I am travelling from Germany to the USA and I have a 1h30m layover in Heathrow. I arrive at terminal 5 and leave at terminal 3. Originally I booked the ticket with no checked luggage, but now I am thinking that I will have to to carry Christmas presents for my family.

From what I understand, I will have to claim my bag and then go through customs in the UK before continuing on. I am wondering if I realistically have enough time to do this, since Terminal 5 and terminal 3 are not in the same building, I will have to take a tram.

I am also not an EU resident and so I will have to stand in the "long line". Is this a realistic timeframe? And if I were to miss my flight because of it, would I be stuck paying for another one?

  • 1
    Did you book this trip as a single ticket or two separate tickets? Dec 6, 2018 at 19:26
  • Single ticket, return trip
    – wfgeo
    Dec 6, 2018 at 20:04
  • 1
    But if it's a single ticket, you won't need to leave the transit area. Is there something we're missing?
    – DTRT
    Dec 6, 2018 at 20:06
  • I think I am the one having the misunderstanding, I thought that because I was transferring airlines, I would have to claim my baggage and go through security again, I think I neglected to mention that fact? I don't actually travel internationally that often, at least not through borders which require customs
    – wfgeo
    Dec 6, 2018 at 20:18
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    @1saac How did you book your ticket? If for example you bought your flight on delta.com and you chose a flight with a layover, then you don't need to worry about picking up your luggage. You only have to worry about it if you explicitly bought two separate tickets.
    – async
    Dec 6, 2018 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


If you booked this itinerary as a single ticket in a single transaction, then you have adequate time to make this connection (although not a huge amount of time to spare). You do not need to claim your luggage nor pass through immigration, nor do you need to pass through a customs inspection.

When you deplane in Terminal 5, follow the purple signs for "Flight Connections". You will take a bus over to Terminal 3, and then you will clear security in Terminal 3. If you need to claim onward boarding passes, you can do so in Terminal 3. Your baggage will be checked through to your first airport inside the United States.

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