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British Airways is increasing its minimum connection time at Heathrow — but at what cost?


British Airways has increased its minimum connection time at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) Terminal 5 from one hour to 75 minutes in an effort to reduce the risk and cost of missed flight transfers.

By increasing its connection times, the airline hopes fewer travelers will find themselves stranded at the airport or forced to rebook flights following delays and cancellations.

Travelers switching between terminals 3 and 5 will still have 90 minutes between flights to allow for shuttle buses between terminals.

The changes will largely affect BA flights in the terminal, though according to the airline, some Iberia flights may also be affected. Passengers who had already booked flights before the time change have been contacted by the airline and offered new connecting flights when required.

“Following customer feedback, we’re increasing the minimum connection time for some of our flights through Heathrow T5,” British Airways said in a statement. “This will give customers more time to make their next flight and reduce the risk of missing their onward service, which we know is incredibly frustrating.”

While some travelers may rejoice at the announcement — which will no doubt reduce some of the stress of rushing to make connecting flights — it’s worth keeping in mind that the minor adjustments in connection time could also significantly increase overall journey time on certain routes.

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Aside from the obvious impacts on passengers, some could argue that these increased journey times place the British flag carrier at a competitive disadvantage with other European airlines and airports.

By comparison, the MCT at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is 50 minutes, while the MCT at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) clocks in at 45 minutes. Meanwhile, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) allows for a 60-minute connection time, and Vienna Airport (VIE), the shortest of all, has a mere 25-minute MCT.

Likewise, as noted by The Independent, some journeys — such as from Nice, France, to Los Angeles (connecting via LHR) to arrive at lunchtime — are now no longer possible. The earliest connection on BA would reach LA at 4:10 p.m.; on the other hand, you could arrive in LA at lunchtime by flying Lufthansa via Frankfurt, KLM via Amsterdam or Air France via Paris.

Heathrow is the home of British Airways and is the fourth-busiest airport in the world.

Bottom line

British Airways has increased its minimum connection time for flights at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 from 60 minutes to 75 minutes. This additional 15-minute window aims to reduce the chances of passengers missing connecting flights at the terminal due to delays and other disruptions.

However, the changes may inconvenience some passengers by significantly increasing the journey time of some routes through the terminal, compared to similar journeys with other airlines connecting elsewhere in Europe.

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