The busiest airport in the UK and fourth-busiest worldwide, London Heathrow Airport handles an amazing 65 million passengers each year. Located 15 miles (24km) from central London, the airport is served by 90 airlines (including British Airways, who uses Heathrow as its home base) offering flights to London Heathrow from 180 destinations worldwide.
London Heathrow Airport is the main gateway for flights to London. Despite its distance from the city centre, Heathrow utilises extensive public transport options that create easy, hassle-free transfers into London.
The airport itself is immense, with four large terminals (and another on under construction). It can be easy to get lost, but the facility is well-signed and staff members are always on-hand to help. Nevertheless, passengers should allow plenty of time when making connections.
In terms of attractions and entertainment, London Heathrow Airport has near-endless options for shopping and dining in each terminal. Even just people-watching in the diverse crowds is a good way to pass the time while waiting for a flight at London Heathrow Airport.
The airport is situated 15 miles (24km) west of London.
Getting to the city
The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station and takes 15 minutes with one-way tickets starting at £21 if purchased online or £26 if purchased onboard. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground (the tube). The National Express coach service takes passengers to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK. Heathrow is on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes and costs £5.50. The N9 night bus departs to central London every 30 minutes from the central bus station. Taxis are available outside each terminal, and mini-cabs can offer more competitive prices than the black cabs but must be booked in advance - call +44 (0)208 574 0868. Car rental companies operate from all terminals.
GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Tel: +44 (0)8700 000 123.
Car rental companies operating from all terminals include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.
London's black taxis service Heathrow Airport; the journey time to central London varies from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on traffic. Fares are metered and depend on distance and duration of travel; fares to central London will not cost less than £50. Taxis are available from outside each terminal. Private mini-cabs can offer more competitive prices but must be booked in advance - call +44 (0) 208 574 0868.
Transfer between terminals
Terminals 1 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes from one end to the other. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time between terminals. Alternatively, Terminal 4 can be reached via the 555 bus, leaving every 19 minutes, while Terminal 5 is serviced by the 441 and 724 buses, which take 10 and 20 minutes respectively. Terminal 5 is also connected by the N9 night bus between 23:55pm and 4:55am. Terminal 2 is closed for renovations, scheduled to reopen in 2014.
There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs and currency exchange facilities in all terminals. Each terminal also has a left luggage facility and postal services. A pharmacy is available in Terminal 1, and a spa offering massages and other treatments is located in Terminal 5B. There are VIP Lounges is Terminals 1-4, with online booking available at the airport's website. Disabled facilities are good; those requiring special needs are advised to contact their airline in advance. There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal, and St George's Chapel is located between Terminals 1 and 3 near the central bus station. There are shower facilities located past security in Terminal 4.
Short-term parking is available adjacent to the airport. A free shuttle service links the terminals and the long-term and business car parks. Parking can be booked on 0870 850 2825 or via the airport website. Valet parking is also available at all terminals. Motorbikes can park free of charge at designated areas at each terminal.
Flights to London Heathrow Airport are available via Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Iberia, Lufthansa, KLM, Qantas, Qatar Airways, South African Airways, United, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Free wifi is available for the first 45 minutes; thereafter charges apply.
There are three main business lounges at London Heathrow offering refreshments, internet access, and phone and fax facilities. Two Servisair Executive Lounges and a No. 1 Traveller Lounge offer similar facilities, but for conference or meeting rooms it's best to go to one of the airport hotels.
London Heathrow Taxis: the taxi fares above are intended as a guideline only.