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Los Angeles to Bordeaux via London: Advice on London-Bordeaux Flights

My husband and I are splitting our vacation between Bordeaux (first) and England (second), so we purchased a round trip from Los Angeles to London. We're now looking to get our tickets from London to Bordeaux, and discovered that there aren't many good flight options to Bordeaux from London, especially when you land at Heathrow as we are.

We'll arrive at Heathrow at 10:10 am and are considering these 3 flight options. We're concerned that the first 2 will not give us sufficient time, and the 3d option is quite inconvenient. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Option 1 – 11:50 am out of Heathrow with a short stop in Paris. This is the best option but is 1 hour and 40 minutes enough to go through immigration and then go to another terminal?

Option 2 – 1:50 pm out of Gatwick. Same concern about having enough time for everything, including transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick.

Option 3 – 6:10 pm out of Gatwick. This one is quite inconvenient as we'll have an 8 hour gap between arriving and departing and will only get to Bordeaux at 8:50 pm.


Posted by
14597 posts

Option 1--you don't go through immigration at Heathrow. You stay airside and follow "Flight Connectionsl" You will have to go through security.

Go to Heathrow Flight Connections and fill in your flight information. It will give you step by step instructions on what you need to do. (I think I found your flights and they say your connection time is too short.)

Option 2--If you arrival flight is on time, you could make it but it will be close.

Option 3--safe but a very long day.

Posted by
1189 posts

Hi Ella. It sounds like you've already bought your round trip to London and are considering a separate plane ticket to Bordeaux? Keep in mind that your flight to London may be early, on time, or could easily be several hours late. If late, or for whatever reason you miss your flight to Bordeaux, your ticket will be worthless and you will by faced with figuring out how you will then get to Bordeaux. Therefore, I suggest you allow plenty of extra time in case your incoming flight is late or other delays. Or another option would be to spend the afternoon / night in London and travel to Bordeaux the next morning? Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
26433 posts

For future reference, when planning a trip like this it is far less risky to purchase a "multi-city" ticket. That way, your flights to Bordeaux are all on one ticket, and if there's a delay that causes you to miss the connection, the airline is responsible for putting you on a later flight. Now, in this case the cost of the multi-city flight might have been quite a lot more expensive than your London roundtrip, so you might have made a command decision to roll the dice with the London RT.

I would be most unhappy if I needed to switch airports after an overnight flight, but that may be your best option here. (I do not know enough about that process to have an opinion.)

Posted by
10856 posts

Option 3 is to my way of thinking the only rational choice.

If you try for option 1 or 2 and do not make it, your r/t ticket to Bordeaux is worthless and you have to buy a whole new ticket, not just the London to Bordeaux segment.

Choose option 3, buy a day pass to a lounge at LHR, get a shower and arrive in Bordeaux refreshed and ready for dinner time with the locals

Posted by
26433 posts

Or get a day room at/near Gatwick. I think I'd prefer to get myself to my departure airport before crashing somewhere. From what the Londoners here have said, there's an ever-present possibility of traffic disasters on the driving route between Heathrow and Gatwick.

Posted by
6113 posts

Option 1 is too tight on separate tickets.

Option 2 is OK if your inbound flight is on time or early. I would work on 4 hours minimum as a comfortable transfer London to Gatwick and you have under this.

Option 3 is safest - have a few hours in London if you feel up to it or head straight to Gatwick.

With options 1 and 2, if you miss the flight, the return will also be invalidated. You will then have to buy a new return ticket on the day of travel, which will be expensive, plus your only option would be to get the later Gatwick flight. That all assumes that there is availability that day. I was on a flight London to Portugal last week and there was only 1 unoccupied seat on the plane. So, you may have to pay for a night in a London hotel too if you miss your flight.

Posted by
1003 posts

I do this kind of trip all the time (North America-London-Somewhere else in Europe-London-NA). What I like to do is break my time in London into two chunks, and do the Europe part in the middle, usually via a low cost carrier such as Easyjet or Ryanair. This way, you still have as much travel between airports and cities, but it is spread over four days instead of two so less stressful days. Plus it gives you the option of using the low cost carriers, which for me are the only option that makes sense when flying within Europe.

If it were me I would go:
Day 1: Arrive Heathrow 10:10. Day in London.
Day 2-4: 3 days in London (or however long you are planning on staying there).
Day 5: Stansted Express to Stansted (or wherever your low cost carrier flies from). 11:20 flight to Bordeaux. 14:05 land in Bordeaux.
Day 6-10: 5 days in Bordeaux (or however long you are planning on staying there).
Day 11: 12:20 flight to Stansted. 13:05 land in Stansted. Stansted Express to London Liverpool Street.
Day 12-13: 2 days in London.
Day 14: Fly home.

Posted by
5414 posts

Option 4 - Spend your first night in London and fly out the next day. Get a hotel room near Victoria Station and take the train to Gatwick the next day.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions!