IATA Code: LGW
Address: Gatwick Airport,
West Sussex, RH6 0NP
Terminal Plan: Here
Distance from City: 48km
Day Trip Possible: Yes
Passenger Numbers: 32,400,000 (2009)
Overview: One of the biggest airports going – easily in the top 10 in Europe as far as passenger numbers go, Gatwick has become the ‘de facto’ hub for Easyjet, with the airline contributing almost a third of passengers for the airport – and that is a fairly sizeable chunk of business overall. Gatwick has changed over the past decades, from being a genuine contender to Heathrow for long-haul flights to being a primarily short-haul airport and charter holiday airport – a very important one at that. Still, there is a good mix of different segments of market here and arguably a quicker journey to central London than Heathrow. Expansion plans here are likely to be shelved in the light of the debt crisis facing the UK.
Getting there: Although Gatwick has London in it’s title, there airport is around 50km away from the capital, and is not the easiest airport to drive to, especially as it may involve a trip with the notorious M25 motorway, famous for traffic in the rush hour. The train is often the easiest destination with three train companies all providing local services; a train to London appears every few minutes during rush hour. Don’t bother with the Gatwick Express – it only takes 5-10 minutes off your journey at a much bigger price; the only time you may want to consider it if you are getting to the airport for the first flights out, when no regular trains operate. The airport is also well served by coaches from the surrounding areas with Easybus being the cheapest but needing advance booking.
General Tips: The airport is a two terminal design (North and South) and rather confusingly, airlines flights may leave from different terminals depending on the destination, so you’ll have to check beforehand. Transfer between the terminals is quick via a monorail system which only takes a few minutes. Gatwick has a somewhat maligned reputation and indeed is somewhat dated compared to Heathrow, or even Stansted. The airport is vast – and depending what gate you are leaving from, there may be a large walk involved to get to the aircraft. On the plus side, there are good facilities at the airport – plenty of toilet and washing facilities, and a good range of shops and places to eat near to the gates. Most of the shops are duplicated in both terminals.
Budget Travellers Guide: Good airport for the budget concious, with Easyjet often offering good deals from here – no surprise given their largest capacity. And the cheapest fares from British Airways (who also have a good selection of destinations) will also come from Gatwick Airport. Ryanair only run a sprinkling of services from here which has grown to include Alicante, Bologna [ends 26 March], Cork, Dublin, Faro [ends 25 March], Girona [ends 3 May], Kaunas, Madrid, Milan-Orio al Serio [ends 26 March], Oslo-Rygge, Porto [ends 26 March], Rome-Ciampino, Seville, Shannon and Stockholm-Skavsta. An interesting future lies ahead – rather rarely for the airports – Gatwick is now owned by different operators to Stansted, so there may be a good competition ahead. Flybe have very useful domestic services to Aberdeen, Belfast-City, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Nantes, Newcastle upon Tyne,and Newquay.
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