Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:54 am

Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:25 am

I travel regularly to London on business and always take DL - therefore, I have always flown into Gatwick when I'm coming from the States. Other than the location of the gates DL uses (they are literally the gates furtherest away from the waiting area at the airport) I really don't have a problem with Gatwick.

I've flown in and out of Heathrow a bunch of times when transiting through London so I've had first hand experience with both airports. I like T4 at LHR but the rest of the terminal seem old and run down. (I am looking forward to T5 as the designs look awesome).

The only other major difference I see between the two airports from a traveler's perspective is that the trip time between London to Gatwick is about 15 min longer than the trip to LHR (on the Gatwick and Heathrow Express trains respectively).

Why does it seem that everyone wants to got to Heathrow as opposed to Gatwick?
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:50 am

Even as a crewmember flying into LGW versus LHR was night and day. I loved flying the LGW trip. The people seemed to be more relaxed, the airport was not a mess, and clearing customs seemed to be much easier...
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 10:14 am

Three reasons:

1) perception of Heathrow being the optimum airfield
2) Heathrow's proximity to central LON
3) number of possible connections at LHR versus LGW
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 10:39 am

I have travelled through both LHR (T1 and T4) and LGW (South) in the last 3 months and my meory of both is fresh. I have also been to both airports many many times earlier as well...

In my opinion LGW was way more chaotic and 'scary' if i may use that word than LHR. IN LGW it seemed like there is no organisation to things whatsoever. Waiting in the line to go into the departure area was a nightmare. It was hundreds of people just squishing together and waiting in, what seemed to be one huge and stuffy line, for 40 minutes!

On the other hand i have a much better experience with LHR. It looked and felt more civilised. Somehow people seemed more civilised. No i am not saying that people in LGW are not civilised it is just the organisation of things at LGW makes it seem less civilised.

However once you do go through the crazy ordeal that is passing through the security checkpoint LGW is a very nice airport. Nice layout and shops and quite user-friendly.
What a difference from the general airport area!

I preffer LHR to LGW.

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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:17 pm

I like Gatwick better, I'd rather take a train to the airport rather then the slowwwww subway.
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 2:03 pm

The only thing i dislike about Gatwick is you can't see any aircraft from inside the airport- at least's ho it was in 1999 when i was there. The planes are parked so far away from the departure gates for some reason and you have to take a bus to get to your plane. Other than that it's a nice airport, i spent the entire night there.
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:23 pm

Gatwick North is ok.

Gatwick South is awful. It is always full of charter passengers going on an 18-30 holiday to Ibiza or somewhere, and thus, the behaviour is very loutish. Also, the terminal is awful and overcrowded and it can be a long walk to your gate.
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:42 pm

From my experiences with Gatwick in 2000, I would say it is the worst airport I have ever experienced. It is hot, overcrowded and chaotic, with long lines, annoying souvenir shops, a huge degree of chaos, and ineffectual climate control (the mass of idle, standing bodies must be too much for the AC system to handle). Though T4 at Heathrow did not exactly impress me with its somewhat overbearing, garish and yet somehow formidable 1980s architecture, I did find it to be a pleasant suprise following the horrors of Gatwick.

However, my opinions should be noted only when accompanied by the fact that I have only flown out of Gatwick and only arrived in Heathrow. I have never boarded a flight departing Heathrow and I have never arrived at Gatwick. So please hold that reservation in mind when reading this opinion.

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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 5:15 pm

I find it very hard to understand any of you guys who find it possible to say anything positive about LHR OR LGW. Unfortunatelly much of the time I can't avoid one or the other, but I am now prepared to pay a little more and even take a little longer to get to my final destination to avoid either of these aiports whenever I can.

My regular commute of


costs $200 Economy or $500 business more and takes 3 hours longer than


But the pleasure of avoiding LAX and LHR makes it worth it to me.

Unfortunately my sidetrips to Sussex make LGW unavoidable.


RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 5:37 pm

Flying from Gatwick North is far better than anything LHR has to offer. Gatwick South on the other hand is in great need of expansion as it is always full of the bucket and spade brigade going on charters or easyJet.
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 6:01 pm

I have flown out of LGW too many times to count (as it is only 4/5 miles away from my house) and have rarely had a problem. Though i must admit that South terminal could do with an expansion. Although i never had the experience i saw one que that people must have been waitin in for over half an hour. The massive expansion of EasyJet doesn't help.

From South i have flown with Britannia, Airtours, Monarch and Caledonian and found it fine.

North terminal is very different in that very few airlines fly into it compared with south. This makes it a lot more spacious. Only British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Air 2000 and a few others.

From North i have flown with BA and Air2000 (quite a walk to gate).

Overall i find Gatwick a very nice airport. It isn't nearly as busy as LHR (most of the time) and people i know would rather fly into LGW any day. The Gatwick express is only 35-45 mins and most of the day departs every 15 mins with comfortable and fast trains (i see them every morning).

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:30 pm

The only bad experience I've had ad either airport was at Gatwick North in April this year. It was the first weekend of the school Easter holidays and the place was a complete mess - the queue for BA Economy check-in was so large I'd have missed my flight if I hadn't used the self check-in machine. There were large crowds trying to get through security to the departure lounge with no organisation at all, that queue lasted 30 minutes. Once airside everything was OK though.

Overall I prefer LHR, but the journey from my house to LGW takes just 30 minutes compared to an hour to Heathrow.

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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:45 pm

Can't say many positive things about Gatwick - The south terminal is hateful - as was mentioned before its like the charter flight terminal from hell !! Trying to clear immigration in the mornings is a nightmare - the queues back up so much with overseas visitors that it gets impossible to get to the empty section for EU passport holders - you either end up fighting your way through or just standing in line for an hour !!

The Northern terminal is a little better - more things to do until flight time and mainly scheduled flights - plus a decently spacious BA lounge at least !!

For me, out of all of the main airports in Europe - LHR wins hands down IMHO - Amsterdam is pretty bad - its very rare that I have made a connecting flight in the mornings unless there is a 2+ hour stopover, Frankfurt is chaotic and I always seem to have to bus it to and from the aircraft from the terminal - which usually means that again a tight connecting flight turns into a missed one. However my overall winner in the terrible category is CDG - a tribute to style over function !! Visit CDG but pack your running shoes if you have to a make a connecting flight !!



RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:10 pm

People in the Southwest & Wales area UK dislike Gatwick as it is the airport they normally have to fly from. From the Southwest to Gatwick could take up to 2-4 hours depending on traffic and how fast your driving  Big thumbs up. But then around two years ago Easyjet started to fly from BRS and BMIbaby around 6 months later from CWL. These two airports have seen rapid increase of traffic along with other regional airports such as NCL and EMA.

Anyone agree? lol

 Laugh out loud
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:22 pm

Gatwick North is by far the best airport terminal London airports have to offer. Chaotically busy in the mornings but the rest of the times - check-in, shopping, arrivals all tend to be rather pleasant compared to LHR.

I also live directly south of LGW at the end of the A23(M) so it is by far the most convenient of airports for me.
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RE: Why Don't People Like Gatwick

Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:27 pm

Ive always flown from LGW south terminal and found the experience enjoyable. I flew from North Terminal a couple of weeks ago and found that a very impressive termainal - However i wasnt impressed by the fact that when i landed back at LGW North Terminal a week later, we had to wait FOURTY minutes for the Buses to arrive to take us from the remote stand to the arrival gate.... (and yes the buses were operated by the airport and not the airline) This is the last thing you need at 4am in the morning