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Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

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Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

OK! So I am planning a trip to Paris and London this coming Feb. So far, my plan is to fly from NYC to LHR and from LHR to CDG to meet my brother in Paris for a few days then the train back to London to spend a few days and fly back home from LHR. I have already booked my flight through Virgin Atlantic to and from LHR. My biggest question is, since I am flying Virgin Atlantic to LHR, how do I go about getting a ticket on Airfrance (or whichever other airline...what do you reccommend?) to CDG? What I am thinking is that I will have to retrieve my bag and go back through the airport and check in and go through security at LHR. Am I correct in thinking this? Can anyone point me in a simpler way of doing this or another way of getting to Paris? I know the train is always an option, but would it be more of a hassle for me to get to St. Pancras than it would be to go back through the airport?? All suggestions are welcome! This will be my first time in Europe and I'll be traveling by myself so I'm kind of nervous and want to do things in the easiest possible way so I don't screw it all up :p

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London
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1. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Both Air France and British Airways fly from LHR to Paris. If you can get the London to Paris flight added to your existing booking, your bags will be checked through. If not, you will need to collect your bags, clear immigration and then check in for the subsequent flight. Heathrow has multiple terminals (not physically linked) and on this routing you'll have to change terminals.

London, United...
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2. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Hello and welcome to the London Forum.

> Can anyone point me in a simpler way of doing this or another way of getting to Paris?

If I wanted to go to NYC I wouldn't fly to Ottawa. If you want to go to Paris first then fly directly to Paris. Your plan seems designed to make your first trip to Europe a very stressful one.

Sheffield
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3. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Unfortunately Virgin and BA do not code share - in fact they hate each other. So you will have to make a separate booking LHR to and from CDG. And change (quite distant) terminals.

It might be quicker to go by train as it goes city centre to city centre - depends where your brother lives. It takes about two hours.

From LHR to St Pancras is about an hour on the tube. The Piccadilly line starts at Heathrow and takes you straight to St Pancras. You have to check in at least half an hour before train departure. Eurostar tickets are cheapest 120 days ahead.

I'd go for the train but see what others suggest (and you tell us where in Paris you need to be).

Italy
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4. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

It's a pity you didn't come here and get info before you booked your return tickets as it would have been better to book a multicity ticket flying from NYC to Paris, then return from London to NYC If you do book a seperate ticket to Paris make sure you leave enough time for the connection.

London, United...
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5. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

I have no idea why you didn't just book a flight from New York to Paris, given that you want to go to Paris first, not London. But as you've already booked the flight, you should try and get the London-Paris leg added onto your existing booking - as rcspeirs says, that will mean you're on one ticket, your bags will be checked through and should you miss your connection due to a delayed flight from New York the airline has to get you onto another flight.

If you can't do that, you'll have to book a separate flight, but be aware that the risk is all on you - if your flight from NYC is delayed and you miss the flight to Paris, you have no choice but to buy another ticket. So if you do that, make sure you leave plenty of time between flights (I've never connected through Heathrow on separate tickets so others can advise a sensible amount of time - I think 90 minutes is the minimum connection time at LHR but I would probably double it, if I was booking the flight).

The Eurostar is an option, but IMO it's the worst of your options - again, you shoulder all the risk of a missed connection, and you add in the extra variable of a schlep across London on public transport. Your flight could be bang on time, you sail through immigration and then get stuck on the Piccadilly line because of a signal failure and miss your train.

London
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6. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

"Unfortunately Virgin and BA do not code share - in fact they hate each other. So you will have to make a separate booking LHR to and from CDG."

That statement isn't quite right. Although BA and Virgin are competitors, you can get a through ticket which combines both these carriers. If you have a single booking number, your bags will be checked through.

UK
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7. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Have you already booked your flight? Virgin Atlantic is a great airline... but they're not part of any alliances, which means that they're not an ideal choice for multi-city itineraries. There was talk of closer co-operation with Air France, but I don't think anything has been finalised.

If you haven't already booked you may want to consider booking with someone who can offer you an open-jaw ticket (i.e., New York to Paris, London back to New York) - either BA, or a combination of Delta and Air France (they are partners)

If you have booked with Virgin I would probably still suggest flying to Paris, even if it means collecting and re-checking your baggage. If your starting point is in Central London then Eurostar is the obvious choice (very much a no-brainer, really), but as you're starting your journey at LHR I think flying would be easier.

Dunfermline, United...
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8. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Actually, I think VA now have a code share with one of the US airlines. Its either Delta or United so its worth looking into that.

I can't find the link but if you Google Virgin Atlantic codeshares you should find it

Manchester
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9. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

Actually, rcspeirs is wrong. The Virgin website states that you will need to book two tickets, as they do not code share with the connecting airlines. This means two things. First your bags will probably not get checked through (though they can do this - I have had it done on non code share connections). This will mean clearing immigration and bag claim at LHR. For non EEA citizens LHR is slow for immigration - target time 45 minutes. Second it means if you miss the connection it is on your head. Virgin make this quite explicit. This means leaving quite a long connection time for safety (you will not be entitled to compensation for delayed arrival for the first three hours or so from Virgin).

Personally, I would not like either option. Connecting to St Pancras after a long haul flight is no picnic. There is no direct train from LHR, and the tube is slow and tedious with bags, especially at the time most long hauls arrive. So given that hassle I would probably make the connection at Heathrow and allow time. CDG is vastly better served for transport options than Heathrow, and getting to your final destination from there will be a breeze.

Illinois
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10. Re: Getting from London to Paris, fly or rail?!

I agree that it would be better if you had just booked to fly to Paris. First I'd call Virgin and see if they can add a flight to Paris on your current itinerary. If not, I would just plan to fly LHR to CDG. It will be a pain as you'll have to go through immigration, collect your bags, recheck your bags, and reclear security. I would allow plenty of time for this connection. It might be easier if you fly carry on only. I don't know if that would allow you to use the flight connections part of the airport as I've never done that, but I would presume if you have your boarding pass (from online check in) and no checked bags it might be possible. I think this is easier than going through as an arriving passenger and then rechecking in.

If you can add the flight on to your itinerary, then I would do that. If you can't, I would repost on here with your flight options so people can advise you of the best way to make the connection (before you book the flight).