The holiday season is now in full swing and most of us just want to escape the hectic routine. It doesn’t really matter where you’re heading but what does matter is that you reach your destination on time. London is a busy city and you could easily get caught up in the daily grind but planning will make life easier!
London has 5 Airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted and London City Airport. If you struggle to keep time, check these 5 simple ways to avoid missing your flight:
1. Plan your route a few weeks ahead. Including your destination, preferred Airport, how to deal with connecting flights and how to get there. Set your alarm to wake you up 6 hours before you need to check in, taking into account your journey time to the airport and unexpected delays.
If you’ve got a last minute deal, have your suitcase packed beforehand – this means you would only have your itinerary to sort out. But it might not be a good idea to exchange your currency if you don’t have a confirmed booking yet.
Getting to/from the Airport:
London has a few options to choose from:
Gatwick Airport is 28 miles (45km) from South London and is connected to the M23 motorway at junction 9 and to the A23 – London to Brighton road.
Heathrow Airport is 15 miles (24km) to the west of central London. It is connected to M25 and M4.
Use the AA route planner to help you with directions to the correct terminals.
By taxi or mini cab
Search online for a reputable cab company and book one to take you to the Airport but bear in mind that this the most expensive way to get to the there.
By bus and coach
National Express coaches run from Victoria coach station to both Gatwick and Heathrow. Check Easybus.com for London travel connections to and from Gatwick and Heathrow Airport for local connections.
It’s much cheaper to book a return ticket than a single unless you are planning a one -way trip.
2. Book your ticket online and you might be entitled to a 10% discount off your ticket. If you prefer not to book online, then you will be able to buy your ticket at the train station but there might be long queues!
Study the timetables for both train and coach journeys. The Gatwick Express is a fast train that runs non-stop between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria and the journey time is 30 minutes, currently running every 15 minutes from London Victoria train station, so there is less waiting time. Some services vary due to maintenance work. On the other hand, the Heathrow Express runs non-stop between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport.
3. Exchange your currency before you travel because it saves time and it might be a lot cheaper in town.
4. Confirm your booking on the Airline’s website with your passport details, a few days before travelling, just to be on the safe side.
5. Print your boarding pass and place your itinerary in your hold all making sure you know which terminal your flight will arrive or depart from.
Arrive at the Airport at least 4 hours before your flight time because there might be traffic or train signal issues. I remember getting caught up in a delayed train for about 1 hour 2 years ago. Luckily I still caught my flight!
So are you escaping the crowds this summer? What would be the first thing to remember before getting to the Airport? Leave a comment for more ways to avoid missing your flight from/back to London.
Sadly I learned the hard way about catching my flight home from Heathrow. I was flying back to Toronto from Malaga Spain…..stopover in Heathrow and yes, we missed our flight. They were JUST closing the door and would not reopen it. So, moral of the story is: leave LOTS of time for a stopover. British Airways did not have any more flights that day and bussed us to Birmingham, put us up for the night and then flew us via Air India to Toronto. Oh, did I mention we were in the LAST row in the middle? Unforgettable (in a bad way)!! Great post!
Thanks Jan. What a shame! I’m a strong believer in leaving more than enough time to travel. Not done that many stopovers though but I can imagine the hassle involved in trying to get another flight! Even worst having to go all the way up to Birmingham and to be in the LAST row in the middle. Bet you’ll never forget! 🙂
I cannot imagine missing an international flight! I missed exactly one flight in my life… Florida to Wisconsin and it was total nightmare. But it does teach you something! Printing boarding passes is a huge help these days. Save the wait in the ticket line at least…because you have hurry up and wait at the security check points!
I agree Jacquie. Printing boarding passes saves time and sometimes cuts down the queues. I still remember those days when we had to check-in and wait for a boarding pass to be issued…Thanks to technology!