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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 12:57 am

Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:05 am

I will be moving to London shortly and traveling a great deal. I am trying to determine the best ways to get to the various airports. I already am familiar with the Heathrow Express, Gatwick Express and Stansted Express, but I'm wondering if anyone has taken the Thameslink to Luton or Gatwick? The prices look good, I'm just wondering about trip lenght and the comfort on the trains. Thanks!
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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 8:21 am

I use Thameslink quite frequently, the trains are bog standard commuter trains, reasonably clean depending on the time of the day, seats are OK for the duration of the trip. Luton to Gatwick is a 1 hour 30 minute ride which isn't too much of a discomfort, prices can be high when travelling into London although concessions are available. Overall a reliable service.
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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 6:50 pm

Thameslink is generally fine, and from London Bridge Station to Gatwick takes pretty much the same time as the Gatwick Express. Also, from Kings Cross, its easier to take Thameslink as it's a direct train to Gatwick, and a bit cheaper.

The main downside is the fact that they are normal commuter trains which have absolutely no space for luggage, apart from the doorways. If the train is quiet or you just have cabin baggage, then it's not too bad, but I have ended up traveling from Gatwick through Central London to Kings Cross with a couple of suitcases in the evening rush hour which I would not recommend. Commuters see you as nothing more than an inconvenience and your cases will get shifted around to cram on more people. As a consequence, keeping an eye on your belongings and getting off the train through the crowds can be a nightmare.

As a sideline, you can get discounted tickets for Thameslink (to Luton), Gatwick Express and Stansted Express from easyjet when you buy them on-line straight after booking your flights.
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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 6:55 pm

ThamesLink to LGW is quite good - and very popular. The one time I used it back in 2001 there were dozens of travellers crowding the London Bridge platform to use it. Yes the carriages become cluttered with luggage and get stuffy but, after all, it costs much less than Gatwick Express so by all means take it! The cross-London link to King's Cross will be seeing delays soon though because of the works being done at St. Pancras to redirect Eurostar trains there.

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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 7:20 pm

Use the Thameslink regularly to and from LGW, and sometimes when I go to LTN too, not a bad service overall but can be a bit crowded on the rush-hour morning services.
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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Thu Sep 11, 2003 10:57 pm

I've taken some or other train from Luton to London, can't remember which of the bloodsucking plutocrat train companies operated it - its not too bad though, if you get the one with only a few stops. Don't get off at Kings X though, go on to Farringdon - you just have to cross platforms to get on the yellow line (Central ?)

I used to live in Twickenham, and to get to LGW I would take the train to Clapham (nightmare if you have suitcases) and get onto the Connex Whatsit to LGW - used to stop only twice, took about 30 minutes. Whole journey could be done in just over an hour if I timed it right.
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RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:22 am

As an American resident in London for the last year, I took the Thameslink frequently and always tried to fly out of Gatwick. Unfortunately, I always found transatlantic service to/from LGW to be pricier than LHR, but for shorthaul it is better than LHR since there are lowfares competitors for BA at Gatwick. And of course, I lived a stone's throw from Farringdon station, so this was by far the best route for me since I didn't need to cab it, even with luggage. Leave plenty of time though, in case of delays. As a sidenote, I think that you will find that BA's shorthaul prices are generally VERY good these days. In all the time I lived in the UK I never took Easyjet or Ryanair because I could always find a good price with BA flying to a major airport from LHR/LGW. Stansted, the main base for cheapo airline flights is a nightmare: not anywhere near London, and many Ryanair services leave at ungodly hours, making getting to and from the airport a real hassle.
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 12:57 am

RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:33 am

KQ777, thanks for the tips. I have already scheduled some Ryanair flights, however, and there's no way BA could have beaten them: for example, I am flying STN-Torp-Skavsta-Malmo-STN; that itinerary all told is less than $100. But I will definitely look at BA in the future. What routes would you recommend for low fares?
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:16 am

RE: Thameslink To Gatwick & Luton

Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:39 am

For example, you can usually find a round trip to Barcelona (main airport) from Heathrow for around GPB 66 with BA (which, by the way is a BA Euro 767 route). You just need to plan well in advance. They are always having sales over in the UK that are publicised on TV, radio, and in the papers. Look out for those. BA's prices will usually seem steeper than EasyJet or Ryanair, but you have to look at the fine print: lowfares airlines may fly to cities that are literally hours from the actual city, and you may have few transport options from these small airports, so it can actually end up costing more once you get there and extending your travel time. This happened to a friend who flew Ryanair to go skiing in the French alps: she spent 50 Euro for the ticket, and an extra 200 Euro on cabs once she got to the tiny airport that had no public transport links. One Ryanair route to watch out for: Frankfurt/Hahn. Hahn is nowhere near Frankfurt: almost 2 hours by bus! Choose BA or LH for this route. Also, FR/EZ will often charge you a huge premium to fly on convenient days and times, like returning on Sunday evening or afternoon. In these cases you can usually fly BA for the same price and a much better service, plus earn miles. And if you have to make changes to your ticket, EZ charges you to wait on hold! Not sure about FR, but have heard bad things too . . .

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