make any exception to the fare rules.

The best advice is to prepare and plan for the unexpected. Many
travellers consider the purchase of cancellation insurance as a good
investment against such risks. Some payment cards also cover trip
cancellations; check with your bank or service provider. The time to
make these decisions is when you purchase your ticket. RBC Travel
Insurance is available via aircanada.com should you wish to protect
your ticket's value.

Posted by
14 posts

The advice about not having any liquids will speed up your security check immensely. At heathrow, ALL liquids need to fit in a clear 8qt bag that they give you. Then they will hand check these liquids. So, it can be a very slow process. We had a “learning experience” with that last summer.... not realizing how much more strict it would be than in the US. Lesson learned, lol.

Posted by
14449 posts

For me, a concern would be getting the second boarding pass. If you can do online check-in for Air Canada before you leave Stockholm, that would do it. I'd get a hard copy of the boarding pass to go through security at LHR.

Posted by
1812 posts

Good Luck. I do a lot of unprotected connections at Heathrow and this is not what I would really want to do. If your plane is delayed at all you are in big trouble. Especially if you cannot contact Air Canada in advance

My rule of thumb when booking a non-protected connection is making sure I can reasonably afford the cost incurred if I don’t make the connection. In this case that cost could be a one way walk up ticket home to Canada. I would fly them from Stockholm probably the night before just to be sure I didn’t have to do that. I’m doing that in a couple months I will be coming into London about 24 hours before my flight out of London

Posted by
14449 posts

It's certainly a risk, especially in November when weather is more likely to be a problem than, say, July. How much would it cost you to change your SAS outbound flight? Personally, I'd consider that rather than taking the risk of missing the long-haul flight. Consider that rebooking can be very costly if the next flights out of LHR are fully booked (or only business/first classes are still available) and you may need to spend a night or two in London till you can get on another flight.

I am not familiar with Terminal 2. I've connected through T5 (dedicated to BA) and the last time, it took me over an hour and a half to get through the terminal airside only - that's net, once I was off the plane and in the terminal to my boarding gate. Security took a really long time but then over 20 minutes to the gate. Maybe T2 is smaller.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to give an update - and yes, I realize I am dumb!

I booked these flights through Expedia using their multi-city booking option. I thought because I had used that, it meant I had booked separate flights. You all scared me saying that separate flights with that short of a connection time was dangerous, so I called Expedia today to change to an earlier flight from Stockholm. They told me that they were in fact on the same ticket number and all flights were owned (their words) by Air Canada. Therefore Air Canada does have a responsibility to rebook me if the flight is missed due to delays, I'm assuming, and I should be safe in that regard. Someone mentioned paying to select my seats on the SAS flight to make sure I get a seat at the front and I'll definitely still do that. I'll also try to have 0 liquids on me for Heathrow security.

Thanks for all the help, everyone. Even though it turns out I did not in fact book separate flights, I hope this thread can help others!

Posted by
279 posts

Everything will probably work out OK!

The main issue with booking the tickets through Expedia is that if there is a problem, you will have to go through Expedia to fix it. This can be a problem in itself. In the future it would be best to book flights directly with the airline. Then the airline is responsible for fixing problems that might occur. Expedia is infamous for not being much help when problems occur.