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London Heathrow Airport

A comprehensive guide to London Heathrow (LHR) Airport

Without doubt one of the busiest, if not the busiest airport in the world, handling some 65 million passengers per year. That’s approximately 180,000 passengers every day. Whilst clearly stifled for space Heathrow has managed to build an operating infrastructure that is undoubtedly workable and successful. However with the forthcoming opening of the new Terminal 5 Heathrow will need to perform logistical miracles to cope with ever growing numbers of passengers. If all appears calm when you arrive at the airport, the same cannot be said of trying to get there. Road journeys to the airport, with the exception of late at night and very early in the morning, can be extremely frustrating. Journey times from Central London to the airport are unpredictable and can take anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The one mile journey from the M4 exit to terminals 1,2 and 3 can take an hour as the traffic bottlenecks into the under runway tunnel. Passengers travelling to Heathrow by road from other parts of the UK often fare no better. With the exception of passengers arriving from the west via the M4 most other drivers will inevitably find themselves moving slowly, if they’re lucky, around the London’s Orbital Motorway the M25. The Underground and the Heathrow Express Rail services are by far the most reliable methods of getting to the airport, and they are reasonably priced. Black Cab fares, depending on the journey length, are currently between £35 and £50.

Airport Location
The airport is about15 miles to the West of London and is reached by the M4 motorway from Central London. Allow plenty of time if your driving from to Heathrow Airport from Central London. The M4 can be extremely busy at all times of the day and most of the night. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 should be accessed from Junction 4 of the M4. Terminal 4 is best accessed via the M25 London Orbital road at Junction 14. Approaching from the West via the M4 leave at Junction 3. There are two 24 hour fuel filling stations within the confines of the airport. One is at the heart of the main airport complex, close to Terminals 1,2 and 3 and the second is located midway between Terminal 4 and the M25 Motorway. View London Heathrow Airport Map

Car Parks at London Heathrow Airport
For an airport the size of Heathrow it has remarkably efficient, if not cheap, parking facilities. Signs are generally easy to follow and parking charges are very clearly indicated at car park entrances. Staff are generally very helpful and efficient will offer a free jump start to returning passengers who forgot to switch their lights off before their journey! Each of Heathrow's public car parks have been awarded Secured Car Park status. Launched by The Association of Chief Police Officers and administered by the British Parking Association, the scheme recognises car parks that introduce measures to reduce car-related crime. To receive the awards, Heathrow's car parks met a stringent set of standards including good design and management, effective levels of security patrols, good lighting and the provision of help points. Regular transfer coaches to the terminals from long stay and business parking. For advance booking parking, (recommended) call the pre-booking service on 0870 000 1 000 Car Parking at Heathrow Airport is operated by NCP at Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and by APCOA at Terminal 4. Pink Elephant, Meteor and Central Parking System offer specialist parking services such as business and valet facilities at various locations throughout the airport.

Short Stay Car Parks
Recommended for stays up to five hours, for example when you want to see off or meet someone from a flight. Each of the four terminals has it’s own short stay car park. There is also a fifth car park in the central terminal area, car park 1a. For stays longer than 5 hours, if attending a meeting for instance, use the Long Stay car park.

Special “Short Stay” Weekender Rate
A special discounted weekend operates from 16:00 Fridays until 10:00 on Mondays The pre-book rate of £50.00 for three days is available for customers who stay on a Saturday night. To reserve call: 0870 000 1 000

Check-in and Arrivals
The general check in before departure “rule of thumb” is 3 hours for long haul flights, 2 hours for Europe and one hour for domestic. With the growing popularity of ticketless flights check in times for domestic departures can now be as little as 45 minutes. Arrivals: Passengers arriving at terminal one on International flights will exit through the ground floor arrivals hall. Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and UK passengers use the arrivals facilities on the first floor. Passengers with international out of the UK connections do not need to clear customs and immigration. Passengers arriving in terminal one on international flights and connecting to domestic flights will need to clear immigration and customs before continuing the domestic leg of their journey. For passengers with connections to international flights there are special immigration points located in the terminal, but your baggage needs to have been checked through to your final destination from the airport where your journey began. Transit passengers can use the left luggage facility in nearby terminal 2, which is open daily from 6:00am until 11:pm. Current costs are £5.00 per item per day or part of day. All baggage will be security screened. For more details call: 020 8745 4599

London Heathrow Airport Terminals
4 terminals. Terminal 1 is for all domestic flights, most UK airline departures to Europe and Aer Lingus, Alliance, Cyprus Airways, EL AL, Finnair, Icelandair, Virgin Express and South African Airways flights. Some BA long-haul services also use Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is used for most Non UK European carriers flights to Europe and also to some long haul destinations. Terminal 3. is the long haul terminal for most Non UK carriers to the United States, South America, Asia and Asia Pacific and most African carriers. SAS flights to Scandinavia and British Airways to Cape Town, Lagos and Miami also use Terminal 3. Terminal 4. is for most British Airways long haul flights and some European services. Air Lanka, Air Malta, Kenya Airways, KLM and Qantas also use Terminal 4.

Inter Terminal Transfers:
Relatively straightforward between Terminals 1, 2 and 3 which are within walking distance of each other, albeit via some fairly long walkways. Transfers between Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and Terminal 4, which is remotely located on the south side of the airport, is via the Heathrow Express train and take about 8 minutes. The service is free for travelling passengers.

London Heathrow Airport Opening Hours

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