We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Miami, Florida
4 posts
Save Topic
Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

Hi All!

I have a relative traveling via Heathrow and she needs to stay overnight near T5, where she'll be changing flights. I found out that the Sofitel is connected to the terminal and within walking distance for ~$280/night, but there are other options like the Travelodge T5 for a fraction of that cost.

My relative is an elderly lady who does not speak English. Would it be too confusing for her to get around the airport and try to catch the Hoppa bus or a cab to and from the Travelodge? Or should I just bite the bullet and book the Sofitel?

I would appreciate any advice, I have never been to Heathrow, nor do I know how hard it would be for a foreigner to find their way around. Thank you in advance!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,635 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

I haven't taken the hoppa to and from the T5 Travelodge, but it has limited operating hours and may not be suitable for your relative's needs.

Signage at T5 is in English, and to that end you may wish to consider asking BA to arrange assistance with the arrivals and departures process; that assistance is offered by the airport operator rather than airline staff.

Taking a taxi to and from the Travelodge might be an easier option than using the hoppa, but you would need to have the necessary information written down in your relative's language and in English for her to provide to the driver. You would also need to have a translation sheet prepared for TL staff.

At what time of day and on what days of the week do her flights arrive and depart? Are either of the flights long haul services? Most of those use satellite terminal buildings, another reason to book ground assistance as your relative will need guidance on how to make her way to the (free) transit train and to the satellite terminal bulding.

London UK
Level Contributor
2,562 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

What is her first language?

Dunfermline, United...
Level Contributor
13,042 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

Indeed, what is their first language? We might be able to translate a few things for her. Otherwise, TP's advice is sound. Book some assistance for her at Heathrow. They will arrange for someone who speaks her language and point her in the right direction

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
Level Contributor
5,557 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

Right now LHR is full of extra staff with foreign languages because of the Olympics - something like 40 languages. There *will* be someone who can help.

On the hotel, you won't go wrong with the Travelodge and a taxi with the appropriate things written down.

Watford
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
40,459 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

I would be concerned that -

A) a taxi would refuse to make the short journey from terminal to Travelodge or

B) would rip-off your relative by charging them far more. In fact as the hotel is technically outside Greater London I wonder if a driver could in fact name their own price and legally rip-off your relative.

There is also the matter of taking the correct Hoppa bus back to T5 should she decide to take that option.

I appreciate the Sofitel is a lot more expensive (do look around various booking sites to see if there any deals) but it would certainly be my preferred option if I didn't speak or understand any English.

Ayr, Scotland
Level Contributor
2,652 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

A taxi from the rank is £45 I kid you not. And it is exactly as Adam said - we were told it was because it was outside the area but it can't be more than 2/3 miles. Suspect they don't fancy the journey as it's too short and will have to go to back of queue. It negates the benefit of a cheap room at the Travellodge. (the bus was another 35 min wait)

I feel that the Hoppa bus may be too much hassle in these circumstances too.

Edited: 08 August 2012, 21:55
Nottingham, United...
Level Contributor
3,354 posts
144 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

This elderly relative is vulnerable in this situation even with written down instructions.

Is her arrival at Heathrow a stop over just overnight?

I am sure if you contact Heathrow probably via the air company that she is flying with assistance can be given by a member of staff upon arrival if prearranged.

She certainly needs this.

Miami, Florida
4 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

Thank you everyone for the replies, you are all super helpful!

My relative flies in 3 months, but I would like to be prepared (it wasn't her first choice to book a flight that required an overnight stay, but her original flight got canceled and this is what the booking site offered her instead). She arrives in London on a Tuesday afternoon from Sofia, and then flies to the US (Miami) the following morning at 9:40. Would either of these flights typically require a trip to the satellite terminal building?

That is a great suggestion to seek travel assistance. She is Bulgarian, thankfully I speak both languages, so I will most definitely provide her with written instructions. From heathrowairport.com: "You could try our meet and assist service, Diamond Air. They can assist with non-English speakers who need a guiding hand. Call +44 (0)20 8897 9183 to find out more." If they can help her get to the Sofitel and back, that seems like our best bet. :)

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,635 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

The flight from SOF very likely will arrive at the main terminal building, but BA207 will probably depart from a satellite terminal.

Booking Diamond Air may be the wisest choice, along with a stay at the Sofitel.

Ayr, Scotland
Level Contributor
2,652 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Heathrow T5 - Help for non-English speaking passenger!

See if you can get the Sofitel a bit cheaper. I have seen it priced at around £100 / $150.

Try the ' airport extras ' website.