I am exempted from a transit visa for the UK as I am flying from South Africa to the USA via the UK. I am arriving & departing from T5 on BA. I am not allowed access into any of the BA Lounges at T5 & will be in transit for 9h30m so looking for a lounge where I can pay for access to have a shower & rest. Am I allowed to commute between terminals & which lounges will I be allowed into without a transit visa for the UK. Are there immigration checks between terminals?

  • If you're allowed landside then I'd consider having a snooze in T4's Yotel. They say "Transferring (airside) passengers will need valid entry into the UK to stay with us." though, so you might not be allowed.
    – A E
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 10:18
  • There's a pay-for lounge opening in T5 in July or August, how soon do you travel?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


No, you are not allowed to get airside in the other terminals without a same day boarding pass departing from the terminal in question. Even if you do successfully get into the other terminals (actually it is possible to get access to Terminals 2,3 and 4 without a boarding pass but only if you really know your way around Heathrow), the lounge staff are required to deny you access, unless you are departing from the same terminal. Plus, you will also have trouble leaving the terminal again.

Aspire is opening an independent pay-for-access lounge in T5 underneath the south lounge complex, but I am not sure when it is to open.

If you are able to go landside via immigration, there is a Regus business lounge in the T5 building, with access available for payment. Regus also gives away free lounge passes on promotions, which can probably be found by Google.

To your other questions, there is no immigration check travelling airside between the terminals, but I would not advise you trying to go to the other terminals unless you are flying from them.

  • I do not remember which terminal but in the past I have been able to get a shower at Heathrow without the need to go to a lounge. Ask the staff as there might still be that option. (It was a while ago)
    – Willeke
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 10:24
  • One could theoretically buy a fully-refundable ticket for the same day and get to T3 without questions.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 10:34
  • Yes you can. I didn't suggest this because it is a bit of a palava. Most airlines charge an admin fee on the refund. The exit from T3 airside is not signposted but it is possible to get back to the flight connections centre if you keep walking against the flow of traffic.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 10:45
  • Normally changing terminals in Heathrow isn't allowed without a departing flight from there. However... At the transfer bus gates in T5, there's signs up about the lounge in T3, so I think it might be allowed to transfer to T3 for that then return (the poorly sign-posted way)
    – Gagravarr
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 8:24
  • You were at one point definitely not (supposed) to be allowed to use a lounge in the wrong terminal. Maybe that has changed.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 9:41

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