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I will arrive with 5 suitcases at Heathrow airport, I am alone, how do I get help to transport it all through customs?

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    There's been some discussion about the intent of your question; specifically, whether you'd like the help of a porter, or whether you'd like some tips on carrying a bunch of bags. If you would be so kind as to edit your question to clarify your intent, that would be awesome. Have a great flight! – Shokhet Apr 6 '15 at 4:30
  • Related: wouldn't be carrying 5 suitcases sound suspicious? What could be done to avoid it? Might be worth asking this question. – o0'. Apr 6 '15 at 16:22
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    @Lohoris Why? Many people working abroad go back to their country of origin with a huge load of presents. – Relaxed Apr 7 '15 at 8:01
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There is a Heathrow Porter service for luggage:

Heathrow porters are at your service to help with luggage. The service costs from £9 for a standard amount of luggage.

Porters are available on terminal forecourts and in baggage reclaim halls.

On your departure they will meet you and your party on the forecourt and escort your luggage to the check-in desk.

On your return journey they will meet you and your party by the carousel and take you and your luggage to a point of transport or a waiting relative.

Contact us and booking

Website: heathrow.com/upgrade

Email: service@heathrowupgrade.com

Telephone: +44 (20) 8745 6011

You can book one directly on that site.

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    I'm suspicious of that "at the carousel" statement - is that intended to be for international incoming flights? - where you'd still be in custom controlled space? – Russell McMahon Apr 6 '15 at 12:53
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    @RussellMcMahon it's a quote from their site, I can't tell you more than that :/ – Mark Mayo Apr 6 '15 at 12:55
  • Although from memory, it's in the secure area, so they may have clearance. Wouldn't be the first airport I've seen that happen. – Mark Mayo Apr 6 '15 at 12:56
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    They wait in a roughly central place in the baggage claim hall, by the carousels, before customs. They are definitely in a customs controlled space. They wear red and are fairly easy to spot when you descend from passport control – Gagravarr Apr 7 '15 at 9:15
  • That's what those guys wearing red are doing! – JoErNanO Apr 7 '15 at 21:26
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You could pay for a porter, like Mark Mayo suggested, but I would personally rather use a baggage cart, or trolley, even if I had to pay for one. According to Heathrow's website, they're free to use in Heathrow airport.

Baggage trolleys are provided for your use free of charge in key areas around the terminal buildings.

Arriving passengers will find plenty of trolleys in baggage reclaim, and these can be taken to the car park, bus station or rail station access points.

Trolleys are also provided on the departures concourse. Please note that they can't be taken through security control.

In the interests of safety, please don't let children ride on the trolleys.

They should look something like this:

baggage carts in an airport

(from Wikipedia)

Depending on the size of your bags, you should be able to fit all or most of your bags on the cart, if you're careful; the one or two that don't fit can either get their own cart, or can be towed by hand. Done!

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  • I think you forgot this key part of the question how do I get help – Burhan Khalid Apr 6 '15 at 4:13
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    @BurhanKhalid I don't understand why you can't pile 5 bags on a trolley, if you're careful...even 3 or 4, and wheel the rest with the other hand. That's what I'd do...or am I missing something else? I don't see what being alone has to do with the problem. – Shokhet Apr 6 '15 at 4:15
  • It may be that the person is not physically capable of moving the luggage (for example, they may be suffering from a bad back); it may be that they need help because they are traveling with little children or any number of reasons. The point is the person is specifically asking for help. – Burhan Khalid Apr 6 '15 at 4:25
  • I see your point now, @BurhanKhalid ....I saw an earlier revision of your first comment. I think you have a good point....though the OP's intent is still a bit unclear. If they'd like to edit their question to include what their problem is (likely not little children, if they're travelling alone), then we'd be in a better position to judge the worth of my answer. I won't delete it just yet, in case it's of use to the OP anyway. Thanks! – Shokhet Apr 6 '15 at 4:28
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    @BurhanKhalid To me obtaining a cart sounds like a lot of help compared to carrying five suitcases on my own. – sharptooth Apr 6 '15 at 9:04
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Two people have suggested that porters are available AT the luggage carousel.
But I'd be surprised if porters are allowed t be in the customs controlled area for international flights.
If so, problem solved, if $ cost is OK.

However, I'd strongly expect that a lady travelling alone who could not manage to fit all bags on one trolley, would attract offers of assistance from a number of people if seen struggling to push two carts at once. You'd get my help (as would anyone in that situation) and I'd expect an adequate number of equally helpful people on most flights.

Failing that - I suspect that asking the cabin staff at point of departure from the aircraft would result in some sort of assistance.

I know I could fit 5 bags of any size on any trolley - but most people stand clear
when they see me coming at the best of times :-). If I knew I HAD to do this I'd take a roll of parcel tape (which I usually carry anyway) to assist me in fitting 5 bags on one trolley. It would look unusual, but it would work if they did not fit stably by themselves. I also use tape with "ocean jumping bags" as required - see below.


Portable self help: When making international hops and luggage refuses to tidily fit into 'normal' cases my family uses what we term "Ocean Jumping bags". That's just a fun name for 'anything cheap light and BIG that you can rapidly fit lots and lots of stuff into" - so these can be anything that works, BUT ours usually look like this the picture below.
In many countries you can buy large flexible polyester (I think) zipped bags that are "strong enough" but which provide minimal protection for contents by themselves. However, you can fit two or maybe three largish "ordinary bags inside one of these and push various bits and pieces around the bags - which makes fitting things on trolleys and keeping them together that much easier. I may tape the filled bag with parcel tape as required to stop it being too floppy. Pretty they are not - but they serve the need very well indeed. You can even, if you really have to, drag one of these along a floor or even smooth concrete without damage to the bags inside. (Don't overdo it).

I have described ocean jumping bag use in more detail in my answer to this question - but this is what typical ones look like.

enter image description here
Larger version here

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  • I would be cautious about accepting help from a random person for any distance, due to the possibility of theft. In some areas (Chicago's airports, for example), this is expressly illegal (while they probably wouldn't say anything for someone just helping with bags for a second, it is illegal to offer, technically) for this reason. – Joe Apr 6 '15 at 15:23
  • Porters at Heathrow are inside the customs area (wearing red, with trolleys, and with ID badges) – Gagravarr Apr 7 '15 at 9:16
  • Hmmm. The phantom downvoter strikes (~= May 8th). They obviously have an 'interesting' view of what constitutes "useful". – Russell McMahon May 8 '15 at 11:00

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