Heathrow is a massive airport and it is one of the primary ways that people get in and out of the United Kingdom. It is a very busy airport and on this page we would like to share some tips for travelers using Heathrow Airport.
Before You Go to the Airport
Before you even leave to go to the airport there are some things you need to take care of. You’ll want to make sure you have your passport and any visas or other paperwork you will need. You’ll also want to make sure that you have your tickets, some money, and photo identification.
When you pack your bags, you’ll want to make sure that you do not put anything on the banned items list in your carry-on luggage. We’ll give you some tips for getting through security in just a moment, but things will be a lot easier if you pack your bags properly. If you are packing medication, make sure that the medication is in its original packaging to avoid any confusion or delays. If you are packing a gift, make sure it is not giftwrapped, because it may have to be unwrapped by security or customs agents.
Getting to the Airport
There are a lot of options available to you for getting to Heathrow Airport. If you drive yourself, there is plenty of parking because there are a number of different carparks. However, each carpark has its own procedures that you will need to follow and the prices can vary quite a bit from one carpark to the next. If you’re driving yourself to the airport, do a little bit of research before deciding where to park.
It’s always easiest for the traveler to have a friend or family member drive them to the airport. Another option is to get a taxi or a shuttle service. Public transportation to and from Heathrow Airport is also very good. Heathrow Express has connections to all of the terminals every 15 to 30 minutes. You can also take Southwest Trains or the London Underground, known as The Tube.
Getting through Security
Packing your bags properly will help you get through security much more easily. The number of carry-on bags you are allowed will vary from one airline to another but there are some general rules to follow when it comes to carry-on baggage. All of the rules can be found on the Heathrow Airport website but we will outline some of them here, so you will know what to expect.
If you are packing liquids in your carry-on bags, the container can be no larger than 100 mL. Liquids must also be carried separately, in a single bag that is transparent and resealable. If you are traveling with a baby, you will be permitted to carry baby food or milk and you will likely be asked to open the containers and taste the contents.
When you’re going through security, all of your baggage will be screened with x-rays. You will need to place large electronic items in a separate tray and things like keys, coins, mobile phones, and other small items either in your coat or in your carry-on baggage. Your coats and carry-on bags will be placed in a tray and all of these items will be screened with x-rays.
Of course there are also a number of items that are banned from being brought on board. You will not be able to pack any types of weapons in your carry-on bags. This includes knives, razor blades, box cutters, and pretty much any sharp or pointy objects. You will not be able to bring guns on board and this even includes toy or replica guns. Stun guns, tasters, and pepper spray are also banned.
Tools like crowbars, saws, and any tool with a blade or a shaft over 6 cm long will not be allowed. Of course explosives and flammable substances will not be allowed on board either. A complete list of items that are banned from both carry-on luggage and checked luggage can be found on the Heathrow Airport website.
Heathrow Airport Lounges, Restaurants, and Facilities
If you get to the airport early or if you have a long layover, each terminal at the airport has a number of shops, restaurants, and lounges that you can enjoy. If you would like to book a lounge you can do so on the Heathrow Airport lounge booking website.
After passing through security, lounge guests can enjoy complimentary beverages including alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, tea, and coffee. There is plenty of comfortable seating and quiet surroundings where you will be able to enjoy television, newspapers, or magazines. There are also computer terminals, telephones, fax machines, and Internet access.