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Old 01-18-2014, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Long Island
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Anyone know if I will have to clear customs/passport control if I book a flight to Paris 2.5 hours landing in London from the US? I will be using two tickets not on the same itinerary

Will I be able to transfer terminals like people on one ticket transfers?

Last edited by LIOC; 01-18-2014 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:16 PM
 
Location: SWUS
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Usually you shouldn't have to clear customs/passport control unless you are actually trying to enter a country. Just passing through on a layover doesn't typically present an issue unless you're trying to leave the airport or something.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Lone Tree, CO
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That's a bit of a complicated question. Can your airlines interline your luggage so it goes straight through to Paris, or will you need to pick up your luggage and re-check it at Heathrow? If you don't have to collect and re-check any luggage, you should be able to do an airside transfer without going through UK immigration and customs. If you do, you will need to clear the UK border, then clear customs, then check your bags and go back through security to your terminal. This can either go quickly, or take several hours, depending upon several non-related factors, such as how many other international flights arrive at the same time, how well the border is staffed, how many people are trying to fly out that day, etc.

In a perfect world, your two ticketed airlines have an interline agreement for baggage and you will not need to do any border formalities. You will only need to go through security during your transfer, even if it is the same terminal. LHR has 5 terminals, with T5 being specific to British Airways.Most of the major airlines of the world have interline baggage agreements with other major airlines, especially if they are part of the same alliance (One World, Sky Team, etc).
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:33 AM
 
Location: Long Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPRetired View Post
That's a bit of a complicated question. Can your airlines interline your luggage so it goes straight through to Paris, or will you need to pick up your luggage and re-check it at Heathrow? If you don't have to collect and re-check any luggage, you should be able to do an airside transfer without going through UK immigration and customs. If you do, you will need to clear the UK border, then clear customs, then check your bags and go back through security to your terminal. This can either go quickly, or take several hours, depending upon several non-related factors, such as how many other international flights arrive at the same time, how well the border is staffed, how many people are trying to fly out that day, etc.

In a perfect world, your two ticketed airlines have an interline agreement for baggage and you will not need to do any border formalities. You will only need to go through security during your transfer, even if it is the same terminal. LHR has 5 terminals, with T5 being specific to British Airways.Most of the major airlines of the world have interline baggage agreements with other major airlines, especially if they are part of the same alliance (One World, Sky Team, etc).

I am flying Virgin Atlantic from the US, and looking to book Air France to Paris. How would I go about trying to get my check bags forwarded?

(For anyone wondering, I did not fly straight to Paris bc I am ending my trip in London, and it was double the price to do a one way to Paris and a one way from London, even with the extra flight to Paris)
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Lone Tree, CO
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Originally Posted by LIOC View Post
I am flying Virgin Atlantic from the US, and looking to book Air France to Paris. How would I go about trying to get my check bags forwarded?
I didn't see anything on Virgin's website regarding their interline agreements. You might want to call their call center and pose the question to one of their agents. If they do interline, your bag will be forwarded to Paris in London and you won't need to do any immigration or customs formalities at LHR. Also, when you get to your departure gate for your AF flight to Paris, you'll need to let the gate agent know that you have a checked bag on the flight arriving from another airline so they can marry it up with your AF ticket. Make sure you have your baggage receipt handy and it is a simple matter of them updating their computer.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:07 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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Airline Partners | Virgin America

AirFrance is NOT a interline with Virgin America (Atlantic). So you would need to claim, clear Im/customs, re-check, re-clear security.

I hope you planned four hours or so on your connection.

Also If you bag get delayed into LHR. Don't Expect Virgin to forward it to Paris. It will sit in unclaimed bags in London, then they "might" send it back to the US when you put in a lost bag claim there.
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
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You don't have to clear Customs. In fact, they route you around so you never really "enter" the U.K. at all. You will, however, have to drag your luggage along probably.

Find out which two terminals are involved. I find Heathrow easy to navigate, but it does take time travelling from one terminal to another and negotiating the security lines.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Lone Tree, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwanderer View Post
You don't have to clear Customs. In fact, they route you around so you never really "enter" the U.K. at all. You will, however, have to drag your luggage along probably.

Find out which two terminals are involved. I find Heathrow easy to navigate, but it does take time travelling from one terminal to another and negotiating the security lines.
Has Heathrow changed the way they return checked baggage to the passengers? This has not been my experience at LHR, and it is not mentioned on Heathrow's website.

Heathrow: Flight Connections | Transfer passenger guide

Assuming that Virgin does not interline with AF, the Virgin agent at the OP's departure airport will only check the bag through to London. The OP will then have to claim their bag and check it in at the Air France check in desk (and pick up their boarding pass, unless they can online check-in). In any case, they will need to follow the standard arrivals routine-Clear the border (passport control), reclaim their luggage, clear customs, get to the Air France check-in area and check their bag, go back through security and head to their departure gate.

It looks like the Virgin flights from the states arrive at T3, while the AF flight will depart from T4. There are buses that run between the terminals.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Long Island
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Thanks for all the input. My Virgin flight arrives at 9:25 am. The Next two flights to Paris are 12:15 and 4:00 pm.

I was hoping to make the 12:15, but I'm not so sure I have enough time anymore. I have not booked my Air France flight yet.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:53 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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I would book the 4pm. Maybe they will let you go on the earlier flight if there is room for "free" but don't count on it.
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