My son is traveling from LAX to Heathrow on Air New Zealand and from LHR to Barcelona on British Airways. He is on two separate tickets and did not realize that he would be unable to interline his luggage. Of course, this was a very bad idea but it's done and he leaves tomorrow! This is his first international flight experience. Air New Zealand arrives at Terminal 2 and his BA flight departs from Terminal 3. He has a 3-hour layover. He is a US citizen.

Is this accurate?

  1. Check-in online with BA. Will have boarding pass.
  2. Complete landing card distributed on the flight, writing “transit” for UK address.
  3. Submit landing card with passport to Passport Control in T2 before he goes to Baggage Claim. Use entry point for non-EU citizens.
  4. Advise Agent that he is headed to T3 for flight to BCN.
  5. Follow Baggage Reclaim signs.
  6. Clear luggage through Customs. He will have nothing to declare, so exits through Green Channel.
  7. Take underground walkway 10-minute walk to T3.
  8. Drop checked luggage at BA.
  9. Clear Security. Proceed to gate.
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    Not only will BA not check-through on separate tickets to non-partners— nor to partners— they won't even check through to themselves now. But as pnuts notes, it's not the end of the world for a U.S. citizen. – choster Jan 9 '17 at 22:19
  • It's up to NZ whether to check through, since they are the first carrier, not BA. NZ and BA do have an interline agreement. No harm in asking at check in. On the return BA are not likely to be helpful as it is now against policy, as noted by @choster. – Calchas Jan 10 '17 at 0:31
  • At Step #8, he will need to check-in, or at least, go to the drop luggage counter and check-in his bags. He cannot just leave the bags at the counter and go since they will not be tagged with his information on BA. Other than that, your information is accurate. – Burhan Khalid Jan 10 '17 at 4:30
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    @Calchas It was intended more as a commentary on airlines becoming less accommodating to both passengers and to partners as the industry consolidates and competition changes. – choster Jan 10 '17 at 16:04
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    @choster Fair enough! Note that despite the guff about this being a oneworld-wide change, CX/KA have gone back to their old policy of allowing through-checking following negative customer feedback. Maybe there is hope after all. – Calchas Jan 10 '17 at 16:08

EDIT: Thank you to the individuals below for helping me improve my answer.

  1. Once he lands in Heathrow, he'll have to go to baggage claim and retrieve his baggage. This will involve going through customs/immigration. And he will have to carry his bags and walk from T2 to T3 (Heathrow Airport)
  2. After that, he will have to go to the British Airways check-in counter to re-check his bag and print his boarding pass (assuming he does not have an electronic boarding pass). Either way, he will have to re-check his bags.
  3. He will have to then go back through security and find his way to his departure gate at Heathrow.

Ensure that all required visas have been obtained. It's not that difficult of a transition if he plans it. 3 hours should be plenty of time.

  • Welcome to the site! You might want to mention that he'll need to walk through from T2 to T3 with his bags. They call it a 10 minute walk. Map. – Zach Lipton Jan 9 '17 at 23:00
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    @MichaelC.: Interesting. I've never been to an airport where you could buy tickets at the check-in counters. – hmakholm left over Monica Jan 9 '17 at 23:28
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    @MichaelC. Your answer, while a bit helpful, has inaccuracies, as noted in the comments. I've downvoted for that reason, but will retract that if you edit in the corrections, giving credit, of course to those who pointed out the oversights. – Giorgio Jan 10 '17 at 2:24
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    @Dorothy I edited my answer. Hopefully it is more accurate now. Thanks again! – Michael Jan 10 '17 at 3:00
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    The UK government visa advisory says that a US citizen does not need a visa as long as he can show proof of onward travel if asked. You can expand on the "ensure all required visas have been obtained" part to address this point. As a side note, as a US citizen he probably does not need a Schengen Visa as well! – RedBaron Jan 10 '17 at 4:22

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