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I'm on the way to meet German national friends for coffee, who are going to Hawaii from HAJ via LHR. They've arrived in Heathrow terminal 5 and took an airside bus to T3. They've gone through a US pre check and another security checkpoint when they arrived in T3.

We now worry that we can't meet for coffee because they can't get out any more and will be stuck in there for a few hours.

Can they get landside from the US departure are in terminal 3? If so, how?

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    It’s probably a bit late now. To get landside they should have followed exit signs and gone through passport control and customs (requiring a visa, depending on their citizenship and other status). They can ask staff if there’s a way for them to exit, but it’s going to be a complex process I believe. – jcaron Feb 2 at 9:06
  • They've just asked, and it seems they can. They were in the regular airside shopping area and just couldn't find the time exits. They have to go through immigration and baggage claim like anyone else. They're doing that now. I'll update and answer when I know more. I think they were just confused because they'd not been to LHR before and all the transfers and security was intimidating. – simbabque Feb 2 at 9:09
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It seems you can walk straight out near security. When my friends were transferred on the bus, airside, from T5 to T3 they needed to reclear security in T5, as well as a border exit check as far as I understand. They then proceeded through the entire terminal to their departure area, where they got confused about the lack of exit sings.

After asking a few different Heathrow employees they were pointed in the right direction. Directly near the security checkpoint there's a shortcut that takes you back round passport control and then baggage claim. It only took them minutes.

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    The lack of exits signs is on purpose, the design of the airport intends connecting passengers to stay airside. It's possible to leave with help, or if you know the airport well. But you shouldn't find yourself there by accident. – Calchas Feb 3 at 19:29

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