Plan your connection at Heathrow and free up time to spend as you wish.
If you’ve booked two flights separately, in most cases you’ll need to pick up your checked bags and check-in for your connecting flight. If so, simply exit through Arrivals and check-in at Departures. Be sure to keep a keen eye on the time.
How to catch your connecting flight at Heathrow
Good to know: most connections are booked as a single journey and don’t involve transferring baggage, check-in or passport control.
ARRIVING AT HEATHROW
Follow the purple signs
If your connecting flight leaves from a different terminal, simply follow the purple signs to your departure terminal.
Passenger Ambassadors at your service
Recognise our Heathrow Passenger Ambassadors by their fetching purple uniforms; they’re here to show you the way.
When you get to the departure lounge, check the flight information screens and listen for announcements. We post gate numbers on the information screens one hour before departure. You can also find your gate number, once it's available, using our smartphone app.
It depends on your airline – often your baggage will be checked through to your final destination and you won’t need to touch it at Heathrow. However, this service isn’t available for all flights so check with your airline before you fly.
If you booked your flights separately to create your own flight connection, you will have to pick up your baggage at Heathrow.
Your airline should give you all the boarding cards you need, including those for any connecting flights, when you first check in. If you don't have yours, please contact your airline.
Tell a member of staff as soon as you land – they'll do whatever they can to help you get to your connecting flight in time, including telling you the quickest way to the gate.
If flight delays mean that you miss your onward flight, go to your airline desk when you arrive at Heathrow. Your airline representative will tell you what you can do.
During the day, passengers departing from Terminal 3 can book bedrooms in the No.1 Traveller Lounge, which is in the departure lounge (after security). Rooms can be booked for two hours or more, and opening hours are 04:30 to 22:30. Get a quote, see details or book a room.
There is nowhere to sleep overnight in the terminal but there's a great choice of hotels nearby – if you haven't already arranged somewhere to stay you can book a hotel room with us.
If you're a connecting passenger from overseas you'll have to pass through UK border controls to get to your hotel, so please ensure you have any required visa to enter the UK. You can apply for a 24-hour visa when you arrive, but this is at the immigration officer's discretion – find out more at the Border Force website.
Your connection time depends on your route, airline and whether you need to pick up baggage or change terminals, so there's no single answer – you need to confirm this information with your travel agent.
If you book a through-ticket with an airline or travel agent, your airline will generally quote a 'minimum connection time'. This helps determine what happens if your inbound flight is delayed so that you miss your outbound flight.
However, if you booked your flights separately, these minimum connection times don't apply. You should allow plenty of extra time to clear baggage reclaim and passport control, transfer between terminals, then check in and clear security for your outbound flight. These links may help:
When you land at Heathrow follow the signs for arrivals and pass through baggage reclaim, passport control and Customs. You'll see signs in the arrivals hall directing you to trains, buses and taxis.
When you get to the other airport you'll check in and drop your bags, then pass through security control to reach the departure lounge.
It's a security measure to stop anyone bypassing border controls by arriving with an international connecting ticket, then swapping documents with someone booked on to an internal (domestic) flight. For more details, see Flying within the UK and Ireland.
Everyone who boards an aircraft at Heathrow has to be security screened to UK government standards. Even if you've already been through security checks at another airport, we're obliged to screen you again before you fly from Heathrow.
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