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Checking in at Heathrow

Keep your airport experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible by following this advice.

Before you travel 

Passport/ID card

Make sure your passport is valid for the dates of your trip. Please note: Some countries ask for at least six months remaining on your passport.

You can find out if your passport is valid for travel to certain countries by checking the Travel Advice section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Just choose the country you’re visiting, before clicking on ‘Entry requirements’ and scrolling down to ‘Passport validity’.

Travel documents 

Depending on your destination, you may need a visa. Visit to find a country's entry requirements. 

Baggage restrictions

Check your airline's baggage restrictions before you travel, including size/weight limits and which items you're not permitted to carry on board.

When to arrive

We recommend getting to the airport three hours before your flight if you're travelling internationally, or two hours if you're travelling domestically or to Europe. 

Checking in

Speed up check-in by having your passport/ID card, travel documents and flight confirmation details to hand.

Online check-in 

Most airlines let you check in online, choose your seat and print your boarding pass about 24 hours before your flight. Visit your airline website for more information. If you've printed your boarding pass and aren't checking in a bag, you can go straight to security when you get to the airport. 

Self-service check-in

Save time by using one of the self-service check-in machines at Heathrow. Choose your seat, print your boarding pass and then drop your bags off. If you need a hand, airline staff will be happy to help. 

Check-in desks 

Your airline's dedicated check-in and bag drop areas will be signposted on the overhead screens in Departures. You can also find them using our interactive maps. Once you've checked in and dropped off any bags, it's time to head to security. 



Your flight

Your gate will be announced about 45 minutes before departure.