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London Heathrow (LHR) <-> Gatwick (LGW) Transport / Transfer (master thread)

London Heathrow (LHR) <-> Gatwick (LGW) Transport / Transfer (master thread)

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Old Jun 17, 19, 7:35 am   -   Wikipost
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Transferring between London’s LGW - Gatwick and LHR - Heathrow Airports

MCT (minimum connect time) LGW <—> LHR is normally three (3) hours on through ticketing. ”Reasonable Connect time” may be longer.

American Airlines no longer flies into LGW, but has a number of daily flights to and from LHR Terminal 3. See FT - AA thread GUIDE: LHR / London Heathrow Connection, MCT inc. AA T3 <--> BA/IB T5

British Airways has flights to and from LGW South Terminal, as well as LHR Terminal 5 (primarily) and Terminal 3 (few).


Sometimes buying connection tickets or even split tickets using these two airports can be economically favorable, and some schedules might require it. Awards using AA transatlantic and BA to or from the European mainland may use LHR for AA and LGW or LHR for BA; this avoids paying high BA “carrier imposed fees” on the transatlantic sector.

If passengers are on a through ticket, airlines will reschedule on another flight in case of misconnect. On separate ticketing, most airlines will not reaccommodate passengers, however. AA will however, honor missed connections on separate ticketing (for now, subject to change) if connecting to or from AA and another oneworld carrier; contact AA in these cases.

Heathrow (LHR) is 15 miles / 24 km west of London, Gatwick (LGW) is ~30 mi / 48 km south of London. The airports, the United Kingdom’s busiest and second busiest, are 38 mi / 61 km apart, and traffic can be slow and tricky at times.

Through tickets using LHR and LGW on British Airways require a minimum connect time (MCT) of three hours; “reasonable” connect times are arguably longer, particularly on separate ticketing. Passengers should make allowances for flight arrival delays, Immigration (queues can be lengthy), baggage recovery arriving, and departing checking in, security, etc.as well as traffic and the timing of connecting ground transport.

There is no airline baggage transfer between both airports; you must collect your checked baggage and transfer it yourself, even on through ticketing.

Some passengers cope by overnighting between inbound and outbound flights; if the connection is under 24 hours, the United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty should be waived, even if the connection involves two airports (see linked FT thread).

Once at the airports, LHR’s terminals are connected by rail and bus. LGW North and South terminals are connected by an efficient monorail. To transfer between airports by train, one must travel to central London and make connections.

The practical ways to transfer between LGW and LHR include, in descending order based on price, limousine, regular “black” taxi, “minicab” taxi, National Express bus service, connecting rail service. Particularly with baggage, the latter can be inconvenient and require a lot of time.

TAXI: Officially licensed “black” taxis (can be other colors than black) will accomplish the journey in about 45 minutes or more, depending on traffic, and can carry up to five passengers. One way cost will exceed £100 (~$125 currently). Additional charge is made for baggage; don’t forget to factor baggage in your journey. Depending on one’s arrival time, there can be lengthy queues waiting for taxis.

”MINICAB” TAXI : Arranged in advance usually, cars can vary in size from compact to minivan; discuss your needs when arranging your transfer, which will cost starting at as low £50 per vehicle.

Not endorsing here, but Anthony Delicata’s London Minicab Service gets decent ratings in several places.

NATIONAL EXPRESS DIRECT COACH (bus) National Express (link)

(The National Express app is available from Google Play or Apple App Store.)

Coaches (busses) connect both airports directly, without having to connect. Cost is £27 per person, including two pieces of hold baggage and one piece of hand baggage; a slightly higher price is charged for flexible tickets in case of delayed arrival. Can be booked online. First & last journey daily 2:45am/10:45pm, 80 departures daily, minimum journey time 1:05.
LGW South terminal: South terminal shuttle station

LGW North terminal: Bus stop #4, Arrivals.

LHR Terminal 2 & 3: Coaches arrive and depart from the Heathrow Central Bus Station.

LHR Terminal 4: Coaches arrive and depart outside of Heathrow Terminal 4.

LHR Terminal 5: Coaches arrive and depart outside of Heathrow Terminal 5.

For more detailed information and maps see here.
MEGABUS DIRECT COACH (bus): Link

“Coaches run direct between Heathrow and Gatwick with departures up to every hour.
Journey time: 75 minutes
Tickets and information: megabus.com or 0900 1600 900*
*Open 7 days a week, 7am - 10pm. Calls to this number are operated by JourneyCall Ltd and will cost 65p per minute, plus telephone access charges.“ - heathrow.com

RAIL (train and Tube: link for National Rail inquiries

Gatwick Express trains run non-stop between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. The journey takes 30 minutes and a standard-class single costs £17.70. To make the link with Heathrow your options include:
  • Heathrow Express between Heathrow and London Paddington, Underground between Paddington and Victoria (45min, £27) (Alternately, Heathrow Connect is cheaper but longer between Paddington and Heathrow.)
  • London Underground between Victoria and Heathrow (50min, £4.80)

There’s an alternative route via Clapham Junction and Feltham (linked to Heathrow by bus route 285) but it’s only really viable if you have an Oyster card or UK contactless bank card for the bus leg (no cash fares). Journey time: 90min–2hr. Cost (with Oyster): £27.” heathrow.com

“You can either travel by Heathrow Express to Paddington (a 15-minute journey from terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5). From Paddington, you can board the Circle Line to Victoria Station (a 15-minute journey) and connect to Gatwick via the Gatwick Express (a 30-minute journey). The whole journey costs over £40 one way. (Alternately, Heathrow Connect is cheaper but longer between Paddington and Heathrow.)

Or you can travel by tube from Heathrow (all terminals) to Green Park (a 45-minute journey) then from Green Park to Victoria (a two-minute journey). From Victoria, you can connect to Gatwick via the Gatwick Express (a 30-minute journey). The whole journey costs around £20 one way.

Both routes offer step-free access. Something to consider if you have mobility issues, a lot of luggage or are traveling with children. (TripSavvy)

CHEAPER OPTION: “Low-cost carrier easyJet operates a bus service from Heathrow and Gatwick to central London (not between the airports though unfortunately). The cheapest and easiest way to use this service is to take the tube from Heathrow (any terminal) to Earls Court (the journey takes around 35 minutes) and then connect to the easyBus from Earls Court to Gatwick Airport North Terminal (the journey takes around 65 minutes). The whole journey could set you back as little as £3.50 (based on a £2 easyBus advance fare and a £1.50 off-peak Oyster fare).” (TripSavvy)

The most convenient transfers are via National Express, but for two or more people, a minicab or even taxi (four) can be more economical and quicker.

Illustrations attached to post #1.
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Old Jan 24, 18, 12:37 pm
  #1  
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Question London Heathrow (LHR) <-> Gatwick (LGW) Transport / Transfer (master thread)

Accompanying Illustrations:

Map showing LHR, LGW and central London.

Black taxi rank.

Minicab varieties from one company.

National Express bus connecting LGW and LHR directly.

Attached Images     

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 17, 19 at 2:04 pm
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:44 am
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Question Three hours to transfer between LGW / Gatwick and LHR / Heathrow

I am trying to use some AA miles to purchase a one way ticket to BLR from MCO this summer (return ticket already purchased - long story).

The only available option for my preferred travel date - and I don't know how American sells tickets with so short a transfer time - includes a transfer in London in three hours (Gatwick to Heathrow).

My question is what happens if I miss the connecting flight? Is the onus on me or on British (which both legs are on) to put me on the next flight to BLR?
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:03 am
  #3  
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Best avoided or find a longer connection.
You are responsible for transportation between airports ... if you have bags, you will have to collect them at LGW and take them to LHR and check-in again ...
Who pays for change of airport [LGW-LHR connection] and Heathrow to Gatwick transport options: a pictorial guide
BA will re-book you ... but there are too many variables outside your control to make this a stress-free option ...
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by an_asker View Post
I am trying to use some AA miles to purchase a one way ticket to BLR from MCO this summer (return ticket already purchased - long story).

The only available option for my preferred travel date - and I don't know how American sells tickets with so short a transfer time - includes a transfer in London in three hours (Gatwick to Heathrow).

My question is what happens if I miss the connecting flight? Is the onus on me or on British (which both legs are on) to put me on the next flight to BLR?
1- unless you have an eu or uk passport you get to deal with what will Likely be a long immigration line. This could take an hour but for fun let’s say 30 min
2- drive to lgw will take at least 1.5 hours
3- you then need to get through security and check in at lgw. Let’s assume 30 min

youd need to assume at least 2.5 hours in transit time. Not much room for error here and a single delay kills you
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:40 am
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UAPremExecflyer: Thanks for the reference to the other threads. I had not realized that I would have to lug my check-in luggage as well. With that and with what Nuhusky wrote (US passport), it appears that the bottlenecks (not necessarily in that order) would be:

- time to wait for checked bag to show up in LGW
- immigration clearance
- road bottleneck (if taking direct bus, which is best option with checked bag)
- security at Heathrow
- anything else?

I noticed that there is an earlier flight available the previous day which gives me over four and a half hours of time to switch airports. That appears to be a better bet. Maybe get trip insurance as well...
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by an_asker View Post
UAPremExecflyer: Thanks for the reference to the other threads. I had not realized that I would have to lug my check-in luggage as well. With that and with what Nuhusky wrote (US passport), it appears that the bottlenecks (not necessarily in that order) would be:

- time to wait for checked bag to show up in LGW
- immigration clearance
- road bottleneck (if taking direct bus, which is best option with checked bag)
- security at Heathrow
- anything else?

I noticed that there is an earlier flight available the previous day which gives me over four and a half hours of time to switch airports. That appears to be a better bet. Maybe get trip insurance as well...
Don't forget that in addition, you must wait in line at BA check-in at LHR and meet the bag check deadline,

The 4.5 hours is a better option. The only thing that trip insurance will get you is a hotel room if you misconnect and are stuck overnight.

While it adds a connection, have you looked at flying via LHR by connecting in the US, via any of the East Coast gateways with such service? While multiple connections are a nuisance, I would far rather have a US domestic connection than the hassle of a LGW-LHR ground transfer.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Don't forget that in addition, you must wait in line at BA check-in at LHR and meet the bag check deadline,

The 4.5 hours is a better option. The only thing that trip insurance will get you is a hotel room if you misconnect and are stuck overnight.

While it adds a connection, have you looked at flying via LHR by connecting in the US, via any of the East Coast gateways with such service? While multiple connections are a nuisance, I would far rather have a US domestic connection than the hassle of a LGW-LHR ground transfer.
I tried ... and am still trying. For the date I wish to leave or even the day before, unfortunately, I have not seen any decent option that even has me arriving at the airport at 3 pm. For two days later, there is - but that kills my entire weekend that I was planning to bookend the trip with (even if I had to leave on an extra earlier day).
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Old Feb 21, 19, 12:02 pm
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We had a 4 hour LGW-LHR transfer and barely made it. We'd booked tickets on National Express Coaches which is easy enough and traffic wasn't bad in the middle of the day, but LGW immigration for non UK/EU residents is an absolute nightmare. In the end we made it but it was way too stressful to ever do it again.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 12:08 pm
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The secret to the quick transfer has already been well demonstrated here:

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Old Feb 21, 19, 5:14 pm
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Any transfer in London requiring immigration needs plenty of time, regardless. Have done the coach transfer between airports and found it fairly efficient. However, at the other end you need to allow plenty of time for check in and security even if travelling in Biz. If you have the time, why not allow a day so you can spend some time in London and not rush. Three hours, even premium to premium is not enough time. Don't risk it.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 5:19 pm
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We’ve done this with an overnight stay near the UK departing airport. Three hours? I wouldn’t do it.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 6:36 pm
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timetable for LHR T5 to LGW and vice versa is 60 minutes and more often in reality it’s even quicker using National Express not an hour and a half.

BA won’t sell a ticket with less than a 3 hours connection.- even allowing for the bag drop deadline of an hour long and 45 minutes shorthaul. If your BA flight is late BA will rebook you if on a single ticket. Note on separate tickets it won’t do anything for you.

if lots of people missed their flights because 3 hours wasn’t enough then BA would soon increase the time required. But they haven’t so are happy to bear the costs of the few that don’t make it.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:35 pm
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If you miss it, think of it as a free 1 night stopover with the departure tax waived.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
If you miss it, think of it as a free 1 night stopover with the departure tax waived.
You can do this normally, as long as the stop is under 24 hours.
I did this a few times when traveling from TPA-LGW, LHR-DME
I would get there early in morning, take the National Express bus, then shower at the BA lounge at LHR and worked there in the afternoon.
It was a 12 hour connection, and I got in a full day of work as I worked East Coast hours, so I saved a PTO day.
Very convenient.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 9:45 pm
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We did this with an overnight. If it would have been anything else, we would not have made it. First off, we hade a one hour delay in AMS. We then had a 1 1/2 hour wait for our luggage in LGW. We booked a private driver who charged us extra for the long wait. We then got stuck in traffic and he went off the highway to get to LHR hotel. He got lost.
All in all, we should have arrived at LGW at 11 am and figured we would get to the LHR hotel about 1- 1:30 pm. We arrived at 5:30 pm.
I would not even think of trying to make a 3 hour connection. Too many things can go wrong.
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