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LHR or LGW for US bound flight?

For flight to US is there any reason to chose one airport over the other?

Looking at flights for next Spring and one choice is a flight out of LHR and the other is a departure from LGW. The LGW flight is a bit cheaper but is an 18 hour journey vs. 17 hours for the bit more expensive LHR flight.

Would appreciate thoughts from those who have experienced both airports

Thank you

Posted by
8889 posts

Not much difference, just choose the cheapest and most convenient flight.

Both are easy to get to by train from Central London.
Heathrow by Express train from Paddington station, or by tube on the Piccadilly line. Remeber there are different stations for the different terminals.
Gatwick by Express train from Victoria station, plus local stopping trains from some other stations.

Also consider London Stansted airport (STN).

If flying to Europen destinations you also have Luton (LTN) and London City (LCY)

Posted by
3620 posts

If they are both direct flights then Gatwick would be my choice. Cheaper, much less crowded, and it only cost you an hour more.

Posted by
92 posts

Having flown into and out of both, my personal preference is LGW. For myself I find it a bit less chaotic and easier to navigate. I would go with whatever flight gave me the best fare and times but if all else is equal, I would go with LGW. Took the express train to London Victoria train station that was very close to our hotel. Only problem was on the way back to fly home, the Gatwick Express was not running due to work on the tracks, so we used Uber and it worked out even better for us with 3 of us and bags from over shopping!

Posted by
2560 posts

We flew in and out of LGW 4 times this summer., twice international, twice intra-Europe, both N and S terminals. We had OK meals for airport food. You need to wait until your gate is posted on a board before you can go to the gate. They post the gate usually about 1/2 to 1 hour before departure. But plenty to see, shop, dine in the meantime. We took the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station then a cab to the hotel. We got the cheapest train tickets, group rate (3 of us) in advance on line, good for the day. We arrived in the S terminal, train leaves from the N so involved a shuttle. Signage not great but people helpful and guided us. Train clean, quick, runs often. We hired a car back to the airport, and with three people it was a wash compared to the train, but a lot less dragging of bags. This was very early on a weekend. The driver said other than that time, it's chancy as traffic can be very bad. So, if weekday, rush hour, peak traffic time on weekends, take public transportation whichever airport you choose. Have not been to LHR for years but fellow travelers don't seem to like it.

Posted by
13068 posts

If you were traveling this summer, you would not have to worry about the British Airways cabin crew strike if flying out of Gatwick. But hopefully the strike will not continue into next year (or past mid-August if we had our wish).

Assuming this is a flight back to the US from London, not elsewhere in Europe. You absolutely want to avoid a connection that has you transfer from LHR to LGW. . . . Been there, done that, and will not do it again! But if London is your departure city then Gatwick will be fine.

Who has flights to SEA from Gatwick? Not BA.

Posted by
7189 posts

Go with the cheaper airfares over airport this makes no difference but Heathrow is one the worse airports

Posted by
6869 posts

Your best way is non-stop on Norwegian Air Shuttle into Gatwick--beginning 9/17/2017.
Gatwick also doesn't charge as high departure taxes as Heathrow charges to North America.

Posted by
1143 posts

Gatwick would be my choice, in a heartbeat!
I have flown through LGW twice in the last year and it is much more manageable then Heathrow, which I have avoided for the last 10 years or more since 3 1/4 hours between flights there was almost not enough time.

Posted by
4681 posts

"Gatwick also doesn't charge as high departure taxes as Heathrow charges to North America."

Depends what is being considered here. The UK doesn't have a 'departure tax' but there is Air Passenger Duty which is the same rate at any airport in England. The fees associated with the airport itself are less though, although in the end it is the price paid that is important not to whom I guess.

These days if anything Gatwick seems more crowded that some of the Heathrow terminals to me. Both airports have changed a lot over the years.

You haven't said what any of your other plans may be (where you are going to be the day before etc).

Posted by
3652 posts

Where are you staying in London? That would be my major factor in choosing one over the other.

Posted by
1341 posts

I was through both airports earlier this year. LGW felt a little more manageable. Distances walked seemed a little shorter vs LHR. But this could easily been due to my particular flights.

So I would take into account

  • Fares
  • Ease of transportation to and from hotel
  • Preferred flight times
  • Connecting airport and time to clear passport control and catch connection

Pick whatever is best for you.

Posted by
9700 posts

My experience at LGW is old,old, no contribution there.

BUT, looking at your travel times I'm guessing neither is a non-stop from London to Seattle on Delta or BA. Where you transit thru might be a bigger consideration than where you leave from. I avoid the eastern cities but will transit thru MSP, SLC or SEA.

Posted by
8612 posts

Thank you all. Good to know there is no real downside to using LGW

I am in early planning stages of planning a trip for next Spring. Using FF miles for flight from London back to US. Will have arrived in London via Eurostar. Have not started planning on where to stay in London. Seems once I have flights selected, I will have to linclude airport access as a factor in choosing an area.

Lola- BA has no biz class available for the LHR-SEA flt. I have to change somewhere, whether its with BA or AA or KLM.

I have been to LHR only to change planes. The only London air I have breathed was what came out the a/c vents at LHR

Posted by
7596 posts

Indeed, just pick whichever one is more convenient to where you want to stay in London (i.e. which area you're staying in, whether it has easier access to Heathrow or to Gatwick - Gatwick is easily accessed from Victoria area).

Posted by
3652 posts

There's always a default to the Gatwick Express and Victoria station, but Gatwick is accessible by a single train (overground, not tube although the overground trains often run in tunnels in central London) service from London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras, Elephant & Castle, as well as Victoria, all train stations in central London, and with a transfer train-to-train from virtually any part of London.

Heathrow on the other hand has single train service only to Paddington which is almost central, then one train tube service on the Piccadilly line that runs diagonally across London, and then accessible to anywhere with a tube transfer.

Overground trains have more room for luggage.

Note that if you stayed within walking distance of St Pancras you would not need either a taxi or tube when entering or leaving London with luggage: arrive Eurostar at St Pancras, then leave to Gatwick on Thameslink train from St Pancras, or to Heathrow on Picaddilly line tube from adjacent Kings Cross tube station.

It can be confusing that there are tube and overground rail stations that share the same names, in close proximity, but are nearly always different entities. One exception I can think of is Farringdon where the tube and overground trains share the same tracks.

Posted by
27714 posts

Farringdon where the tube and overground trains share the same tracks.

Nearly. Adjacent lines but different elevations which aren't shared.