Many of our guests arrive at the Heathrow Airport and want to be prepared for what will happen after they get off of the plane. We put together the NINE STEPS of the normal process so you won’t be anxious of the unknown.
We suggest you take advantage of our car service through David Norman, especially if this is your first trip to London. You can make the arrangements with our office as early as when you make your property reservation, but could be added up to TWO WEEKS prior to arrival.
Here is what to expect as you land:
1. As soon as you can, send a message to David Norman using text or phone call to let him know you have touched down. If you don’t plan to use your phone plan or data while in London, you still have an option to communicate. You will have 30 minutes of Free WiFi at the airport and can contact him once you are waiting in the UK Border line, using What’s App. This app is used by many countries as their primary messaging tool. They even use it for phone calls. It does use data if not on WiFi. Download the app and David Norman's contact info in advance so once you are at Heathrow, you will be prepared to easily message him.
2. Helpful Hint: There are public restrooms available before you reach the UK Border Control, or again near the baggage claim. You may not want to wait in the long line OR take the ride to your accommodation without taking care of your physical needs first.
3. If you are toward the front of the plane and have the chance to be one of the first off — lucky you! You will be at the front of the line for UK Border Passport Control (for your flight, anyway). Sometimes the wait in line can be almost an hour.
4. Have your passport out and ready, and a completed landing card for each person. If you are traveling with a family member, approach the border patrol officer as a group when it is your turn. Here is a video with more info: UK Border Control
5. Next you will collect your luggage. There are luggage carts available nearby for FREE. If you don’t have luggage with wheels, or brought more than you can easily handle — the cart is very helpful.
6. Proceed past luggage to the customs exit. Choose the exit applicable to you — for most passengers, they will have nothing to declare and there will be no wait on the other side. For example, if you have items you plan to sell or over 10,000 Euros or equivalent in cash, then you need to “declare” those items. DO NOT TAKE TIME TO SHOP AT THE DUTY FREE STORES. YOUR DRIVER IS WAITING!
7. Once you have your luggage and have cleared customs, go to the Arrivals Hall to meet your driver next to the Travelex. He will be holding a sign with your name as listed on the reservation, unless you specify otherwise. Here is a short video with a guest walking to the meeting spot: Heathrow Arrival Video.
8. Enjoy the ride through London to your vacation rental apartment — usually about an hour from Heathrow, depending on traffic. From other locations, times will vary.
9. As you arrive at the property, you will meet our let-in manager. No lock boxes here, or keys handed to you by the driver. You will be oriented to the flat and they will stay with you and answer questions about the area including nearby tube stations, restaurants, and groceries. More info here: The Arrival Process.
For more information to prepare for your London experience such as itineraries, packing ideas, how to navigate the tube, restaurants, and weather — read our Anglophile Blog.
Now you can relax and know that all will go smoothly before and after you arrive. You will love your London Connection vacation rental, and London will soon CHARM YOU. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!