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London Heathrow Airport, England

London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR) is the main airport among the six serving London. It’s the busiest airport in the UK and Europe by passenger traffic, handling over 78 million passengers in 2017. The airport is also a major international transport hub connecting with many major cities around the world. Heathrow Airport is about 23 km (14 miles) west of Central London and a colossal airport covering 12.3 sq km (4.7 sq miles). The airport comprises of two parallel runways and four passenger terminals namely Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 while Terminal 1 is no longer use. Ground transport from Heathrow Airport includes local buses, coaches (long distance buses), taxis, trains and car rentals.


Airlines & Flights

More than 80 airlines from across the globe operate at Heathrow Airport. The airport has direct connections with over 180 domestic and international destinations in nearly 85 countries. The main operator is British Airways, which uses Heathrow Airport as its base or hub on both the domestic and international routes. Cities connected on the domestic routes include Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. Connections on international flights by British Airways include Berlin, New York City, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Dubai, New Delhi, Singapore and Tokyo.

British Airways aircraft at Heathrow Airport by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

The next main airline operating at Heathrow Airport is Virgin Atlantic, which also uses the airport as its base besides Gatwick Airport. Virgin Atlantic flies on international routes that include cities in North America, Asia and South Africa. Other European airlines include Air France (Paris), KLM (Amsterdam) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt and Munich). Airlines based outside Europe include American Airlines (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Raleigh), Japan Airlines (Tokyo), Malaysian Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), Singapore Airlines (Singapore), Qantas (Melbourne and Sydney) and Qatar Airways (Doha).

Airport Facilities

Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout Heathrow Airport for up to 45 minutes and the speed is generally good enough for messaging, emails and visiting low data sites. Paid Wi-Fi access (£3 for 1 hour and £5 for 3 hours) offers up to five times the speed. While you can walk between Terminals 2 and 3, free trains and shuttle buses connect Terminals 4 and 5. If there are many luggage to carry, there are porters stationed at the departure (at the terminal entrance) and arrival (by the baggage carousel) areas.

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 by Christian Bickel

You can find cash machines (ATMs) and Travelex currency exchange counters in Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. If you need a bite, there are plenty of restaurants and fast food outlets in the departure areas of the four terminals. Left luggage facilities are available from a few hours to up to 90 days and located in the arrival areas of the four terminals. The post office is in the departure area of Terminal 3 and opens throughout the week (Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.).

Ground Transport

Heathrow Airport has a reliable and efficient network of trains connecting the airport with Central London.

  • The Heathrow Express is a direct non-stop service to London’s Paddington Station. Trains depart from the Terminal 5 station and then to Heathrow Central Station (Terminals 2 and 3) before heading to Paddington Station. If you are at Terminal 4, there are free trains and buses connecting the terminal with Terminals 2, 3 and 5.
  • The Heathrow Connect is less frequent and slower then the Heathrow Express. The trains depart from Terminal 4 and then to Heathrow Central Station before continuing on the same route as the Heathrow Express (to Paddington Station) and stops at stations in London’s West End.
  • The Piccadilly Line of the London Underground runs directly to all the terminals at Heathrow Airport before heading to Central London, making frequent stops along the journey. Trains depart every 5-10 minutes but be aware that the trains get extremely crowded during the commuting rush hours

Coaches and local buses operate from Heathrow Central Bus Station located nearby Terminals 2 and 3. The bus station opens 24 hours a day and is a few minutes walk from the Terminals 2 and 3 via underground walkways. From Terminals 4 and 5, passengers can board the free Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect to the Central Bus Station. National Express is the main coach operator here, connecting the airport to various locations including Victoria Coach Station in Central London. You can purchase tickets at the ticket office or ticketing machines at the Central Bus Station.

You can find London's famous black taxis waiting at the ranks outside the four terminals. You can also hire minicabs to pick you up at Heathrow Airport and send you to anywhere on the UK mainland. Companies offering the service include EcoExpress Airport Cars, Green Tomato Cars and Minicabit – you can book by phone or online. Car rental companies at the airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

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