London Heathrow Airport
24km (15 miles) west of London
0844 335 1801
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.
Most Popular Airlines in Each Terminal
Terminal 2: Mainly Star Alliance
- Virgin Atlantic (domestic)
- Aer Lingus
Terminal 3: Mainly Oneworld
- Delta Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic (long-haul)
- Middle East Airlines
- American Airlines
- Japan Airlines
Terminal 4: Mainly Skyteam
- China Southern Airlines
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airlines
- Etihad Airlines
Terminal 5: Mainly British Airways
- Iberia Express
- British Airways
Getting from Heathrow Airport
The Heathrow Express: A non-stop service that runs from London’s Paddington station every 15 minutes for a 15 minute journey (21 minutes to Terminal 5). A one-way ticket costs an adult £21.50.
Underground: The four stations on the Piccadilly Line that serve the airport are Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3, Terminal 4, and Terminal 5. The 4th station, Hatton Cross, services the maintenance areas. The usual journey time from Heathrow Central to Central London is around 40–50 minutes.
Bus and Coach: A number of bus companies run a service to various parts of the UK, including Victoria Coach Station. The frequency is not as good as the London Underground or the Heathrow Express, but for that, ticket prices are lower. Expect to pay around £6 for a one-way adult ticket.
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.
Terminals 1 and 3 are within easy walking distance of each other, and are connected by a pedestrian underpass equipped with moving walkways. To reach Terminal 4 from Terminals 1 or 3, use the free, convenient Heathrow Connect rail shuttle. To reach Terminal 5 from Terminals 1 or 3, use the Heathrow Express rail shuttle. To transfer between Terminals 4 and 5, you can use the free bus services 482 or 490.
There are four parking options available at Heathrow Airport: Short Stay, Long Stay, Business and Valet.
Note that the terminal building’s forecourts are for dropping off passengers only – if you’re there to pick someone up, you must use one of the Short Stay car parks. Short Stay car parks are located near all the terminal buildings, and are recommended for stays of up to five hours.
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, but reverts to £16.40 per day if you stay longer than that. For Business and Valet parking information and tariffs, please consult the airport’s website.
The airport site has a list of recommended hotels near the airport. A number of hotels are linked directly to respective terminals and can be reached on foot in minutes from check-in or arrivals.
The check-in time 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
The walk from the main terminal building to B gates can take 15 minutes and 25 for C gates.
Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less. They must be carried separately in a single 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 you 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.
Internet and WiFi
There’s Wi-Fi available throughout the terminal. Choose_Heathrow Wi-Fi and follow the on-screen instructions to register. You’ll receive free Wi-Fi 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 programme to receive 5-times faster Wi-Fi. Pay-as-you-go computer desks are also available in every terminal. For more info about the loyalty scheme, click here.
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.
Airport lounges are open from 05:00 – 23:00 daily. The lounges are located in Terminal 2 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
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.
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.
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 email@example.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 can be found in Terminal 4 courtesy of Yotel.
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.
Available in the No.1 Traveller Lounge in Terminal 3 departures (after security). Note that there is a charge for entry. Facilities may also be available to eligible passengers in the airlines’ own lounges.
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 medical staff
Heathrow has medical facilities in the event that you need any kind of treatment, with emergency phones located throughout the terminals, a health centre, and a number of pharmacies. 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. Everything that’s handed in is 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.
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.