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Old 05-08-2013, 06:26 PM
 
49 posts, read 97,719 times
Reputation: 18

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Hi there, in June I will be flying to Heathrow on British Airways. I will be arriving and departing from terminal 5. i will be arriving in the afternoon on a Wednesday

I've done much research on what to expect in this terminal, transportation, passport checks, customs and baggage claim.

I cant find the answers to my questions so I came here.

Someone will be picking me up at Heathrow. They don't drive.

I would like to know exactly what to expect from the moment I step off the plane to the time of my meet up.

Gathered from my research, this is how I think it would go

1. get off plane and arrive in T5 on ground floor
2. walk 8 minutes over to passport control on ground floor still in T5
3. after passport control walk 3-5 minutes to baggage claim
4. after receiving baggage catch a train/bus/shuttle/POD car to who knows where. destination goal is arrivals hall(i think).

or

1. get off plane, be bused to T5
2. catch the shuttle/bus/train/POD car to passport check. where ever that is. (dont know what transport i will be using that is why im listing all)
3. after passport check go to baggage claim.
4. after getting baggage go through customs
5. after customs, walk down long hall, and take transportation to arrivals hall

I've looked at countless maps, countless reviews of peoples experiences in T5, and watched countless videos.

I'm getting quite annoyed that there isn't one single detailed video, review, map, or instruction to be found anywhere.

Some say "take bus from T5 to passport check" some say "arrive in T5 and go to passport check in T5"
"getting off plane and put directly onto a bus prevents us from going to T5. this is a much easier way of doing things."

I need a play by play. I've never traveled alone, and yes I am a worrier and paranoid. I also have learning disabilities. I sometimes cant understand the simplest maps/directions/signs. They have to be clear and concise.

SLIGHTLY UNRELATED QUESTION

is it easier for me to check my bag or not? im a small girl, not sure if i can lift my carry on luggage into the overhead bin. i also have a window seat, and im passive, i will let everyone else get off the plane before attempting to retrieve my bag. if i check my bag im afraid i will have trouble locating it, or wait a long time for it to make its rounds.

Thank you for help.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:37 PM
 
49 posts, read 97,719 times
Reputation: 18
I think I finally understand all of this. (example) if I were to walk out of my arriving gate in the building of T5C I would then take the shuttle to T5A building, walk into the international arrivals area, go through passport check, baggage claim, customs and then walk out to the arrivals hall where I would meet up with my group. Think thats it. whew
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:54 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 57,049,113 times
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If you can't lift your bag by yourself, check it. Do not ever expect anyone to manage it for you. Take a change of clothing; your camera, cell phone, laptop/iPad, etc.; your make up bag and a few very basic toiletries (toothbrush/paste, makeup remover wipe, face cream, hand lotion, comb/brush, lip balm); a book or magazine; your travel documents including passport, tickets, itinerary, etc.; a pashmina or small travel blanket, and neck pillow in a carry on that will fit under the seat in front of you.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:14 AM
 
3,110 posts, read 6,141,696 times
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1. Just go with the crowd. This will get you at least as far as baggage claim.

2. Have a plan about WHERE to meet AND have an agreed backup plan if something goes wrong (delayed flights, delayed transport to Heathrow, whatever.).

It's not like you are arriving at Charles de Gaulle. Now THAT'S a terrible airport.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:43 AM
 
6,237 posts, read 10,253,970 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
If you can't lift your bag by yourself, check it. Do not ever expect anyone to manage it for you. Take a change of clothing; your camera, cell phone, laptop/iPad, etc.; your make up bag and a few very basic toiletries (toothbrush/paste, makeup remover wipe, face cream, hand lotion, comb/brush, lip balm); a book or magazine; your travel documents including passport, tickets, itinerary, etc.; a pashmina or small travel blanket, and neck pillow in a carry on that will fit under the seat in front of you.
Good advice, but one word about that, and Heathrow: I assume you'll be coming back? Then don't bring face cream, lotions, etc., anything liquid on the way back. And do put lip balm, lipstick, etc in the clear plastic baggie. The Heathrow TSA counterparts are much stricter than our TSA (believe it or not), they will confiscate your lotions etc. The size tolerance is smaller than 3 OZ, I never found out how small, because by that time they'd taken my eye contact solution .

I've only transferred to another flight in Heathrow, so I can't be of much help, but I do recall that those who arrive in England and go through customs etc will be required to fill out a rather lengthy form with customs declarations to be handed over at the passport control (like you will be required to do on the way back to the US). So just remember to do that on the plane.

Absolutely check your bag, and for your carry-on, what I do is have a soft canvas/cloth bag inside my carry-on with the items I need for the flight, such as the neck pillow, the blanket (which you may not need, since BA supplies blankets), book/e-book, tiny bottle of hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and whatever else is good to have on a 6-8 hour flight. Then take it out when you're at your seat before lifting the carry-on up in the overhead compartment, and stow it under the seat in front. Leave other stuff in the carry-on. That way you won't have to access your carry-on at all during the flight. It may irritate the people trying to get by you to their own seats, but it may irritate your fellow passengers a whole lot more if you try to access your carry-on during the flight.

Annerk and I disagree on asking other passengers for help. Sometimes a little human kindness and a smile go a long way. Some of us simply can't lift things (weak/sick/old...it happens to everyone...if we live long enough...), and rely on "the kindness of strangers," which we will pay forward whenever we can, or try to do a favor for the helpful person during the flight. All my traveling life I have helped people with their overhead baggage, and I never thought anything of it...
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 12,363,509 times
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Having flown into Terminal 5 myself (I assume you're going on British Airways?), I do remember that all of their immigration (aka passport control ) and customs are in the same building so I don't think you will need to get a shuttle. Once you get off the plane you should be able to follow the yellow signs and other passengers to the passport control line. There are two lines: one for British and EU citizens, one for everyone else.

Once thro there you will be heading to baggage claim. Heathrow has free luggage trolleys if you don't want to drag your suitcase behind you. After that you go thro the Customs lines. There is a red line for people who have items they need to declare and a green line for everyone else.

There are designated meeting points in the terminals. Otherwise you can have your friends just wait in the Arrivals hall when you come out thro the doors.

Not sure if you're already seen this (http://www.heathrowairport.com/stati...row_T5_Map.pdf) but it's a 6-page map of Terminal 5 with the Arrivals hall on page 6. As you can see, it's a very self-contained terminal. Hope that helps!
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:54 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 57,049,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Fork Fantast View Post
Good advice, but one word about that, and Heathrow: I assume you'll be coming back? Then don't bring face cream, lotions, etc., anything liquid on the way back. And do put lip balm, lipstick, etc in the clear plastic baggie. The Heathrow TSA counterparts are much stricter than our TSA (believe it or not), they will confiscate your lotions etc. The size tolerance is smaller than 3 OZ, I never found out how small, because by that time they'd taken my eye contact solution .
It's actually 100 ml in the UK (3.2 ounces.) You can bring all of those things, just make sure they aren't over sized.

Quote:
I've only transferred to another flight in Heathrow, so I can't be of much help, but I do recall that those who arrive in England and go through customs etc will be required to fill out a rather lengthy form with customs declarations to be handed over at the passport control (like you will be required to do on the way back to the US). So just remember to do that on the plane.
It's not lengthy at all, and unless you are bringing a lot of stuff like food, alcohol, weapons, etc., the form shouldn't take more than one minute to complete.

Quote:
Absolutely check your bag, and for your carry-on, what I do is have a soft canvas/cloth bag inside my carry-on with the items I need for the flight, such as the neck pillow, the blanket (which you may not need, since BA supplies blankets), book/e-book, tiny bottle of hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and whatever else is good to have on a 6-8 hour flight. Then take it out when you're at your seat before lifting the carry-on up in the overhead compartment, and stow it under the seat in front. Leave other stuff in the carry-on. That way you won't have to access your carry-on at all during the flight. It may irritate the people trying to get by you to their own seats, but it may irritate your fellow passengers a whole lot more if you try to access your carry-on during the flight.
I don't see the point of a separate bag, there is plenty of space under the seat for the items I suggested bringing, particularly for a smaller person who doesn't need the foot room. Additionally, the carry on bag can make a great foot rest. One other thing I always bring is a pair of socks, and I won't use those nasty airplane blankets.

Quote:
Annerk and I disagree on asking other passengers for help. Sometimes a little human kindness and a smile go a long way. Some of us simply can't lift things (weak/sick/old...it happens to everyone...if we live long enough...), and rely on "the kindness of strangers," which we will pay forward whenever we can, or try to do a favor for the helpful person during the flight. All my traveling life I have helped people with their overhead baggage, and I never thought anything of it...
So what happens when no one is willing or able to help? Do you simply leave your bag in the aisle or demand someone lift it for you? That seems very selfish and demanding. I won't help with overhead baggage because people pack rocks in their bags and I refuse to injure myself or someone else over another passengers selfishness. The exception is if a porter is assisting someone infirm on and off in a wheelchair, the porter can manage the bag--a service which they are tipped for.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 12,363,509 times
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You can ask the airline staff to help lift a bag into the overhead altho they might also refuse. I once sat next to a very elderly and frail lady who'd been refused help by the flight attendant because he'd put his back out. When I asked him why he a) was standing there like a stuffed lemon if he couldn't help anyone and b) couldn't ask one of his more able colleagues to assist he stalked off in a huff. I ended up lifting the bag for her and it really wasn't that heavy. I don't think it hurts to ask for help - after all, that is their job!
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:40 PM
 
Location: 1st Circle of Hell: Limbo
180 posts, read 443,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
You can ask the airline staff to help lift a bag into the overhead altho they might also refuse. I once sat next to a very elderly and frail lady who'd been refused help by the flight attendant because he'd put his back out. When I asked him why he a) was standing there like a stuffed lemon if he couldn't help anyone and b) couldn't ask one of his more able colleagues to assist he stalked off in a huff. I ended up lifting the bag for her and it really wasn't that heavy. I don't think it hurts to ask for help - after all, that is their job!
Actually, it's not a flight attendant's job to help lift bags. Their pay doesn't even begin until pushoff. Most help with bags out of kindness or just to get the bags in as quickly as possible to get that passenger out of the way so the line doesn't get held up too badly. Although, it was a bit insensitve to not at least to try not to recruit help for an obviously frail/older passenger. Anyways, I always just take a small backpack as one of the above poster suggested with the bare neccessities (phone, wallet, pashima, airplane pillow, kindle, eye drops, contact solution, glasses, snacks, gum, sweater, ect.) and shove under my feet.

Personally, I would just check my bag. British Airways international flights don't charge a fee for checked bag (at least not last year). Heathrow has some of the nicest airport personel. They were in purple sashes when I went last year and had no problem knowing where to go because they hearded you towards baggage/passport/customs.

Have fun!
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:08 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 57,049,113 times
Reputation: 13083
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
You can ask the airline staff to help lift a bag into the overhead altho they might also refuse. I once sat next to a very elderly and frail lady who'd been refused help by the flight attendant because he'd put his back out. When I asked him why he a) was standing there like a stuffed lemon if he couldn't help anyone and b) couldn't ask one of his more able colleagues to assist he stalked off in a huff. I ended up lifting the bag for her and it really wasn't that heavy. I don't think it hurts to ask for help - after all, that is their job!
It is NOT their job!!! They aren't your personal servant. They are there for your safety. Many of them aren't allowed to help due to their contracts or employer policy because of the number of workers comp injuries they've dealt with.

If someone needs help they should either pay a porter to take them and their bag to the gate, then to lift the bag up and remove it when they are assisted on landing, or just check it. To expect a random stranger or employee where luggage was not in their job description to assist is selfish and rude.

My mother is elderly and frail. She pays (tips) a porter to take her through security, to her gate, and then onto the plane, which she boards with nothing but her pocketbook and a small canvass tote with a couple of magazines and some candy.
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