If your looking for away to get to or from any of the main airports in london then have a look at national express coache. i recently used them myself and for the money there is no better and more relaible way to get where you want to go.
Gatwick Airport is situated around 30 miles south of the city that’s why it’s not very comfortable to fly to/from there. Its advantage is that it is cheaper than Heathrow and it’s not impossible to get in London for less money. There is a train Gatwick Express which runs to Victoria station and it’s like 15 pounds one way ticket.
Our flight was early in the morning that’s why we had to spend the night at the airport but it was not a problem. It is clean and comfortable, there are many places to eat even in the night.
You can buy tickets from driver, hotel, online or ticket vending machine. The vending machine is a easy way purchasing ticket, but usually credit card part of machine is broken. Last time I was not preparing that and I did not have any British pound. I had to go back to the terminal, change some money and bought ticket from driver. There are also some free buses to go to the hotel (http://www.londontoolkit.com/lhr/hotel_hoppa_bus.htm).
you stay in the TRANSIT area and do not have to get out of that area.
I just went through Gatwick, you do however, have to go through security again, even when coming from the other flight and going directly into the "transfer/connections" area. It took about 35 minutes to go through that one, it was early in the morning
I have never tried their Left Luggage Service but I am putting this info from the Heathrow website for my own (and others) reference is you're stuck for a few hours at LHR (London):
Each terminal has a left baggage facility for storing luggage for a number of hours or days. Items are security checked. Left baggage offices also offer competitive unaccompanied baggage rates and services and sell luggage and travel accessories. Charges are £6 per item per 24 hours (or part thereof). The service is operated by the Excess Baggage Company, who can be contacted on +44 (0)20 8745 4599. Opening times are:
Terminal 1 (06:00 - 23:00)
Terminal 2 (05:30 - 23:00)
Terminal 3 (05:00 - 23:00)
Terminal 4 (05:00 - 23:00)
Just be sure the terminal is open by the time you need your bags (ie, if you have a ridiculously early flight!) Hope this helps, Norman :)
Being the main hub for Ryanair and other budget carriers, Stansted clearly puts emphasis on low costs and maximised efficiency. It is not necessarily the most convenient airport to use. This is apparent in the main terminal with all the check-in booths lumped together leaving so little space that a queue in front of a check-in desk will seriously impede peoples' ability to get through. They also seem to save on the electricity bill, very dim light everywhere making one sleepy and uncomfortable.
The airport is pretty far out of town, much closer to Cambridge than to London. It is well connected to the railway network; the travel time of 45 minutes to London Liverpool St. is not that bad, comparing it with other large city airports. But the price -- 22 quid for a return ticket -- is outrageous. There are also coach services with various routes available.
Please note that most no-frills airlines open their check-ins no sooner than 90 minutes before the scheduled departure time, so it is absolutely unnecessary to arrive at the airport earlier than that only to hang around in that unpleasing terminal.
For disabled travellers, there is a special seating/waiting area. It might be advantageous to use it -- if there is no power wheelchair or scooter occupying the electric plugs, you might be able to use your notebook computer without needing to rely on the batteries.
Thanks to VTer HORSCHECK, I am now aware that the central terminal building actually was designed by Norman Foster, the architect who made those wonderful conversions of the German Reichstag and the British Museum. The question is why? Given the cheap and people coralling interior design, a large nissen hut would have done the job. As such, the airport's terminal is a perfect example for today's hypocritical approach to human resources and services.
If you are not sure about how long you need for your connection at Heathrow, ask your airline/s for advice. BA's Terminal 5 is pretty slick and you can move around fast, but another factor is how many flights they are processing at the hour you are flying. I once experienced a horrible crush at security between my flights... the staff switched into herd mode and were REALLY short on finness. If you hate rush, the night before is a good option as there are many decent, affordable (for London) hotels on the airport bus circuit.
Based on suggestion by VT'er Leics here is the link for London Bus Route 285 from Heathrow. The first 2 stops after Heathrow are Harlington Corner and Hatton Cross Station which are free of charge as they are both close to hotels surrounding the airport. http://www.londonbusroutes.net/times/285.htm
Heathrow is the nearest airport to my home, so I tend to use it more often than the others that serve London. I have travelled in and out of Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5 - but never T4. I have visited it once to meet some Finnish friends flying home to Helsinki using KLM.
I have travelled using:
(oh and Panam, so many years ago)
I have my favourites and tend to use Star Alliance carriers more than anything else.
you can find a good stansted airport travel guide here:
it covers the jou7rney options giving time to travel too.
If you fly to London you may arrive at any of five airports. Here’s a brief overview of each:
Heathrow Airport is London’s busiest and possibly best known. And by busy, I mean really busy – it is the world's busiest international airport and handles 471,000 air transport movements per year. A new fifth terminal has just opened (to much controversy as environmentalists questioned the need to make the airport even busier, while travellers suffered as baggage handling systems broke down under the extra strain). If you land here you have several options for reaching the city centre. The cheapest and slowest is the Underground, but I find that as good as any unless you’re in a real hurry. The Piccadilly Line will get you to central London in about an hour and is a pretty reliable service, with trains every few minutes at peak times. A faster though more expensive option is the Heathrow Express, which will take you to Paddington Station in 15 minutes – but bear in mind that depending where you are staying you will probably have to transfer to the Underground network at that point in any case. You could also take the mainline stopping service, Heathrow Connect. Otherwise there are taxis of course, but these are very expensive and with London traffic not necessarily quick.
Gatwick Airport lies to the south of London, and although almost as busy as Heathrow I find it a bit pleasanter to use. It does tend to be dominated by the package holiday and charter flight crowd, but there are only two terminals to navigate, queues seem better managed, and the shopping facilities are good if you find yourself at a loose end. It is apparently the busiest single runway airport in the world, and is the seventh busiest international airport in the world, with 79 airlines serving 227 destinations. The airport’s two terminals, North and South, are linked by a shuttle train, and mainline trains leave for London from a station at the South Terminal. The most expensive of these are the Gatwick Express trains (current charge £16.90 one way). Despite the name, these are only a little quicker than the cheaper stopping services, taking exactly 30 minutes, but do have the advantage of having plenty of room for luggage and a very regular timetable (every 15 minutes). All trains from Gatwick terminate at London’s Victoria Station, from where you can catch the Underground or a bus to various parts of the city.
London City Airport is the only one of London’s airports to be actually situated in the capital itself. It’s a relatively small airport, serving just over 30 European destinations, which makes it a pleasure to use if you get the chance but harder to find a flight to. If you do manage to find one, be warned – the airport’s runway extends into the River Thames, so you may get the uncomfortable sensation that you’re landing on water! Its relatively small size means there are fewer shops than at other airports, but you will find all the facilities you’re likely to need, such as places to eat and drink, buy travel essentials, change money etc. The best way to travel to and from London City is on the Docklands Light Railway, usually known as the DLR. Trains leave the airport every 8 to 15 minutes, with journey times of just 7 minutes to Canning Town, 18 minutes to Canary Wharf and 22 minutes to Bank.
Stansted Airport lies to the north-east of the capital, and is served by many of the low-cost airlines, including Easy Jet and Ryan Air. It has good facilities and a light modern terminal building designed by Norman Foster. The fastest way to reach central London from here is on the Stansted Express. Trains depart every 15-30 minutes, with an average journey time to Liverpool Street Station of 45 minutes. From there you can catch the Underground or a bus to various parts of the city. Alternatively, as with Gatwick, there are cheaper stopping services, but the difference in journey time is a little more marked.
Luton Airport is north of London and is used by charter flights, package tours and some low-cost airlines, e.g. Easy Jet and Monarch. I have to say it is my least favourite of London’s airports and I avoid using it if possible. For one thing, I find it less accessible – there are trains into the city, but to catch these you have first to take a shuttle bus to Luton Airport Parkway station. This service runs every ten minutes between 05:00 and midnight (and also connects with all trains calling at Luton Airport Parkway during the night), but it adds to the journey time and is the last thing you feel like doing after a tiring flight. The alternative is to take the bus into town, but this means driving on the very busy (and consequently often slow) M1. At the time of writing (Spring 2008) the motorway is undergoing extensive road-works in the Luton area and journey times are badly affected.
When flying in/out of London mind that Gatwick and Heathrow are humongous airports and it could take you at least 30 minutes from the plane to kissing your boyfriend at Arrivals (and that's with hand luggage only, a EU passport and at midnight mid-week...).
Not taking into account security measures which can take up to an hour due to the sheer number of people to check and the limited personnel and equipment, there is often a solid 20 minutes walk from Security Control to you plane's waiting lounge.
Give yourself a break and allow ample time. I count 1.5hrs for a european flight at off-peak times (e.g. 7am or midnight take-off) and 2+hrs at peak times. This takes into account the journey from the tube/train station (didn't think of that one did you? Can take a good 15 minutes...), picking up my boarding pass, security and walking to the boarding lounge. I might have time for a coffee but not much more.
You can check the BAA websites for maps of the airports and details of how to access them.
There is a very strict 100ml rule on liquids in place at the UK airports. This means that passengers are allowed to carry only limited quantities of liquids through security control as hand baggage. This includes bottled drinks, suntan lotion, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries.
If you want to take any liquids on board, observe the following rules:
- Liquid items may only be carried in containers holding up to 100ml. Any items larger than 100ml should be packed in your hold luggage - otherwise they will be confiscated.
- Liquids must be carried separately in a single transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which must be no larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) and all items must fit inside so that it closes properly.
-At security control the bag must be placed separately on the conveyor belt for screening.
-Exceptions to the 100ml rule can be made for baby food or milk. However, you should only carry what you need for the flight, and you may be asked to taste these items at security control.
-Exceptions may also be made for medicines. However, you may be asked to taste any liquid medicines, or to provide evidence (such as a doctor's letter) that you need them for your journey.
From 7 January 2008, passengers travelling from London Heathrow Airport will be able to carry more than one item of hand baggage through security. Despite this, you should check hand baggage allowances with your airline before arriving at the airport, as the weight and size of hand baggage allowances differ between airlines. Some airlines may allow you to carry one item only.
Whatever the number of items, each must be no larger that 56cm long, 45 cm high and 25 cm deep.
The 100ml rule re liquids is still in place. This means that passengers are allowed to carry only limited quantities of liquids through security control as hand baggage. This includes bottled drinks, suntan lotion, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries.
London Heathrow, one awsome place to be, the biggest aiport in Europe, this is one crazy place. Well I know I love the large airports and at times I can spend hours and hours just walking around, well London Heathrow is one of those. Anyways if you're wondering how to get from the airport to town, you know you could always take a taxi, as one of the guys said at the airport to Dennis, "quit hasseling me mate just take the taxi", Dennis was so scared! The man was not very found of Americans so it made it sound that way.
Well all in all we figured it out, with a little help realized that you get these things called Oyster cards and it'll take to central london for as little 4-5 Euros, great cheap way of getting to town so get down there my friend and enjoy the ride!!