Very often the air traveler finds Departures the most stressful part of the whole journey. Sufficient time has to be allowed to accommodate unforeseen delays on the way to the airport, but the time spent hanging around waiting for the flight to be called has to be as short as possible. Visions of endless lines at check-in, bored kids, filthy coffee, and washrooms lacking hot water, soap and towels spring easily to the mind of many unfortunate travelers, but none of these things need haunt you about Heathrow.
Yes, of course the airport is busy, and the chances of you walking up to an empty check-in desk are not too strong, but it would be difficult to find a more user-friendly Departure system anywhere else in the world. The best advice is to get to Heathrow with plenty of time to spare, because you will find plenty to do to occupy your time. Also, no other airport takes security more seriously than at Heathrow, and it does usually take longer to move from 'groundside' to 'airside' than at many other airports.
Seats, shops and refreshment facilities are plentiful, good quality and well-priced, so rather than have your friends or colleague just drop you off, why not invite them in for coffee and pastries, burgers, fish and chips, ice cream.
Apart from travelling in on the Tube, every other way of getting to Heathrow is affected by local road conditions. Traffic around the M4 / M25 interchange is often at a standstill, with Monday mornings and Friday and Sunday evenings particularly bad.
If you are approaching on the M25 from the south west quadrant, you can avoid the interchange and M4 spur road by leaving the M25 at Junction 14 and following the Western Perimeter Road.
When using an off-airport car park it is advisable to allow at least 30 minutes for the transfer to the Terminal area. The same is true of returning a hire car.
Travelling to Heathrow by Tube? The journey from central London takes about 45 minutes, and each of the Terminals is within five minutes walk of the Tube stations.
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