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Heathrow Airport is Fed Up With Transit Passengers Using This Trick to Avoid Paying For Hotel Rooms During Long Layovers

Heathrow Airport is Fed Up With Transit Passengers Using This Trick to Avoid Paying For Hotel Rooms During Long Layovers

a group of people walking with luggage in a terminal

What do you do if you have a long overnight layover between connecting flights, and not only does the airport not operate 24 hours a day, but you don’t have immigration clearance to leave the airport terminal?

It’s possibly not a question you’ve ever had to think about, but it’s a dilemma that thousands of transit passengers face every year at airports around the world.

In some cases, airports are fully geared up for catering for connecting passengers who don’t have the right to ‘land’ themselves in the transit country, including the likes of Singapore Changi and Dubai International.

Doha’s Hamad International Airport, for example, not only operates all day and night but there’s an airside hotel available for passengers to take advantage of without ever stepping foot on Qatari soil.

But Heathrow Airport in West London doesn’t have an airside hotel, and a nighttime jet ban means that the airside part of the airport effectively shuts down between 11:30 pm and 6 am.

So, what happens to passengers who are stuck in transit with nowhere to go? Heathrow Airport actually has a dedicated overnight rest facility, which is simply a secure gate area that has been set aside in Terminal 3.

Passengers who aren’t allowed to leave the airport overnight are taken to the secure gate area, although Heathrow warns that the facilities available are “minimal”, and only vending machines are available if someone wants something to eat or drink.

The airport never intended large numbers of passengers to use its emergency overnight rest facility, but in a recent internal memo, the airport reminded staffers that only people who don’t have the right to enter the UK should be directed towards the overnight rest area.

The memo noted that a “high number of passengers making use of the Heathrow overnight rest area would appear to be able to land and make use of landside accommodation so should not be remaining airside and using the facility”.

It turns out that people who could land themselves in the UK are opting to remain airside and camp out at Heathrow’s overnight rest area, despite the fact that this practice is generally prohibited.

Now, the airport is warning that passengers caught doing so could be sent to the border and asked to land themselves.

Of course, Heathrow’s overnight rest facility is generally considered one of last resort – a safe place for someone to stay who doesn’t have any other option than to camp out at the airport – not simply a place to camp out because you don’t want to spend money on a hotel room.

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