Transferring between flights in London Heathrow airport

Travellers embarking on an intercontinental journey often need to change planes once or more before they reach their final destination. London Heathrow airport in the UK is one of the international hubs in the world with the highest volume of passengers in transit who will go through its terminals only to catch a connecting flight to another airport, that is, to make a connection. The time spent in transit may go from a couple of hours to an entire day, so you are advised to plan for your layover accurately and well in advance, just like you search for accommodation months or weeks ahead of your trip.

Making a connection in Heathrow airport (London, UK)

Transferring to another flight in Heathrow airport of London should not be a concern as long as your inbound flight is not delayed and the totality of your journey has been purchased as a single ticket with stopovers/layovers. Provided that this is the scenario, the airline will have informed you of the estimated time you have to make it from the arrivals zone to your next boarding gate and, in the majority of cases, you won’t need to collect your bags as they will be sent straight through to the last airport you will be landing at. Nevertheless, prior to boarding your outbound flight in London Heathrow, it is mandatory that you clear security once again, regardless of the fact that you have already done it at the beginning of your trip. All you have to do is make sure you check the information screens upon landing and confirm your boarding time and gate and, ideally, keep taking a look at them along the way towards your designated boarding area since modifications might occur.

Catching a connecting flight in Heathrow airport (LHR)

Once you have landed in London and checked your boarding time and gate in Heathrow airport, you must follow the purple signs leading you to the international connecting areas. Whether you need to travel from one terminal to another or not, you will be guided through the building so that you can take the next step of your journey as smoothly as possible. In case of having to commute to another building, London Heathrow provides specific free shuttle bus services for those passengers who are about to transfer to a connecting flight. As you will always encounter members of the staff offering indications and guidance, you will be asked to show your passport and boarding pass in order to be able to help you in a quick and effective manner.

Travel between terminals in London Heathrow

Should you need to commute between passenger terminals in Heathrow airport, rest assured that you will be waiting at your assigned departure gate in time: terminal 2 and terminal 3 are pretty close to each other and you can cover the distance separating them on foot. On the contrary, if you are travelling from terminal 4 or terminal 5 of Heathrow, we recommend you take a complimentary bus to the other buildings or the tube; services run very frequently throughout the day. This applies even if you are catching an outbound flight that you have booked independently, although in such case, unfortunately, you are solely responsible for making your connection in time.

Long layover in Heathrow airport of London

Will you have more than two hours of waiting time before departing Heathrow? All terminals of this airport in London boast a wide array of dining and shopping options; however, if you have been travelling across time zones and want to arrive well-rested and refreshed to your destination, you may consider making a reservation at a capsule hotel in Heathrow. This will enable you to take a nap, shower or get some good rest during an overnight layover without leaving the transit area.

As a final note, take into account that even if you are not required to claim your baggage or leave the boarding concourse while transiting through Heathrow airport to change planes, it will be mandatory that your show your passport upon arrival as well as your travel permit or visa if that is the case. With this in mind, you can keep it handy and be ready to show it at any time.

Is London the final destination of your trip or are you planning a visit in the future? To save time and money, many travellers decide to find accommodation near London’s main attractions.


Budget hotel opposite King’s Cross tube station in central London

The Elmwood Hotel in London is located in the quiet Argyle Square, a short stroll away from King’s Cross metro station, Saint Pancras International, the British Library and Euston Road railway station. The area, known for its affordable cosy hotels, is extremely well-connected by buses and trains to virtually every corner of the city and has plenty of cafés and fast food restaurants –like Starbucks, Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and Pret a Manger-, which makes it ideal for short stays, student trips and business travel. The British Museum, Oxford Street and Mary Lebone are also within walking distance from the hotel, and Eurostar trains departing to France and Belgium are just across the street.

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Where in London is this budget hotel located?

During our last stay in London, we found this establishment to be not only inexpensive, but also quite good value for money, aside from saving us considerable time thanks to the amazing public transport connections. It is an accommodation close to Euston railway station and the British Library and, while it does not offer outstanding luxury, the place turned out to be really comfortable and clean, with helpful staff and a hearty breakfast served daily in the basement.

Cheap accommodation near King’s Cross station

The rooms at the Elmwood Hotel near King’s Cross in London are equipped with beds, a wardrobe with hangers, blankets and extra pillows, air conditioning, TV, a water heater with tea bags and a hair dryer. Guests enjoy a private bathroom with complimentary soap and shampoo. These amenities, along with bed linen and clean towels, are replaced every day while travellers are out exploring the city.

The daily buffet breakfast, which was included in the price, consisted of two different types of cereal, oatmeal, eggs, toasts (served by staff so that you could eat it straight away from the toaster), butter, jam, honey, a selection of cured meats, cheese, yoghourt, orange juice, milk, coffee and tea for clients to choose and eat until they were full.

Cheap hotel close to St. Pancras in London

Besides, travelling from this cheap hotel in central London to Heathrow airport or from the airport to the hotel was fast and convenient thanks to the Picadilly tube line, which runs directly -without the need for you to change trains- between King’s Cross and each one of the passenger terminals.

If you are looking for a cheap hotel near King’s Cross – St. Pancras, and want an easy and affordable transfer from the airport as well as to sleep in the very heart of the youngest, most vibrant part of London town, the Elmwood hotel might be the best choice for you.

The healthiest restaurants in London Heathrow airport

Eating well before a flight has a direct effect on how you will feel during your journey, and making the decision to have a light natural meal made with fresh ingredients prior to boarding may considerably enhance your travel experience. Aside from that, we must not forget the array of healthy lifestyles that are on the rise nowadays, prompting business travellers, world backpackers and digital nomads to look for specific dietary options while they transit through airport terminals. In view of that, we want to enable our readers to find the best gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan food in Heathrow airport when they visit London. See our recommendations below, sorted by terminal.

Wondertree in Terminal 2: gluten-free food in Heathrow airport

Located in the boarding area after security of “The Queen’s Terminal” (T2), Wondertree offers a selection of menus that are either vegetarian, gluten-free or both. Egg and chicken dishes, salads, English Breakfast, Mexican Breakfast, fruit bowls and sundaes are just some examples. But the best thing about this place is that it does not only help you stick to a healthy lifestyle while travelling but also provides express service and pre-ordering through the airport’s app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and from Google Play. This way, you can make sure you will get your gluten-free food in Heathrow without running the risk of missing your flight. It opens at 5 a.m. every day and closes after the last plane has taken off from this terminal.

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Healthy restaurant in Heathrow airport: Leon (T2)

Also in Terminal 2, Leon is a popular spot where you can eat porridge for breakfast in Heathrow, a superfood salad for lunch and a variety of vegetarian options while in transit. Although you will need to wait until you have cleared security to enjoy the freshly made dishes included in the menu, this vegetarian restaurant in Heathrow remains open to passengers from 5 a.m. and for as long as planes are being boarded.

Healthy food in London Heathrow: Pret a Manger

Travellers who are well-acquainted with the city or even those who have visited London at least once surely know Pret a Manger. If you are looking for high-quality vegan food in Heathrow airport, we strongly recommend their soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and bowls accompanied by a warming cup of organic coffee or tea. The natural, raw ingredients employed make them surprisingly light and so calorie-counting while on the go could not be easier. Should you need it, ask for an in-flight picnic package to take away. This restaurant is in the public area before security of terminal 3 in LHR, although you will find outlets after the screening control in the same building, at terminal 4 and at terminal 5 as well. Its working hours go from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Healthy breakfast in London Heathrow airport: Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar in T4

As the name itself indicates, aside from the fact that this place will satisfy your cravings if you are in the mood for a little luxury, it must be said that it is famous for its breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, Scottish smoked salmon and avocado, undoubtedly one of the finest non-processed meals you can have in the entire facilities of the airport. It is situated after the security screening in terminal 4, offers express service and opens at 6 a.m. every day of the week.

Vegetarian food in Heathrow airport of London: Wagamama (T5)

Whether you have time to sit at a table or you want to place a take-away order and eat on the plane, Wagamama has Japanese rice and noodles, granola, porridge, freshly squeezed vegan juices –like the carrot one or the super green juice- wok-fried vegetables, dumplings, miso soup and vegetarian desserts such as the coconut reika ice cream or the chocolate layer cake. They aim to serve your freshly made food within 15 minutes after you order in the boarding area of terminal 5, and their working hours go from 5:30 until the last departure of the day.

Could you find your ideal gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan restaurant in Heathrow? If you plan to travel out of London by train, we recommend you also take a look at these places to eat in St Pancras International railway station.

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Sofitel London Heathrow airport hotel inside terminal 5

Who wouldn’t love to land after a long flight and skip the transfer from the airport to the hotel under the effects of jetlag, hunger and tiredness? Business travellers as well as passengers on long-haul flights having a layover in London may sleep, relax and even work as soon as they land in T5 by booking their hotel in Heathrow airport.

This transit hotel by Sofitel is perfectly integrated into the airport passenger terminal, in such a way that, providing you arrive in terminal 5 of London Heathrow (IATA code LHR), only a short stroll from the baggage claim and arrivals area will be between you and your hotel room. This route can be covered on foot through the walkway connecting it to the aforementioned area, or else by using the free shuttle trains departing from all the other terminals.

Luxury hotel inside London Heathrow airport

Yet the perks of staying at the Sofitel hotel inside Heathrow’s terminal 5 are not simply to land and be few minutes away from lying down on your comfortable bed, the establishment also provides every service required in order to have the perfect travel experience: complimentary WiFi, soundproofed windows, private desk, gym, bar, restaurant and wellness centre.

Business facilities

If you are travelling to London for work and you need to meet up with potential clients, the hotel has 55 meeting rooms available for guests and a business centre, alongside with technological and office equipment. What is more, so as to ensure you reach your next destination in style, it also offers laundry service, dry cleaning, ironing and a fashion boutique.

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Hotels rooms in Heathrow airport (Terminal 5)

Any of its 605 non-smoking rooms might be the ideal one to spend your layover in London Heathrow airport; however, there is a wide range of categories among which to choose the one that best suits your particular circumstances, as is the case with connecting rooms when you are on a family trip or with large numbers of people. Booking a “luxury” room or a suite grants you the additional right to enjoy the airport lounges.

Will you need to spend the night at Heathrow airport in London? We advise you to check availability and rates for your stay at the Sofitel hotel in terminal 5.

Where to sleep in London Heathrow airport

If you are having a layover in London’s major aviation hub, catching an early morning flight out of the British capital or maybe having an unexpectedly delayed landing in the city and would rather not commute from the airport after midnight, you will surely be glad to learn about this hotel inside Heathrow’s Terminal 3: the Aerotel London Heathrow.

Where is the Aerotel hotel in London Heathrow airport located?

Equally convenient for both arriving and departing travellers, the Aerotel London Heathrow hotel is located inside the Arrivals area of Terminal 3 -on the ground floor-, near many shopping and dining outlets of the public zone. Therefore, whether you check in to get some good rest in your room before resuming your journey towards London city or an abroad destination or you check out to board your plane, you will be within short walking distance of the departures area and Terminal 2, while the other terminals, its tube stations and other transportation means will be within easy reach thanks to the courtesy shuttle trains for passengers in Heathrow.

Booking a room to sleep in Heathrow airport

Travellers in transit who need to stay overnight or spend a long layover inside Heathrow airport of London can book a room to sleep in the Aerotel inside terminal 3. As it is located in the public arrivals area, passengers who are going to make a connection must leave the restricted boarding area and go to the landside in order to check in, then clear security again when the time comes to catch their connecting flight in LHR.

The Aerotel hotel in the landside of London Heathrow airport (T3) offers single, double and family rooms with private bathroom, amenities and free WiFi, their greatest perk being that customers may choose to book a room by the hour, for day use only or for night use only. Consequently, they can save a considerable amount of money that can be used to pay for other travel expenses while helping the hotel to have more available rooms to cater to the needs of last-minute guests.

Services provided by Aerotel London Heathrow – Terminal 3

Among some of the extra services and amenities that travellers enjoy during their stay at the Aerotel London Heathrow hotel -aside from the complimentary WiFi connection inside the rooms and the private bathrooms- we count wake-up call service, onsite continental breakfast and a cosy business lounge where guests can relax or catch up with work while making use of USB charging stations, office equipment and comfortable seating or choose from a varied selection of drinks and snacks.

Transferring between planes

In the event of landing in Heathrow only to change planes and continue your journey towards your next destination, our post about how to transfer flights in London Heathrow airport may help you make your connection in a breeze. Otherwise, should you need to spend four hours or more in the terminals before boarding the next plane, we recommend making a reservation with the Aerotel in T3 so that you can refresh, unwind and avoid the usual fatigue experienced in long-haul journeys.

About Aerotel

Aerotel is an airport or transit hotel brand owned by Hong Kong-based Plaza Premium Group, which also specialises in airport lounges and shower facilities, widely acclaimed for the exclusivity and quality of its services all across the world. The main aim of Aerotel is to offer travellers in transit the opportunity to benefit from the privacy and comfort of a private place amidst the hustle and bustle of a crowded terminal building, thus being able to sleep for the night or a few hours, charge their devices, take a revitalising shower and have breakfast or a pre-flight meal. Considered as great value for money and boasting an unbeatable location on the landside of one of London’s most transited air terminals, the Aerotel hotel is undoubtedly your best option to refresh yourself and sleep inside Heathrow airport.

Terminals and services for passengers at London’s Heathrow airport

The best piece of advice we can give to travellers flying from Heathrow is that, unless they have several hours to spare before boarding, they must know for sure which terminal they are going to, where their check-in counter is and how much time they have to go through security. Even though this applies in every airport of the world, it becomes particularly true in the case of the main airport in London, which is a small city with plans for expansion.

The good news is that Heathrow airport in London provides passengers with a quick and effective free transport system to go from one terminal to another. Terminal 2 (known as the Queen’s Terminal) is within a short walk from terminal 3. Notwithstanding that, in order to reach terminals 4 and 5 we will have to use the shuttle trains or buses. Moreover, the Picadilly tube line stops in each terminal, but bear in mind that you need to pay the standard fee for a really short journey. If you have a connecting flight at Heathrow, your airline will probably arrange the shuttle service towards your next boarding area.

It must be said that this airport in the British capital is very well signposted, and that every terminal has different levels which can be easily accessed by using lifts. This way, the arrivals halls and the baggage claim areas are located on the ground floors, from where you can go down to the tube and the shuttle trains, as well as information offices, shops and currency exchange booths. Both in the airside and the landside, we will find charging stations for our mobile devices.

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The upper floors house the check-in desks, the security filters, the shops and the boarding gates. In terminal 5, the gates are divided into three zones, and we need to take a complimentary train to get around; if we take into account that gates are announced 15 minutes before the actual boarding time, we must remain alert and check information panels frequently.

Once in the departures area of Heathrow, we may go shopping at designer brand stores and have a delicious pre-flight meal. Some of its most popular establishments are Caffé Nero, M&S Food, Caviar House & Prunier, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Yo Sushi, Chanel, Zara, MAC, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Harrods, Michael Kors, World Duty Free and Hugo Boss.

If you are having a layover in Heathrow and you need to spend the night at the airport, we recommend you book a room at the Sofitel hotel in T5; if your stay will be a longer one, you can check availability and prices of hotels in London.

Airline companies flying from and to Heathrow sorted by terminal

From which terminal in Heathrow does my flight depart? In which terminal will my plane land? See it here:

-Terminal 2 (the Queen’s Terminal): Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Eurowings, EVA Air, Flybe, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines.

-Terminal 3: Air Canada, American Airlines, ANA, ASIG, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, EVA Air, Finnair, Iran Air, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Vueling.

-(*Currently closed due to COVID restrictions) Terminal 4: Air Malta, Air France, Aeroflot, Alitalia, Azerbaijan Airlines, Bulgaria Air, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta, Etihad, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, United Airlines.

-Terminal 5: British Airlines and partner airlines from the One World Alliance operating code share flights.

Free WiFi at London’s Heathrow airport

As soon as we land in Heathrow we may connect our devices to their free WiFi, which requires a simple registration. Providing we do not want to use our smartphone or laptop, there are computers with broadband internet connection in all terminals; in order to find out where they are located, check the digital screens displaying terminal maps.

Airport passenger lounges at Heathrow

Provided that we hold an admission pass (because we fly first or business class or because we have purchased it), we will be granted access to the airport lounges in the corresponding terminal (always the same one from where we depart). Listed below are the lounges to be found at Heathrow according to their location within the different terminals:

T2: Plaza Premium featuring showers, bedrooms and spa, Lufthansa Senator and Aer Lingus Gold.

T3: Club Aspire, No.1, Traveller bedrooms No.1, American Airlines, Delta, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic. Additionally, there is a Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in the public area.

T4: Plaza Premium featuring showers, bedrooms and spa, Sky Team, Etihad, Qatar Airways.

T5: Aspire (lounge & spa), and exclusive British Airways lounges.

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