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Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

Columbus, Ohio
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Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

I'm arriving at Heathrow Wednesday morning at 5:55am on an international flight. I have an almost impossible connecting flight at Gatwick. I'm a bit shy and wouldn't typically ask people if I could cut ahead of them in the customs line, but I think it might be the only way to make the 6:40am National express bus to Gatwick.

What is the typical protocol for this and what are people typical reaction to someone asking to cut through the line?

Here is the thread that explains the situation:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k52806… Heathrow_Terminal_1_typical_time_to_clear_customs_on_a_Wed-London_England.html

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London, Dry Tortugas National Park
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1. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

I seem to recall a thread within the last year where the OP needed to get to another airport and employed the use of a private motorcycle service (!!)

Obviously if this was possible you would have to pack light.

Does anyone remember this thread and/or service? Would it get the OP there with a fighting chance?

UK
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2. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

For a start, you dont mean the customs line, you mean immigration.

Secondly, there might be hundreds of people in that line (there do seem to have been recently)and waits of an hour or two hours or even worse. If I was one of them you were trying to cut in front of, my position would be extremely hostile, I may have been waiting in line for an hour or more, you are the one that arranged things with a ridiculous short time (to save money I might add), why should I have to wait longer because of your poor decision?

And of course, you wont be the only person in a position of having other flights to catch, loved ones to see, whatever, what gives you the right to push in front of them? You are going to (potentially) lose £100 flight (or so) others might be missing flights 10x that, or weddings, funerals, business deals, whatever.

My suggestion is, when you get to gatwick, you'll just have to buy another ticket to ? Newquay? if BMI or whoever wont le you get on the next flight for free.

You need have no worries about the rest of your itinerary being cancelled if you miss that flight, CheapoAIr are lying or incompetent, they have stitched together different flights and missing a regional carrier in the UK will not nuke your return flight back to the USA as I recall one of their scummy operatives told you.

Laura, the OP is worrying about missing a flight that would cost less to purchase anew than a motorcycle courier. Or as has been suggested he could just get a train and forget going to Gatwick at all.

Edited: 7:27 pm, April 26, 2012
U.S. expats
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3. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

Sorry, I was mixed up and thought he was going to Greece.

If it is a domestic flight, as Joe says, for heavens sake, stop worrying and figure out plan b.

Liverpool, United...
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4. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

45 minutes?

Good luck !

Columbus, Ohio
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5. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

So I guess I wont be asking to cut ahead... Let know how you really feel about it Joe.

U.S. expats
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6. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

Joe isn't trying to be rude, but you are not going to be met with sympathy and best wishes if you try to cut in line at immigration. Far from it.

We're actually trying to help you...

Columbus, Ohio
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7. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

I get it. I would not have even thought about it until someone mentioned it in the other thread.

Dunfermline, United...
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8. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

We treat queueing seriously in Britain and with this comes certain levels of etiquette. Its difficult to get our gander up over most things, but queue-jumping is guaranteed to raise more than a few tuts from fellow passengers who are already stressed out after a trans-Atlantic flight.

Sorry, but you will just have to suck it up and queue in a civilised and orderly fashion through immigration.

Judging by your other thread, you aren't likely to make the connection anyway unless you get through immigration in less than an hour. Hitting the M25 at the start of the morning rush hour could mean a journey of at least 90 minutes to Gatwick.

I'd try to get a later connection if possible

Stanley, Falkland...
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9. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

aaron - there have been people suggest on here that they arrive at airports at the last minute and then get whisked through the queues/lines by airport staff shouting "excuse me, this poor traveller has a plane to catch. let us through..."

What you are suggesting is in a similar vein, and probably will get similar sympathy.

If you genuinely have been delayed and need to get through, then fine.

But if you have simply miscalculated or are too tight to to pay for a reschedule and want others to get out your way, because you are special, then don't expect a lot of cooperation or smiles.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: Getting through Heathrow Customs as quickly as possible

Aaron,

Your United plane will arrive at a gate way away from the immigration hall; we're talking a 6-8 minute walk. This is to your advantage, as if you walk briskly you'll be able to pass a good few dozen people and beat them to the immigration line. Done that plenty of times from either that flight you're on from IAD and the most I've waited in line is 10 minutes.

Also, your flight is the joint first arrival of the day at T1; you'll be racing a BMI A320 from Riyadh. Hopefully your brisk walking and prevailing winds will mean there may not be anyone in line at immigration to push past.

Edited: 9:54 pm, April 26, 2012