Useful Tips for Arriving at Heathrow Airport

Useful Tips for Arriving at Heathrow Airport

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Heathrow Airport is London’s largest airport, consisting of a total of five terminals. It serves over 69 million passengers each year, making it one of the busiest air hubs in the world. Once arriving here, things can get pretty crazy and overwhelming, so here are some useful tips for arriving at Heathrow Airport.

Currently only four of the five terminals at Heathrow are in use, with Terminal 2 closed for construction. Terminal 5 is only used by British Airways, so if you are not flying with this airline, you are guaranteed to arrive at terminal 1, 3 or 4.

To make things a bit easier, follow this rule of thumb; Terminal 1 is for all Star Alliance airlines, Oneworld and Virgin Airlines use Terminal 3, while Skyteam and all other airlines fly in and out of Terminal 4. Once you have figured out which terminal you will be arriving at, things will become less stressful.

Travellers that have to catch a connecting flight can do so swiftly with the airport’s connections bus. If you need to pick up and re-check luggage before transferring then you have the option of taking the quick and easy Heathrow Express train or you can transfer by bus. Buses are not as frequent or as fast as trains, so if you are in a rush, it is best to go via rail.

The Heathrow Express leaves from Terminal 5 and Heathrow Central Station, and heads directly to London’s Paddington Station. This train will get you into the city in just 15 minutes. For railway stations other than Paddington, jump on the Heathrow Connect, which leaves from Central Station. Another option is to take the London Underground, which stops at all four terminals and runs on the Piccadilly Line.

All terminals have their own bus stations, with the main Central Bus Station serving terminals 1 and 3. This station operates 24 hours, so no matter what time you arrive at Heathrow Airport, you can arrive in the city centre or take a long-haul bus to nearly any city in the UK.

RailAir coach services connect the airport with Reading, Woking and Feltham railway stations, making it easy to get to any destination in the UK. Those wishing to spend a night or two close to the airport can jump on a HotelHoppa bus. This service connects the airport to all of the major hotels nearby.

There are also taxis available at the airport, which will take you anywhere your heart desires. Taxis can be found at the exit of all of Heathrow’s terminals. Taxis into London take around 60 minutes and cost from £45-70, taxis from Heathrow to Brighton take around 1 hour 15 minutes and cost from £85.

In all terminals at Heathrow Airport are numerous options for wireless internet service, and there are built-in electrical points in nearly all seating areas. If you are travelling without a laptop, there are public computers. Unfortunately, using the internet in Heathrow can be expensive unless you are lucky enough to be in one of the VIP lounges.

A tip for those who are arriving to catch a flight and don’t want to wait in Heathrow’s notorious long queues is to use your mobile phone to check-in. This can only be done if your phone accepts pictures, and you will still need to arrive in plenty of time. Other quick check-in options are self-service kiosks and the airport’s online check-in service.

Image by whatleydude