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Heathrow transfer in 1 hour and 20 minutes enough time?

We are flying from Rome FCO to Heathrow LHR to catch a flight from Heathrow to San Francisco International. Terminal 5 services both the arrival flight and our departure flight on British Airways.

The question is, is 1 hour and 20 min. layover enough to do this transfer? British Airways seems to imply it is, but I imagine we will have to go through international security for the LHR to SFO flight. We will probably carry on our luggage.

Posted by
9363 posts

If the two flights are on one ticket, then you should be fine. Even if the first is late and you miss the second, they have to put you on the next available flight. If they are separate bookings, though, all bets are off.

Posted by
112 posts

Thanks Nancy. Yes, the two British Air flights are going to be booked at the same time which I guess means on the same ticket.

So I guess we will book this very soon!

Posted by
9510 posts

Well, if you haven't booked yet I would go for a longer transfer time if you have a choice. Someone said recently it's better to be early and bored than late and stressed. I love that!

Posted by
112 posts

Pam, unfortunately I think this is the best we can do. We want to do the whole flight on British Air and do the international part to SFO starting from Heathrow.

I had called British Air about this before and the lady when asked if that was enough time just said "Yes" with no other details. She was probably more interested in selling the flight then answering transfer questions.

Posted by
2818 posts

Looking at the BA schedules for September, I do not see any 1 hour 20 minute transfer from Rome to SFO. If you take the 8:10 am flight from FCO you arrive LHR at 9:50, and have one hour 40 minutes before your flight to SFO at 11:30.

If you are concerned you could take the next BA SFO flight thT departs at 13:55. But if you are booking on one ticket ( which you should do) if you are on the 11:30 flight and miss it due to a late arrival from Rome ( unlikely), they would have to put you on the next flight, which is at 13:55.

Personally, I would not worry about it. We always fly British from Seattle to London, and they have yet to be late in any of their flights.

Yes you will go through security in T5. If your inbound flight from Rome is late they should expedite this---ask!!!!

Posted by
112 posts

Sasha, I looked it up again on British Airways for Sept 25. The flight to SFO leaves at 11:20. So we do have an extra bit of time, 1hr 30min.

It's good to hear that we would be able to get on the next flight assuming there are seats. We'll try to expedite as you suggest if time is getting tight. Thanks.

Posted by
4634 posts

Most likely your flight will arrive in 5A with your flight to SFO leaving from B or C. In thus case you do your security in A, alongside those departing from LHR. In the middle if the day this ought not be an issue as it is not peak departure time.

There is a possibility though that you could arrive in B or even C. Check if your flight is going from the same satellite, as each has a security point if its own, and could save you going to A and back again.

As the stands do change regularly it isn't possible to be sure in advance.

Posted by
112 posts

Marco, would this show up on the monitors as. 5A or 5B or 5C ? Mostly we just look at the Gate numbers it seems on most flights. If not on the monitors then would most British Airways personnel be able to tell us or perhaps the stewardess on the flight into LHR?

Posted by
2818 posts

If you possibly can,mod online check-in for both flights 24 hours in advance of your Rome flight and print the boarding passes. That will speed things up and you will know the gate numbers. Or if you plan to check in and get boarding passes at the airport, make sure they print both flights.

Have you paid to reserve seats? If not, you will definitely want to check in at the 24-hour mark to choose your seats, especially for the LHR to SFO flight.

Posted by
2818 posts

If you possibly can, do online check-in for both flights 24 hours in advance of your Rome flight and print the boarding passes. That will speed things up and you will know the gate numbers. Or if you plan to check in and get boarding passes at the airport, make sure they print both flights.

Have you paid to reserve seats? If not, you will definitely want to check in at the 24-hour mark to choose your seats, especially for the LHR to SFO flight.

Posted by
112 posts

Sasha, we will definitely check-in within that 24 hour window. We'll either print the boarding passes or get some electronic version if that exists. Good to know that those will contain the info we need for the LHR transfer. I haven't yet made the reservations but will probably today. Thanks again.

Posted by
5775 posts

The answer depends on the on time performance of your flight from Rome.

Ironically you may be better off if you check your return baggage. LHR is big and you can be slowed down if you are not strong or can't run pulling or pushing baggage. And carry-on baggage is screened and suspicious items can cause delays as they rescan then open the carry-on.

Posted by
4634 posts

As you arrive in you can see on the screens the departures from the particular satellite, should you arrive at one.

Gate numbering is not continuous, but you may sometimes see a suffix letter.

Gates 1-23: A
Gates 32-48: B
Gates 52-66: C

Posted by
112 posts

Thanks again for all the specific advice everyone here gave me. This will come in handy on the changeover!

Posted by
1994 posts

One additional point, since inadequate transfer time is so common on flights now. Several times I have missed connections because the arriving flight was really late. I found it very helpful to have a list of flights on other airlines leaving after my scheduled departure time. This allowed me to push the airline to book me on a flight with another carrier, if there was an unreasonable delay in finding an open seat on their flights. Because of full flights and overbooking, I seen the airlines get creative – after overbooking my original flight, KLM "offered" two other overbooked flights. Knowing my options on other carriers was really helpful.

Posted by
112 posts

Sherry, are you saying that your original airline you were dealing with would (1) refund your money and then you would be a free agent to book with the another competing airline, or (2) the original airline would be required to book you into another competing airline ?

I am guessing that at the airport you would have to check that the alternative airlines have seats available before using this strategy.

Posted by
5775 posts

Les,
I believe that Sherry is saying that your ticketing airline could rebook you on a competing airline with the same route at no extra cost if they are so inclined.

In the olden days before deregulization where paper tickets were like money you could run over to another airline's counter and apply the ticket to their flight.

With economic carriers, good luck on getting say Norwegian Air to rebook you on SAS.

Posted by
4634 posts

You have a right to be transfered to a later flight. You do not have the right to a rebook on an alternative carrier unless you have a flexible fare that you can cancel. Some full service airlines do have good relations as they help each other out though so it is still possible.

Posted by
112 posts

OK, I kind of got it. The good news is there is a flight a few hours later on British Airways so that would possibly be a backup.