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Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

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California
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Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

Hi,

My research indicated that it takes about a hour to get from King's Cross to Heathrow and that Eurostar trains are usually on time. Based on this I bought round trip London to Paris Eurostar tickets. Our return train arrives at St Pancras at 9:00am and our flight back to the US leaves Heathrow at 2:10pm. I thought I would have enough time, but now I am seeing posts about how you shouldn't take the train on the same day you fly home. Is there any special reason for that? Am I missing something with the timing? My tickets are non-exchangeable, but if I really need to get new ones, it's probably better to do it now while discounted tickets might still be available.

Thanks for any feedback or help you can provide.

Stacy

London, United...
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1. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

Others' views will vary, but if I were to have booked a long haul flight from Heathrow airport on day X I would not start that day in France.

Depending on the date you plan to travel there could be planned works on the Underground that could put a spanner in your plans, and unexpected delays do happen on the day. Ostensibly you could expect to be on a Piccadilly line train from KX by 0945 after alighting from Eurostar, and should all go well that would mean arriving at the Departures area of the airport by about 1100.

But that too does not take into consideration the airline with which you've booked (along with the date of travel) and terminal building of departure. With changes coming at Heathrow next month (and on into autumn) there could be increased times at departure and arrival for several airlines as the new T2 settles down.

Let us know more, please.

California
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2. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

Hi TravellerPlus,

Thanks for you quick response. Our travel day is a Monday in mid September. The airline is United.

Stacy

London, United...
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3. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

Thanks. United are moving to the new LHR T2 on 4 June, and (ideally) by September operations should be running smoothly at that terminal building. Since you will be travelling on a weekday the weekend Underground works should not have an impact on the journey from KX.

Ultimately whether to rebook rail tickets is a matter of your risk tolerance. My experience with Eurostar is that the trains have operated to their timetable, plus or minus less than five minutes, and overall Eurostar has a good on time record. Things can change, though, and unexpected events do happen. Talk things over with your travelling companion(s) and decide what you are willing to risk with the tickets you've booked; new rail tickets will probably cost less than new air tickets.

California
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4. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

Thanks so much for your help. It sounds like it theory we could make it, but is it worth the stress and rush. If we decided to buy a new ticket back to London, do you think it would be best to leave the round trip ticket alone and buy and additional one way ticket? Thanks again!

Bingley, United...
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5. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

< do you think it would be best to leave the round trip ticket alone and buy and additional one way ticket? >

No it's best to add it to your original ticket - it means you won't have to pass through UK immigration, collect luggage, pass through customs, check in again, all the time worrying that if your flight is late or you have other problems getting to Heathrow you will have to buy a new flight home.

London, United...
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6. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

I think you should be OK. There is enough leeway in your timetable to accommodate minor delays.

California
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7. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

So, you don't have to go through immigration with a round trip ticket, but you do with a one way?

Thanks to everyone!

We're still thinking about it. We realized last night that we'd like to have enough time to go get the vat refund stamp, but T2 doesn't have a map posted yet, so no ideas of where that will be or how long it will take.

Baton Rouge
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8. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

If it were me, I would probably just stick with what you have. It may not be the ideal itinerary that I would have planned, but you should be fine. Things can always go wrong, but the Eurostar is pretty reliable. So, if you arrive 9am, you can probably be on the tube to Heathrow within 15 - 20 minutes of arrival and at the Heathrow tube station about an hour later. That puts you at the airport around 10:30, if not a little before, which should be enough time to get all checked in, take care of VAT refund, etc. without being rushed.

So, in an everything-on-time scenario, it should be no stress; no rush. If something does go wrong, you could probably be delayed an hour and a half and be rushed, but still make it. If there's a really major delay, you just call your airline, explain what's going on and see how they will work with you.

Baton Rouge
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9. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

As for going through immigration, it's not clear whether you're talking about booking an earlier Eurostar ticket or a plane ticket to London as an alternative. I think those responding about the immigration were assuming that you meant flying back to London instead of taking the train. In that case, it matters whether it is a connection added onto your existing itinerary or a separate ticket. To make a connection, you never go through the immigration checkpoint at Heathrow; you just follow the signs for connection, but you would go through a security check again, where you and your carry-on items would be screened. If it's a totally separate ticket, you may have to go through immigration, claim any checked bags, then check back in the normal way for your flight out.

Loughton, United...
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10. Re: Is Eurostar to Heathrow connection too tight?

You'll do it if everything is on time. Suggest you take out travel insurance including a good section on cover for public transport delays.

Edited: 06 May 2014, 16:12