Tony Lu
Topic Author
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Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 7:37 am

Which Airport do you prefer?

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 7:57 am

Gatwick -- I've heard many ridiculous stories about the immigration officials in Heathrow. Never heard anything of the sort about Gatwick. Furthermore, Gatwick is much more convenient for me, staying usually in Surrey County.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 7:59 am

I like Heathrow just because its a bigger airport with more variety of airlines.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:01 am

I prefer neither of them. I specify AMS for arrival into Europe and transfer to anywhere other than London itself. If I have to arrive in London there is usually no choice, but everything (yes, everything) about Heathrow is the pits.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:19 am

Gatwick. LHR is a nightmare especially from T3.
I know alot of people that work at LHR and they think its the best airport in the world, LGW,BHX,MAN are just airfields. Cant wait till LGW gets its well deserved 6 runways and 9 terminals! That will piss em off...
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:32 am

I prefer Heathrow due to the fact that it is a lot more accessable from the city. A lot cheaper to take the tube rather than the Gatwick Express.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:42 am

Maybe Gatwick is more convenient and has fewer 'nightmares' for passengers, but in terms of the variety of aircraft and airlines, Heathrow is untouchable.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 10:12 am

Heathrow, much easier to get to the city and has an awesome variety of widebodies and airlines. However, I think both airports are a dump compared to many of the US airports and SE Asian airports.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 1:04 pm

Heathrow--For the pilot and spotter in me. Unparalled as far as air traffic and variety of airlines.

Gatwick--A lot easier for travelers. It's further out which means it takes longer to get to and it's more expensive to get to. But the extra time and money reward you with a nicer terminal, less crowds, and less chaos.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 1:55 pm

Heathrow Rocks!...gatwick doesn't. .End of story!
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 3:17 pm

I haven't been to Gatwick, so I can't speak to that.

But Heathrow was pretty good to me. But I have to tell you, the bus transfer from the international terminal to the domestic terminal, for my flight up to MAN was a little scary. Here is this huge bus filled with passengers, positively flying down these narrow little alleyways, missing trucks and other vehicles by mere feet. For a 16-year old who had just arrived in country, it was a very intense introduction to British driving! lol!

(It was also funny because you could totally tell who the Americans were, because we were all freaking out by this experience, while everyone else sat there and laughed at us.  Laugh out loud)

As far as Customs goes, I had no problems. All these "horror" stories about Customs at Heathrow were not something I witnessed. I breezed right through...
Militant Agnostic - I don't know and you don't either.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 4:58 pm

but in terms of the variety of aircraft and airlines, Heathrow is untouchable.

You should have been their in the 70's, a lot more airlines, before they all merged or went bankrupt, and a huge variety of aircraft, before they all looked the same.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:06 pm

For convenience getting to London/Home counties - LHR

For transfers LGW.

LHR is an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE for any transfer, especially if you have to change terminals. And if you have to transfer from the Central Area to T4, your luggage WILL NOT MAKE YOUR CONNECTION unless you have at least 3 hours between flights - ignore the published minimum connecting time, its given as 1 hour which is a joke.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:08 pm

From a spotting point of view, I just love LHR.

Want to go back asap!

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:38 pm

Hmm... LHR. I have flown from T1 several times, T2 once, and T4 a couple of times. I want to fly from T3.  Smile
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:58 pm

LGW 'cause they say there is no space for CO at LHR (so they say), but we will fly to every airport in the UK/Ireland from EWR untill we get in.  Smile .Some airlines opertating to LHR are from countries that did not exist when CO first applied for slots at LHR..How is that for fair..But dont worry the LHR service will be in addition to LGW and the rest..
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 6:31 pm

Of the two, I prefer Heathrow, purely because it is closer to where I live and it has the most extensive range of flights, but Gatwick is by far the easiest to travel through.

But, I actually don't like either and am embarrassed by the pitiful state of this countries premier airports. Why BAA can't get it's act together and sort out the day to day management of both airports now is beyond me. Arriving at Terminal 3 is especially depressing - miles to walk, confusing signage, gloomy corridors and immigration hall and the baggage hall is always littered with uncollected suitcases. Not to mention rude staff and a feeling that the place is generally unclean.

Having recently flown into T3 from Copenhagen really made me realise how far we have to go to achieve world class airport status. I guess the only way to deal with the problems at LHR is to close parts of the old terminals when T5 opens and completely gut/rebuild them. This should remove the inconsistencies caused by the various terminal extensions that have happened over the years.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 7:51 pm

Pearson: soon you may add T5 to that list! Big grin

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:10 pm

If you have visited some of the best airports in the world, especially Chek Lap Kok, you will realise how bad LHR is. The British don't seem to be able to copy from others. T2 is one of the worst at Heathrow.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:33 pm

"Pearson: soon you may add T5 to that list!"

Very true!  Big grin
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:40 pm

LGW - I think it is a lot nicer place, it feels cozy in some way  Big grin
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:10 am

both airports are a hell.I prefer AMS.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:18 am

LGW North Terminal is OK. Curious how Air 2000 got in there.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:23 am

In terms of a traveller, I prefer MAN over anything in London. Given the country's wealth I am surprised at the state of its premier airports, so I am eagerly awaiting T5 (bad luck if you're not flying a OW carrier...)
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:30 am

I have never been to Gatwick but I flew many times to/from Heathrow.

From a passengers view: I hate Terminal 2, it is too crowded during the rush hours and the building is simply too old. From a spotters view is Heathrow absolutely amazing because of the variety of airlines and airplanes, there are also some great spots for example Hatton Cross or the field in front of runway 09.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:43 am

I have to say that I wasn't as impressed with LHR as I thought I would be. Of course, I flew into and out of T3, which isn't that nice in my opinion. Gatwick was much more asthetically pleasing, and a lot easier to navigate in. BUT...getting from Gatwick to London is a lot more of a hassle.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:04 am

Heathrow, by a long shot.

I just love the atmosphere, every time I go there it feels the same, its so busy and cosmopolitan, and obviously very exciting..

Still, its not the easiest airport to get in and out of, the terminals are overcrowded (although T4 is usually pretty good), it comes across as dirty, disorganized etc..

But Gatwick is smaller, and its so far away from the City, it adds nearly 45 minutes to my journeytime If I fly from there and not LHR. I've had more delays and the last time I flew into LGW it was a wreck.. Probably is better now but I still prefer LHR.

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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:59 am

LHR is fascinating for the variety of airlines etc, however neither of them rates well in terms of manueverability.
LGW is a nightmare for non EU travelers.
It doesn't seem to be properly staffed.
LHR is the better of the two, but not by much!
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 2:20 am

Gatwick is far superior in that it has many times more rail connection than Heathrow.

Last summer going from Gatwick to Bath was a simple easy affair, one train to Reading, and then a transfer to the train to Bath. It would have worked ok from Heathrow, just make the connection at Paddington, but if your destination isn't on the mainline to Wales, then you're screwed. You can get almost anywhere in England from Gatwick by rail with a single connection, the same cannot be said about Heathrow.
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 2:23 am

Flown from both of them this year and Gatwick wins hands down for me. LHR isnt that bad but again its not good but variety of a/c and airlines are unrivaled


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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:02 am

Flown from all the terminals in both of them many times (except T5, of course  Wink/being sarcastic)

Terminal 1: Early morning is hell for checking in, especially BMI. I flew to Madrid with them earlier this year (Tuesday 10th June) with our flight at 8:15am, and if we had luggage we'd have missed our flight. Luckily we didn't so we could use the seperate check-in. Security was not too bad, waited for around 20mins to get through. Once airside there are a lot of shops, restaurants and windows.

Terminal 2: Mayhem in the morning, check-in area of the terminal is very claustrophobic as the roof is so low. Flew from there to Madrid on Iberia in October 2001 at 07:30 and the check-in and security were moderate, but it seemed very crowded, especially Lufthansa.

Terminal 3: Again, early morning is hell. Luckily there are a lot of desks for most airlines. Flew from there on BWIA to Barbados in May 2001 and on Virgin Atlantic to San Francisco on July 10th 2003. Check-in for Virgin was okay because we were in premium economy so we had priority. Security in 2001 was hell, we waited over an hour to get through. But it seems they must have cleared it up because when i went to San Francisco at around the same time it was a breeze. Bit of a con once airside as they put you in a shop, and it's quite hard to find your way around, however they have a TGI Fridays so that makes up for it Big grin Getting to your gate is quite confusing being very spread out. When i was going to Barbados i wanted to spot so we went down one of the terminal "wings" and we had to go through this small security thing to get back. Not too bad though, probably Heathrow's best

Terminal 4: Can be very crowded during the morning. I've only flown Vancouver from there in 2000 and that was a 16:30 departure so I've never actually experienced the morning rush, but i saw the crowds when i wanted to check out the terminal earlier this year. Evening, check-in can be quite hectic too for all the Australian, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Cape Town, South American routes. I cannot remember much of the terminal because it was 3 years ago so it kinda sunk. I remember it was pretty average.

North Terminal: Nothing too bad for check-in, however they have desks for "All flights to the USA" so during the morning you can get caught up in queues of Houston/Dallas/Orlando travellers and Atlanta coming slight later (Plus Tampa etc). Air 2000 desks can be crowded for the early morning charter rush from about 4:00-6:00am (check-in). Security is a breeze, lots of them so done quickly. I've flown out of here many times so i know the airport pretty much inside out (Orlando, Orlando, Mauritius, Paris CDG, Faro, Corfu etc). One through security you're introduced to a huge open space with shops all around the sides. Straight ahead of you, up the stairs is a good place to spot from gates 50+. You can also see the departures/arrivals to the left and all the aircraft on remote stands. Getting to you gate is confusing if you're travelling from one of the gates 50- as there is usually a long walk involved.

South: Easyjet check-in can be quite horrendous during the "busy hours" as can the other charter airline's check in. Security can be easy but can also form queues of about 10mins. Once through there is a great bar/spotting place upstairs allowing great views across the main concourse one the left side (the side you can't see very well from the viewing gallery). Extra security and a long walk is now included if you're in one of the far gates (i.e. 28).

Spotting - Heathrow: Well you all know the spectators place on top of T2 is closed now and that was a great place to go if you wanted to see arrivals/departures on the southern runway. From what we have now, all around the perimeter road can provide great spotting views, especially if you go right up to the fence. I recommend hatton cross if they're landing on the southern runway as they do come pretty low.

Spotting - Gatwick: Spectators gallery was a great place about 5+ years ago. Since, building work has gone on and it's almost impossible to see the end of 26L now. Another great place is to the west of the airfield, however this is only really any good on easterly winds, at which time it's amazing as you get aircraft coming in very low overhead and you have departures right in front of you. However there aren't many gaps in the fences and if there are spotters already there then they might be using the main holes in the gate. Still great though.

That's about it really - Disagreements welcome Big grin
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RE: Heathrow Or Gatwick

Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:32 am

Gatwick is twice the distance from my home but takes half the time to get there. The area around Heathrow is too built up and transport, especially by road, is a nightmare. Shopping village in the South Terminal is comparable to shops at T1&4 at LHR. Non-BA terminals at LHR are pretty well neglected and ancient and capacity is so constrained that, of the last 5 BA flights I have taken arriving at LHR, 3 (all 777s from GRU) have been parked away from the gate and one of the others (a domestic flight) was parked at an international gate so that meant being bussed to the terminals, which is very third world. Oh and of course the other flight was prevented from taking off from ABZ because BA suddenly went on strike.....resulting in a fun 600 mile drive home on a Friday night. So from a travelling perspective, I hate LHR.
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