Heathrow airport is one of the busiest and most efficient airports in the world. No matter how long you have to wait for your flight, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, rest areas and much more to see and do whilst waiting.
ARRIVING IN LONDON
Inside the aircraft:
Some flights are sprayed with a solution which prevents diseases spreading from overseas countries to the UK, so please don't worry if this happens to your flight.
The flight attendants will distribute landing cards with questions about your personal information. You must complete this and hand it over to the immigration desk once you leave the aircraft.
Before landing, a short movie will be played, showing you instructions on what to do when you leave the aircraft.
Once you have landed in the UK:
You will walk from the aircraft to the immigration desk.
You will stand in the queue until your turn to meet the immigration officer.
You will give him/her your passport in addition to the landing card that you completed on the plane.
He will look at you and will ask you several questions like:
- The reason for your trip,
- Where you will stay,
- How long you are staying for,
- How much money you have to support yourself.
He will take your fingerprints by asking you to place your fingers on the machine in front of him.
He will stamp your Passport and give it back to you.
You will then proceed to collect your luggage, where you may take a baggage cart to put your bags on (if needed). The screens will tell you at which collection point you can find your bags.
You will take your bags from the conveyor belt (don't worry if your bags take time to appear). But just to be sure, check on the ground around the conveyor because sometimes the workers put the bags on the ground next to the conveyor if no one has taken them.
Ensure it's your bag.
Proceed to customs. One of the security guards might stop you to ask you about the things in your bags or to open your bags. If this happens, there is nothing to worry about and the security guards are most likely just looking to see if you are hiding any cigarettes or any other forbidden items.
If someone is supposed to pick you up, you will find him in the arrival hall. If you are not being collected, then there are plenty of alternative options for getting into Central London from the airport.
GETTING TO LONDON FROM HEATHROW
A car with driver: You can rent a car with a driver, through one of the many car rental companies. You should find the driver waiting for you at the airport.
- You can pick up a taxi right from outside the terminal without any prior reservations (the only disadvantage is that it is more expensive than a rented car).
Heathrow Express: You can take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station in Central London. Before boarding the train at Heathrow, you will find representatives selling tickets (inside the airport).
- If you are not sure about how to get the Heathrow Express train station, then just follow the signs saying "Heathrow Express this way".
- The advantage is that it's very fast and will take you to Central London quicker than any other means. It's also cheaper than the car and taxi options.
- The disadvantage is that you will have to take another train/bus from Paddington to reach your hotel or apartment (unless you are staying in Paddington).
- Just make sure you look up the prices beforehand, as sometimes it will be cheaper to rent a car if there is more than one person (the cost of the Heathrow Express ticket per person is £30 and the cost having to take a tube/bus to your hotel from Paddington. The cost to rent a car starts from £35 per day, which means if there are two people a car will be a lot cheaper and more convenient).
The Underground "Tube": When you enter the arrivals hall, you will find a sign guiding you to the underground station.
- The advantage of taking the underground is that it's much cheaper than going on the Heathrow Express.
- The disadvantage is that it will stop at many stations on your way into Central London, which will make your journey longer. It will also be crowded and we don't recommend going on the tube if you are travelling with more than one bag.
- This is an application that you can download onto your smartphone. Once you have opened the application, you will need to create an account and link your bank card to your account. When this stage is complete, the application will use your GPS on your phone to locate where you are and how many drivers are close to you. You can also decide what type of car you want. The more exclusive cars are more expensive. Once you have requested a car, you will need to enter your destination. The app will tell you where your driver is and how long he will be. The Uber taxi service is much cheaper compared to most taxi services in London. You don't need to have cash to pay as the payment will automatically be taken from your account. You can also track which route your driver is taking you. After you reach your destination, you can then rate how good your driver was.
Rented Car: You can rent a car and drive it (if you have a license that is permitted in the UK) from one of the car rental companies (it's better to rent it online).
- The disadvantage is that it may be difficult to drive in London (because they drive on the left-hand side of the road), parking is difficult, the cost might be high if you add the price of the petrol, there may be parking.
- Charges, insurance, taxes, and there are congestion fees charges in central London.
The coach: The coach is like the bus. The term refers to the public bus that stops at every bus station, whilst the term refers to a bus taking you a longer distance from one place to another.
- There are coaches from Heathrow Airport taking you into London to a few of the big stations in Central London.
- This option is much cheaper, but takes time and can be slightly inconvenient as it might stop somewhere far from your hotel.
The bus: Another option is taking the local bus into Central London from the Airport. We don't recommend this, as this would take you a lot more time and it could be easy getting lost because of all the changes you have to make.
DEPARTING FROM LONDON
London Heathrow Airport is one of the most important international transport hubs in the world. Make sure explore the information beforehand about the facilities and services offered at London Heathrow Airport.
You may also need to check traffic live news to decide the best way to get yourself transported to the airport. If you have an early flight, you may need to stay at the airport for one night.
When you are traveling from London, check your terminal on http://www.heathrow.com/
To plan your journey to the right terminal. You can go to the airport by Car with Driver.
You can call and book with any of the specialized transportation companies and you will find the car waiting you on time.
Taxi: You can take a taxi from the airport directly without booking it, but it is more expensive than other cars.
Heathrow express: The fastest way from central London and journey time just 15 minutes. You can take the Heathrow Express train from Paddington Station. If you are not staying in the Paddington, Bayswater, Marble Arch area it may be a difficult situation if you have long way from your hotel to Paddington Station with luggage.
Uber: Whether an early morning flight or late-night red-eye, ride Uber on-demand at London Heathrow any hour of the day, every day of the year. You can Share with another rider heading the same way and save money.
DEPARTING FROM HEATHROW
All terminals have an array of shops, restaurants, café and play area for kids. Many of Heathrow's eateries offer a selection of restaurants that produce 15-minute menus - a guarantee that your food will ready within 15 minutes of ordering.
You should arrive three hours before scheduled departure.
Visitors from non-European Union countries can reclaim the sales tax (VAT) on purchases from a number of British retailers.
To claim first purchase goods from any merchant displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. You'll be given a tax refund form by the retailer and keep it along with your receipt.
When you get to the airport, take your receipt and form to the Travelex counter or the Customs desk (located before and after security). Please ensure the form is completed before arrival and ensure you have the items with you for inspection. Anything large and bulky (including clothing) will need to be presented before check-in. High-value items including watches, cameras and smartphones must be presented after security control.
It may be possible for the refund to be paid in cash but this will depend on the retailer where the goods were purchase).
After you finish the vat you will find large screens to guide you with all the trip information and the check in office.
You can find check-in on:
- Terminal 2: Top floor
- Terminal 3: Ground floor (departures building)
- Terminal 4: First floor
- Terminal 5: Top floor
You'll find your check-in zone listed on the information screens near the departures entrance (the zones themselves are marked by illuminated yellow cubes).
You can also use online check-in to select seats and print boarding passes before you get to the airport. Then when you arrive, just drop your baggage at the bag-drop kiosk and you're ready.
At check-in or bag drop-off, save time, have your tickets and passport ready, and ensure your hand baggage contains only valuables and items you will need during the journey. Once your hold luggage is checked in and your boarding card has been issued you should proceed to security control.
Liquids, aerosols and gels in containers over 100ml are not allowed in hand baggage unless you are carrying duty free sealed in a tamper-evident security bag, liquid medicines or special dietary products, such as baby food. Liquids not allowed in hand baggage should be placed in your hold luggage.
Check complete guide and latest updates about security measures at the Heathrow airport on: http://www.heathrow.com/more/help-with-this-website/faqs/security-and-baggage
Heathrow has Christian Chaplains from Anglican, Catholic and Free Church denominations, and faith representatives from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths. To get in touch call +44 (0) 20 8745 4261, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heathrow staff called Ambassadors are airport experts, and they're equipped with the latest mobile technology to help them answer your questions fast.