ContinentalEWR
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London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:54 am

I recently flew to and from LGW on Continental and was curious. I never found this airport as exciting as Heathrow. True it is much smaller, but it does seem to be a lot of charter flights and the carriers that cannot fly to LHR for a number of reasons. It also just doesn't have much atmosphere. Why is that?

It also seems quite dead, for an airport that is supposedly Europe's busiest single runway facility and the sixth busiest airport in the world.

Any thoughts?

 
geoffm
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:04 am

Just functional I guess. I wouldn't say it is dead, as it is certainly busy with a lot of variety. The lack of viewing facilities (like most UK airports) is disappointing.

Geoff M.
 
gilesdavies
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:08 am

My comments maybe a little controversial ...

Gatwick does not have the "International or Sophisticated" feel of Heathrow as a very large number of the passengers flying from there are travelling on Charter Flights to the Southern Europe to the tourist blackspots going on beer swilling holidays in the sun!

It is the UK's largest hub for Charter flights and nearly all tour operators have a major presence there, these are low yield passengers and not exactly passengers paying a fortune for their flights. You will find this atmosphere at nearly all regional UK airports as charters make up a large percentage of their passenger number.

Heathrow is very much an exception and handles a completely different market, with nearly all flights being scheduled and a large number of these passengers are transitting through the airport and I think you will find the number of transit passengers Gatwick very low in comparison due the low number of code-shares and British Airways passengers being the exception.

Many of the major scheduled carriers at Gatwick are only there as second choice, due to the restrictions being imposed at Heathrow - For example the Bemuda II Agreement with US and UK carriers and Landing Slots.
 
SimProgrammer
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:11 am

It also seems quite dead, for an airport that is supposedly Europe's busiest single runway facility and the sixth busiest airport in the world.

Try London Stansted, i once spent the night on the terminal floor.

LGW is quite a feature packed airport for its size, and it may have been a quiet day when you arrived there, but comparing it to LHR then there's no contest. Compare it to LAX for example? It's glamoured up by Hollywood but I found it had little to offer compared to LGW.

LGW has always serviced the charter carriers and some smaller schedulers who dont need onward connections offered by LHR. LGW is also an out of town airport which makes it suitable for holiday/vacation flights whereas the business community demand easy access to an airport that takes you almost anywhere.
Drive a bus, an Airbus, easier than a London bus!
 
ramerinianair
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:18 am

Is it really the 6th largest? THat's pretty cool considering it has only one runway! Can anybody show me the numbers-I would really be initerested in seeing them.
Thanks,
SR
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gilesdavies
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:26 am

BAA September Passenger Figures

Nearly 31,000,000 passengers at Gatwick for the last 12 months - not bad for a single runway!

http://www.baa.com/main/corporate/newsdesk/news_releases/2004/91ef3a88bb8eacab80256f27003ff007_page.html

Do any charters operate out of Heathrow and if so what airlines?


[Edited 2004-10-17 21:27:42]
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:31 am

supposedly Europe's busiest single runway facility

...also, the world's  Big grin
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SimProgrammer
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:34 am

Do any charters operate out of Heathrow and if so what airlines?

Strangely enough yes, but they are rare. I had an Air 2000 B752 charter with Tjaerbourg Holidays (1991) out of LHR but it was cancelled at the last minute and we were (only 17 of us for the whole flight - i did a head count!) put on a BMI B734 charter also out of LHR. It was the quietest flight I had experienced, 17 pax and 7 crew.
Drive a bus, an Airbus, easier than a London bus!
 
flylondon
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:37 am

Plus the odd Qantas charter for P&O Cruises to Barcelona, Nice, Majorca, Lisbon and Venice.

[Edited 2004-10-17 22:41:25]
 
BCAL
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:40 am

I am probably biased, as I live on the south coast of the UK, and LGW is definitely more convenient for me than LHR, which involves either a drive on the congested M25 or travelling into London. I prefer the termiinals at LGW - they are much easier to find your way round than LHR, plus the rail link which is not just limited to London bound trains.

Strangely enough some family from Australian visited the UK recently, and during the holiday we went to Belfast from LGW. The Aussies thought LGW was 100 times better than LHR.

MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
aa777jr
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:54 am

now for the third time in this post, its the busiest single runway airport in the world...
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FJWH
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:57 am

6th busiest???  Nuts 31.000.000 freakin' passengers???  Nuts! Wow  Smile. (AMS got like 40.000.000 with 6 runways)

Well I'll be 'two' of them!  Big thumbs up for this year because:

next flights:

AMS - LGW - AMS 20 November on U2

AMS - LGW - AMS 11 December on BA

.. wicked!! FJWH  Smile
FlightS in the next 3 months: MSP, PHX, MEM, NCE, TFS, BCN. All round trips from AMS
 
richardw
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:00 am

The North terminal is very different to the South terminal. Airside there is no M*D**alds Restaurant in the North Terminal since the North Terminal airside catering facilities were recently refurbished. The North Terminal is more interesting than the South with AA And BA flights, also SN Brussels, WOW and FCA flights. It does depend what time of day you are there to get a sighting of the more interesting aircraft. You may get to see an AA or BA B777, an AA B767 or a Travelcitydirect.com or VS B747. LGW does get the interesting aircraft but not as many as LHR.
 
PNEPilot
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:10 am

Well I'll be 'two' of them! for this year because:

next flights:

AMS - LGW - AMS 20 November on U2

AMS - LGW - AMS 11 December on BA



That makes you 'four' - two arrivals and two departures

As a young child (mid 60's) my parents used to take me to Gatwick - we would spend all Sunday afternoon there waiting to see a couple of movements. I think back then spectators were allowed out on the roof of the pier(s).

 
fbgdavidson
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:11 am

From a UK perspective I'd say that LGW caters a lot for the charter cheap holiday market (well unless you are flying to the Caribbean on BA F!) while LHR operates a more business-person orientated market.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
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PanAm_DC10
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:45 am

Gatwick, for me, is very convenient. I use it about 3 times a month. It's also got a good variety of carriers that you may not see at LHR. It's a shame BA have reduced their European operations from LGW but I still enjoy flying their 737's and I miss the 200's! Easyjets A319's are rattle. I find clearing Immigration at LGW is a lot faster than LHR if you are a not an EU passport holder.

Though as others have pointed out, LHR has a different market with less Charter operators etc etc. I still use LHR when I travel on Business and LHR is, well, LHR..!
Ask the impossible to achieve the best possible
 
SPREE34
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:58 am

Things I like about Gatwick.
Getting off the overnighter and having coffee at Costa. (North term)

Spotting off the roadway, by the gates on the west end. Really nice in a east flow, otherwise you have to stand on top of the car.

Breakfast at Garfunkles, window table facing west. (North term)
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
whitehatter
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:47 am

For people who don't know the airport, Gatwick suffers from the NIMBY factor to the extreme. It's in the prosperous south of England, and people with expensive property in the area don't want to see it expanded. That area is gin and Jag country, and those people carry a lot of influence.

Gatwick expansion has been stifled by the Golden Rule.

"He with the gold makes the rules."

Otherwise it would have had more runways, gates and flights a long time ago.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
boo25
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 9:37 am

I live 2 miles from London Gatwick, and flew from there 87-98.

The South Terminal is predominantly charter, and i agree could do with another facelift - i guess most charter flights are cheap,so perhaps the is reflected in the termianl too!
It can get very busy though - particularly early morning.

The North Terminal (predominantly BA) is nicer, and is particularly good airside.
It feels more business like, more spacious and is alot better...

 
A340600
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 9:38 am

Do I need my comments , everyone knows how biased and how much I love LGW. It's great, OK so not as busy as LHR but it aint half bad. Single runway situations can get exciting and sometimes there can be a 146 starting its T/O roll half way down the runway, a 747 waiting at the end of the runway to start hers and an aircraft on approach. Many interesting situations. We also get regular 747-200 and 300 services and 6 daily 737-200's. Oh and we happen to be the Queen of the world tails, many of the BA 737's (not found at LHR anymore) carry them and a 777 still carrying the Chelsea Rose scheme. We get too many 777's

I could go on

Sam Big thumbs up

[Edited 2004-10-18 02:38:58]
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
NW7E7
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 9:55 am

When I was there I saw an @ssload of widebodies. About 4 VS 744's, 1 US A330, 2 or 3 AA 777, 1 BA 747, around 6 BA777's, and a couple of Monarch 767's. The inside of the newly refurbished terminal is like a mall!
 
N1120A
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:09 am

LGW is a good place to spot, and apparently the North Terminal is nice, but the South is an absolute hole. It has no ammenities to speak of (A Weatherspoons and a Pizza Express with a horribly shrunken menu, that is it. They have a viewing deck but it was closed when I went there. LHR is much nicer, though it is really just an overgrown duty free shop.
As far as comparing LGW to LAX, you have got to be kidding me. LAX handles twice as many PAX (though LGW is very impressive in the number of ops they do with just 1 runway) and has much more variety in the way of eateries and stuff to do. Also, viewing is much better and all the terminals are clean and decently lit, which I cannot say for the LGW-South
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whitehatter
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:10 am

and a couple of Monarch 767's

Monarch never operated the 767. It would be the 757,A300 or A330.

The 757s are some of the first off the Boeing line and still going strong. Monarch Engineering is rightly regarded as one of the best MX facilities in the world.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
adriaticus
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:08 pm

My girlfriend and I are scheduled to take-off from LGW on November 3, right at noon. (CO 005 to IAH, on a B772). We will be coming from Luton. Please do advise: What is the best way to get from Luton to LGW at that time of the day (I want to rule out driving on M25), and how much time should we spare for this?

(Let's say we should arrive at LGW no later than 10:30 AM)

Any recommendation will be highly appreciated!!

Another question: CO departs from North or South terminal? I'm assuming North, but my e-ticket print out doesn't say a word.

Cheers!
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A300/18/19/20/21 B721/2 B732/3/G/8 B741/2/4 B752 B762/3/4 B772/3 DC8/9/10 MD11 TU134/154 IL62/86 An24 SA340/2000 E45/90
 
geoffm
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:16 pm

CO is, or certainly used to be, south terminal. You can get there by rail - Luton to St Pancras, tube to Victoria, train to Gatwick. Should take about 1 hour 40 minutes. Plenty of trains at that time of day, as it's the inbound rush hour to London (poor you - expect overcrowding).

There used to be direct services but they're not coming up in the timetable. There is engineering work scheduled so I think the direct link has been discontinued for a while.

Geoff M.
 
BAViscount
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:27 pm

There used to be direct services but they're not coming up in the timetable. There is engineering work scheduled so I think the direct link has been discontinued for a while.

Yep, the cross-London Thameslink service has been discontinued until next year, with southbound services from north of London terminating at St. Pancras and services from the south terminating at Kings Cross/Blackfriars/London Bridge. You can walk from St. Pancras to Kings Cross Thameslink and pick up a Gatwick service from there though - a friend of mine did that only a couple of days ago.
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adriaticus
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:03 am

Geoffm, BAViscount, thanks so much for the indications. I guess we will leave Luton at about 8AM, and that'll give us a safe margin.

Looking forward to my first LGW experience!

___Ad.
A300/18/19/20/21 B721/2 B732/3/G/8 B741/2/4 B752 B762/3/4 B772/3 DC8/9/10 MD11 TU134/154 IL62/86 An24 SA340/2000 E45/90
 
PNEPilot
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:00 am

I don't know about CO, but US recommend getting to LGW three hours before take-off time (that's usually overkill in my experience - but your 10:30 for a noon take-off sounds like cutting it way too fine)
 
bennett123
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:28 am


I would be there by 10.00 at the latest.

You can always take pictures, as I did recently, or shop.

Incidently I got some nice shots from the Restaurant level, including the smoking area. If you are interested, I will send you some.
 
shuttle3echo
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 3:27 am

having worked at LGW for 9 years i must say that it does have atmosphere.I work at the North terminal and the newly opened duty free and restaurants are very nice and smart.You are not crammed in like the ageing south terminal.Views from airside onto the apron are superb especially from the upper level eateries.
Its got good lighting and a wide choice of shops.I prefer working in open environment unlike Heathrow which is a zoo.
 
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Richard28
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:58 am

LGW is a good place to spot, and apparently the North Terminal is nice, but the South is an absolute hole. It has no ammenities to speak of (A Weatherspoons and a Pizza Express with a horribly shrunken menu, that is it.


Are you sure - I find it the other way around!

I normally fly from North, and last did South 12 months or so ago on an easyjet outing. I remember they did have a McDonalds (upstairs, air-side), and they definately have a largish bar at one corner of the terminal (again airside), I have spent time there drinking gin and watching planes many times (hic!  Big grin )

IIRC they also have a Garfunkels in the south terminal

I find the North terminal a bit threadbare in comparrison - maybe its just me!
 
SmithAir747
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Tue Oct 19, 2004 8:29 am

Where can you spot at LGW? I'm living in London as an American student, thus I have no car here (I use the Tube and trains to get around).

I was out at LGW Sunday, and could not find how to get anywhere to spot from around the airport (unlike LHR, which has plenty of roadways around it and plenty of known spotting areas around the two runways, which I found Saturday). Other than atop the car parks at South Terminal, where are there other areas easy to find to spot? At LHR, I found it easy to find the known spotting areas and met other spotters there. In comparison, at LGW, I found it impossibe to get around, because there are no areas within walking distance from South Terminal.

Please let me know where there are any good spotting areas, or whether it's worth it to try again.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
 
bennett123
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RE: London Gatwick Airport

Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:10 am

Have you tried the Gatwick Aviation Museum at Charlwood.

I flew to Pisa recently, and whilst climbing could clearly see 2 Shackletons and a Sea Vixen among others.

It should be worth a visit in it's own right and seemed to be directly under the flight path.

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