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Customs at Heathrow?

Travel Forums Europe Customs at Heathrow?

1. Posted by skimmerz (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Hello -

I'm new to this board and new to traveling outside of the USA - in October my family will be traveling to Europe and I've got a few questions.

First off - what is it like to go thru customs etc at Heathrow? Our flight gets in on a Wednesday around 11:45 - now that is the "time" they say we would land - I've heard you can be in a holding pattern at Heathrow for a bit - we do land at term. 4.

We plan to take the EuroStar to Paris that night - and I'm wondering what time we should try to get a ticket for? From what I've gathered online - looks like I need to get from Heathrow over to the St. Pancras station - how long would that take?

Any suggestions out there? thanks in advance for your help for this newbie ;) traveler! ~ Kim

2. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 8y

Hi Kim and welcome.

Heathrow is a busy airport. Customs is generally pretty swift but unfortunately immigration can take a while. I would suggest allowing yourself several hours to spare . . . there are countless possible delays - flight gets in late, bags are missing, the underground (subway) is off etc etc.

Could your itineray allow for a couple of days in London? It seems a bit of a shame to come all this way and not see at least a few of the sights!

3. Posted by skimmerz (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Thank you for answering my post - I will be coming back from Paris to London and staying for a couple of days - so I hope to see some sights then - will be staying near Hyde Park.

So - sounds like I should plan to take the latest train I can then in the afternoon to be safe? Hum...maybe I should check and see how late I can check into the hotel in Paris.

Thank you for your input - if there are any other insights I'd love for whatever info people are willing to share. ~ Kim

4. Posted by hil_136 (Budding Member 14 posts) 8y

Hi... The last time I went through border control it took about an hour of queuing ... then I had to wait another hour for one of my bags to make it through! I would say give yourself 1-2 hours to get out of the airport. As for what border control is like... you will wait in a massive queue until you are called to the desk, they will ask you a few simple questions like how long you are staying, etc, stamp your passport and that's that. I am assuming your flight arrives in the am? If you make your way directly from Heathrow to King's Cross/St. Pancras it will take you between half an hour and an hour depending on your method of transport (probably around 30-40 minutes if you take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, then the tube to King's Cross/St. Pancras, or about 60-80 minutes if you take the tube the whole way. < These are just estimates, I have not done that particular journey myself) If your flight gets in in the morning and you are seeing London for the day, you probably won't be more than a 30 minute tube journey from King's Cross for when you need to depart for France. Hope this helps in some way, sorry if it's a bit scattered!

5. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 8y

Probably depends on their schedules and flights. I don't remember it being particularly busy but the only dodgy thing was having to take your shoes off to put them through the xray thing

6. Posted by dynamo (Budding Member 26 posts) 8y

When I arrived at Heathrow from NYC in April it only took a couple of minutes to get through.

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Err... have they fixed the trouble with that new terminal yet? There were stories of Heathrow shipping bags from passengers to Munich and Italy in order to sort them and get them to the passengers who had been waiting for weeks for their bags. And apparently the trouble had affected the other terminals too. Might be totally trouble-free by Oct, but you never know.

I would also check out flights from Heathrow to Paris. Would save you the trouble of getting from Heathrow to St. Pancras.

www.skyscanner.net

8. Posted by dynamo (Budding Member 26 posts) 8y

Quoting t_maia

Err... have they fixed the trouble with that new terminal yet? There were stories of Heathrow shipping bags from passengers to Munich and Italy in order to sort them and get them to the passengers who had been waiting for weeks for their bags. And apparently the trouble had affected the other terminals too. Might be totally trouble-free by Oct, but you never know.

I would also check out flights from Heathrow to Paris. Would save you the trouble of getting from Heathrow to St. Pancras.

www.skyscanner.net

That was only the first couple of weeks at the end of March start of April. It's fine now.