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Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

Siesta Key, Florida
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88 posts
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Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

As I'm finishing up putting together my itinerary "book", and tying up the last bit of details-including printing out my return to Heathrow on the tube, I realized...one....fatal...error.

I booked my return flight for 8:30am to return to Siesta Key. This means they want me to check in at 5:30am, which means I must leave my Canary Wharf rented flat by 4:30am. So, I enter the details into the Transport for London site to get my directions, and....

I almost fell out of my chair.

THREE buses, a rail transfer, and loads of walking over a two and a half hour span. No DLR, no tube. Oh, and I have to leave by 3am.

Now I know that some might say "hire a chauffer car"-despite the £60 cost compared to the original £4 cost of the DLR/Tube plan. Or better, book a Yotel room for five hours at £80.50 (at least there's no chance of missing my flight because of a late taxi!)...but here's where I should mention that after spending $4,000 on airfare, $2,500 on the monthly rental, and not even starting to add up tours, food, travel....money is getting tighter and tighter.

Are those really my only options here? Any ideas?

I knew it was all going too smoothly.......

Sydney, Australia
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3,875 posts
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1. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

1) How many people are travelling?

2) If you check-in on-line, I think you can cut down the 3 hours before departure to possibly 2 or 2&1/2

3) I don't know what transfer company you are looking at, but we've booked a car to take us from St George Wharf (Vauxhall) to LHR and the cost is only £30 for the return portion (as they don't have to park)(and the price is per car, not per person).

Los Angeles...
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592 posts
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2. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

If you take the first Jubilee line train at 5:25 (assuming you're flying out Monday-Saturday), you'll get to Heathrow a few minutes after 6:30. In my experience, 2 hours is more than enough time to check in and go through security. A lot of airlines have a self check-in option at the airport now; what airline are you flying on? If for some reason, you do end up in a ridiculously long line to check in, airlines will let customers whose flights are leaving soon come to the front of the line. They don't particularly want you to miss your flight either.

Siesta Key, Florida
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88 posts
9 reviews
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3. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

Myself and my 13 year old child are travelling.

American Airlines doesn't allow (per CSR this evening) online check-in for international flight, even if I printed the boarding pass I still have to show up in line to check in and he insisted I be there 3 hours or they can refuse passage.

Can I beg the name of the company who is only charging you £30 per car? I would need a 4:30am pick up at Pontoon Dock DLR (overlooking the Thames Barrier) in order to get to Heathrow by the required AA check-in of 5:30am.

I am a terrible worrier as is-this is going to keep me up all night.

But thank you BOTH for input!

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
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56,176 posts
15 reviews
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4. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

The area around Pontoon Dock DLR isn't really an ideal base for visitors to London...or do you have to be in the area for business reasons? It's a fairly hefty schlep on the DLR to and from most sights for visitors, and it's not really a trip which you might like to make two or three times a day in case you'd like to go 'home' during a day's sightseeing.

www.justairport.com offer a saloon car - big enough for two plus baggage - for just £40 from E16 (the postcode for Pontoon Dock) to LHR; it's a bit easier on the wallet than £60 and even cheaper than a room at the Yotel.

You mention that you've booked a flat in Canary Wharf and then say Pontoon Dock - they are very different places, so have you got a street name with which we can place the flat?

Siesta Key, Florida
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88 posts
9 reviews
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5. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

Canary Wharf is only 2 miles from the Pontoon Dock DLR...

which takes me about 30 minutes into the city-on a bad day.

Far enough away from the city, but yet so close.

Siesta Key, Florida
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88 posts
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6. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

P.S. THANK YOU for that website, looking now! :)

Siesta Key, Florida
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88 posts
9 reviews
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7. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

Sorry, that website appears to be for aviation school, last minute flights, etc. Is that the site you meant to post?

Sydney, Australia
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3,875 posts
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8. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

http://www.justairports.com/

http://www.simplyairports.co.uk/

http://www.batransfer.com/

Los Angeles...
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592 posts
2 reviews
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9. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

I almost always fly American to London, and almost every time, I've just walked up to the check-in counter without standing in any line whatsoever. Only once did I have to wait for any significant period of time, about half an hour. My 5 isolated experiences mean nothing statistically significant, but if I was flying on American again, I personally wouldn't even bother trying to get there 3 hours early because I'd "know" it wasn't necessary. The time I did have to wait, they had airline employees walking down the line, calling out different flight numbers and letting anyone taking those flights move right to the front of the line.

I stopped heeding the 2 hours domestic, 3 hours international recommendations a few years ago, and I've never missed a flight or come anywhere close to it. I have however cut down on time spent being bored in airports.

Watford
Destination Expert
for London
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41,617 posts
51 reviews
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10. Re: Mortified-getting to Heathrow before the trains run...?

You would probably get away with two and a half hours BUT with two or three changes of line early in the morning plus going from one side of London to the other, I would feel a lot safer with a car service. They will collect you from outside your accommodation and drop you yards from the T3 terminal building and they should know alternative routes if traffic was busy somewhere...which it shouldn't be at that time of the morning.