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Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?

England, United...
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110 posts
9 reviews
19 helpful votes
Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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I’m returning home to the UK in a couple of weeks having been away for 6 weeks with my work. Not a jolly, I wish. I have the option of STN or LHR.

I know about my forms and covid testing etc etc I’m just wondering if passport control at LHR have whittled down their 6 hour waiting time or if I should skip and just go to STN as I’m assuming it’s going to be quieter there.

7 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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65,325 posts
11 reviews
89 helpful votes
1. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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'I’m just wondering if passport control at LHR have whittled down their 6 hour waiting time or if I should skip and just go to STN as I’m assuming it’s going to be quieter there.' Past performance is no guarantee of future wait times at either airport.

There have been border agents checking test results and PLFs prior to eligible pax using the e-gates at Heathrow (with shorter wait times), but whether that will be the case on the day you travel depends on staffing and number of pax arriving.

If your destination is within 15 km of STN then it may be more sensible to fly to that airport; if you're travelling to central London then LHR may be the better choice.

Lancashire, United...
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1,065 posts
49 reviews
36 helpful votes
2. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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Take STN. LHR remains the cesspit it always has been. The additional burden of Covid and LHR's inability to learn how to deal in under 3 years with any fundamental change would make the decision for me an absolute no-brainer.

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
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19,317 posts
268 reviews
142 helpful votes
3. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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For public transport links and other reasons I’d choose LHR over Stansted any day unless I lived near to the latter.

London, United...
Level Contributor
12,115 posts
396 reviews
147 helpful votes
4. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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No one can predict what your experience will be like at Heathrow. You'll just have to roll the dice and hope for the best.

Tring, United...
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5,212 posts
116 reviews
65 helpful votes
5. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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The 'problem' is basically that UKBF have had to put their staff at LHR into "bubbles" due to Covid, which means that they cannot simply send "extra" officers from one terminal to another to cope with demand. As STN only has 1 terminal, there are no "extra" officers. Add the additional task of checking every passengers PLF etc, and you have the 'perfect storm'.

When I used STN in pre-Covid times, it took over an hour to get through the border, and I have a UK Passport!

Edited: April 03, 2021, 5:13 pm
England, United...
Level Contributor
110 posts
9 reviews
19 helpful votes
6. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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I wonder if the fast track services are still available, transport isn’t an issue I’ll be driving myself home in a hire car.

England, United...
Level Contributor
110 posts
9 reviews
19 helpful votes
7. Re: Returning to the UK avoid Heathrow?
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Makes sense Richard, thank you.

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