How long to get through customs at LHR?

We are flying in Sept-on a Saturday-and will arrive at London Heathrow around ten a.m, our flight to Dublin, Ireland leaves just 2 hrs 10 minutes after we arrive. Do we have sufficient time to make the connection after getting through customs? We arrive at Terminal 5, and depart from Terminal 1. These are British Airways-Aer Lingus flights, purchased as separate tickets from British Air.
The cost to change my Ireland flights (2 passengers)to a later flight, of which there are plenty, is GBP120, I can buy 2 new tix for EURO126 (62 each). Do I stay with what I have, or just buy replacement tix now for a later IRE flight? I know that the EURO62 later flight will be a whole bunch more expensive if I need it due to missing my connection. A rookie mistake-I never considered this, but hey, them's the breaks, right?

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

I go through LHR about twice a year. In the past few years it seems to have gotten a little faster or maybe I have just gotten use to it. Your 2:10 should be okay if your flight is relatively on time. LHR actually has a pretty good website that does have some times between terminals, and recomendatins. http://www.heathrowairport.com/heathrow-airport-guide

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
779 posts

If you have bags to check, BA might not through check them on separate tickets, especially since one is a code share (do check as policies change). If they won't you will have to collect them, go through customs, and do the terminal connection landside. This is free via the Heathrow Connect or underground, although the latter would require an Oyster card to get through the barriers. With the Express running at a 15 minute interval your journey time could be up to half an hour if you are unlucky. Then you would need to recheck with Are Lingus in T1 and go through security. It is doable but tight, and not resilient against any delay. If you can connect airside it would be easier, but you would still be on your own, or at the mercy of Aer Lingus if you didn't make it before they close.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

Hello Dave. I flew to and from London's Heathrow airport, more than once. I recommend : change to a later flight time for your flight from LHR to Dublin.

Posted by Tom
Suffolk, UK (formerly St. Louis, MO, USA)
166 posts

Time isn't so much a factor as luggage is. Staying airside, two hours 10 minutes is plenty of time to make the terminal shuffle. I've done the "terminal shuffle" to/from Terminal 5 numerous times, and can typically go gate-to-gate in an hour. The problem is going to be collecting bags. If you do this with all hand luggage, you're golden. I don't know BA's policy regarding cross-checking bags, or if you can collect your bags airside for your Ireland flight. For that, you'd need to check with them. If you can pack light enough (carry-on), you are fine the way you are. If you have to clear immigration to get your bags, shuffle terminals land-side, and re-enter security in Terminal 5, you are better off going for the later flight.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

People are saying customs when they mean immigration/passport control. That is what takes time. If you have to collect and re-check bags, you have to go through immigration as technically you are entering the UK then. That line can take an hour or more, depending how many other planes arrive. If your bags are checked through, or if you have carry-on only, you can transfer between terminals airside without going through passport control. This is much faster. But somehow I thought there were special rules for Terminal 1 and flights to Ireland, like maybe you have to go through immigration and cannot transfer airside. Am I imagining things, or does someone know what I am thinking of? If there is no special or different rule for T1 departures, and you have carry-on bags so you can transfer airside, you have enough time IF your US flight arriveson time. That part is still a gamble.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

According to the Heathrow Flight Connections instructions, if you are arriving T5 on an international flight and going to T1 for a flight to the Republic of Ireland, you can connect airside on a dedicated bus, but you still go through passport control and biometric screening at T1. It must be faster than passport control at T5, as it says the minimum connect time is 60 minutes. Mthat is without transferring luggage, however. As pointed out above, if you have checked luggage and need to pick up and re-check it, that will take a lot more time.

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
166 posts

Hey thanks all of you for your great input. I should have said that we do intend to pack light and carry on-and arrive early for flight to London. I'll speak to BA about staying airside and confirm, but I think we'll just go for it and hope for the best. Thank you again, I appreciate it!
Dave

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
779 posts

The UK and Republic of Ireland operate a 'Common Travel Area' which means that you have to clear immigration at the first point of entry. However, customs formalities, such that they are for most travellers these days would be prior to leaving any airport enroute. The RoI does operate a passport check on entry from the the UK at Dublin Airport - but there is no passport check arriving at any UK airport from the RoI. The 60 minutes quoted above is the minimum connection time allowed when travelling on a single ticket. Aer Lingus requires check-in 45 mins before departure, but you may be able to manage that electronically - but this must be no less than 2 hours before departure.

Posted by Lee
Bozeman, MT, USA
10 posts

Like several other replies we go through LHR several times per year. The time varies and customs is not the problem. Immigration is the problem. Although LHR is far more efficient than any of the US ports of entry the shear volume at H.R can lead to long lines hence long waits. We always allow 0 mins for this this process knowing full well that it may go fast and then have lots of extra spare time. The transfer to Term 1 can also take time depending?
Best advice check with B.A. try and get some one who has actually done the transfer rather than one in a cubicle looking at a chart thus parroting the official policy which only takes in to account the average time needed with no glitches. Good luck and enjoy your trip. LHF

Posted by Lee
Bozeman, MT, USA
10 posts

From LHF: I meant 90 mins not Zero.
Sorry. LHF

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
166 posts

Thank you all again-I spoke with British Air and they confirm that there is a BA shuttle to get us to Terminal 1, and that if it turned out we had to check baggage they would "check it through" to the Dublin flight. Fingers crossed.
Dave