London Heathrow International Airport
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London Heathrow Intl Airport Information
Heathrow is located 16 miles (25 km) west of the center of London. There is a tourist board counter in the arrivals halls of all four terminals. The airport Web site is part of the BAA Web site with links to seven British airports. BAA is the British Airport Authority. Heathrow's Web site includes:
- Terminal maps.
- Information on flight arrivals
- Information on transportation options for getting to the airport
London's famous Black Cabs are available outside all terminals. If you have excess luggage, this is the way to go. The trip to central London will set you back about ?35 ($58) and take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour depending on the traffic.
A less expensive option is a mini-cab. Mini-cabs are different than Black Cabs in that they cannot be flagged down on the street. To arrange for one, you might try calling information from the airport and asking for the number of a mini-cab company. They will cost you from ?25 to ?35.
The Heathrow Express train, completed in 1998, is a non-stop rail service between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station. The trip lasts 15 minutes and leaves every 15 minutes from all Heathrow terminals and platforms 6 & 7 at Paddington. Passengers travelling to Paddington can connect to four underground lines as well as BritRail, the commuter rail service for points outside London.
Over 25 airlines offer check-in at Paddington Station. Conveniently, there is also full baggage check-in, allowing customers to check their bags to their flights before boarding the train. Fares are ?12 each way for Express Class and ?33 each way for First Class. Children ages 5-15 ride for free when accompanied by an adult.
Follow the signs to the Underground (usually called the "Tube") station that serves all 4 Heathrow terminals. This is the Piccadilly line to central London where you can transfer to other lines. You can use a baggage trolley for your luggage up to the entryway to the trains, but from there you will have to carry your bags. At peak times the trains run every 4 minutes, and every 10 minutes at other times. They operate from 6 A.M. to midnight and the trip takes 50-60 minutes.
At last check the cost of one-way travel from the airport to central London was ?3.20 ($5.30). A better bargain is a system-wide Travelcard for ?4.50 ($7.50), which allows unlimited travel for the rest of the day. The Travelcard is available after 9:30 A.M.
Follow the signs to the central bus station for Heathrow terminals 1, 2, and 3. For terminal 4 go to the information desk in the arrivals area after you pass through customs. At these areas you can get information on the many options for buses to London, the surrounding countryside, and nearby rail stations, such as Reading or Watford Junction.
Airbus A2 is a doubledecker London Transport bus that goes to many central London hotels. It is fun to ride and there is plenty of luggage space. The A2 leaves for Euston British Rail Station every 30 minutes from 6:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M., and takes the 50-90 minutes and the fare is ?7 ($11.60).
The bus makes many stops along the way, so there is a good chance it will go to your hotel if you are staying in central London. The line has a detailed map showing all the stops along the way, so consult the map when buying your ticket to see if your hotel is served. If it is not, simply depart the bus at a stop near your hotel and walk, or take a taxi from a hotel taxi stand to your final destination. See the London Transport desk or the Heathrow Bus Station for tickets.
There are frequent buses to the other airports with Speedlink, or Greenline buses. After leaving customs, follow the signs for these companies to their desks, where you can buy tickets. You should leave at least 2-1/2 hours between flights if you are connecting to another airport. The travel time between Heathrow and Stansted or Gatwick airports is around 1-2 hours, depending on the traffic.
London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), often referred to simply as Heathrow, is the United Kingdom's busiest and best-connected airport.
Heathrow is the world's third-busiest airport by total passenger traffic, after Atlanta/Hartsfield and Chicago/O'Hare in the United States; however, due to the large number of foreign connecting flights, Heathrow actually has the world's highest number of international passenger movements.
In 2004 Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe in terms of total passenger traffic (31.5% more passengers than at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Frankfurt International Airport), but it was only third behind Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt in terms of plane movements (9.5% fewer planes than at Charles de Gaulle, and 0.3% fewer planes than at Frankfurt), and also only third in terms of cargo traffic (24.8% less cargo than at Charles de Gaulle and 23.2% less than at Frankfurt).
Heathrow Airport is in the London Borough of Hillingdon, which is in the west of London.
Heathrow's landing patterns
Bovingdon stack is the holding area to the north-west of London where some inbound planes are held in a racetrack pattern, generally between 8,000 and 15,000 feet. Other holds serving Heathrow are at Lambourne in Essex, Biggin Hill in Bromley and Ockham in Surrey.
These lie respectively to the north-east, south-east and south-west of London's built-up area. While in such a holding pattern, an airliner will typically range up to about six nautical miles (11 km) from the reference radio beacon, and will fly in a standardised published direction across that fixed beacon prior to commencing the next circuit at a flight level given by air traffic control.
Extreme skill is required to harmonise the aircraft departing from the four holds in terms of speed, and to guide their pilots through concise radio instructions, onto the glidepath to a single runway at suitable and safe intervals, typically no less than two-and-a-half nautical miles (5 km). The parallel runway is normally assigned to departing aircraft. To reduce noise nuisance to people beneath the glideslope or departure routes, the role of each runway is normally alternated at a set time each day when the wind is from the west. Conventionally at Heathrow this runway alternation time is 1500 local time.