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Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Toronto
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Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Hello everyone,

I've been lurking here for weeks and gained tons of very useful information for our family trip to London in late June. Right now, I need an answer for a specific question and hope, you guys can help me. It's a first time I start a new topic...

Four of us - parents and two kids (15 and 22) are coming to London for seven days. This is our first time ever in London. We are flying in on Sunday, June 24 and leaving on Sunday, July 1. Canadian discount operator (Air Transat) runs flights to both Gatwick and Heathrow. Price of these flights is almost identical. Gatwick flight lands at 7:30 AM and Heathrow one lands at 12:15 PM. Again, it's Sunday.

We haven't booked the hotel yet. It will be in Central London and a location will depend on many things, including the airport we use.

I understand that people have personal preferences but if you look at the time of arrival and a combination of Customs+Passport control+Luggage+Time to get to Central London, which flight you suggest I should choose?

I would appreciate your suggestions,

Ella

London, UK
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1. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

I don't think the decision will make an appreciable impact on your trip.

UK
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2. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

yep, agree with mr leonard, it will make little if any difference.

As I am not an early riser, I'd be looking at the time of the return flights, eg I'd prefer to get a flight coming back at say 2pm rather than 9am, plus also see what difference that made on the outbound flight, what time do you need to leave your house and so on, and what time does the flight land back in Toronto and which is most convenient?

Somerset UK
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for Devon
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3. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

If you come into Gatwick you may arrive at your hotel too early to check in and get to your room although you may be able to leave luggage in the foyer/concierge.

By the time you get into central London from Heathrow you stand a far better chance of getting to your room straightaway.

Dunfermline, United...
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4. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Gatwick, being a lot smaller, is a lot less stressful getting through. Travel times to London are about the same, as are travel costs so there's not much to choose between them but the busyness of the airport.

In which case, I would vote for Gatwick every time.

Toronto
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5. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Thank you for your responses!

dicanio: Is the time between landing and getting out of the airport really much shorter in Gatwick?

joeintheuk: I can take either 9:00 AM or 2:00 PM flight back. I am looking at our arrival and trying to make it easier. I understand that the difference is not big. Until yesterday, flights to Heathrow were much more expensive and I was sure we are flying to Gatwick. I wanted to book today and to my surprise found the same prices to Heathrow... How ironic...

Now I am stuck...

Thank you again for your input.

Pittsburgh, PA
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6. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Part of the problem with Heathrow is that if anything goes wrong (weather, industrial action) Heathrow seems to fare far worse than Gatwick. On the other hand, later return flights normally get my vote. It really is a toss up (sorry, not much help I know).

Dunfermline, United...
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7. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

Inasmuchas Gatwick has less inter continental flights all arriving at the same time, then I have always found Gatwick a smoother experience than Heathrow. Landing at LHR between 07h00 and 10h00 it can take a good couple of hours getting through as this is when a lot of the trans Atlantic flights land. Gatwick, having far fewer, would only take an hour at worst.

Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

All other things being equal, maybe travel options into London will be the deciding factor.

From Gatwick, you have the choice of taking the Gatwick Express into Victoria (then tube or taxi to your hotel). Or you can take the regular train in from Gatwick to Victoria (or a few other stations in London.) This is slightly cheaper than the Gatwick Express and will take virtually the same amount of time. You would still need to take tube or taxi to your hotel from the station. Or you can hire a car service like www.london-transfers.com or justairports.com - more expensive, but door-to-door service.

From Heathrow, you can take the Heathrow Express into Paddington, then tube or taxi to hotel. Or you can hire a car service. Or you have the additional option of taking the tube into London - this is the cheapest way into London, but you will have to be able to handle your luggage on/off the trains and will probably have to manuever a flight of stairs at your final destination.

We take the tube in from Heathrow and, as long as you can handle your luggage, it's not that bad.

Watford
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for London
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9. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

"Is the time between landing and getting out of the airport really much shorter in Gatwick?"

In June I don't personally think Gatwick will be a lot quicker especially at that very busy time of the morning. I might be tempted by Heathrow as lunchtime lines are usually less than earlier in the day and you have more transport options into London plus the liklehood of being able to get into your chosen accommodation.

UK
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10. Re: Heathrow vs. Gatwick

"I can take either 9:00 AM or 2:00 PM flight back."

Working backwards.... 9am flight, need to be at airport at 7am, need to leave hotel at 6am, need to get up at 5am.....for me, thats a 'no contest' all other things being equal :-)