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LHR connection time query

Maryland
posts: 459
reviews: 17
LHR connection time query

I have a daughter coming to the University of Edinburgh this fall for a semester. She appears to qualify for a U.K. student visa. We are interested in purchasing her flight as follows:

Virgin Atlantic flight 22 IAD (1840) to LHR (0705)

Virgin Atlantic (operated by Aer Lingus) flight 3003 LHR (0920) to EDI (1040)

This would be a single ticket (Friday departure, Saturday arrival), purchased on Student Universe. I do not know the fare class, but I assume it's one of their restricted, nonreroutable and nonendorsable tickets.

Is this LHR connection sufficiently long for this type of (assumed) restricted ticket?

9 replies to this topic
UK
posts: 40,792
reviews: 85
1. Re: LHR connection time query

Is this LHR connection sufficiently long for this type of (assumed) restricted ticket?

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If it's sold asa single ticket they won't sell you one that isn't under the Minimum Connection Time which means it's normally doable and should there be a delay and she misses they will put her on a later flight at no charge.

I'd worry more about student universe, for example are they selling one ticket, what are web reviews about them saying, did you look in here, how does their price compare with buying direct from Virgin?

London
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 14,171
reviews: 73
2. Re: LHR connection time query

Why not buy directly (on a true one ticket) from Virgin?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,135
reviews: 5
3. Re: LHR connection time query

The minimum connection time for T3 (intl) to T1 or T2 (domestic) flights is 75 minutes. So 2hr20 will be absolutely fine, **as long as** the flights are on one ticket.

heathrowairport.com/heathrow-airport-guide/f…

Edited: 4:07 pm, July 15, 2014
Loughborough...
posts: 1,418
4. Re: LHR connection time query

The Virgin Atlantic flight from the USA will arrive at Terminal 3. The Edinburgh flight will depart from Terminal 2 (if the flight is on 10 September or later, otherwise Terminal 1). Bags will be transferred without needing any action by your daughter at LHR.

Official minimum connecting time for T3 international to T2 domestic is 75 minutes, and she has 135 minutes. But that assumes the plane arrives on time, she gets off the plane reasonably quickly, and the UK Immigration area isn't jammed with arriving passengers. Unfortunately the period between 06:00 and 07:00 sees no less than 8 long haul flights arrive at T3, all large aircraft ranging between 767s and A380s.

She should use the Flight Connections (purple signs) route, not the main exit to the UK border.

However, changeable ticket or not, if she misses the flight to EDI, VS is obliged to transfer her to their next flight with available seats. There are 4 further flights on Saturdays, and if all these are full (unlikely) they have to provide overnight accommodation at their expense and try again on Sunday.

Edited: 4:11 pm, July 15, 2014
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,135
reviews: 5
5. Re: LHR connection time query

>> But that assumes the plane arrives on time, she gets off the plane reasonably quickly, and the UK Immigration area isn't jammed with arriving passengers.<<

UK immigration will be done as part of the transit process at the departing terminal (T1 or T2). Of course Andy's case still holds as a lot of arriving flights also means a lot of transit pax. But all that said, allowing for one hour more than the MCT is about right in my opinion.

Maryland
posts: 459
reviews: 17
6. Re: LHR connection time query

Thank you for your excellent points and useful information. I checked flight prices and found that round trip flights purchased directly on the Virgin Atlantic website are only about $100 USD more than Student Universe flights. Based on your suggestions, I will definitely purchase flights directly on the Virgin Atlantic website. The itinerary is the same.

Do you think it will take her longer to obtain the student visa than a person passing through UK Immigration for a short vacation?

I assumed she would collect her luggage at LHR, go through customs, and redeposit her luggage. Is this not correct?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,135
reviews: 5
7. Re: LHR connection time query

>>I assumed she would collect her luggage at LHR, go through customs, and redeposit her luggage. Is this not correct?<<

It is not correct. The UK does things differently to the US. Her luggage will be checked through to EDI. She will clear UK immigration at Heathrow as part of the transit process, but collect her bags and clear Customs on arrival at Edinburgh.

>> Do you think it will take her longer to obtain the student visa than a person passing through UK Immigration for a short vacation?<<

Information here - https:/…study-visas

Loughborough...
posts: 1,418
8. Re: LHR connection time query

No, the system is that your daughter won't see her bag after leaving IAD until she reaches EDI. It will appear on a separate baggage belt at EDI from the domestic bags, and theoretically Customs will examine it as she leaves the baggage hall (use the Green channel unless she really has something to declare). I say theoretically because Customs in Europe is intelligence-led and unless they have reason to suspect she has contraband she's unlikely to even be stopped.

USBT - that's the explanation I was reaching for by referring to Flight Connections, but you put it much more clearly. The T2 Flight Connections immigration checkpoint is an unknown quantity at the moment since only passengers for Aer Lingus's own flights are using it yet.

London
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 14,171
reviews: 73
9. Re: LHR connection time query

Your daughter might find Heathrow's guide to the Flight Connections process useful:

heathrowairport.com/heathrow-airport-guide/f…

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