Transiting T5 – The First Wing OR Flight Connections

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  • MartynSinclair

    This may seem a ridiculous question, but one that I put to the test on Friday, having come in from AMS for transit to HKG.

    I elected to exit airside and re enter landside through the First Wing, as I had no interest in shopping and all I wanted to do was get into the lounge. The time of transfer was 4pm.

    My thought process:

    1. The walk to flight connections (once you get to immigration) is minimal. However you have no idea how long the queue will be from the top of the escalator and with no formal fast track, you could end up behind a long line of passengers who were filtered through the so called fast track side from the economy line. There is also the rudeness of the T5 security staff, orders being barked and the enforcement of security procedures that appear as outdated as some business class seats. Once through security you then have the shopping trek to get to get to the lounge.

    2. Exiting may seem a long way round. Only 6 of the 24 e gates were working. Clearing immigration was the longest part of the process, taking 5-6 minutes. Once through, it took another 4 minutes to walk to the First Wing, which roughly equates to the time it takes from security to the lounge via the shops.
    But, here is the real benefit. This was my 4th visit to the First Wing but the first time, there was a queue and only 1 of the 2 belts working. Security took all of 3 minutes (with Q) but the attitude of the staff is totally different. I could even go as far to say, it was a pleasant experience. I noticed 1 change in the security protocol, which just in case it’s being trialled, will not mention on an open forum – and then straight into the lounge.

    All in all, it took 14 minutes from entering immigration to entering the lounge. In reality, probably not much difference in time, but certainly a massive difference in the overall experience, especially relevant in peak times.

    My return will bring me into Heathrow, on one of the first flights of the morning for transit back to AMS. For this flight, it makes sense to use Flight Connections.


    Thanks a lot, Martyn, that’s helpful. I’m always looking for ways to improve my Heathrow T5 transit experiences!


    I’ve often gone landside and then airside to avoid the potential argy bargy at the international/domestic channel, and in the main it has worked well. Since the Wing opened, I can only imagine that it has got better still.


    Not good that you enter the UK to transfer to international flights efficiently although easier via First Wing, and for Business class too since their security is near to the south lounge and also avoids the shopping mall at busy times. Its 5mins to walk the length of T5 although inconvenient.

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