Posted by Mark
Just a tip. If you’re traveling to London and are planning on getting VAT refunds at the airport on your way out then make sure you get to the airport 5 or 6 hours early. Seriously. It seems Travelex, the company that handles the VAT refunds at the airport actually deliberately try to be very slow so that you give up waiting and leave without collecting your refund. I arrived to the airport 3 hours ahead of my flight and first thing I did was stand in a super long line before check in to get my refund but the line wasn’t moving. I spent around an hour and moved only 2 or 3 spots and I estimated I had at least another 2 to 3 hours just get to the front of the line. In the end I gave up and decided to get the refund as credit on my credit card, a simpler process which involved passing the forms to the manager stationed there but not receiving any kind of delivery proof or even a carbon copy of my forms. According to other people who were waiting in line they tried the credit route before and never got the refund. I didn’t really have another option.
I had a new laptop with me as well so to get a VAT refund for that you need to do it after passing immigration. Once inside I got my laptop VAT Refund document stamped but then had to wait another hour and half in line to get the cash refund for that. It’s the same line you need to stand in by the way once you get your forms stamped in the first super long line before immigration. I ended up collecting my refund just as they were announcing the final call for my flight. So make sure you get to the airport a lot earlier then you think you need.