7e72004
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Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:58 am

I am seriously considering going to London next spring/summer and am starting to look at various airlines, and options. Can i get some information/advice on what airlines i should take to London and what London airport i should fly into? I am/would probably be leaving from IND. thanks and cheers  Smile
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
noelg
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:18 am

Hi there

In terms of the best airport, to be honest you've got to pick the best of a bad bunch! Any will involve at least a half hour transfer into the city, LGW is quieter though and imo a better airport to come into. There is a train straight to central London and from the states you have a good choice of DL/NW/US/CO/AA/BA.

LHR is a heap, overcrowded and looking very tired for the most part. They have been renovating parts of it but it is always really packed and to be honest I hate having to fly from there. From the states it's probably BA/AA/UA. It is slightly closer to the city than LGW and has a rail link (The Heathrow Express) but it's very expensive compared to the regular train. I would prefer LGW just for the factor of it being a more modern, quieter airport. I think LHR is about half an hour from central London.

STN is probably the best airport, but you will struggle for flights from the US as it's LCC zone!

You could always fly into MAN, it's at the other end of the country but is a much better airport and it's a 3 hour train ride to London. This way you get to see more of the country, the train takes you through some beautiful countryside. BHX is only an hour and a half by train to London, and again is a nice, if smaller airport. You can get a CO 757 from EWR-BHX.

Cheers,
Noel.
 
sfuk
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:30 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:19 am

If you fly to LHR you'll have the choice of:
BA
Virgin
American
United


LGW:
Continental
Delta
US Airways
Northwest

Both airports have good and easy connections to central London. Gatwick is a little further out than Heathrow.

Hope you make it over!

Stu
 
deltagator
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:33 am

While Heathrow is busy do consider the amount of vacation and charter traffic going through Gatwick as the terminal can get very crowded with long lines.

Are you flying First, Business, or Steerage? That makes a difference in which one you select. If flying premium then Virgin or BA are the way to go. If cattle class is your choice then pick your poisin amongst the various carriers.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
brokenrecord
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:37 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 3):
If flying premium then Virgin or BA are the way to go.

If he is flying premium, then it is a moot point as all of them are decent in their premium classes.

BA is always a solid choice though.
 
7e72004
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:24 am

Thanks for the info...i have never left the US (except to go to Canada) and i want to expand my horizons  Smile
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
ACDC8
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:33 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 5):
Thanks for the info...i have never left the US (except to go to Canada) and i want to expand my horizons

Since you've never left the US (except to visit us Canucks  Big grin ) I would strongly recommend you flying with BA or VS into LHR. The reasoning behind this is because it will be your first trip abroad and I find that flying on a foreign carrier is always a bit more interesting then flying a hometown carrier. It's something new and you get immediate interaction to another country/culture.

I would recommend flying into LHR, despite it's reputation for being a "heap" and passenger unfriendly (even though you'll get used to it) because it is a fascinating airport and it'll give you an opportunity to see aircraft and airlines that you have never seen before and won't see at LGW or STN.

That's how I would do it if it were my first time.

BTW, BA may be your easiest bet because I'm sure you can get an AA flight out of IND and cnx onto BA.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
AirScoot
Posts: 667
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:35 am

I make the trip once a year. Leaving out of the east coast I do my best to take the day flight (departs 8-9am arrives 9-10pm). I noticed in your profile it shows IND as your home city - I don't know if they'd have any connections to make it though. I'd suggest it since you don't have to have the dreaded "is my hotel ready yet" wait.

With the arrival at LHR in the evening I've noticed that customs and immigration aren't too bad since a good amount of the longhaul have already come and gone (last time I think the only non-EU flight in line with us was a flight from Dubai).

If it's the overnight flight, I'd say go into LGW. Much less hassle.

I'm going back myself in February.. can't wait!   

As far as airline - I'd suggest BA or AA for LHR, and AA or CO for LGW.

[Edited 2005-10-10 22:38:03]
 
TinkerBelle
Posts: 1436
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:01 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 6):
The reasoning behind this is because it will be your first trip abroad and I find that flying on a foreign carrier is always a bit more interesting then flying a hometown carrier. It's something new and you get immediate interaction to another country/culture.

Good point. I always fly either BA or VS (actually only flew them once) and I love when the F/A's come around asking 'Tea or Coffee" with that British accent. The British accent itself is worth flying BA or VS.

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 6):
BTW, BA may be your easiest bet because I'm sure you can get an AA flight out of IND and cnx onto BA.

You can fly CO too and they'll get you to VS.

Quoting NoelG (Reply 1):
Any will involve at least a half hour transfer into the city

I thought the 'Heathrow Express' will get you to downtown London in 15 minutes from terminal 1 (at least that's how they advertise it)?
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
ACDC8
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:56 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:03 am

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 8):
You can fly CO too and they'll get you to VS.

Wasn't to sure about which airlines fly in and out of IND, that's why I mentioned the AA/BA possibility. But nice to see that there is also the CO/VS option. Thanks for the info!
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
AlanUK
Posts: 511
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:56 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:05 am

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 8):
I thought the 'Heathrow Express' will get you to downtown London in 15 minutes from terminal 1 (at least that's how they advertise it)?

And you are right, Heathrow Express takes just 15 minutes to London Paddington station (Central) and 5 minutes more from Terminal 4. It runs every 15 minutes.
 
TinkerBelle
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:05 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 9):
Thanks for the info!

No problem
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
AC787
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:25 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:18 am

Airplane nut and first time to London, its a simple choice, Heathrow all the way. I went to London for my first time this summer and made sure I went through Heathrow.. The amount of planes and airlines really is awseome  Smile. Taking the subway from LHR to downtown london was rlly simple and fast.
 
noelg
Posts: 2313
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:39 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:26 am

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 8):
I thought the 'Heathrow Express' will get you to downtown London in 15 minutes from terminal 1 (at least that's how they advertise it)?

My bad, of course you're right!  Embarrassment

You can tell how often I have to make that journey!
 
TinkerBelle
Posts: 1436
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:35 am

Quoting NoelG (Reply 13):
You can tell how often I have to make that journey!

lol.. I've taken the Heathrow express more than 10 times but only btwn terminals 1 and 4. I promised myself I'll take it to downtown London next time I fly through LHR.

Quoting AC787 (Reply 12):
Airplane nut and first time to London, its a simple choice, Heathrow all the way.

You are absolutely right. It's breathtaking the many different planes/airlines you get to see @ LHR. I never get tired of it (LHR) despite the double prices on beer compared to anywhere in the states  banghead 
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
7e72004
Posts: 3440
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:15 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:36 am

hmmm...so many things to decide  Smile
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
TinkerBelle
Posts: 1436
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:40 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 15):
hmmm...so many things to decide

Whatever airline you choose (Thank God Ryanair is not an option here), I bet you'll have fun. I absolutely love London. There's just something unique about the city but heck, I live in Sacramento so it figures  Smile
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
vegasplanes
Posts: 656
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:42 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 5):
Thanks for the info...i have never left the US (except to go to Canada) and i want to expand my horizons Smile

If you really want to expand your international horizons, try KL or NW straight into AMS.  Wink

Seriously though, I flew AA to LGW, back to US through LHR back in May, both were fine airports, no problems at either. If flying Coach, best bet is the flight time and price that suits you. I believe AA offers the most non-stop destinations of the USA airlines to LHR or LGW.

LHR on AA from:

ORD
BOS
JFK
MIA
LAX

LGW on AA from:

DFW
RDU

Also lot of secondary markets served a few time weekly by BA or VS:

TPA
LAS
PHX
DTW
etc. etc.

Hope this helps.
 
jacobin777
Posts: 12262
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:52 am

if you are flying from IND, fly to either ORD or JFK and take either BA/AA/UA...but I would go with BA because of the following.....

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 6):
Since you've never left the US (except to visit us Canucks Big grin ) I would strongly recommend you flying with BA or VS into LHR. The reasoning behind this is because it will be your first trip abroad and I find that flying on a foreign carrier is always a bit more interesting then flying a hometown carrier. It's something new and you get immediate interaction to another country/culture.

remember however, unless you add BA miles within 3 years, your miles expire, with AA however, they last a long time!
"Up the Irons!"
 
gilesdavies
Posts: 2271
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:06 am

I might sound like a broken record...

But I would go US Airways.

If you fly via their Charlotte Hub connections are really easy and a delight to connect at.

Also you will get an A330 with US Airways to LGW on both their PHL and CLT services. You get 33-35 inches of legroom, the seats in Y are real comfy and you also have the advantage of the on-demand seat back TV's.

The service is nothing to shout about, but the aircrafts are great.

Also Gatwick is by far your easiest airport in London to fly into if coming from the US, you will clear passport control and baggage reclaim quickly and regardless of what people say about LGW it never feels as crowded or as claustrophobic as LHR.

The railway station is a 2 min walk from the arrivals hall, and will get you to London Victoria railway staion in 30ish mins and is far more central and convenient than London Paddington where the Heathrow traims terminate.

Another real alternative could be Birmingham... Continental operate two 757 services a day from EWR. The airport is far smaller than any London airport and so easy to get through. To be honest Birmingham is over 100miles from London but the railway station is right on the airports doorstep and are 2-3 trains an hour to London usually taking about 1.5hrs. If you wanted to explore other places like Stratford-On-Avon (Shakespeares home town) this is only 20-30mins drive from the airport and also you can get direct trains to Oxford from the airport.

Hope thats some food for thought!
 
richardw
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RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:07 am

Fly into LHR with an arrival time of about 10am and you'll get to see lots of airliners from many of the world's airlines. It is quite a fantastic sight. Lots of BA B744s & B777s. SQ B744s, QF B744s, TG B744s. VS, AA, UA , AC, CX, Air NZ aircraft.

The airport is awful but the airliners are great.
 
ACDC8
Posts: 7182
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:56 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:13 am

Hey 7E72004,
Are you confused yet ....  

I'd keep it simple:

BA or VS through LHR. Just because!

[Edited 2005-10-11 00:14:02]
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
xpat
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:34 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:21 am

If you want inexpensive (at least when I traveled) and basic but solid service try Icelandair. Granted, you'll have a 1-1.5 hour layover in Keflavik (tiny airport) but that just adds to the adventure. As people have mentioned above, fly into LHR despite the "mad house" atmosphere it is a very exciting airport. And then catch the "Heathrow Express" to Paddington station in 15 minutes and you're all set. There are some great B&B's and small hotels around Paddington. Quite a central place to stay.

Icelandair's US Gateways are:
BWI
JFK
MSP
BOS
MCO
SFO
The only thing we have to fear is the sky falling on our heads. -Asterix
 
7e72004
Posts: 3440
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:15 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:36 am

I would like to try an international/foreign carrier...no offense to the US carriers, i would liketo try something new  Smile I would just have to fly a US carrier from IND to one of the hubs  Smile WHen is the best time to go...spring/summer??
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
TinkerBelle
Posts: 1436
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:58 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 23):
would like to try an international/foreign carrier...

In that case, you might wanna consider VS. BA is alright too but VS have the best IFE out there (The IVOD). You can pause, rewind or forward your movies not to mention VS's sexy F/A's in red as compared to BA's dull blue uniforms (not that it matters much though)...lol. Ooh, another thing......if you're flying steerage, you get free alcohol on international carriers whereas US carriers will charge you $5 for a beer.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
vv701
Posts: 5773
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:03 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 23):
WHen is the best time to go...spring/summer??

Look on the map and you'll see London is a long way north. But it is kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream that flows from the Caribbean up the Florida coast and across the North Atlantic. At any time of the year the weather can be cool and wet (but never foggy in London itself!) But I would suggest summer, ideally June. The evenings are long - gets dark around 10pm so good for sight seeing. It is unlikely to be hot - good for holidaying in the city. The kids are still at school - not so crowded.

Whatever, enjoy!
 
mawelsh
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:01 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:03 am

I just did my first UK visit last month. Wonderful visit! I just wish our dollar was worth more.

Being a wedding, I insisted on finding a nonstop going over. I ended up taking the the closest nonstop to CMH...CO CLE-LGW. A bit further drive I could have done DTW (BA or NW) or CVG (DL) nonstops as well. As described by others, LGW is a bit dark and dreary, but not crowded or overwhelming.

We hired a car, and did a circular roadtrip from London to Stongehenge, Wells, Bath, Knutsford/Manchester, parts of Wales, Chester, and York. On the return we did MAN-EWR-CLE. (Both long hauls were 752, adequate but nothing special). Manchester's airport was beautiful, we started in the wrong terminal so got to see more of it that expected. There was also an aviation viewing park I would have liked to checked out.
 
TPAnx
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:53 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:21 am

Took BA TPA-LGW. Flew steerage. Seats were a tight fit..service was
excellent. Arrived around 8am--quick trip through customs and we were on
our way. We went in late May..lows in the 50's, highs in the 70's, no rain.
You will enjoy...there's so much to do...
TPAnx  thumbsup 
I read the news today..oh boy
 
SWISSER
Posts: 1568
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:31 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:41 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 6):
The reasoning behind this is because it will be your first trip abroad and I find that flying on a foreign carrier is always a bit more interesting then flying a hometown carrier. It's something new and you get immediate interaction to another country/culture.

Yeah, that is so true!
Whenever I get to the states I prefer a US carrier, so I could easely shift over to the US english and get adapted again to the food   !

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 5):
Thanks for the info...i have never left the US (except to go to Canada) and i want to expand my horizons

The Londeners and Brits will embrace you with open arms!
Great choice!
Good food, great people, nice shops, trendy places, you must have seen it at least once in your life!

I only got a "bad" experience on LHR when I was a boy of 16 years old (without a penny, just a UA companian ticket) coming from my grandmother in NY and missed my flight to BRU...(Now that's a big*ss airport!)

Quoting Vegasplanes (Reply 17):
If you really want to expand your international horizons, try KL or NW straight into AMS.

Ha, you might get frightened what you see over there, it even starts on board KL...   
For the Dutch: "om te lachen hoor!"
(Just teasing the Dutch!)

[Edited 2005-10-11 04:42:12]
What time is top of descent?
 
N62NA
Posts: 4006
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:05 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:41 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 5):
Thanks for the info...i have never left the US (except to go to Canada) and i want to expand my horizons

I too was in the same boat as you until this past August. I live in Miami (MIAA) and I absolutely did NOT want to take an overnight flight, so I flew AA up to BOS, spent the night at the BOS Hilton (right in the airport - great hotel), and then caught the 9am AA 777 BOS-LHR. Used 125,000 miles for First class and enjoyed the AA Flagship Suite immensely.

Even if you aren't flying in F or Biz, I really think you should seriously consider taking one of the "daytime" flights over there. It's a 5 hour time zone difference and I found that after just 1 day, my jetlag was pretty nonexistent.

Also, if the thought of being couped up in a plane for 7 hours or more is not appealing, I can once again recommend BOS-LHR. Flying time on the way over was 5 hours, 25 minutes. On the way back it was just under 6.5 hours.

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 8):
I thought the 'Heathrow Express' will get you to downtown London in 15 minutes from terminal 1 (at least that's how they advertise it)?

Yeah, it's quick, but it is very expensive. Basically, when you go to the UK, you just have to "go with the flow" in terms of our weak dollar compared to the British pound.

[Edited 2005-10-11 04:42:43]
 
mawelsh
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:01 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:03 pm

Quoting N62NA (Reply 29):
Even if you aren't flying in F or Biz, I really think you should seriously consider taking one of the "daytime" flights over there. It's a 5 hour time zone difference and I found that after just 1 day, my jetlag was pretty nonexistent.

I'd be willing to try that, but we did an overnight (7:30pm EDT departure, 8:00am BST arrival). Popped an Ambien as dinner rolled our way. Finished eating and I was out until the breakfast snack. I usually don't sleep on planes, but I got a good 4.5 hours, making the first day long but productive and full of adventure.

Quoting N62NA (Reply 29):
Yeah, it's quick, but it is very expensive. Basically, when you go to the UK, you just have to "go with the flow" in terms of our weak dollar compared to the British pound.

Yep. Everything it seemed is twice as much and the dollar is worth half as much (and we didn't go into London!) But who cares, you're on vacation. Gas averaged £.959/liter, about $6.50 a gallon for example. I recommend pubs for meals, but as an example a Whopper Value Meal was £4.89 ($8.56).
 
TinkerBelle
Posts: 1436
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:17 pm

Quoting Mawelsh (Reply 26):
I just wish our dollar was worth more.

Or in retrospect, the pound worth less  biggrin 
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
7e72004
Posts: 3440
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:15 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:27 pm

I probably won't be flying first class as i don't have enough miles or simply cannot afford the luxury  Smile It would be nice but at least i would be able to cross the "pond"  Smile
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
gilesdavies
Posts: 2271
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:51 pm

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:40 pm

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 23):
I would like to try an international/foreign carrier...no offense to the US carriers, i would liketo try something new Smile I would just have to fly a US carrier from IND to one of the hubs Smile WHen is the best time to go...spring/summer??

How about flying Aer Lingus if you want to fly a foreign carrier, they offer excellent connections through Dublin to London and also Ireland has an agreement with the US where you can clear US Immigrations before you arrive in the US so will not have to face passport control and the lengthy queues on your arrival back home.

Or how about BMI, they fly ORD-MAN and can still earn air miles with UA, AC and US as they are a Star Alliance member and can get connections down to LHR. The A330's BMI operate are suppose to offer a very good service.
 
laca773
Posts: 2033
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:10 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:48 pm

Since you are flying across the pond for the first time, my opinion is simple and based on experience:
1. BA--> They have the most consitent and reliable inflight service in all classes compared to the majority of our domestic carriers.

If you want to fly one of our flag carriers, I'd go with CO. They too offer a pretty reliable consistant inflight service compared to that of AA, NW, US, DL, UA.

LACA773
 
HT
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:41 pm

While summer is the best season for London, it also is the busiest season for travellers, leading to high airfares, high hotel prices and cramped (touristy) locations. MAY is a good time to explore London and SE-England !

Re: Air fares:
Going out of IND to either LGW or LHR, the best quotes I got for JUNE were approx 1000 $, while in the second half of April fares started around 675 $ (same 675 $ also in May).
So, in case you don´t want to fly a specific Alliance, choose your flights based on times and prices.

Re: Hotel:
Decent accomodation is expensive in London ! If you stay only for a few nights, you can stay in a area from Paddington Station via Bayswater to Notting Hill. If you want to stay more than a week in London, you might want to stay less centrally (but still with good connections to Central London) and pay less for your accomodation (you´ll need a Travelcard for public transport anyhow).
In case you choose to stay outside "Central London" keep an eye on connections to your airport (either public transport or an expensive cab ride) !

BTW, there´s so much to explore outside London ! So depending on the length of your stay you might consider to change locations during your stay ... ? --> Plan to stay a few nights in London after arrival, then get a rental car to explore SE-England´s Country side while staying outside London (hotels usually are less expensive outside London - or use B&B ! ). Return your car to the airport you´re flying from.

-HT
Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
 
N62NA
Posts: 4006
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:05 am

RE: Planning London And Need To Know Good Airline

Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:55 pm

It seems to me that you can't pre-reserve a specific seat when flying coach in BA and VS. Is this correct?

For me, being able to pick my seat at the time of purchasing the ticket is very important, especially on a long flight on a widebody where there is the very real possibility that you'll end up in the dreaded middle section!