Here's the itinerary:

  • Turkish Airlines, Istanbul --> London, Heathrow
  • United Airlines, Heathrow --> Washington, D.C. (IAD)
  • United Airlines, Washington, D.C. --> Orlando, FL (MCO)

And a few facts:

  • I'm a U.S. citizen with a U.S. passport
  • The travel is all on one ticket
  • I'll have a checked bag
  • The layover is quite short (70 minutes)
  • Pretty sure I'll be both arriving at and departing from LHR's Terminal 2

Will I be required to go through Immigration and Customs at Heathrow?

I'm concerned because not only is it a short layover, but I'm dealing with two different airlines. That said, both TA and UA are in the Star Alliance.

Maybe the bags will just get checked all the way through to Orlando?

But I'm not sure that even matters if I still have to get through Customs.

  • 1
    Customs processing on arrival to the US is always at the first airport you arrive at. You will need to collect the bag in Washington, carry it through customs, and re-check it for the domestic leg. Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 22:49
  • On the other hand, at Heathrow it is likely that your bag will be checked through, and you won't need to go through immigration. Just follow the "connecting flights" signage on arrival; after a security check you will end up in the airside departures concourse. Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 22:51
  • -1 for now, but if you can adjust the title of your post so its a question rather than a travel itinerary, I will take back the downvote. Is your question about going through immigration, or baggage being checked through? Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 4:11
  • What time of day are you transiting through Heathrow? Heathrow has busy times and quieter times for transit. That said, T2 seems to be working well at the moment, so I'd think you'd be fine on any legal connection
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 4:34
  • @Gagravarr I'm actually not sure about the time because this flight is not until next November. The Heathrow website's "Which Terminal?" feature doesn't go that far.
    – jmoneystl
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


You should not be going through Customs, if your bags are checked through to the US. If your itinerary is on a single booking, then your bags should be checked through; double check this when you check in and drop off your baggage at the airline counter at the start of your trip.

Heathrow has airside transit between all terminals; it's not even necessary to clear immigration if you have to change terminals.

Simply follow the purple Flight Connections signs when you get off your plane. If your departing flight is in another terminal, you'll be directed to a bus stop where you will take a bus to your departure terminal. Either way, you will then go through departure security, have a chance to visit the airline desk if you need to, and then be at your departure gate.

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