train travel from Gatwick airport

We are arriving at Gatwick Airport and we were planning to take a Southern Railways train to London. We can buy our tickets ahead of our arrival but if we buy ahead for a specific time and our flight is late and we miss that time can the tickets be used for a later train. This is for Saturday 5 OCT 2013? We can purchase these online. I sent an email to Southern but have received no respones Also, where do we get the train? We are arriving at the North terminal.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

It would be risky, or wasteful of valuable tourist time, depending on how quickly you get through landing, Immigration, and baggage reclaim - - or not - - to commit to an "Advance" ticket. If you are early you have to wait. If you are late your non-changeable, non-refundable Advance ticket will become an expensive bookmark and you will also have to buy a full priced replacement ticket. The money difference isn't much more than a fancy cup of coffee and a roll - I'd buy an Anytime on line or in the station on the day, if 'twere me.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

You can buy different kinds of ticket ahead of time, but whether it is valid on a specific train or also on later trains depends on the ticket type, not on when you bought it. The cheapest ticket type is 'Advance' and is only valid on a specific train. That would cost £10 and has to be purchased before the day of travel. A flexible 'Anytime' ticket is only £14.50 and can be bought at that price on the day. It sounds like you know that neither of these can be used on the Gatwick Express. The station is adjacent to the south terminal.

Posted by Nancy
London, UK
159 posts

I agree with Nigel. I never buy my Southern train tickets from Gatwick in advance.

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

We just buy our ticket when we get there. The difference is minimal. Just watch when you are on the platform that you do not get on the Gatwick Express by mistake. Trains travel ON TIME and the Express may be just a couple of minutes in front of the one you want, and on the same platform. The first time we used it, we just asked if it was going to Victoria and on being told it was, jumped on, thinking, "That's funny, it's early!" when it left right away. When the ticket collector came round, we had to pay the difference for the Express. There may have been a penalty as well, I don't remember.