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Author Topic: Current Heathrow Wait Times to get through Customs  (Read 4324 times)
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« on: June 01, 2012, 01:46:56 PM »

I'm trying to figure out how long the average wait is to get from off the plane and through immigration and customs at Heathrow. I'd like to buy an advance ticket for train travel, but I'm not sure if this is the safest thing to do.

So, horror stories from the news aside, how long is it actually taking to get through immigration/customs at Heathrow nowadays?
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Edinburgh83
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 08:25:25 PM »

Heathrow wait times change daily, and there's no way to predict your wait time. It depends on the terminal you arrive at and your line (EU and non-EU). I've breezed through immigration before in just 20 minutes, but I've also been behind a plane full of foreign students arriving in the UK for the first time, which held me up for well over an hour and a half. I went through about three weeks ago, and it was the average wait time. With the Olympics, it will gradually be getting busier, though.

I've flown into Heathrow and booked train travel in advance for that day, and have always left quite a bit of time in between. I just sit at St. Pancras for a few hours, get a coffee and read a book, before getting on my train, or switch to an earlier train. I'd recommend leaving at least an hour for getting through immigration, half an hour to get your bags and get to the Underground, an hour to get to the station in London (I go to Kings Cross, but an hour is average for most London stations), and an additional two hours just in case you get held up. If you're there really early, you can often get your tickets switched to an earlier train. I've never had a problem doing that before.
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PickledSakura
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 05:58:15 PM »

So, horror stories from the news aside, how long is it actually taking to get through immigration/customs at Heathrow nowadays?

Not sure when you'll be travelling, but I arrived into Terminal 1 yesterday.  The line was quite long when I got there--about 6 rows of people, which quickly lengthened to like 10 rows, and there were maybe 10 IO's or so?  I waited about 30 minutes to get through.  By the time I got to baggage claim, my bag had just been pulled off the belt, (Though it was tagged with 2 Priority labels) so all I had to do was meander my way through to the underground station.

We only had to wait 3 minutes for a train towards central London. Going to St. Pancras, I usually budget at least an hour for the journey.  But then again, you can always pay more and take the Heathrow Express/Connect to Paddington.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 08:45:37 PM »

Glad to hear the wait times are reasonable. Thank you both for your replies!
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 09:30:00 PM »

This is a good question. I am planning on going through London to go from Manchester to NYC as its cheaper than going direct, and I am flying solo with my two little kidlets. What kind of layover do you think I should book if the queues are so unpredictible!?
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MaryKate
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 12:06:29 PM »

This is a good question. I am planning on going through London to go from Manchester to NYC as its cheaper than going direct, and I am flying solo with my two little kidlets. What kind of layover do you think I should book if the queues are so unpredictible!?

If you've got the kids with you, you should go straight to the front of the queue Smiley They were offering fast track for families when I was there last by pulling people with kids out of the queue for international passport control(couple of weeks ago), although the queue times were minimal really, especially for EU/UK.
I think I was through in about three minutes, I had to wait longer for my bag ( Although i'm pretty convinced the trick is to walk really fast and overtake as many people as possible as soon as you get off the plane) I always look back and the queue builds behind me.
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