Airport Guide to Heathrow (LHR)

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London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the UK, and the fourth-busiest in the world, in terms of passenger traffic. However, Heathrow has the distinction of handling more international passengers than any other airport in the world – a testament to its importance as a transit-point for intercontinental travel.

Flights to Heathrow Airport are provided by an incredible 90 airlines, serving 180 destinations worldwide. Heathrow is home-base for British Airways, which operate direct and indirect flights to basically every major city you can think of, from Heathrow’s beautiful, new Terminal 5 building.

London certainly has an appropriate gateway in Heathrow Airport: a highly modern, convenient hub that is truly geared toward providing the best possible experience to travellers. There are plenty of easy, hassle-free transport options available to travellers looking to get downtown. The flocks of tourists, who are no doubt going to descend on London for the 2012 Olympic Games, can look forward to a warm welcome and efficient service.

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General Information
Most Popular Airlines in Each Terminal
Most Popular Routes
Terminals and Terminal Transfers
To and From the Airport
Checking-In
Amenities
Facilities


General Information

  • Airport Name: London Heathrow Airport
  • IATA Code: LHR
  • Airport Location: 24km (15 miles) west of London
  • Terminals: 5
  • Telephone: 0844 335 1801

Most Popular Airlines in Each Terminal

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 closed on 29 June 2015 to allow the second stage of Terminal 2’s expansion, before of its closure all remaining flights were moved to other terminals.

Terminal 2: mainly Star Alliance

Terminal 3: mainly Oneworld

Terminal 4: mainly Skyteam

Terminal 5: mainly British Airways


Most Popular Routes


Terminals and Terminal Transfers

Terminal 1
Terminal 2
Terminal 3
Terminal 4
Terminal 5
Transferring between Terminals

Terminal 1

Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 1 has now permanently closed.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 deals mainly with flights to European destinations though there are also a few long-haul flights.

All check-in and departure services are located on the top floor of Terminal 2, while flight arrivals are located on Level 1.

Airlines currently based at Terminal 2 are:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Are Lingus
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Germanwings
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS – Scandinavian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic Little Red

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 operates mostly long-haul flights to US, South America and Asia, although some are to European destinations.

Check-in and flight arrivals are both located on the ground floor at the front of the building. Departures are above check-in on the first floor.

Airlines currently based at Terminal 3 are:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Finnair
  • Iran Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • MEA Middle East Airlines
  • Oman Air
  • Pakistan International Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Sri Lankan Airlines
  • Turkmenistan Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Vueling

Terminal 4

Flights operating from Terminal 4 are mainly for long-haul and European destinations.

Check-in and departures is located on the first floor of the terminal while arrivals are located on the ground floor.

Airlines currently based at Terminal 4 are:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Algerie
  • Air Astana
  • Air France
  • Air India
  • Air Malta
  • Air Mauritius
  • Air Serbia
  • Alitalia
  • Arik Air
  • Azerbaijan Airlines
  • Biman Bangladesh Airlines
  • Bulgaria Air
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Jet Airways (India)
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Libyan Arab Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines System
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • Transaero
  • Tunisair
  • Uzbekistan Airways

Terminal 5

Terminal 5 is the newest of Heathrow’s terminals. Check-in and departures is on level 3 above the interchange plaza.

Terminal 5 is used exclusively by British Airways and Iberia.

Transferring between Terminals

Fast, free and convenient transfers are available between all Heathrow’s terminals:

  • Terminals 2 and 3 are a short 10 minute walk from each other via a pedestrian underpass. The route is well signposted and easy to follow. If you have walking difficulties, you can request special assistance from Heathrow Airport here.
  • From Terminals 2 and 3 (Heathrow Central Station)  free shuttle trains run to Terminal 4 every 15 minutes, the journey taking an average of 20 minutes.
  • From Terminals 2 and 3 (Heathrow Central Station) Heathrow Express trains are free for travel to Terminal 5. The train runs every 15 minutes with an average journey time of 20 minutes. Frequent London Underground trains also run from from Heathrow Central Station to Terminal 5 the transfer is only free using an Oyster Card and the journey takes 16 minutes.
  • From Terminal 4 to Terminal 5 catch bus number 482 or 490 (destination: Heathrow Terminal 5) from Bus Stop 7 for a free transfer between terminals, the journey takes about 20 minutes.
  • From Terminal 5 to Terminal 4 catch bus number 482 (destination: Southall Town Hall) or 490 (destination: Pools on the Park) from Bus Stop 7 for a free transfer between terminals. Again the journey takes 20 minutes.

Note Terminal 4 cannot be reached directly from Terminal 2 and 3, or Terminal 5 via the London Tube. Uni-directional tracks makes it necessary to travel back to Hatton Cross and change trains there. The journey entire journey taking 30 minutes to Terminal 5 and 20 minutes to Terminals 2 and 3. The services is still free with an Oyster Card.


To and From the Airport

Heathrow Express
London Underground
Bus and Coach
Uber
Taxis
Parking

Heathrow lies about 24km (15 miles) west of London and can be accessed by all major forms of public transport:

Heathrow Express: Is the quickest link between Heathrow and central London. This non-stop service runs to and from London’s Paddington station every 15 minutes and the journey takes just 15 minutes (21 minutes to Terminal 5).

The service runs between 05:10 and 23:25 from Paddington station, and between 05:07  and 23:58 Heathrow Terminal stations.

Tickets can be purchased online, at the station or on the train. The Express Standard class single fare is £27 on board or £22 online.

For further information and ticket bookings visit Heathrow Express here.

London Underground: The Piccadilly Line tube is the most cost-effective rail route between Heathrow and London. The  Journey takes 50 minutes and trains run every ten minutes even during off-peak times.

There are 3 London Under ground Stations at Heathrow one for Terminals 2 and 3 and one each at Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 Underground station is between the terminals, which are connected by a pedestrian subway. Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5 Underground stations are in the basements of the terminal buildings.

All stations are in Travelcard Zone 6.

Underground tickets are available at all terminal stations. A single paper ticket from Heathrow (Zone 6) into Central London (Zone 1) costs £5.70. Oyster Cards are also available for purchase from the cashier windows at all Heathrow terminal stations.

Piccadilly Line trains run from Heathrow Underground stations between the hours of 5.10am (5.50am Sundays) to 11.45pm (11.30pm Sundays).

For more information regarding timetables and ticket prices visit the  Transport for London website.

Bus and Coach: A number of bus companies run a service to various parts of the UK, including Victoria Coach Station in central London. The frequency is not as good as the London Underground or the Heathrow Express, however, ticket prices are lower. Expect to pay around £6 for a one-way adult ticket. For more information visit National Express here.

Uber: Flat-rate fares are no longer available to Uber customers travelling to London airports including Heathrow. Until recently the company offered a series of set fares trips to London airports but Uber  now calculates fares based on time and distance rates.  Expect to pay approximately £35 for a 44 minute journey using Uber X to central London in good traffic conditions.

Taxis: London taxis are available outside each terminal. The cost to central London is £45 – £70 and the journey time is approximately one hour. Minicabs can also be ordered in advance.

Parking: There are four parking options available at Heathrow Airport Short Stay, Long Stay, Business and Valet.

Short stay fees are £2.70 for up to 30 minutes, £4.50 for up to an hour, £6.60 for up to 90 minutes, £8.40 for up to two hours, £11.60 for up to three hours, £15.10 for up to four hours, £18.60 for up to five hours, and £49.30 for the day.

The Long Stay parking areas are connected to the terminal buildings by a free shuttle-bus service, running every ten minutes to Terminals 1 and 3 (with a journey time of seven to 15 minutes); every 12 minutes to Terminal 4 (taking three to seven minutes); and every ten minutes to Terminal 5 (taking about five minutes). Long Stay parking is charged at £17 per day for the first four days, and £16.40 per day if you stay longer than that.

For Business and Valet parking information and tariffs, please consult the airport’s website here.


Checking-In

Liquids
Baby Milk and Medicine
Electronic Passport Exit

Check-in at Heathrow should take you around 30 minutes.

If departing from Terminal 5, you’ll need to collect a boarding pass from a self-serve kiosk and hand in your bags at a Bag Drop desk.

You’ll find your check-in zone listed on the information screens near the departures entrance:

  • Terminal 2: Top floor
  • Terminal 3: Ground floor (departures building)
  • Terminal 4: First floor
  • Terminal 5: Top floor

Liquids

Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less. They must be carried separately in a single plastic bag which is:

  • Transparent and resealable
  • No larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in)

Liquids in containers over 100ml will not be permitted through security. You will need to pack them in your hold baggage instead.

Baby Milk and Medicine

If you are travelling with a baby or infant, an exception to the above rule will apply, but you can carry only what the liquids you will need for your journey and are asked not to carry the milk in a flask.

The same applies to liquid medication – you can only carry what you need during the course of your flight.

All medication should be accompanied by documentary proof of authenticity, such as a prescription or letter from a doctor confirming that you need them for your journey.

Liquid medication that is not required on the flight should be carried as hold luggage.

Electronic Passport Exit

If you have a new biometric ‘chipped’ passport, you can use the automated ePassport gates instead of having your passport checked by a Border Force officer. This means you can avoid the queues and get through passport control more quickly.

You can use the gates if you are a passport holder of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) – including the UK – or Switzerland; and if you have the EEA chip logo on your passport.

You cannot use the gates with a national identity card. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens


Amenities

Wifi and Internet
Plug Stations and Charging
Cafés, Restaurants Bars
Lounges
Playrooms
Smoking Lounge
Prayer Rooms
Spa and Luxury Treatments
Shopping and Duty Free
Sleeping Pods

WiFi and Internet

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal for the duration of your stay at Heathrow.

It is also possible to become a Premium Tier member as part of the Heathrow Rewards loyalty program to receive 5-times faster Wi-Fi.

Pay-as-you-go computer desks are available in every terminal.

Plug Stations and Charging

Free Power Pole charging stations are available in all terminals, before and after security. They are compatible with UK and European plugs, and with USB cables.

Cafés, Restaurants Bars

Heathrow offers an extensive array of cafés and bars. Click here for a full list of service offerings and their prices.

Lounges

Airport lounges are open from 05:00 – 23:00 daily. The lounges are located in Terminal 2, 3 and 4. Here you can enjoy complimentary drinks, snacks, newspapers and magazines. Lounges also include:

  • Private relaxation rooms
  • Shower room
  • Wellness spa with an exclusive treatment menu by ILA
  • Tapas bar
  • Champagne bar
  • Selection of freshly made food and drinks

Recommended is Plaza Premium Lounge: Located in Terminal 2A, Level 4 air-side is open 5:00AM – 11:00PM (Daily). Pay at the door lounge access starts at £35 for 2 hours. Showers and private relaxation rooms with beds are available at an extra charge.

Playrooms

Heathrow offers free Stay & Play areas with slides, soft play areas and separate baby and junior zones. The areas are suitable for children aged up to nine years old, who must be accompanied by an adult. The areas are open from 06:00 to 21:00 every day.

Smoking Lounge

Heathrow is a smoke-free airport, although smoking is permitted in designated areas outside the terminal building. Passengers are permitted to use electronic cigarettes within the premises, but not beyond the gate area.

Prayer Rooms

There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal at Heathrow, with representatives from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths. To speak to a representative, call +44 (0)20 8745 4261 or email at chapel@heathrow.com.

Spa and Luxury Treatments

Some airlines like Virgin Atlantic offer their customers spas and facials as part of bespoke service offerings. There are also parlours and stores where body and nail treatments can be purchased in the various terminals.

Shopping and Duty Free

An A to Z listing of duty free shops can be found here.

Sleeping Pods

Sleeping pods can be found in Terminal 4 courtesy of Yotel.


Facilities

Toilets
Showers
Assisted Travelling Through Terminals
First Aid and Medical
Lost and Found
Luggage Trolleys
Nearby Hotels

Toilets

Provided throughout Heathrow, in arrivals and departures, both before and after security. Most include a unisex, wheelchair-accessible toilet. Occasionally the accessible toilet is located inside the men’s and ladies’ toilets. Parents travelling with children of the opposite sex are welcome to use the unisex accessible toilets.

Showers

Free showers are available in Terminal 4 near the Heathrow Express Station, a towel pack (including shower cap, shampoo and shower gel) is available for a small charge.

Showers are also available at a cost in the No.1 Traveller Lounge in Terminal 3 departures (after security).

Assisted Travelling Through Terminals

If you have a disability or mobility difficulties, you will need to inform your airline, tour operator or travel agent of your particular need at the time of booking, or at least 48 hours before your travel.

There are special assistance areas within the terminals located at the following areas:

  • Terminal 3 before security: First floor, above Check-in Zones A and B
  • Terminal 3 after security: Additional seating area, behind World Duty Free
  • Terminal 4 before security: Check-in Zone B, next to Excess Baggage
  • Terminal 4 after security: Serenity Lounge, left of Costa Coffee
  • Terminal 5 before security: Check-in Zone G
  • Terminal 5 after security: The Lichfield Suite opposite Gate A21

Porterage can be arranged for you free of charge for reasonable amounts of luggage.

First Aid and Medical

Heathrow has medical facilities in the event that you need any kind of treatment, with emergency phones located throughout the terminals. If emergency medical treatment is required, use one of the internal telephones in the terminal and call 222. An operator will able to send an ambulance or medical team to the correct location.

Lost and Found

If you lose an item in the airport, you can search for your missing property at missingx.com, or check the lost property offices in Terminals 3 and 5.

All items handed in are entered into the database, although it can take between 24 and 48 hours for a found item to be registered. All items are retained for three months. If you find your property on the database, use the online contact form to start the matching process. If the property is yours, Heathrow will give you a code which you will need to enter at mailmyproperty.com and pay the reclamation fee. Charges range from nothing to £20 for each item. Add postage and packing if you want the item to be posted to you.

Luggage Trolleys

Baggage trolleys are available for free in all terminals. These can be taken to the car park, bus station or rail station access points. Trolleys are also provided on the departures concourse. Please note that they can’t be taken through security control, however.

Nearby Hotels

There are a number of hotels linked directly to the terminals at Heathrow as well as a variety of other located close to the airport.

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Airport Guide to Heathrow (LHR) was last modified: April 7th, 2016 by Victoria Elizabeth
Author: Victoria Elizabeth (20 posts)