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Heathrow to Gatwick transfer

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Planning my flight from Lisbon to DFW (for end of our November 3rd cruise on Noordam).

Frustratingly, every American Airlines flight (and British Air) from Lisbon goes into Heathrow, and calls for me to make my connection to DFW at Gatwick.

I realize that there are coach services that will, for a fee, provide transportion; that transportion can take one hour (ideal traffic conditions prevailing) but that you should plan on more time (note: we will be travelling on a Saturday).

My specific questions for those in the know:
1. Do you have to physically tote your luggage? Or will airline automatically transfer said luggage? (assuming, of course, that I book, say, American for the whole trip).
2. Is the bus/coach terminal far from the airline terminal? Which terminal at Heathrow is American in?
3. How much time should be allowed for the transfer between airports? Is 3 hours enough?
4. Do we go through customs at Heathrow?(flying from Lisbon, Portugal, into Heathrow, then Gatwick to DFW).

Any specific information based on experience would be appreciated.
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[url="http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/heathrow_gatwick_transfer.htm"]THIS SITE[/url] appears to answer some of your questions.

1) I would assume you will have to collect your luggage and transport it with you.

2)From the site above it seems the coach picks up directly from the terminal. I think American Airlines is at terminal 3.

3)3 Hours sounds ok for the transfer but if you can get more I would.

4)You will go through customs and passport control coming from Portugal since Britain did not sign up to the Schengen agreement which allows for no border controls between EU countries. Normally these are quite minimal when you arrive from another EU country like Portugal.

NCL Star March 2004
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AA codeshares with BA on the Lisbon-Heathrow route, so basically that sector is with BA whether your ticket says AA or BA. If you're not used to BA's shorthaul service, you might find it a pleasant change from an AA shorthaul flight of the same length.

To digress a bit further, there are direct flights from Lisbon to Gatwick on TAP Air Portugal, but it looks like these won't same-day connect with the AA flights to DFW.

Also, there is a same-number AA flight from Heathrow to DFW, but this stops at Chicago (where you would clear immigration, pick up bags, clear customs and give your bags back to AA) - by which time it would be no different from just making a connection at ORD.

Returning, then, to your questions:-
1. Yes, you will have to collect your bags and transfer them between Gatwick and Heathrow yourself, in both directions. This means that:-

4. You must clear immigration at the London airport at which you arrive, collect your bags, and clear customs before transferring between airports.

2. The coach service is supposed to pick up at all terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick. However, I think that it is currently not picking up at Heathrow Terminal 3 (because of construction work), although it is dropping off there if you are coming from Gatwick to Heathrow. If you were to arrive at LHR T3 you would have to walk to the central bus station (about 5 minutes, 10 if you're a slow walker) to catch the bus. I don't know how long this is going on for.

[B]However[/B], if you fly from Lisbon to Heathrow on "AA", as you are actually on a BA aircraft you will arrive at Terminal [B]1[/B], where the coach is picking up.

3. As a rule, if the airline will sell you a journey including the Heathrow-Gatwick transfer on a single ticket, there should be enough time. However, I think that 3 hours is the published minimum connecting time between flights if you're doing this, and the airlines ought not to sell you a connection that is shorter than that. I see that the connection offered by the AA website (AA6573->AA79) is 3h30m, so this should be fine. But equally obviously, there are no guarantees in life.

One thing which would save you time is if you make sure that when you check in in Lisbon you have boarding passes for both the Lisbon->London and London->DFW flights. As both BA and AA are in oneworld, this shouldn't present a problem. It means that when you get to Gatwick, you may be able to be cheeky and drop your bags at a check-in desk that doesn't have a long queue - if the queue managers see that you already have a BP and you just need your bag tagged, they may (if they're feeling well-disposed towards you) allow you for example to use the business or first class check-in desks for that simple task.


Jewel of the Seas 1-3 May 2004 - see [url="http://messages.cruisecritic.com/2/OpenTopic?q=Y&s=927093444&a=tpc&m=904107102&f=069097554"]my review here[/url], and [url="http://community.webshots.com/album/140741580OdzpCX"]my photos here[/url].
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