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Transiting through London Heathrow

I have two questions. The first is has anyone recently transited through London Heathrow on their way to a final destination? I cannot figure out if I have to fill out a passenger locator form if I’m just changing planes at LHR.

My second question is the layover at LHR is four hours. I have no worries about making my plane as it is a long layover, so I was wondering if the United lounge is worth it for a $59 one time pass. Any information is appreciated!

Posted by
816 posts

I transited through Gatwick near the end of November, and I had to fill out the UK form. I realize my experience isn't terribly recent in these changing circumstances, so maybe someone with more recent experience will chime in.

As for the lounge pass, that really depends on you. I don't consider 4 hours to be a terribly long layover. If you consider you need to be at the boarding gate in advance, and it will take you some time to deplane and go through UK immigration (in November, everyone had to do this--even those just transiting), how much time will be left? Decide if that amount of time will be worth the cost for you.

Posted by
99 posts

Thanks for your post BB. I had no idea that I would have to go through immigration since it isn’t part of the Schengen zone.

Posted by
816 posts

I don't know why, but we had to go through border control even though we were flying from Italy to Canada. The passage for connecting passengers was blocked off.

Posted by
5242 posts

There are a couple of non-airline-specific lounges in Terminal 5 that might be a better deal. I spent several hours in the Plaza Premium one during an 8-hour layover and it improved the experience for sure. With four hours you might not want to bother, depending on how much actual time you have and how you're feeling then. This is a decision I'd put off till I got there if possible.

Posted by
11212 posts

If you are just transiting through Heathrow you won't have to go through immigration or fill out a PLF.

Is this all on one ticket? Do you have checked luggage? What airline are you flying into Heathrow? Is United the airline you are flying home.

As for the lounge.......that's up to you. I like lounges and prefer to wait in them than in the general waiting area.

Posted by
283 posts

I flew through Heathrow in December and January on my way to/from Rome and was required to fill out a PLF. For additional context, I flew British Airways JFK-LHR-FCO and FCO-LHR and American LHR-JFK.

Posted by
99 posts

We are flying on United to Heathrow and then Aegean to Athens. It is all on one ticket through United airlines, but I don’t know if we would have to pick up luggage. I would hope not.

Posted by
713 posts

For me a four hour layover after a transatlantic flight is a time I’d definitely consider a day-pass for lounge access.

You’ll be in terminal 2 at Heathrow, and may have options beyond just the United lounge there, though that’s a solid option. Personally, I’d chose a lounge that has showers to use. (No clue if United’s does.)

Posted by
4 posts

In Sept 2021, I had a one-hour "transit" layover through Heathrow, going Denver-Chicago-LHR-Toulouse. I was prepared for France's covid travel requirements (vax proof) but I was NOT prepared for the UK's (which was a neg COVID test at that time, though I think that was recently dropped). The desk agent supposedly checked my COVID paperwork in in Denver, but at the gate in Chicago they asked me for my covid test paperwork. And they did not let me on the plane that night. I had to stay the night in Chicago and get a covid test the next morning. So, at that time, even a one-hour LHR transit on the way to France subjected me to the UK's covid rules and not just France's.
I also had to go through security again at Heathrow too (and barely made my plane), and I think (?) it may have been called border control. I still am a little surprised and confused about that step.
So, to be safe, I'd be prepared to meet the requirements of UK just in case, especially if they are minor like a locator form.

Posted by
873 posts

We are supposed to fly BA from Seattle to Paris this spring, with a layover at Heathrow. BA's guidance says "travelers not leaving the international departure area are not required to book a COVID-19 testing package or fill out the passenger locator form." Official guidance from the UK government also says that as long as you remain airside, you don't need to fill out a PLF.

Posted by
816 posts

If I were transiting right now, I would complete the forms regardless of what I read on the website. WE thought we were going to remain airside at Gatwick in November, but everyone had to go through border control, and exit "airside" and go back through security, etc., which we were not expecting.

I'd rather be overprepared than underprepared these days.