Please sign in to post.

Specific flight question from Budapest to London

Traveling with my mom and sister to Stockholm and Budapest (long story). Booked round trip flights from Seattle to London (got better deals than one-way) and now one of the tasks is booking a flight from BUD to LHR that puts us in Heathrow with enough time to catch our 3:30pm flight back home to Seattle. I mistakenly thought that would not be a big deal. I can get us to LHR at 9:30am which means a 6.5 hour layover (been there done that and not enthused). That is Option 1. But other options come to mind and I’d appreciate your input.

Option 2 is to take a 3.5(?) hour train from Budapest to Vienna, stay the night, and fly out from Vienna. I have never seen Vienna. More flights from VIE to LHR. Option 3 is to stay in London for a night. (My sister has never been!) Both cities are so big and is it a waste of time and a big hassle to consider Options 2 and 3? Also Options 2 and 3 mean less time in Budapest and/or Stockholm. I mean we would only be in London or Vienna for 24 hours. Should we just take our lumps and hang out in Heathrow for 6.5 hours. I can’t even imagine how delighted we will be if (or should I say when) our flight out of Heathrow is delayed.

Anyone have an idea for an Option 4?

Posted by
2290 posts

Personally, I would reduce time in Budapest and Stockholm to spend time in either London or Vienna. I haven't been to Budapest, but I wasn't that impressed with Stockholm.

Posted by
1695 posts

Personally, I'd lose sleep over the prospect of trying to make a same day connection at Heathrow from Vienna, especially if these would be seperate tickets as I assume they are. Wouldn't take much to go wrong and thus miss your connecting flight, with all of the hassles that would go with it.
Might be better to fly into London the day before, enjoy walking around the city, and thus being in place for an easy connection the next day.

Posted by
16567 posts

For future reference, you should have looked at a multi-city ticket rather than two one-way tickets. That would probably still have been considerably more expensive than what you opted for, but it would have saved some vacation time.

I would definitely not fly into London on the same day as my outbound transatlantic flight. If you had a significant delay on the intra-European flight, you could miss the transatlantic flight. A last-minute one-way ticket home would probably be extremely expensive.

If you ultimately decide to just spend one night at Heathrow, I can recommend the usually-very-inexpensive Premier Inn at Terminal 4. Your flights will probably not be using that terminal, but you can take the free airport transportation to get there.

Although I haven't been there, people say Windsor is very nice, and it's quite close to Heathrow. If you don't want to make the long trek into London for just a few hours, you could pop over to Windsor.

Posted by
181 posts

If I read your post correctly, it appears that your first mistake probably was not booking open jaw directly to Stockholm and from Budapest. BA has great connections through Heathrow. Yes - Heathrow can be a pain in the butt but my wife and I did it last month to Vienna and from Budapest and it was relatively easy. Sure it took time to transfer terminals and go through the extra security scan when we changed terminals, but it was fairly efficient and organized. With so little time in either Vienna or London on your second and third options, you'd really not have much time in either to really enjoy much of anything. I'd bite the bullet and take the flight from Budapest and eat the layover. If its the early BA flight, we took that last month and it was fine. Budapest airport is not all that huge and was fairly easy to navigate. If you're going to be on a separate ticket for the BUD-LHR leg from your LHR-SEA leg (or worse - different airlines), you will need that extra time to claim bags change terminals and check back in.

Posted by
5305 posts

You should be in London the night before your flight to Seattle unless you relish the idea of risking needing to buy a brand-new one-way ticket from London to Seattle on the spot.

Posted by
19 posts

I would still leave us 2 hours at Heathrow. I wouldn’t book a flight into Heathrow that doesn’t factor in delays and security. So I try to tell myself we are really only talking about saving 4.5 hours of boredom. I’ve flown internationally before, not often, but I have made same-day connections before and so I do know that time is helpful in deciphering where to go and being rushed is no good. And my mom will likely be checking luggage. I never do. So there’s that. I will consider that. Thanks.

We looked into multi-city but I will spare you all the boring details of why we chose this round trip ticket to London. Wise advice tho.

I am a “no guts no glory” kind of traveler and when things go wrong I roll with it. And learn from it, lol. But my fellow travelers might not be. And so your advice to be cautious is not falling on deaf ears.

Nevertheless I am leaning toward Vienna because I mean, what if I never get there again in my life? I could be hit by a bus or something awful, right? Something tells me I will get there but there’s always that voice in the back egging me on...

Posted by
19 posts

Windsor is a great idea. Been there but my sister hasn’t. Could easily visit the castle. May avoid the “worst scones ever” restaurant tho. My sis could get the flavor of London.

For me, if I would have bought separate tickets I would make sure to arrive at least the night before. You really never know. And Kudos for you to combine Stockholm and Budapest in one trip. And if you leaning towards the 1 night Vienna option, go for it. You only live once! Have fun!

Posted by
19 posts

Also the Open Jaw Multi-City option has the same 6.5 hour layover via British Air. I thought we could find a work around. I was wrong. I get that. I need maybe only 80 more reminders of how wrong I was.

But moving on...

Posted by
11676 posts

We often fly to Europe using miles to fly British Airways RT to London, then separate tickets from there to our continental destination. I always build in one or more nights in London (or Windsor) at the end, before the homebound flight; I would never want to make a same-day connection at Heathrow. Even a 6-hour layover time could go wrong, and even if things go smoothly it is a waste of precious travel time.

Before you choose between Windsor and London, look carefully at travel times and hotel costs. When we went to Windsor for the night, we took a bus there and back, cheap but 30-40 minutes each way. I had read that London taxis from the stand at Heathrow can charge 50 pounds or more for the trip to Windsor, so we wanted to avoid that. That was 8 years ago so maybe there are better options now.

If your trip is months away, and you choose London, you can get decent prices on the Heathrow Express by booking online 90+ days ahead. Weekends are really cheap, like 6 pounds, but even weekdays are not bad (around 12 pounds, I believe). The ride to Paddington takes 15 minutes and there are lots of hotels in the area. Not a lot of touristic sights there but Westminster Abbey, Parliament buildings, etc. are a short tube ride away. We l;Ike to just get out and walk, either in Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, or around Little Venice.

Posted by
1367 posts

Hi Erin - I won't be one of the ones to remind you of your …..choice. Because I made the same .... choice …. last year, bought two separate tickets, including a return flight from Budapest with a long (4.5 or 5.5 hour) layover at Heathrow. Everything went fine. (Although I don't mind layovers at Heathrow....long story.) With as long of a layover as you have, it probably will go fine for you too. OK, your risk is multiplied, with 3 travelers instead of just 1. You knew that already.

Choosing between a night in Vienna and a night in London, the safer choice would be London, your city of departure the following day. A lot would have to go wrong and in fact, that's what's typically recommended on 2 separate tickets.

But let's talk about you! I am reading that you perceive a bigger risk in missing out on Vienna. You're doing all the work. So go there! Travel isn't always about eliminating every risk. Sometimes it's about taking every opportunity, even knowing the risks and their costs. And if anything goes wrong, well you'll have stories to tell about Vienna!

Unless you'll still have 4 days in Budapest, I wouldn't take the time away from it. Though I haven't been to Stockholm to weigh that option.

That brings me to an option 4.....which admittedly doesn't reduce your missed flight risk in London. It does allow you to defer the decision about Vienna by planning it as a day trip from Budapest. It's about 2.5 hours by train, 5 hours round trip. With transit time to the station, it will probably take you …..6.5 hours, give or take. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

The advantage is that if you find you're loving Budapest (my money is on that) you can forego Vienna, assume you will not be hit by a bus, you will be back, and plan it for another trip.

Posted by
19 posts

Sorry I was snarky. You all have been so helpful.

Good news. My father booked the tickets and I did not realize we are under the 24 hour refund window! It pays to communicate rather than assume. Lesson learned. Yay! I have rebooked our trip (on the phone because for whatever reason the multicity option still wasn’t working for me) and now we are flying back via Stockholm thru LHR with a 2 hour layover. Same airline BA so we are hopefully not racing thru the airport.

I am also able to take your advice and tweak our trip so that more time is spent in Budapest with perhaps a night at Lake Balaton region which makes me very happy.

Vienna for another day. Alas. Maybe the GAS Rick Steves tour is next? I hope I hope I hope

Thanks to everyone! I will do better next time. Luckily I did not choose travel agent as a career path.

Posted by
1889 posts

Well, as to Balaton vs Budapest on a first trip, I'd stick to Budapest. It's a world-class destination. Balaton is a big lake. That's a key plus for some, but I'd rather see more of Budapest. You don't say how many nights you are there, but I think that 3-4 on a first pass would be a very good choice. Look for James E's list of restaurants. There's a ton. If you want a day trip out of B-P, consider Szentendre in the Danube Bend - easy regional train trip.

Posted by
10654 posts

Tihany isnt about the lake. It's the artisan shops, cafes, old Abbey ... oh, and the view of the lake from the hilltop. Sort of like Szentendre with half the tourists.