I have a plane ticket arriving at Heathrow (Air Canada, so T2) at 11:05, and a LNER ticket from Kings Cross at 14:00. (I also have a ticket for the 16:00 service, just in case, but that gets in very late so I’d rather not.)

How likely am I to make my connection, and what can I do to maximize my chances?

Some details:

  • I’m young, traveling alone, and generally fairly comfortable with public transit. That being said, Air Canada decided to reschedule me onto an 8 hour layover, so I might be fairly tired if I can’t sleep on my flight. I’ll have one suitcase and a small backpack.
  • I’m a USA citizen, so I should be able to use the e-gates at immigration.
  • This is happening in a few weeks, i.e. COVID will be a thing.

Some specific things I’m wondering about:

  • How long does it typically take from the plane landing to getting off the plane, getting through immigration, and luggage showing up on the baggage claim? (I might be able to have my bag as a carry on—not sure.)
  • Heathrow Express + Circle looks faster than the Piccadilly, but more expensive and more of a hassle. Should I bother?
    • TfL rail?
  • How much time do I need to get from Tube platform to mainline platform at Kings Cross? How close to the departure time can I get to the platform and make it onto the train?
  • Although this Q&A travel.stackexchange.com/questions/16960/… has been around here for a while I think most of the advice is still fairly current. My feeling is that you should make it especially if you have carry-on rather than checked in luggage.
    – mdewey
    Aug 8 '20 at 10:36
  • 7
    Does this answer your question? How to get from Heathrow Airport to King's Cross, London?
    – mdewey
    Aug 8 '20 at 10:37
  • It typically takes 30-60 minutes from landing to emerging into the arrivals hall. There is only one route for me: Picadilly Line direct to KX which takes one hour. Then 10-15 minutes to come up from the tube and find the train. It's also possible to buy one rail ticket from Heathrow through to your destination via KX. The 3 hours you have should be enough. Aug 8 '20 at 13:06
  • Remember also the plane-to-train connection: a delayed flight arrival may impair your catching the 1400 service. Aug 8 '20 at 14:49

That should be fine, although Covid does make the whole thing less predictable.

If you arrive at 11:05, you should be able to be at the Tube station around 12:00. I have not been to Heathrow during Covid, but I found most airports, to be quite quick: number of passengers is way down but security and customs staff are still employed so there tend to be more that you actually need and things move often move fast. Having only carry-on luggage certainly makes that faster.

There maybe advanced Covid screening or paperwork procedures, but they change all the time and are hard to predict. Makes sure you stay up to date on this, and meet all requirements for entry (test results, quarantine conditions, etc.).

The Piccadilly line goes directly from Heathrow to King's Cross and it leaves every 5 minutes or so. It takes about an hour, so you'd be in King's Cross around 13:00 and you have an extra hour to deal with hiccups and complications. It's a bit of slog but since you don't need to change, you can just snooze through most of it.

I wouldn't bother with the Heathrow Express or TFL because it currently has reduced service (every 30 minutes) and you still need to get from Paddington to King's Cross.

  • 1
    +1 from me, with the added caveat that although I think it's perfectly doable, there's not much slop in that timetable. A 20-minute delay at Acton Town, for example, could leave you sprinting through King's Cross. For my wife, that kind of knowledge is painful, and ruins her journey; while me, I'm unworried. So depending on what kind of traveller you are, be prepared for a few hours of tension. I know there's nothing you can do to get an extra half-hour of contingency time in there, this is simply a note about mindset and expectation.
    – MadHatter
    Aug 9 '20 at 6:44

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