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NOW CLOSED: How do you travel to the airport? Share your comments with Heathrow and you could win one of four £100 Heathrow Shopping or John Lewis vouchers.

(314 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Oct-12 10:18:08

Do you (or have you recently) flown off on your hols? If so, the team at Heathrow would like to know how you and your family travel to and from the airport when going on holiday.

Here's what they say: "We know families are not that happy with the available choices of getting to Heathrow, be it based on cost and/or convenience. We appreciate parking at Heathrow isn't for everyone but would like to ensure families are aware of the benefits of parking with us and at the same time understand where we fall short when it comes to family friendly parking."

It doesn't matter if you fly from Heathrow or not, Heathrow want to find out about your experiences relating to any UK airport.

They'd like to know whether or not you choose to drive your own car to the airport or use a taxi or public transport and the reasons why you choose this method of transport.

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? If you have a car but use other means - how do you travel to the airport? What would help to persuade you to use your own car?

When do you start to think about how you and your family will get to the airport? Do you (or your DH/DP for that matter?) plan when booking your flights/holiday or is it an afterthought? How do you search for information on getting to the airport or on parking there? Do you find information is readily available or not? Is there anything else you'd like to know?

And lastly, if you live within an hours drive of Heathrow, do you know how the cost of parking at Heathrow compares with a return taxi journey from where you live? You can enter your postcode at www.taxiorpark.com and take a look. Please note this uses Hackney Carriage Tariffs.

Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where four winners will each win a £100 Heathrow Shopping OR a £100 John Lewis voucher.

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

MmeLindor Wed 03-Oct-12 23:33:21

We normally ask my parents to drive us to the airport - we fly from Edi and there is no direct train link or bus link.

I've flown to London a couple of times this year and was so impressed by the public transport links. If we could use public transport, we would.

For early or v late flight, I take the car and park at the airport.

Trills Thu 04-Oct-12 08:53:27

The last time we drive DP ended up driving up the M25 desperately needing to find a service station (we'd been to Egypt, no further details necessary I think).

We prefer to take public transport because it will take you home safely no matter how tired or poorly you are feeling on the way back.

If it's our closest airport and an early flight we'll sometimes splash out on a taxi on the way there.

We don't fly from Heathrow, but usually we prebook parking because it's the cheapest option. If we're flying and landing at a reasonable hour of the day I also have the option of leaving the car at my work car park in central Birmingham and catching the train to the airport.

boredandrestless Thu 04-Oct-12 10:48:27

I have never flown from Heathrow as I live in the north of England and it would be too time consuming and expensive to get to and from the airport. Shame as lots of flights from Heathrow!

I don't drive and travel as a single parent with my son so how I am going to get to and from the airport is a huge deciding factor for me when choosing flights/holidays. It is one of the first things I look at when looking at holidays, and I research on line my travel options and costs of each option.

Luckily for me there is a train from my town to Manchester Airport and so I usually fly from there. I buy a F+F rail card to make the train cheaper. If we have an early flight we book one of the cheap airport hotels as no trains in the middle of the night and awkward with a tired grumpy child and luggage!

littletingoddess Thu 04-Oct-12 11:32:30

In the past, we've almost always taken a train (we have flown from Gatwick and Heathrow). Getting to Gatwick from Kent can be interesting by train, as it takes at least two changes. Heathrow used to be a hassle. However, it's a breeze now, as the last time we flew from Heathrow we took the high speed train to St Pancreas and the Piccadilly Line (I think) all the way to Heathrow. There was no changing on the Tube, which we appreciated. On the other hand, we did drive to Gatwick once, but only because on our return we had to drive elsewhere for a wedding, and had no time to travel home first.

RuleBritannia Thu 04-Oct-12 11:36:38

I live about half an hour by car away from Heathrow straight down the M4. If I'm travelling Economy class and have no lift, I get a bus to Reading Station and then the Rail Air bus link (£28 return) to Heathrow. If I'm travelling in a higher class (therefore with more pieces of luggage), I get a cab (£40). On arrival back at Heathrow, I get the bus link (£17) and a cab from Reading Station (£10).

There was a time when we drove to Purple Parking near Heathrow and paid for them to look after the car for our holiday. Prices went up too much so we began to use the bus link.

We took my son to Heathrow 5 years ago and the car park cost £7.50 for a couple of hours! Never again!

AnyaJetski Thu 04-Oct-12 11:46:38

We live 20 mins from Heathrow. If dh is flying for business his company pay for a posh taxi chauffeur. If it's a family holiday we use an off-site park and ride such as Purple Parking as it's cheaper though a bit of a faff especially for very early morning flights. But they've always been very efficient.

There is a ocal train that goes direct to Gatwick which I would like to use but it is more expensive than driving ourselves. Using the software in the op, driving and parking is cheaper than a taxi to Heathrow even tho we live only 20 mins away hmm

I would LOVE to be able to catch a local budget coach to the airport.

Kveta Thu 04-Oct-12 11:50:48

we live next to stansted, so try to only fly from there - it takes ~15 minutes by cab, or more if we walk to the station and get the train over. it is never worth parking there, as a cab is £12, so very cheap in comparison!

when I flew out of heathrow last year though, I got a bus from stansted to heathrow - it was way cheaper than a taxi!

Abzs Thu 04-Oct-12 12:03:26

The last time we flew from Heathrow we flew from our nearest airport, Aberdeen, to Gatwick then got the bus to Heathrow. The other option would have been the sleeper train and the Heathrow express, but that would have worked out more expensive and involved dealing with London stations at 7am.

If we fly from Aberdeen we either get a taxi, or drive and use the long stay car park. For a long weekend, the car park is about the same as taxis.

Mostly we've flown from Edinburgh and use a pre-booked off site carpark.

indigotweets Thu 04-Oct-12 12:09:52

I live in London and have done tube, taxi and car to Heathrow.
Tube was before small children arrived! Northern line to kings cross then Piccadilly all the way –not too bad on the way but been very tiring on the way back, but a lot cheaper.

But since kids and with buggies and car seats to take too, it’s been taxis or car. Taxi if I find a good deal is preferable as it’s obvisouly less hassle.

However I have also driven there and parked, which was cheaper for short stays if there was a good parking deal on. But for long stays I have found parking way too expensive, plus also not great if we have to drive trough London late at night/early morning after a long haul and knackered.
So really its taxi or driving depending on which is cheapest, then next priority is times/types of flight and whether driving back would be too hard to do.

Will probably start doing tube again soon - at least on the way- as kids get older.

Try not to go to Gatwick if poss. as travel hasn’t been as easy there and I don’t like the airport as much! But have done the Gatwick express and taxis there also.
Drove to Stanstead on the times I've flown from there.

dinkystinky Thu 04-Oct-12 12:18:27

We live in NW London. When travelling as a family of 4, we like to fly from LHR (avoid the M25 as much as possible) and drive. We use meet and greet car parking as its so much easier with all the stuff we have as a family of 4.

When just DH or I travelling (or the two of us) to the airport, we use the tube (if we have time on our side) or the Heathrow Express (though it is very pricy, but quick) if in a hurry. We'd order a minicab back if flying early in the morning/late at night (works out at £35 from where we live).

Puppypoppet Thu 04-Oct-12 12:29:22

We have a car and drive to the airport. We tend to use Leeds / Bradford, Humberside or Newcastle and the public transport is not the best from where we are (south of York) to any of those airports. Leeds / Bradford is the nearest and it would take a bus, train and another bus to get there - don't fancy that with cases etc. Also I am always too worried about getting stuck in traffic on the way so we tend to drive over the night before and stay in an airport hotel and either use a park and stay package or use airport parking. It is just so much less stressful as you are already there. There is no stress of rushing to get there, worrying about delays etc. Taxi could be an option as Leeds / Bradford is about 30 miles away but we always worry as taxi driver then knows you are away and we worry about who they might tell (paranoid I know but we are very untrusting!).

I plan how we are going to get there when I book the holiday. I tend to book early morning flights which fit in with staying at an airport hotel. As soon as I have booked the holiday I book an airport hotel too. For info on parking, hotels etc I usually look at the airport's website first then go onto forums and trip advisor to find the best places to park and stay. The info is pretty easily available.

Lavenderhoney Thu 04-Oct-12 12:36:16

I hire a driver and he helps with the bags. Much easier than the bags/ kids etc drama -usually travel without dh. Oh, and why has the hook on the trolleys gone you could hang your handbag on? Put it back pls, have you tried holding toddlers hand and pushing trolley Only to watch the car seat and buggy swing off the suitcases into the road all whilst hoisting a large handbag for travel? Plus why do you have to pay for a trolley? Not all foreigners flying in have a pound coin handy.

We are literally 25 minutes on the train to Stansted where we usually go from. Taxi to the station and train to the airport. Howvere, if it's a night flight or at an awkward time, we would geta taxi there and back.
WE tend to leave that bit until last to be honest. Book train/taxi about a week before we go.

When I lived in London and was childfree I used public transport to all the airports... Trains are so easy & cheap when there's only one or two of you.

Last overseas holidays though I flew out of Birmingham with the kiddo's and my DH dropped us off & picked us up. Had he been coming too, it probably would have been a case of checking parking price against train ticket price & going with whatever was cheaper for the family.

Cezzy Thu 04-Oct-12 15:00:36

Our decision depends on which airport we use, how long we will be flying for and location of parking. We try to arrange flights at a time so we don't get home at stupid o'Clock. To travel to USA we had a taxi as there were 6 of us and parking for 2 cars would have been as dear, we were also tired on getting back and couldn't have done the 3 hour drive so it was nice to relax and let someone else drive. We have used park and stay and would again for late or early flights is they are near to the airport and reasonably priced. Often find if booking early enough can get good deals at airport parking but I do wish they had loos in the car parks as by the time we get there we are usually busting and have to lug cases and wait for shuttles (as this year) and there were no shady corners to use.

homebythesea Thu 04-Oct-12 16:29:05

Always use valet parking- once used will never go back to hauling suitcases on to buses in distant carparks! We live within an hours drive of LHR and I book parking at the same time as booking the holiday- it definitely compares well to taxi fares if booked far enough in advance and the joy of getting into the car within 2 mins of exiting the arrivals hall is incomparable!

keepmoving Thu 04-Oct-12 16:30:06

We live about 45 mins from Heathrow (although a very congested M4 can cause it to take much longer in rush hour!) and use Heathrow and Gatwick. We did once use a taxi company to take us to and from Heatrow but it works out much too expensive (approx £120 inc tips). Just checked on taxiorpark and it quotes £144 only £1 cheaper than valet parking - way too much!!!

We used to use the RailAir service from Reading before DCs but it isn't easy with children and I don't like the fact they no longer pick up from each terminal and instead you have to schlep across to the terminus, really not child friendly.

We research parking at the same time as booking flights and consider the total costs and always book in advance. We have used business plus parking from T4 which is costly but I can't face the hassel of 2 children and long stay parking. I use the BAA parking website whenever I book (also use quite a bit for work and it is really easy to navigate. Do wish it would save my details though so I don't always have to re-type!) I do also cross check prices using google.

We have recently flown from Gatwick and used the amazing value valet service. Approx £70 for a week, at least half of what the similiar service would cost at Heathrow and I have to say we only really saw families using the service at drop off and pick up. It was so easy! Drive in to the terminal car park, unload, sign a contract and straight into the terminal building. We have and will continue to recommend to other families. It was worth the extra half an hour drive there and back.

I arrange parking (think that was one of your questions!), and flights and clothes....

Zazacat Thu 04-Oct-12 18:17:01

We live in the south west and Bristol is our closest airport so since having kids we have mainly flown from here, despite the rather irritating winding 45 minute drive. Taxis are expensive when there are five of you, so we have driven and used airport parkingb ut this is over priced, and we now have the use of a friend's client's land to park on very close to airport.

The place we fly to only flies from Gatwick so we have to get a three hour train to Euston and then easy bus to Gatwick. If its not a night flight we have to get a hotel so we can make sure we are there in time. Coming back we fly back to Manchester.

We use the meet and great service. Excellent with kids, buggy and car seats. Just jump in your own car, ring on your way into the airport, meet the guy and hand over your keys. Right outside the airport doors. Ring as you collect your luggage and once your through passport and customs they are there to meet you. No long trek and no minibus trip. Longest we've had to wait is about 10 minutes for them to return the car. NB my car is not pristine so I have no worries about someone driving off in it. Public transport with 2 small children plus luggage is never fun and a taxi would be more expensive for us than the parking for 10 days.

Bumpstart Thu 04-Oct-12 20:48:27

It all depends on the time of the flight. I recently took a 6am flight from Luton, which meant setting off from home at 10pm, parking the car on a residential street and taking a taxi to the airport.

I would avoid doing the same again, as it was stressful. I will be taking flights at a time of day where I can use public transport where possible. Some people on here seem to think public transport is a nightmare. I would choose it over driving a long distance to the airport any day. But then I have used public transport a lot before kids, so am very confident, and love being able to engage 100% with the kids instead of yelling 'stop bickering' at them whilst drivin at 70 mph.

And even have a crafty g'n't when on the last leg!

woodchuck Thu 04-Oct-12 21:01:10

I dont live near to any of the major airports, so tend to either drive to the airport, Manchester/East Mids/Newcastle on the day, or get a nearby hotel on a good deal to stay overnight if my flight is an early one.

i find driving and parking at the airport is usually straightforward and fairly reasonable. i wouldn't use public transport as the sheer combination of kids n cases is baffling for me and tends to make me a tad shouty.

hazelnutsforbreakfast Thu 04-Oct-12 21:26:18

Taking the shuttle bus from long term parking is such a hassle with small children and adds time. I'd rather be dropped off at departures, so we normally either take a taxi or get a friend to drive us. Travelling on my own I've taken the bus, which is direct and cheap, but takes ages.

charlieandlola Thu 04-Oct-12 22:03:38

We always drive and do valet parking. I would not conside anything else with children.We first flew with the kids when they were 11 months old ( twins) and haven't been on a parking transfer bus since.
It is never more than 20% more expensive than parking in long stay, and worth every penny, imho.
We have never had a bad experience and the longest we have had to wait was last year at Luton ( waited 10 mins after we had got bags), and that was due to the chaotic parking and one way system at Luton.
At Heathrow, especially, T5, it works reallly well.

If we are travelling alone, or just the two, we Tube or black cab from home ( central london)

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