Many international visitors flocking to Europe may book flights from their local airport to the UK and use it as a hub to connect to destinations all over the continent. They book their flights online with the airline or through third-party sites like Expedia; but don’t realise they need to transfer to different London airport to continue their journey.
Having worked in the aviation sector, this is something I have seen so many times before. They fly into Heathrow and suddenly realise their flight to Naples (or somewhere else) departs from London Gatwick. Ouch!
Today I thought I’d share some tips on the best way to travel between the two London airports. For those who don’t know, London Gatwick airport is actually located in West Sussex; about 30-minutes outside of London by rail. It’s the busiest single-Runway airport in the world with quite a few airlines operating from either the north or south terminal. From BA and EasyJet to Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and Westjet; you can fly to hundreds of destinations across the world from Gatwick.
The best piece of advice I can give is to allow at least three hours to transfer between both airports. Many sites say you can easily transfer in 90-120 minutes, but some airlines do advise for you to leave three hours for connecting between Heathrow and Gatwick.
The easiest way to travel between Heathrow and Gatwick is by road, but there is a drawback… you’ve got to travel on the glorious M25.
My personal recommendation is to take the National Express coach service. Buses run every 30-40 minutes or so between Heathrow and Gatwick; with an average journey time of one hour. If you are travelling in rush hour, then you could easily add an extra hour onto the journey. Fares are pretty reasonable starting at £20pp each way. If there are quite a few of you travelling together; then a taxi might sound more appealing to you; otherwise forget the £70 odd charge!
Your only other option other than taking a coach, taxi or car would be rail – and it isn’t easy. You’d need to catch a train or the underground into central London where trains run to Gatwick Airport from some of the city’s major rail stations. The Heathrow Express is the fastest option into the city; but then you’d need to change in order to get a service to Gatwick. The underground is again more economical, but it takes an average of 45 minutes to travel from T5 to the city. Hmmm…
Whenever you are booking flights in and out of London, triple-check your itinerary so you know exactly which airports you will be flying in and out of. This way you’ll avoid any unnecessary surprises on the day.