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which airport in London?

I am wondering the difference between flying into Heathrow verus Gatwick? I am going to stay with my cousin in London. I am leaning towards flying into which ever airport I get the cheaper ticket. I am wondering if that would be a mistake?

Posted by
521 posts

I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on the price of the ticket, but regarding the traffic the only concern would be how you are commuting from Gatwick. The bus may take a bit of time, though the ride is about 90 minutes long anyways without traffic so by the time you are done getting through customs, picking up your bags, getting on the bus, and actually getting into London, you should be just missing the traffic.

If you choose to take the train, on the other hand, obviously traffic will not be a concern. The only issue may be how you will travel once you get in London. Remember that even the EasyBus takes you only to one or two drop-off points and you need to travel from there.

For more information, I recommend:

Gatwick Express (train)
EasyBus - their website claims trips are as low as two pounds, but you need to book early as the more seats are reserved on each bus, the higher the price gets

Posted by
8940 posts

If you're talking about a transatlantic flight, fares for the two airports should be identical. I don't like Heathrow it's the biggest airport in the world, very crowded, and did I mention big:) If given the choice I go with Gatwick as it's smaller more manageable. Both airports are well connected to the city center via the Tube (Heathrow), express train (Heathrow and Gatwick), and commuter trains (Gatwick).

Posted by
521 posts

Hi Kirsten,

Your two main concerns should be time and money. Heathrow is much closer to central London than is Gatwick. From Heathrow, you can take the underground (subway) to wherever you would like. From Gatwick, you would need to take another method of public transit. If you are carrying a lot of luggage and would need a taxi, then Heathrow would save a LOT on taxi fare. Of course, if you're getting picked up by your cousin then just ask them first where they would prefer you land.

If you are alright with taking something closer to public transit, the underground will cost you at least four pounds from Heathrow, whereas from Gatwick just the train for fifteen pounds, or you can take a shuttle like the EasyBus for anywhere from four to eight pounds. Just remember that if you take the train or the bus, you may need to hop on the underground after for another four pounds.

Posted by
62 posts

I found a flight for $665 from Minneapolis to Gatwick in June. I think this might be a good fare and I am thinking about buying it. Any thoughts on the price? I am also debating on taking a chance and waiting until the month before to buy my ticket since the economy is so horrible. Another concern I have about which airport I fly into is that I would land at 7am on a Tuesday. How would rush hour play into my decision? This is my first trip to Europe. My cousin will not be picking me up and I think I am going to bring a backpack for luggage.

Posted by
4555 posts

Buy the ticket now...not only is the price excellent, but Gatwick is a far friendly airport. It's smaller and much easier to move around. Both Heathrow and Gatwick have express train services that take about the same amount of time to get into downtown London...but they are expensive. However, there are many local trains from Gatwick that are far cheaper and take only a few minutes longer to make their runs into London. Which one you take will likely depend on where your cousin lives, or plans to meet you. I would avoid buses....I always seem to get caught in a traffic jam. See here for a good general overview of transportation links.

Posted by
62 posts

Thanks for the help. I decided to buy the ticket.

Posted by
881 posts

Hi Kristen. Just to give you an idea on ticket odds, yapta released a study showing that 87% of the time, within 3months of your trip the price you see is the best one you'll see. In other words, about a 13% chance of saving money by waiting. Hope that helps with your decision! Sounds like you found agood fare for June to me! :)

PS - Have you been to Europe before? IF not, Heathrow can be kind of fun, and part of the "experience" (World's biggest airport, mall inside). Though Gatwick is definitely easier to get around! :)

Posted by
668 posts

You do not need to take the Gatwick Express. The regular train costs about 7 pounds less and only takes 5 minutes more. Just watch you get on teh right train and not jump on the Express by mistake - the ticket collecter will want the difference when they chack on you - after teh train has left!

You can also take a bus from Heathrow which takes you to teh Victoria Coach Station.

It also depends where you are going in London.

Posted by
283 posts

Yes, it definitely depends where your cousin lives. Central London no problem, but any of the neighboring boroughs could make one airport easier than the others depending on the transport you need to take to get there.