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Checking in at Heathrow

Where to go

Finding check-in

Check-in is on the first floor in Terminals 1 and 4, the ground floor in Terminal 3, and the top floor of Terminal 5.

Finding your check-in zone

Find your check-in zone using the information screens near the entrance. Check-in zones are clearly marked by illuminated yellow cubes.

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How early to arrive

You are advised to check in as early as possible. As a general guide, you should aim to arrive:

  • Long-haul and El Al: three hours before scheduled departure
  • European flights: two hours before scheduled departure
  • UK and Ireland flights: 90 minutes before scheduled departure*

* please note, due to the recent change in security, passengers may wish to allow an additional 30 minutes for domestic flights.

Please check the instructions on your ticket and from your travel agent or booking website. If you are still unsure please check with your airline directly.

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At check-in

To save time, have your tickets and passport ready, and ensure your hand luggage contains only valuables and items you will need during the journey.

Once your hold luggage is checked in and your boarding card has been issued, you can proceed to security control.

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Security control

All passengers must clear security control before entering the departure lounge at Heathrow.

It pays to clear security control early to avoid any delay to your journey. You'll then leave yourself time to relax before your flight, to enjoy the shops, bars and cafés in the departure lounge, and to get to your gate in plenty of time.

Please be aware that airlines may impose limits on your hand baggage, and that only limited quantities of liquid items can be carried through security control.

For most destinations anything you buy after security control can be taken on to the aircraft – store staff will be able to advise you.

More information about Heathrow security control

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Self-service check-in

With self-service check-in you use a computer terminal to choose your seat and print your boarding card, then take your baggage to the bag-drop facility. Airline staff will be on hand if you need assistance.

Airlines offering self-service check-in at Heathrow

* Some passengers and flight destinations are not eligible for self-service check-in. Please confirm whether this service is available to you at the time of booking or visit the airline website to find out about service limitations.

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Online check-in

Use online check-in to select seats and print boarding passes via the internet, before you get to the airport. Then when you arrive, just drop your baggage at the bag-drop kiosk and you're ready.

To find out if you can use this service, please check with your airline.

Airlines offering online check-in for Heathrow departures

* Please note that passengers who have checked in online will still need to arrive in good time for their flight. Please pay close attention to the times given by your airline for dropping bags, collecting boarding cards and arriving at the gate.

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Mobile check-in

If your mobile phone can accept pictures you may be able to use mobile check-in to select seats. Your boarding card is sent directly to your phone and all you have to do then is drop your baggage at the bag-drop kiosk.

To find out if you can use this service, please check with your airline.

Airlines offering mobile check-in for Heathrow departures

* Please note that passengers who have checked in on their mobile phones still need to arrive in good time for their flight. Please pay close attention to the times given by your airline for dropping bags, collecting boarding cards and arriving at the gate.

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Boarding

There's plenty to do in the departure lounge, whether you want to visit the shops, restaurants and cafés or just relax ahead of your flight.

Keep an eye on the monitors listing flight boarding times and gate numbers. Boarding usually begins around 45 minutes before departure.

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Airport parking

Airport parking

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