catalina island, california

London Heathrow to London Gatwick

...the transfer from LHR to LGW

Many international flights arrive to London Heathrow Terminal 5, but if London isn’t your final destination, your connecting flight may leave from London Gatwick. This was the case for us Tuesday, and the transfer between the two wasn’t nearly as bad as some websites make it sound.

First up after arrival is the immigration process. TripAdivsor says that this has recently (March and April 2012) taken up to 2-2.5 hours, but for us on a Tuesday morning in May 2012, it took 20 minutes. Some friends on a recent Saturday morning took 30 minutes, so not too bad at all. The key is to walk fast through the terminals to get as far ahead in line as possible. After 15 minutes of standing in the immigration line, the line had grown quite long, with people just arriving probably having to wait upwards of an hour.

After collecting the bags, we proceeded to follow the signs to “Coaches” where we got in line at National Express to purchase one way tickets to Gatwick North Terminal for 25£ each. Note that you can purchase from the machines with a regular (non-chip) credit card, but you need to leave it in long enough for the machine to read it.

The Gatwick National Express bus picked us up 5 minutes later right outside the terminal at stop 16. After showing the tickets to the driver, we loaded our bags on the bus and boarded for the 53 minute, ~40 mile ride to Gatwick – 2 minutes faster than the scheduled arrival time.

The airlines recommend 3 hours minimum for this transfer and we had 3 hours and 50 minutes from touch down at Heathrow to take off at Gatwick. Today it took us 2 hours and 10 minutes from wheels down at Heathrow to the gate area past security at Gatwick. Lady luck has smiled on us once again. 😉

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