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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

ChippyMinton Mon 01-Oct-12 16:34:44

Just for comparison:

Taxi door to door £32.28

Long stay parking with a 7-15min bus transfer £76.10

Bus from the end of the road to the terminal - £1.30 each way smile

MissRee Mon 01-Oct-12 16:36:17

We always get family to drop off/pick us up. We usually fly from Gatwick which is about a 45 minute drive.

I'm not sure I'd ever use airport car parking - its ridiculously expensive and I've heard horror stories about people's cars being damaged!

NorbertDentressangle Mon 01-Oct-12 16:37:00

Over the past few years we've flown from Birmingham, East Midlands and Bristol airports.

We've always driven to the airport rather than use public transport as with our location , flight times (and with children in tow) it would be a major PITA and take an age to do it by buses, trains etc. By car they take 1-2 hours. Taxis are just stupidly expensive.

We tend to use APH parking or similar as its affordable, the bus transfers are frequent, car parks are manned or monitored and they're not too far from the airport etc.

On a couple of occasions we've combined this with an overnight at an airport hotel the night before an early morning flight, booking it all through APH.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 01-Oct-12 16:37:59

We've driven and parked at the airport, stayed in a hotel the night before an early flight and left the car at the hotel, had a lift, got a taxi...

It all depends on which airport we're flying from (we couldn't possibly afford a taxi to Heathrow!) the times of flights, who's travelling, what luggage we have. I like getting a lift there and back from friends or family because it's stress-free and very civilised compared to the other option!

I work out how much each option will cost, then work out whether saving money is worth the inconvenience of driving and parking ourselves. Taxis are convenient and you don't get that 'Ugh, I've still got to drive home' feeling on your flight home, but they are often an expensive option and not usually the best value for us.

We use Gatwick or Stansted and depending on time of flights we either use long stay airport parking or get a hotel and parking deal. We wouldn't use public transport because we live too far and with two small DCs and luggage it isn't practical.

MrsHowardRoark Mon 01-Oct-12 16:41:31

Before having children I would always travel by public transport to any airport. I've always found it to be easy and fairly inexpensive.

However, since having my DD travel is much more complicated. Public transport is almost impossible what with luggage, car seat and pram.
We haven't driven ourselves because of the difficulty in getting from the car to the terminal and back again.
A taxi, although not the cheapest option, means we get dropped off and picked up at our convenience and an extra pair of hands to unload the car.

Firawla Mon 01-Oct-12 16:43:53

We've always gone by heathrow express from paddington or directly by taxi in the past cos we didn't have a car til recently, although not sure we would park in heathrow as have heard its quite expensive. We are not that far from the airport and we are on the picadilly line so that would be an option providing flights were not in the middle of the night, or getting lift from nearby family members as dh has done that for others and let friends park in our drive then make their way in from here rather than having to pay for airport parking

We have normally gone from heathrow in the past and it is the easiest one to get to, but going somewhere at the weekend and it is gatwick cos it was a cheaper flight but i wish it was heathrow cos so much more convenient! but I will probably have to go to victoria and get gatwick express

Without children we'd take the tube but wth children, always a taxi. The link you've given says parking's almost £80 and that it's £144 for a black a cab from where we live but in reality it's probably about £80 return in a mini cab and totally stress-free.

sandycloud Mon 01-Oct-12 17:19:01

We have started using the valet parking at Manchester airport. We book in advance over the Internet and through a cash back site. It's makes it the same price as a taxi. We are right in the terminal so no bus to catch. We have been let down by taxis in the past so this is much less stressful. Don't have to worry if the flight is delayed. Car is there waiting for you just as you come out.

Goldensunnydays81 Mon 01-Oct-12 17:24:57

We use heathrow every year for our long haul flight to sri lanka. Before having children we used to travel by national express but coming from Devon buses are few and far between so we always had long long waits either before or after flights or ended up in a hotel the night before to be in time for a morning flight! Also having a flight from terminal 4 would always end up having to get the connecting train to the terminal which i always found very stressful with all our baggage for a 3 month trip!
Since having children we have started to get a taxi from Devon and although expensive (£350 return) i don't see me going back from that. We are dropped of outside our terminal and picked up from there too. We can stop when we want on the way up and don't have to leave about 10 hours before to get there!!! Also by the time we would have paid for the bus plus somewhere to stay it doesn't work out too much more expensive and we get to sleep on the way home.

exexpat Mon 01-Oct-12 17:30:40

I live in Bristol and am a single parent with two children (14 & 10).

If we are flying from Heathrow, it usually means it is a long haul flight (Japan, Hong Kong, Australia) so we travel to the airport by train (to Paddington, change onto Heathrow express). We can prebook and so get cheaper tickets and reserved seats together.

On our way back, we get a Bristol-based taxi company to collect us. This is because a) we are tired and jet lagged after (usually) 24 hours or so of travelling; b) we often have more luggage on the way back (holiday shopping...) so travelling by train gets more difficult, and c) it is difficult to reserve seats on the train if you can't be sure what time you are travelling (possible flight delays, huge queues at immigration etc), so it could be difficult to find seats together. The taxi back to Bristol is expensive, but worth it.

I would never drive myself to Heathrow, not because of the cost of parking but because I am in no fit state to drive two hours down the motorway on the way back when I am jet lagged and sleep deprived.

But in fact this is now all fairly irrelevant because I have discovered it is much easier, cheaper and all round less hassle to fly KLM or Air France from Bristol and change onto long haul flights from Paris/Amsterdam, thus avoiding the trip to Heathrow and the huge queues for security and passport control, and the chaos of terminal 3. And a taxi to and from the airport costs so much less.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 01-Oct-12 17:34:58

We would never drive to heathrow. A minicab would be about 40quid or if we were without the dc we would get public transport, a bus ride, longish but cheap. We could drive but I wouldn't fancy the drive back after a long haul flight tbh, far too stressful.

ShangriLaLaLa Mon 01-Oct-12 17:37:29

We usually use a local chauffeur drive company. We have far too many bags and paraphenalia to fit in a car, so they pitch up with a large, comfy Mpv and a trailer, whatever the hour and drop us off at the terminal. Ditto the return journey. Works smoothly and is usually far cheaper than airport parking. We are 2.5 hours from LHR and love to use the service for both flying from London and from our local airport.

Startailoforangeandgold Mon 01-Oct-12 17:44:03

Drive, taxi to Birmingham international = the car parking from my old house which was bliss, but no airport near my present house.

Generally supplements x4 mean Gatwick is cheaper even with diesel.

Book parking on line, often through the AA.
Which ever looks the best deal.
Don't much like parking that far off site, having to risk the Motorway not delaying the bus is not fun.

Hate waiting for return car park buses.
Generally, returning unsuitably dressed from somewhere hot, late at night.

Much better shelters and time until next bus indicators please.

prettybird Mon 01-Oct-12 17:49:17

Exexpat - do you know that if your luggage is checked through, it's really easy to get from CDG to the centre of Paris by the RER. Iirc it's about 45 minutes but when we're going to SA we get the earlier flight from Glasgow/Edinburgh, which gives us enough to go into Paris, have a meal and a bottle of wine so that we are nicely gently sozzled relaxed when we get back to CDG in time for the 23.30 overnight flight to Jo'burg. Means that we sleep well! grin

Not sure about the times of the flights to Japan etc and whether or not that is an option with them.

exexpat Mon 01-Oct-12 17:55:18

Pretty bird - thanks, might try that next time depending on flight times, as the food at CDG isn't up to much. Though in fact I prefer Schiphol as an airport (& KLM as an airline) so prefer to avoid Paris too when possible.

And we nearly missed a CDG flight in the summer when changing from Train to plane, due to engineering works on the RER....

tethersend Mon 01-Oct-12 18:00:50

Many people I know stay in the holiday inn the night before they fly- it's often cheaper to leave your car in their car park for the duration of the trip, even including the cost of the room, than it is to park in the airport car park.

FoxtrotFoxtrotSierra Mon 01-Oct-12 18:05:22

For us it depends on how long we're going for, and what we have to lug with us.

If we're away for a weekend we'll use public transport to Heathrow or Gatwick as we live in central London and it's much quicker to go on the train or tube than it would be to drive, and certainly with the tube it's by far the cheapest option. I recommend to our guests that they use the train services as they are quick, reliable and fairly reasonable if you book in advance/have a railcard/have a group to book for.

When we have lots of luggage, such as skis, we tend to use valet parking services as they are around the same price as two of us taking a return journey on the Heathrow or Gatwick Express and involve a lot less carrying of luggage.

We've taken cabs in the past but they're so expensive it's not something we'd do again in a hurry!

When I had a car, I was the taxi service for most of my relatives either coming into or going out of Heathrow - can't count the amount of 6am Putney/Kew/M4 journeys I've done (and despite that I still find the one way system and car parks very confusing)

Last time we went as a family we drove and parked in an off site carparking facility. I don't think we'd do it again though - no sleep on the flight back meant I was ridiculously tired driving home. Now my DC are old enough to help carry things it's far more sensible (for us) to use public transport.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Oct-12 18:45:07

Thanks for all the comments...just spoken to the team at Heathrow about some of the comments about the www.taxiorpark.com/ link and the (more) expensive cab quotes.

They wanted me to pass on the following to you "The link is particularly designed for those within an hours drive of London Heathrow - and is also based on Hackney Carriage tariffs (because this is the only central source for cab costs available) - apologies as this should have been made clear with the link. We're interested to know what quotes you can get from your local cab company and we'd always encourage travellers to explore all options for travel to the airport".

I will tweak the copy above to make this clear.

Adversecamber Mon 01-Oct-12 18:48:57

If we travel as a family we go by car and park, we book parking online in advance as it is cheaper. DH has to travel via Heathrow and other airports with his work sometimes. If alone he goes by train, with colleagues by taxi as it is cheaper even though he is travelling from Nottingham.

If I am travelling alone, I fly to the States every couple of years I tend to get the train and then get the link coach to Heathrow as I stay at a friends.

BonnyDay Mon 01-Oct-12 18:51:32

Car. We are one hour 10 min away.
Taxi is a fortune plus is horrible noisy mini bus.
Would rather pay to be near terminal.

ValentineWiggins Mon 01-Oct-12 18:53:27

We pretty much always drive and do some form of valet parking - even though we only come from about 20 mins away it's cheaper (easier) than taxi - and it's actually quite a palaver by public transport (at least 40 minutes...)

gingercat12 Mon 01-Oct-12 18:55:35

We have a 4-year-old DS, so we get a taxi to the airport in order to shorten the day of travelling for him. Sometimes if we get back during the day and it is sunny, we take public transport home, so we can all stretch our legs.

BTW We stopped using Heathrow, as they often let the passengers down in high season (summer, Christmas and Easter), and we do not like queuing with a toddler for very long at passport control.

We find it much more convenient and quite cost effective to drive rather than the train to heathrow. (Wouldn't get a taxi all the way there) One of the things I particularly like about it is the ability to get home nice and quickly without hanging around when tired for public transport.
Sometimes though it seems like quite a long wait for the bus back to the car park when we've arrived home quite late. And when you are cold and tired that's not quite so fun.

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