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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

BobbiFleckman Mon 01-Oct-12 10:24:38

Heathrow is such a delightful doddle to get to by various means of public transport that I don't think I've ever driven. For early flights (& they're never senselessly Stansted / package holiday early), a cab out of London is quick and cheap anyway and I'm guessing that unless you pay mad money for on site parking, it's going to be some dodgy operator driving your car off to a field in Langley or sthign. That's another thing - there are so many cheap hotels / B&Bs in Langley and around the airport that for early departures there's again no great benefit in parking.

Other airports - always drive because they're so godawfully served for public transport (Luton / S'sted / Gatwick as don't live anywhere near Victoria for the train). Normally book airport parking online in advance, is always cheaper than a cab and substantially less hassle with all the child kit.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Oct-12 10:29:15

I never use onsite airport parking as with kids, holdalls and skis I'm worried about having to walk miles dragging everything/trying not to make sure kids aren't run over.

We always use APH, have used them at every airport in the country I think. So we drive to them, get on their bus and get dropped off at the airport door.

Its still a bit stressful, trying to find a trolley along with 50 other people can be a nightmare. Coming back can be awful as the queues for the APH buses can be bad and people have no manners and trample you underfoot to make sure they get on.

I think APH is generally cheaper than onsite parking and I don't have to worry about walking long distances.

EldonAve Mon 01-Oct-12 10:38:02

Sometimes we take a taxi, sometimes we drive
Depends on the length of the trip and the cost of the parking
Also if we are returning on a red eye driving home isn't always a great option

I avoid the long stay car park as it adds too much time and it's still a hassle getting the bags/kids/pushchair to the bus stop, then on and off the bus

We usually park in the Business car park as it's quicker & easier
We have parked in short stay - most convenient but more £

Mini cab taxis are expensive & we've had issues with our local firm (bad driving, sending too small a car) so I'd rather drive

Beanbagz Mon 01-Oct-12 10:40:39

Well i'm in the North of England so a taxi to Heathrow wouldn't be within my budget!

The last time i parked and flew from there (on a group flight) it was a nightmare as we arrived back with two tired children on a Friday night to find there weren't enough buses to get back to the car park.

As a consequence my husband took the bus by himself to fetch the car back to the terminal & pick us up. (Several other families who arrived at the same time also had to designate a driver to fetch their cars).

Because of this (and with other problems when my husband has been flying on business) i have since avoided flying on holiday from Heathrow at all costs. I even try to avoid transitting Heathrow and prefer to travel through Amsterdam or Paris instead.

With my local airport i generally take a taxi or get a lift from a family member. The return taxi is a similar cost to a weeks parking but i prefer to leave my car safe at home.

My other airport choice (Manchester) i generally drive to and park off site with a company i have been using for many years. Whilst public transport is available the cost for a family of 4 would be too high - even compared to running my car/parking costs.

CMOTDibbler Mon 01-Oct-12 10:42:15

I've been to Heathrow by bus, train, taxi and car, and I think compared to many airports its a pleasure to get to (and I've been to an awful lot of them). Tomorrow I'll be driving to heathrow on business, and will prebook my parking, going for best on site rate. Though I love, love, love the pods in T5 business parking blush

I don't think we've ever flown from Heathrow. We've usually tried to fly from Manchester and either used the train or paid to securely park a little way from the airport with bus transfers. It tends to depend on the cost and how convenient each is for the flight times as to which we use.

When we flew from Gatwick we stayed at IL's house the night before and used a taxi.

Pascha Mon 01-Oct-12 11:02:49

My preferred method of transport to an airport is car, preferably driven by someone else who can just drop us outside departures and go for fuel and small compensation and a bottle of wine. I happily do it for others as well.

We have been known to use airport parking for a weekend break but only as a last resort and only when it involves just me and DH and no children/massive bags.

I've never been in a position of having to use public transport to get to an airport but the thought frankly fills me with dread at all the waiting around and relying on schedules and timetables. There is enough of that palaver at the airport itself without adding to the stress.

BellaVida Mon 01-Oct-12 11:03:27

As a family with four young children, travel is never easy, but we do try to make things as easy as possible for ourselves. We always drive, but tend to go from Luton as it is nearer, plus we can park on site just a short walk from the terminal relatively cheaply. With 4 kids, a pushchair and all our luggage, we need to park as close as possible to the airport. Sometimes we go with a different airline from Heathrow, but even though we pre-book, it is still so expensive that we have to go to a long stay car park, which involves getting a bus. In the past, we have had a fairly long wait in the cold and had to struggle onto the bus or one of us would wait with the children and the other would fetch the car, which just adds even more onto your journey time. The other issue is the size of the parking spaces. Unless we happen to get a space on the end of the row, we really struggle getting all the children out sometimes, so end up part unloading then parking the car properly, which is not ideal for safety. Most car parks have parent and child spaces now, so why not at airports?

Shakey1500 Mon 01-Oct-12 11:10:25

I've travelled to many airports in a variety of different ways including navigating/changing on the underground with heavy suitcases, in a mad panic rush. Because of the unpredictability of the service, using the underground for me, would be the final option.

Using a train such as the Gatwick/Heathrow express is slightly more reliable though still the issue of lugging suitcases and other paraphenalia to contend with.

Using own car and paying for a car park is not too bad depending on how far away from the airport the facility is and how frequent the shuttle buses are. Not great if it's a silly o'clock flight, freezing, and the buses are 30 odd minutes apart.

Far and away the best method is a mini bus/taxi. Picked up at the doorstep, no lugging of cases, dropped off right outside the airport. One journey. The cost is naturally higher but worth it for the utter convenience.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Mon 01-Oct-12 11:10:59

It's cheaper and easier for us to book airport parking. Have done this for last few holidays and always manage to find a good deal money wise which is close to airport. We hav always found this less hassle and stress than taxi or public transport. Have tried taxi, train and bus and won't be doing any of those again!!

WowOoo Mon 01-Oct-12 11:13:47

We always get a taxi with the same company as they give us a good deal.
We call them a day before and they text us to confirm.
I don't live in London anymore, but we stay with a friend the night before if we travel from a London airport.

I really don't want to think about parking or be driving in the middle of the night.

Taxi both ways is cheaper than parking for a week.So, to be persuaded to use airport parking I'd like it to be cheaper. Also, the spaces are too tight and small.

Picking up a car with a scratch that was not there when I left it has made me try to avoid airport parking unless it's just for a couple of days.

mumblechum1 Mon 01-Oct-12 11:15:42

We always get a taxi; about £40 each way. Obv. if it was a short trip it might be cheaper to park onsite, but a taxi is just nice and convenient. They always meet us in the arrivals hall.

Bunbaker Mon 01-Oct-12 11:21:11

Taxi both ways. We live an hour from Manchester airport and by the time you add up petrol costs and parking costs it makes the extra few quid for a taxi very reasonable.

W avoid Heathrow like the plague. OH travels to the far East a lot and often flies to a European airport from Manchester and changes flight rather than go to Heathrow (which is a 4 hour drive).

Blu Mon 01-Oct-12 11:21:55

I don't think I would ever drive to Heathrow on a family holiday if I could avoid it.

Why add to the hideous congestion through London on the A4 route or the S Circular? Why pay all that money to leave your car in the car park on the way home? Why add to the horrible traffic on the M25, cope with the anxiety of missing your plane due to motorway hold-ups if there is a crash or something? (as seems common on very busy motorways when everyone is lane changing to get to the airport, M4, M25 etc).

On airport parking always seems very expensive, off-airport parking is often miles away with uncertain signposting - adds more stress to 'getting there on time'.

I went to and from LHR on the tube this summer - what made a real difference was the Olympic volunteers, helping people with luggage, helping visitors find their way etc - it was great!

We took the car to LHR a few times when DS was small, but preferred a mini-cab, or public transport.

Blu Mon 01-Oct-12 11:23:47

P.S and I certainly avoided taking the car if we were returning on an overnight flight - it worries me that people who are jet lagged and haven't slept at all hop in their car and straight on to the motorway.

BigStickBIWI Mon 01-Oct-12 11:33:32

We try to fly from Gatwick because it's more convenient for us. Nine times out of ten we get a taxi. I would never consider leaving the car at the airport because of the cost of parking. Although I realise this is a huge assumption on my part - I haven't actually parked at an airport for years! But back when I used to travel regularly from Heathrow, the cost of short-term parking was so horrific, I always assumed that longer term parking must be more than the cost of a taxi to/from the airport.

I like to be picked up from a flight in a taxi as it means I can have a drink on the flight back, and I don't have to engage brain to drive home when I may be very tired - especially if it has been a long haul/overnight flight.

We recently went away for the weekend, just DH and I, and only had hand baggage (and my case was on wheels) so we went by tram to East Croydon and then Gatwick Express to the airport, which was really quick and efficient.

Blu Mon 01-Oct-12 11:53:20

Out of curiosity, I used the taxiorpark link. None of the good mini-cab companies in our local high rd charge as much as that for a return airport trip (they have well advertised set rates) - and the parking estimate if just for one week. If we are flying from LHR as a family we would normally be going for more than a week. Sometimes 3 weeks if we are going to the ILs.

We live in west London, close to A4 and Piccadilly line, so relatively easy access to Heathrow.

I used to go on Piccadilly line when foot loose & child fancy free.
DP has dropped me off a couple of times too.
When we had DD1, BIL has dropped us all off to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Now we have 2 DC last holiday we took a taxi/people carrier to airport & left our car parked off road at a friends - 2 adults, 2 children, 2 carseats, luggage, buggie, trunkie etc and longhaul fights. It was brilliant if not quite expensive.

I have used airport parking at Stansted before and it was cost efficient (for a 5 day trip with 2 people) - I can't imagine airport parking at Heathrow for 3 weeks would be a viable option cost wise.

RugBugs Mon 01-Oct-12 12:08:23

Before DC living in Kent I'd get a cab to Gatwick, for two of us it was cheaper than the rail fare so decision was based on cost.
Have since relocated to the North West and could walk to John Lennon airport if we needed to but we get relatives to drop us off or we drive and leave our car round the corner and get someone to drive it home for us later in the day. This decision is based on ease/speed of getting to the terminal.

Not flown from Heathrow. We live in Manchester and fly from East Midlands because even with petrol and carparking factored in, it is the cheapest route. We fly up to 3 times a year to my parents in Brittany.

So, in answer to the question we drive and use airport parking.

Frontpaw Mon 01-Oct-12 12:11:35

We live near Paddington so trot up to the station for the Heathrow Express and usually stay over at the airport to get early o'clock flights.

We have taxied over but find that the Heathrow Express is e&y convenient because of out location, and often there are good special offers in high summer season. We haven't driven, probably because we try to travel light, but possibly would if we had more kids/prams/cots to take with us. I imagine parking would be expensive.

Usually it is just assumed that this is how we'll get to the airport so the tickets are booked online after the rest f the holiday is sorted out.

SorrelForbes Mon 01-Oct-12 12:14:03

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. Living in the South West this depends on whether we're flying from a local airport (e.g. Bristol) or from a London airport. Other factors that would influence our decison are the length of flight and times of departure/arrival. For example, for our last trip to Florida, flying from LHR, we took the train to Paddington and then used the Heathrow Express. We reversed this on the return journey as we knew we would feel too tired to drive on our return to the UK.

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? We would use the car to drive to a local airport as this would work out cheaper than using public transport.

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? We use either train or car to travel to the airport. We would use our car more if parking charges were cheaper and if fuel prices were lower

When do you start to think about how you and your family will get to the airport? After we have booked the flights

Do you (or your DH/DP for that matter?) plan when booking your flights/holiday or is it an afterthought? It's not an afterthought as such but we know that we can access all airports either by car or train so this is not an issue as such

How do you search for information on getting to the airport or on parking there? On-line, either on Google or the Airport's own web site

Do you find information is readily available or not? Usually it's very easy to find

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. As we live over a three hour drive away from LHR, this is not applicable

moonbells Mon 01-Oct-12 12:18:56

Taxi. It's more expensive than parking, but then parking doesn't include the cost of fuel to drive there so I think they're about the same. In which case, I'd rather get a taxi to drop us off at the terminal rather than wait about in the inevitable rain with cases and children for a random bus to pick us up and take us to the terminal, and have me worrying about our car for the duration.

Tube is a non-starter. Last time I used it, I had no children and I was coming back from a work trip. Took four hours, as had to get Picc line to Acton, change to Picc Rayners Lane branch to Rayners Lane, change to Met line to Harrow, change to Met line for final run to home. Blech. With cases. Double blech. Nearly collapsed on the stairs at one point!

After that I refused to go on anything where I couldn't expense a taxi.

MrsBartlet Mon 01-Oct-12 12:20:05

We drive and now use APH valet parking. When the children were younger we attempted to get an early morning flight using the long-stay parking and coaches between the car park and airport building. It was incredibly difficult to manage 4 suitcases, 4 hand-luggage bags and 2 small children on and off the bus and in the dark - never again. It is not any more expensive to do valet parking and we can leave the car and collect it right in front of the airport.

I book everything to do with our holidays and I book the parking at the same time as I book everything else.

notcitrus Mon 01-Oct-12 12:20:05

I've only ever flown from Heathrow and Gatwick (grew up near Heathrow, then moved to London). Never driven to the airport though frequently taken cabs, which has put me off ever driving - traffic anywhere near the M25 is terrible, and even the drop-off/pickup car parks are ages away from the terminals so lots of walking, which would make it a right pain now we have small children.
Also the only time I've been collected by car, we then spent over an hour trying to escape Heathrow as FIL ended up going round and round...
Used to get tube from Hammersmith or Brixton to Heathrow, have also got the 555 bus which is dirt cheap if a bit slow (£3, 1 hour, versus 10-15 min for £30 in a taxi).
Now to south London it's a bit harder with luggage so have taken a cab rather than get the earliest trains, and it was £33 well spent.

As there's no way to improve the traffic in the general area, I think improving the train/tube services and advertising the coaches to Reading/Feltham is the only way to go. Only criticism is the signage from Arrivals - needs to be clear that 'Trains' will not get get you to a Tube train, which was an unpleasant surprise after a 30-hour journey and long walk to the platforms. Some toilets on the Tube station would encourage people to take that route, too.

randomfennel Mon 01-Oct-12 12:31:00

When we've flown on family holidays we've always used public transport to get there. Train+ airport bus (to Bristol) or train alone (to Gatwick). Coming from the SW it always seems a total hassle to get to Heathrow (into Paddington and then back out westwards), so we tend to avoid Heathrow flights for that reason.

The only times I have looked at airport parking it hasn't been cheaper than public transport so I've never done it.

I suppose if the car+ parking was actually cheaper than public transport I might be convinced, but it hasn't been yet when I've done the checks. We like public transport in general so would tend to use that as a first option.

annh Mon 01-Oct-12 12:32:07

We usually fly from Gatwick or occasionally Heathrow and usually drive and park there. Actually, have never parked at Heathrow but do park in the normal car park at Gatwick.

We usually book several days before flying and try to use any discount codes or vouchers which have come with the holiday booking or otherwise search on Google to find something. However, we always use the short-term car-parks as we have no experience with valet companies and know that some do not take care of the vehicles. For us, cost is a factor as we live about 45 mins-1hour from Gatwick so it is actually cheaper (depending on time of day) to drive, we also feel more in control of the trip. We also like knowing that we can fit out four bags into our own car. Although we don't take huge suitcases with us, we have in the past had to book a people-carrier with the taxi company which is extra cost.

If we fly from Heathrow, we tend to go by taxi, as the cost (we think) works out better than driving. Also, the M25 is often extremely busy and there are several routes from our house so we rely on the taxi driver (who has probably already been there that day or his colleagues have) to have the up-to-date info on the best way to go.

To be honest, I have no idea what family-friendly parking means - bigger parking spaces, closer to terminal, something else?

nextphase Mon 01-Oct-12 12:36:13

If possible we fly from our local airport, even if this involves changing planes in London / Amsterdam / Paris. Then we taxi it there, or get an amenable friend to drop us off.

In all honesty, Manchester or Birmingham would be my first choice for long haul airports way before we started looking at London airports.

We did go from Heathrow with 18 month old DS1. Drove down to PIL, and got them to drop us off at the airport. It would definitely cost less to park on site than get a taxi to Heathrow / any London Airport from home.

We actually started looking at going to visit DH's family last night. And we started with looking at direct flights from a northen airport. No routings. So priced up London direct, and via Amsterdam. There was a 10% price difference, and for that, we'll be avoiding London - it would cost us that in petrol to get there.

In my pre kid days, I did book a hotel near the airport and stay there the night before, and then got a weeks parking at the hotel. Worked well for me, but then it was only 3 hrs to the airport, and an early flight. Again, probably wouldn't do that with kids in tow (hotels plus toddlers isn't good in our experience).

Also had an amazing trip from Oxford, where there were frequent, good quality, reliable busses from the centre of town to Heathrow for not very much. Would take that route if we lived further south.

Pourquoimoi Mon 01-Oct-12 13:01:46

We try to fly from smaller airports as much as we can. Even stanstead or Luton are lower hassle options that heathrow or gatwick.

We usually drive then get valet parking. We do look at all the options online but usually find spending a bit more for valet parking is worth it to avoid hassle at the airport with kids and suitcases.

For us a taxi to heathrow is far more than parking but we are far away. We do sometimes taxi to stanstead though as a taxi is about the same price as two weeks parking there.

We usually drive because it avoids waiting for public transport or being at the mercy of it being cancelled or delayed.

Rosa Mon 01-Oct-12 13:13:04

Using Heathrow lots in the past and coming from Berkshire I always used the rail air link, as it was very convenient, reliable and was cheaper than driving/ parking. Often I got friends to use that rather than driving and parking .
Now when I have used Heathrow I normally drive with a rental car from wherever I am staying and drop at Heathrow and take the free shuttles.
I would avoid the long term at any airport and don't like the off site parking with buses etc unless they have been tried and tested by friends, ( waited 45 mins once at 11pm)
Often I come into LGw and transit over to LHR or vice versa. Tend to use the coach again for ease and no changes etc.

CointreauVersial Mon 01-Oct-12 13:13:45

We are fairly near Gatwick, so we usually try to travel from there. We will often get a lift to the station and arrive by train. Very occasionally a taxi. However, if the trip is a short one the parking can work out cheaper than five train tickets, so we drive and park. It is a decision largely based on cost.

For Heathrow or Stansted it's a bit further, and not straightforward by public transport, so we would drive and park.

Luton is fairly near my mum, so we would drive to hers, park there and get a lift. Parking at Luton is famously expensive - I really don't know how they can justify it.

We once stayed in a Stansted hotel which threw in a parking deal - that worked out well as it was a very early start.

We tend to book the holiday first, then think about how we are going to get to the airport as an afterthought. But we always pre-book parking as it's cheaper. We will sometimes book off-airport parking for that reason. To search for info I would generally look at the airport's website, or just google "Heathrow Parking" or whatever. I have had no problem finding reasonable deals.

I'm pretty certain parking at Heathrow would be cheaper than a taxi from where we live. Unless we were away for 3 weeks+

Here's the problem; there's no in between as far as taxi and bus. A taxi from Bristol is way too expensive, and a bus only goes scheduled times, have to get to bus station, and then from the terminal.

Why not have an airport pick up/car share scheme where people in the area share a large van and the pick up times could be based on when people want to travel. For instance, I know that there are essentially a few times for the Virgin and BA flights to LA, so based off that, pick up and drop off times could be coordinated and you would be picked up from home.

I dont live in Engerland, so when travelling from Heathrow I've already had to fly in!
Flying from our regional airport to go on holiday we get a taxi as its miles cheaper than parking either long stay onsite or in one of the off site / bus in ones. Plus it means one of us doesnt have to stay alert at silly oclock to be able to drive. Its just more convenient.
Flying to LHR on business though I park the car because I can claim back the costs and on my return i just want to get home, and no real luggage anyway.
Again on business, LHR is handy enough to central London on the express train. I book these tickets online when I'm booking my flights.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Oct-12 13:18:47

We live very far from the nearest airport, not Heathrow, so we travel in our family car and use the long-term car park. Public transport runs on too limited a schedule to be feasible for us and also we drop off our cats at a cattery en route.

I book the parking and cattery as soon as we purchase tickets.

BobbieSox Mon 01-Oct-12 13:19:19

We live fairly near Heathrow near a Piccadilly line station and have only really ever taken the tube (in fact me, DH and small DCs went yesterday as DH had left his phone there the day before). It's so easy and takes 38 minutes, apparently, so we've never considered driving as figure it would be more expensive and take longer when you factor in getting a shuttle from the carpark etc...

I have taken a taxi before when its really early but can't think of an occasion when I would take my own car, to be honest!

gallifrey Mon 01-Oct-12 13:28:08

We drive and park at the airport, if you book in advance it's not that expensive. We live on the south coast and a taxi would have been more than the cost of the car park and getting a train with all the suitcases and buggy and baby would have been a nightmare.
Also there were 5 of us so a lift would have been out of the question too. I think airport parking is one of those things you have to suck up if you want to go abroad!

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?
We do have a car, but we never park at Heathrow as we are concerned about two things: cost of leaving the car there for a week or two, and security.
We always take a taxi to Heathrow but we would far rather travel by train. We live in SW London and for that reason fly from Gatwick whenever possible: there is a very good train service from Clapham Junction direct to Gatwick but no easy/direct means of getting to LHR.

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?
We normally book a taxi two or three days before we travel and that's as early as we think about it (as we always do the same thing).

And lastly, 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
Regardless of cost, we are concerned about security of parking at the airport and that is a major factor in taking taxis and not leaving the car there. Taxi is usually £50 return.

prettybird Mon 01-Oct-12 13:39:57

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?

For the last few years we have been driving from Glasgow to Manchester to catch the flight for our summer holiday - parking off airport and getting the carpark's bus in. Only Gatwick and Manchester have flights to the airport (Preveza) which is the closest airport to the hotel we like to go to.

Public transport is not an option as the flight leaves at 7am on a Sunday morning. We are happy leaving the house around midnight and driving down (sharing the driving)

For other holidays, we would usually get a lift to Glasgow Airport from friends or family (and will reciprocate when they need lifts). They tend to be more reliable than taxis!

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?

Travel frequently, so it is not something I need to research. Glasgow Airport is 10-15 minutes away. Have got used to the routine for Manchester Airport - although did have to do a bit of extra research this year as the car park we used to use no longer operates, so had to find a new one (this year used APH, who were very good). I googled Price Comparison web-sites and then also checked out reviews.

When looking at flights I will look at both Glasgow and Edinburgh as potential departure/arrival points - looking for the best value options. I factor in travel/time costs when doing so - but that is only a bottle of wine for thanks to my dad if he has to pick us up or take us to Edinburgh!

And lastly, 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.

No.

As a general principle, I will avoid Heathrow at all costs. Didn't mind having to travel there on business but wouldn't choose to do a transfer there. Prefer to go via Paris (where I can have an evening on the banks of the Seine before getting the onward flight smile) or Dubai (cheaper). Even going to the States, I would now go via Iceland.

AimingForElegant Mon 01-Oct-12 13:40:54

Generally, I use public transport to get to the airport. It depends where I'm going from - Heathrow is very easy for me as I can use the National Rail to Paddington, then Heathrow express to the airport. Birmingham is equally easy by train. I have family nearby to Luton, so they normally will oblige in carting us around, but failing that the public transport is reasonable from family to there too. Convenience drives us, but then again I try not to fly from airports that would be a total pain.

PestoSandalissimos Mon 01-Oct-12 13:42:42

We haven't been away for 5 years now, but when we did we would always pre-book a taxi to take us to the airport and pick us up again on the way back.

The reason for this is that we don't have to worry about the security of the car whilst we are away and we don't have any of that bussing to the Long Term Car Parks fiasco at the beginning and end of the holiday. Private taxi is waaaay more pleasant, and we would usually get the same taxi driver each time which was nice too smile

SoupDragon Mon 01-Oct-12 13:44:47

We use a "Meet and Greet" parking service. We started using it when the children were small and needed their own car seats - this made it by far the easiest way to get to the airport (Gatwick in our case).

Cost isn't always the deciding factor in which is the best method.

whojamaflip Mon 01-Oct-12 13:47:49

We usually drive and park in the long stay carpark at Birmingham (nearest airport). Parking is £2.99 a day if booked far enough in advance. No idea how that compares to Heathrow.

We did fly from Luton last year and took the train to London, stayed overnight with my brother, then took a bus at silly o'clock out to the airport.

Tbh I wouldn't dream of driving to a London airport and would either take the train down or would try and bribe get a friend or relative to run us down.

FreckledLeopard Mon 01-Oct-12 13:48:46

In general I use train to get to Gatwick or Heathrow - both fairly easy from where I am in West London. I've driven and parked off-site to both before. Gatwick was fine as there was someone waiting to collect car straight from me and bring it back on my return (meet and greet), but parked once offsite at Heathrow and relied on a shuttle to take me to terminal - never again. Shuttle was hit and miss, arrived late and I almost missed my flight.

Overall, I'm happy to use trains, though it's a pain to have to cart luggage about. If onsite parking was cheaper, then I would certainly consider it.

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Oct-12 13:49:45

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?

I tend to fly out of Gatwick as it is the closest airport. Before DCs, I'd drive and park in the long term car park, because getting a bus with just me and my luggage was straightforward. Now we do drive, but book valet parking. It is generally cheaper than on site parking, and much more convenient with DCs as they collect and drop your car from the drop off point, so there is no hassle with car seats or transit buses. Parking at airports is expensive and often involves transit buses, both of which are a pain when you have children.

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?

I plan airport transport a couple of weeks before flying. I usually do a moneysupermarket type comparison of parking costs, then I look at train and taxi prices. The train is bizarrely the most expensive, as even though we don't live that far away, you have to get two singles and can't get a return. Then you have to take into consideration getting to the station with all the luggage and DCs. The info is readily available.

And lastly, 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.

Yes. Taxis also aren't great if you have kids because of car seats. Valet parking is really the best option for us.

MrClaypole Mon 01-Oct-12 13:51:59

I used to use public transport (tube or heathrow connect) pre- DC but cannot do this now as we cannot carry all our luggage/DC/pushchairs/car seats etc without having a nervous breakdown or pulling a muscle!

We are near to the paddington/greenford mainline but the connection with the heathrow connect at ealing is terrible (half hour wait) so that is ruled out.

Taking our own car would be easy but works out very very expensive and you still have the faff of getting from car park to airport (often by bus which negates the convenience of using your own car!)

So it's a local taxi for us. Takes us door to door and is pretty well priced. Cheaper then car parking at airport.

We do not consider travel to airport when booking as we know that we can get a taxi any time.

GooseyLoosey Mon 01-Oct-12 13:52:01

We travel from Bath. Get the train to Reading and the bus to Heathrow from Reading. Cheaper and faster than getting the train all the way to Paddington and catching the Heathrow express.

Would consider driving and parking at the long stay terminals depending on what time the flight was. However, would prefer to catch the train with the kids as they would find it more fun than the drive.

Always get info for travelling off the internet and never find it a problem to find what I want.

pengymum Mon 01-Oct-12 13:53:20

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?

We have a car, but we would not park at Heathrow as hassle to drive there then park and unload and get to terminal, also the cost of leaving the car there for a week or two, and security are concerns.

We would either get a lift from a family member or take a taxi to Heathrow if all family travelling with lot of luggage or go by bus if only small amount of luggage.

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?

We normally book a taxi about a week before we travel or arrange with available family member.

And lastly, 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

Cheaper to take taxi than to park at airport according to taxiorpark.com and door to door service, no hassle transferring bags etc. to get to terminal.

Cinnamonkey Mon 01-Oct-12 13:54:10

I've only ever used public transport to get to heathrow, because it's so easy. (actually, about 20 years ago my family too a taxi from Devon to heathrow because it worked out about the same as driving and parking, but saved my parents driving at night after a long flight).

We're taking 20 month old DD on her first holiday next week, flying from a regional airport. We'll drive to the airport and my parents will collect our car or they'll drop us off. Normally I'd research online and prebook parking, but we won't be leaving the car at the airport.

I wouldn't want to use public transport to get to many airports. Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham are the easiest I've used. Bristol is only ok with hand luggage and no child.

I avoid flying from heathrow for a number of reasons (I live relatively central London
1. Piccadilly line is too busy and if the Piccadilly line is disrupted for any reason it's a nightmare.
2. Buses with child and luggage is not an option
3. Wouldn't pay for a cab fair. Once did and it cost me around £50
4. Never really thought about driving as the roads I would have to use are generally congested.
I have to say the times I have flown from heathrow - I like the airport itself.

I 99% of the time fly from city. So easy to get to and get through.

Stanstead is too far out for me, hate gatwick airport and I think to call Luton 'London Luton' is false advertising!!

Cinnamonkey Mon 01-Oct-12 13:57:09

Looks like its about £400+ cheaper to park than get a taxi for us!

aristocat Mon 01-Oct-12 13:58:05

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?

I have never flown from Heathrow or any other London airport. I always use Birmingham, East Midlands or Manchester.
We would have a lift from a friend or FIL to the airport and always do the same for them when they need to go away. Much more reliable than waiting for a taxi. We had considered parking at the airport but never actually done it.

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?

As soon as the holiday is booked, FIL would offer to drive us there. DCs get to say goodbye to him and we leave our flight number so he can check if there are any delays etc.

And lastly, 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.

No. Heathrow would be too far for me as I live in the West Mids.

aristocat Mon 01-Oct-12 14:01:18

Just checked the taxiorpark and my taxi would cost £413 - do they really think anyone would pay this for a taxi hmm

gwenniebee Mon 01-Oct-12 14:02:12

We tend to use offsite airport parking and their buses. Public transport from where we are is a right old faff, especially with a baby... and entirely impossible if check in opens at 0545 or something!

ByTheWay1 Mon 01-Oct-12 14:07:12

We use National Express coaches - delivered to the terminal ! So easy, and cheap, saves driving home with jetlag. Too far away for a taxi, don't drive if returning from longhaul - too tiring.

CheddarandMarmite Mon 01-Oct-12 14:09:49

We don't tend to fly from Heathrow, we are more likely to use Stansted or Gatwick because of their location.
However, whichever airport it is, I see driving a car and parking it there as a "last resort", I'd rather get a train, a coach, a taxi or even a lift from a kind friend.

We've driven to the airport and parked only once, when our flight was so early we couldn't get the train. It was fairly good value, but I still prefer to use public transport, or a taxi I find it much less stressful.

I do research online how to get to the airport - this usually involves looking up train or bus times and fares. I'd only look at the price of parking if the train was ridiculously expensive, or not running or something, and I'd only consider parking there if it was appreciably cheaper than any other method.

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 14:15:05

Having once had a nightmare with return
Travel trains being cancelled in the ten days we were away we now
Always drive.

I hate the idea of standing around with a
Small child waiting for a minibus to
Come so we tend to use a hotel/parking deal so we know the car will def be close when we arrive and no waiting around.

It is expensive as an option but feels
A tiny bit more palatable as we get a night at a hotel
As part of the arrangement which is again easier for early
Morning flights with a small child!

strandednomore Mon 01-Oct-12 14:23:46

We've flown from Heathrow, as well as Gatwick and regional airports, many times with and without the children. This has included when moving overseas, so have had the difficult situation of having sold our car but still having too much luggage to get to the airport without driving. In these circumstances we have hired a large people carrier. When flying on holiday, we like to stay the night at an airport hotel the night before - there is a new Premier Inn and Heathrow which was absolutely brilliant when we flew to Miami earlier this year. We can then relax and start enjoying our holiday the day before we fly rather than having the long drive to the airport on the day of the flight. Previously we have booked the car into a long-stay car park at Heathrow which was very good value; on another occasion we have used a hotel which includes leaving your car while you are away - also not bad value.
The biggest problem we have had at airports is when the children were smaller and we had one in a buggy, one walking and then masses of suitcases and bags, and no porters in sight. Even when you find a porter, they are extortionate. Wish they were included in the price of the flight!!

Tee2072 Mon 01-Oct-12 14:25:17

I live in Belfast and don't have a car so I don't drive to Heathrow at all. I usually have to fly to Heathrow to go anywhere good, though.

I taxi to either Belfast City or Belfast International most of the time. Public transport is fairly good in Belfast, but I prefer the convenience of a taxi. I sometimes get the bus back, depending where I'm flying from.

I don't like Heathrow, though. It's too big and only recently has the Belfast terminal had any amenities at all. The first time I flew through it I thought I was in a cheap bus station in the mid-west of the US. It's a bit better now.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Mon 01-Oct-12 14:41:43

A taxi would be £1086.08!

Last time we flew from Heathrow we travelled up on a National Express Coach, it does make for a very long journey time.

If we can we fly from Cardiff which is a 2 hour drive away from home

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Mon 01-Oct-12 14:50:58

We always take a taxi. With 2 dc under 5, I don't need the extra hassle and time of parking and hauling luggage and children on and off buses. Between 4 of us, the cost of a taxi is about the same as a train journey.

We live in Surrey. For us the easiest way is to drive to Hounslow and then park at one of those carparks where they use a shuttle bus to transfer you to the airport. Pink Elephant Parking is one of them I think?

If I am flying on my own I get a family member to drop me off, one of the (very few) benefits of living close enough to the airport for this to be feasible.

dreamingofsun Mon 01-Oct-12 14:51:42

i compare cost of the car park with what the local taxi company would charge and then go with the cheapest. for 1 week driving tends to work out cheaper and for 2 weeks taxi.

MarshaBrady Mon 01-Oct-12 14:54:25

We always take a taxi to the Heathrow Express from Paddington.

We do have a car but never drive to Heathrow.

I find the train very fast and relaxing, and not stressful at all. I'm not sure anything would make us choose to take our own car.

dottygamekeeper Mon 01-Oct-12 15:06:24

If flying from Heathrow we drive there, although it is a 2 hour journey from Suffolk - public transport not an option, we live out in the country 11 miles from the nearest station, then would have to cross London by tube, carrying luggage etc.

Book parking in advance, usually via airport website as we prefer to park on airport, most recently have used Business Parking as was not much more expensive than long stay, and using the Pods meant no hanging around for buses & quick transfer straight into T5.. Have also used Valet Parking if can get a good deal.

Taxi works out very expensive from us.

Firewall Mon 01-Oct-12 15:14:45

We live in the west midlands and always take the train to heathrow. We do have a car but is such a hassle to drive down and arrange parking. So it is easier to leave it at home and go by train ( though the underground is not always the easiest to navigate with 3 suitcases and a buggy!)
A taxi fare according to your site is around £400, parking fare and petrol is still more expensive that train as well as the fact that after you have landed its not always best to have a long drive home.
I'd be more tempted to drive if parking was cheaper and closer especially with young kids.

Labootin Mon 01-Oct-12 15:22:24

I live in Dubai but fly back to London (either Gatwick or Heathrow) 3 or 4 times a year.

Emirates include a chauffeur drive service in it's business and first class service. So I use that.

prettybird Mon 01-Oct-12 15:25:42

Just input my postcode for a laugh - it would be over a £1100 for a return taxi fare! Of course parking would be cheaper! grin

That will have helped them in their claim that over a certain period, 75% of their quotes were cheaper to park than get a taxi hmm

stealthsquiggle Mon 01-Oct-12 15:36:22

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?

Yes, we have cars, and yes, we drive to the airport (Heathrow or otherwise). There is no viable alternative from the middle of nowhere (Midlands) - public transport starts about 10 miles away and the journey to Heathrow would be long and involved and the thought of doing it with DC and holiday luggage makes me feel queasy.

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?

We always pre-book parking, sometimes combined with a hotel for the previous night (for early morning flights), otherwise just as a standalone. We don't do it as part of the holiday booking, but separately and shortly after holiday is confirmed. Information is easy to find and plentiful (but that may be because we both travel through Heathrow quite a lot for work, so it's familiar territory IYSWIM).

And lastly, do you know how the cost of parking at Heathrow compares with a return taxi journey from where you live?

Don't know - will check - but it would be a three hour journey either way, so not cheap, and unless it was a lot cheaper then I would prefer having the car at the airport - it just means we are in control of the whole process and can (for example) leave excess coats, snacks, etc in our own car.

Labootin Mon 01-Oct-12 15:38:57

I've just checked the link as well it's UTTER bollocks

A friend got a cab from the cab firm at Heathrow and paid Irrc £80 for an instant cab ... The quote I got for a return fare was 4 times as much (ie £160 for the single fare)

if she could have been arsed to book a local cab pick up it would have been £60 single fare ..but running risk of cabbie stuck getting there on m25 so she paid the £20 premium for taxi being there already

I can only assume that website is hoping people are Hicksville out o'towners and do not check anywhere else.

I'd love to know their booking rates (and profit margin)

Labootin Mon 01-Oct-12 15:43:01

thinking about it further

I'd like to ask where they are getting there taxi quotes from?

if they are making such claims there must be a way to prove it.

MNHQ I really think a call to the advertising standards agency should be made

Is this a reputable company ?

(stir stir)

£100 voucher ...snort...

Lambethlil Mon 01-Oct-12 15:43:55

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?
We do have a car, but have been put off driving in the past because of the cost v. going by public transport and the misery of hanging around in the dark for the transfer bus.

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?
We think about it when booking the holiday and then book it about a fortnight before.

And lastly, 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.
Both taxi and parking are expensive, so much so that we would always chose to go via Gatwick, (where we can go via train), Luton, Stansted or East Midlands where parking is cheaper.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Oct-12 15:46:50

I did the quote.

Taxi is £350.
Long stay car park which has a 15 min transfer time on a bus is £76

Doesn't say how long for, I presume a week?

Last time ii used aph I think it was £40 for a week with transfer.

prettybird Mon 01-Oct-12 15:48:00

To be fair: it does state that the quotes are based on hackney (black) cab rates - and I think that their purpose is to get you to park at/near the airport, not to hire a taxi.

Labootin Mon 01-Oct-12 15:52:58

My hicksville comment stands then .. Only tourists and drunk people in the square mile get black cabs.....

Certainly not for airport runs

motherstongue Mon 01-Oct-12 15:54:37

Live in Scotland so tend to fly from either Edinburgh or Glasgow. we would normally be driven to the airport by family and dropped off and then picked up again by family on return. As we are woefully serviced in Scotland with choice with regards destinations world wide we do travel to Heathrow or Gatwick to catch connections however when we fly from Manchester we use our own car to drive to Manchester Airport then use either Hotel parking or airport parking depending on the time of the flight and if we have had to stay overnight in a hotel before the flight.

OrangeKat Mon 01-Oct-12 15:54:56

We drive down from Birmingham (unless I can get a route through bhx) and then I use parkatmyhouse to source a nearby cheap space.
THe house owner usually drops us to the airport and picks us up. Handy, and avoids the Heathrow special level of expensive hell that is airport parking.

OrangeKat Mon 01-Oct-12 15:56:11

Oh, and I book the space when I book the flights, which is usually about 270 days before travel for long haul as I like to get a deal wink

ScorpionQueen Mon 01-Oct-12 15:57:03

We tend to make the decision on how to get to the airport based upon our flight times.

We usually drive or get a lift but have used public transport in the past. I find it is easier on the outward bound journey and didn't enjoy getting the train home as we were tired and it was raining. The transfers to the train station were hard work with tired kids. With a car you just get in and go home.

We save money by using nearby pubs or hotels that offer airport parking, often booking a room for the night before to break up the journey.

ScorpionQueen Mon 01-Oct-12 15:58:51

A taxi from Somerset would be just under £500. This is why we fly from Bristol or drive to Heathrow.
smile

turkeyboots Mon 01-Oct-12 16:05:01

Am 60 miles west from Heathrow, and we generally drive as it is normally cheaper than public transport (which is depressing). However we always get a taxi for transatlantic journeys as driving home after spending a sleepless night on plane with small children is not something we like doing.

For forthcoming trip, train or coach are most expensive options at almost £200 for 4 of us! Parking ranged in price, but is cheapest (if miles away) and taxi each way was somewhere in between. But not doing the hour plus drive on the M4 after a 10hour flight makes taxi the best option all round.

californiaburrito Mon 01-Oct-12 16:06:05

I fly from Heathrow with my family at least twice a year and I always use taxis. Public transport isn't really an option for us as we live is SE London. We don't have a car, although even if we did I doubt I would use it regardless of cost.

When we fly from Heathrow we have two car seats, a stroller and a couple suitcases so getting as close as we can to check in is an important consideration for us. I sometimes fly with 2 children on my own and it would be absolutely impossible for me to marshall them both with luggage through a car park. Also after flying overnight with my kids the last thing I am capable of is driving home.

In terms of planning how to get to the airport, we plan before we buy or tickets- We recently had to choose between flying from Luton and Gatwick and we choose Luton because it was easier for us to get to. Yes, I know I said we live in SE London but that's the way it works out sometimes

MrsJohnDeere Mon 01-Oct-12 16:06:21

When we use Heathrow we always put the car into short term parking. It means you can park right next to the terminal (we invariably use T5) and the cost isn't that horrific, IMHO, certainly less than a taxi both ways.

Long term parking is too much hassle (takes ages to find, then you have to wait an eternity for a bus etc). When we get back we just want to get the hell out of there.

Public transport isn't an option. It would take us hours (drive to station, train into London, underground across London, then Heathrow Express), whereas we can drive there in about 45 mins.

Dh has used taxis a lot, often because he flies out of one airport and returns to a different one (usually a combination of City and Heathrow) so it isn't practical to leave the car. He books one locally and it is usually around £80 (not the £170 quoted on your web link!). Occasionally he uses valet parking if time is of the essence.

eurochick Mon 01-Oct-12 16:07:00

I flew from Heathrow last week (business not hols though, unfortunately). I took the tube there as I wasn't in a rush and didn't have a vast amount of luggage. I got a cab back with my usual firm.

I've never driven myself to Heathrow. The parking there is extortionate and it is unpredictable to drive through London - you never know how long it will take (I'll take a cab though because the cabbies know short cuts I don't). The Heathrow Express is shit. It's on completely the wrong side of London for where I live and anyone who works in the City or Canary Wharf (and yet the pricing seems to be aimed at business travellers). Roll on Cross Rail.

Cammelia Mon 01-Oct-12 16:08:07

When we fly on holiday as a family we always drive and buy a "meet and greet " service so that we can go straight into the terminal without having to worry about the car.

Cammelia Mon 01-Oct-12 16:09:18

Just to add, I buy it at the same time that I book the flights

StellaAndFries Mon 01-Oct-12 16:13:02

When we have flown we have travelled down in our own car and used the airport parking. As a family of 6 and usually travelling with at least my parents we find it cheaper to take our car or minibus and pay for the parking. Taxi's are expensive for the 2.5 hour drive especially needing a larger seater vehicle. If family members travel from our local airport (Norwich) we usually drop them off and collect them on their return.

renaldo Mon 01-Oct-12 16:14:41

we gat a fixed fare taxi ( 120) each way for 5 of us
much less hassle than parking and driving
the national express coaches are ok for 1 but not good value for a family of 5

stealthsquiggle Mon 01-Oct-12 16:14:52

[snort] at that taxi link - apparently a taxi would cost nearly £500. I somehow think that I could get a better deal than that grin - clearly it is designed to prove what great value Heathrow parking is, but I think a touch of realism might have been a good idea.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 01-Oct-12 16:15:00

I fly around 10 times a year and, living in Essex, I go out of my way to avoid flying from Heathrow as it is such a PITA to get to for me. I either have to go through London by public transport with all my luggage, or drive round the M25 which means I have to allow at least 3 hours for the 70 mile journey.

The parking costs at Heathrow are astronomical and if you try and go cheaper on a Long Stay carpark, it's miles and miles to the airport - again means adding extra time to my journey

So, in general, I avoid it.

stealthsquiggle Mon 01-Oct-12 16:17:15

Hmm. Out of curiosity I tried our old postcode, where I knew the taxi costs to Heathrow - the link comes up with a quote 3* what I know I could get a reputable firm to do it for - I think BAA need to check their facts and/or re-think this campaign, TBH.

TeamEdward Mon 01-Oct-12 16:19:04

We own a car, but would not consider driving ourselves and using airport parking. We always get family or friends to take us to Heathrow.
I couldn't bear the thought of traipsing from car to bus to airport to plane, without losing child, spouse or luggage.

MaxineQuordlepleen Mon 01-Oct-12 16:22:45

Always use public transport as we have no car and wouldn't want to pay for a taxi. However I always try to use smaller airports because they are so much less stressful.

TeamEdward Mon 01-Oct-12 16:23:14

The taxi vs parking site is hysterical!
We're on South Coast. The site is quoting £193.58 by taxi. I know we can get a taxi for about £50 each way, which is only £24 more than using the long term car park. I would definitely spend the £24 extra just to avoid the hassle of bus transfers with children in tow!

snapespeare Mon 01-Oct-12 16:23:15

I always use public transport when flying from heathrow - if by myself I take the heathrow express or tube, with the family its the tube. I do drive and own a car but it woud never occur to me to drive and pay parking.

I would always use public transport, using tfl journeyplanner and leaving plenty of time for hold-ups. I really like airports and find them strangely exciting hmm so like spending time there before flight.

absolutely no idea how much parking costs at heathrow and would never take a taxi to the airport. ridiculous extravangance!

StellaAndFries Mon 01-Oct-12 16:26:48

Oh and using the comparison it works out £120 more expensive than the standard fares quoted on local taxi websites.

I travel from Heathrow at least once a year with my family, and we have worked out that it is cheapest and easiest for us to drive there from Cambridge. We also drive to Stansted if we fly from there.

Because there are three of us trains or coaches soo add up, and we'd still need a taxi from our house to the train or coach station.

We think that parking at Heathrow is actually really easy and affordable, and we know our car will be safe and the little busses that run you from Heathrow to the car park are regular and the drivers are friendly.

We like driving because it is door to door, we can leave exactly when we want instead of working around train or bus times, and when our flight arrives back in England and we just want to get home we don't have to wait for trains or coaches. We can just get in our car and drive.

We are lucky to live relatively close by though.

ChippyMinton Mon 01-Oct-12 16:30:30

To Heathrow, we either get a lift from friends or family, or catch the bus. I am local though, and pretty sure that some of the car parks are further away from the airport than my house is!

I think the lack of kerbside pick-up areas is a pain though. Having to pay to park, walk to the arrivals and back is a bit cheeky, when the drop-off zones are free of charge.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 01-Oct-12 16:30:33

I think the journey to and from the airport is the most stressful, crap, horrible part of the journey. Hate it!

MrsHoarder Mon 01-Oct-12 16:31:08

Taxi. I'm a nervous flier and am never convinced that the drugs I take to keep me sane on the plane mix well with driving so I don't drive for 12 hours after taking them. I could drive to the airport but there's no way I could drive home again.

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.

Elainey1609 Mon 01-Oct-12 18:57:19

If we have the whole family children included we use a taxi form which is booked way in advance.
if its just me then i normally use public transport.
Hvae never used car to get to airport im afraid too much hassel

EnjoyGOLDResponsibly Mon 01-Oct-12 19:01:20

We drive, live in the South East at J1 of the M25

Taxis cost over £100 each way

Public transport not an option as we fly too early and get back too late with young DC.

We have been using meet and greet for 5 years. Excellent value for money, costs <£90 for 2 weeks including the pick up/drop off.

If flying alone I use PT. Express train to Kings X, tube to T5. Excellent service.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 01-Oct-12 19:11:26

We use the car if it's just dropping one of us off. We would not really think about parking.

We take a minicab (or two), if it's a family holiday.

I am fairly happy to take the bus if it's just me (it goes from the end of my road direct to T5), but DH insists on a taxi.

This year, our family holiday was out of Heathrow T5. We took one cab, and DS1 (who wasn't coming with us) also dropped us off (5 travellers plus luggage). On the way back, we called for two minicabs as we landed, and they were there waiting for us as we stepped outside.

We live close to LHR and a taxi is cheaper than short term parking. I would not be interested in the faff of long-term (could be home by the time we got to the car).

Another couple of reasons for not driving is that it is highly possible that we have had a couple of drinks in the airport and in the plane, so may be slightly over the limit, and I like to have my car parked outside my house so that the house doesn't appear empty.

I choose the airport based on ease of getting to it, which means I always fly from Gatwick or Heathrow, and get either the Southern train (not the express) or the underground. I make sure I choose flights that are at good times for the travel. I never take more luggage than I can carry (so I pack really light - as I travel alone with DS, who's only 3 and can't carry his yet!)

I don't have a car.

SminkoPinko Mon 01-Oct-12 19:16:06

We don't have a car so would always use public transport on the grounds that taxis are likely to be too expensive. Our last flying holiday was from Stanstead and we got the coach from Liverpool Street as the Stanstead Express was not running. We were very pleasantly surprised at the cheap price. Our coach driver was nice and our family were practically the only people on board. Even if we had a car I think we'd be very unlikely to drive to Heathrow because it's so much easier to get the tube. I think our planning for getting to the airport is definitely an afterthought though. On that Stanstead holiday I'd failed to find out that the Stanstead Express wasn't running in advance, for example!

Goldfishshoalsnibblingatmytoes Mon 01-Oct-12 19:22:14

Flying from Heathrow without kids, I use National Express coaches. This is due to cost (can get tickets for £10 or less) and limited luggage.

Flying from Heathrow with kids, we start our holiday the night before and stay in whichever airport hotel is the best value of money, including parking for the duration of the holiday. This means we can take all the cases, and not worry about getting stuck on the motorway.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 01-Oct-12 19:22:50

Checking that Taxiorpark site, out minicab company charges a flat fare of £36 return. The fare on the website was £42 for a taxi, £76 for long-term parking, and £146 for valet parking for one week.

Our nearest airport is Cardiff , it's a completely useless airport with no decent flights . The flights they do have are much more expensive than those that go from Luton or Stansted .

The only way to get to it is by car . We've always used car parks locally , using a shuttle service .

We will use a taxi to the airport , if we ever go from Cardiff again ( personally , I would rather catch the train to Gatwick or Heathrow )

dippyeggs Mon 01-Oct-12 19:36:26

I get as taxi to Heathrow simply because its only c£25 each way, no parking, no airport bus maximium convenience....

littleducks Mon 01-Oct-12 19:38:51

It costs us about £30 (one way) in a minicab to Heathrow. It probably would be the same price or cheaper to park and it is something I would consider in future after waiting two hours for a minicab home (long complicated story).

Why did we get a cab? I suppose it was the beginning of 'holiday' for us and my kids are old enough now that I dont get twitchy about them not being in carseats. I would have got the bus (we are near a route that would eventually get there) but DH hates buses at the best of times.

I wouldn't go by tube with luggage and children, catching the TGV in France from CDG airport was enough drama with the kids without replicating it both sides of the trip.

DH likes airports hmm and offers to drop seemingly anyone and everyone off, to save them the taxi fare or tube faff.

kellestar Mon 01-Oct-12 19:45:53

Not really recent.

We live 40 minute drive away from Bristol airport and arranged for PiL to drive us there and collect. It was quick and easy, not worth taking our car. If we didn't have family locally to rely on, we would prefer to drive our car rather than faff about with taxi's and loading all our stuff in. Public transport is a bit of a joke, a 20 minute car trip takes 3 buses and close to 2 hours. I wouldn't even want to guess how many buses it'd take us to get to BRI.

When we flew from Gatwick we booked a hotel as the flight was early hours, we parked the car there and they had a shuttle bus that took us to the airport, it was a 20 minute bus ride. It meant we had an easy drive the day before our flights, able to stop when we needed to and take breaks and not faff about carrying stuff from a to b to c.

We've also gone from heathrow pre-DD and we booked long stay parking in advance and got the shuttle bus across to the terminal. Again convenience of driving and taking breaks when needed [stopped for an amazing bacon butty and cup of tea outside of Newbury, which was really welcome after spending 3 weeks in canada]. I thought the parking costs reasonable, I think it was £17 as we'd booked in advance. We found the car park easy to locate and the drive up wasn't too bad, we'd left ourselves plenty of time to get there from Somerset.

We would choose to drive ourselves every time. It's something we think about when booking. It was great staying at the hotel before flying when we had an early start, as we booked in advance we got some good discount.

lapsedorienteerer Mon 01-Oct-12 19:46:54

We're lucky in that we live close so can use a taxi (flat rate £16 each way) or bus to T5 (about £5 but goes around the houses.

burleyburley Mon 01-Oct-12 19:51:25

We travel from Manchester airport and book parking well in advance of travelling, usually jetparks, I think. This has so far worked well for us although last time we had children plus the in laws so getting everyone on the bus with luggage and buggies was a little more stressful than usual.

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 19:52:21

usually drive and use a mid-stay car park then have a small cry on the way home at how £much it cost

would use public transport if I could afford to fly at civilised o'clock, and if we had public transport in Suffolk

Xiaoxiong Mon 01-Oct-12 20:04:20

We can get a taxi door to door for about 20 pounds so parking would have to be less than 40 pounds to be at all competitive. Very convenient for going away, but we do have to live under the flight path which is pretty miserable - when the planes go over we have to raise our voices to be heard and I try very hard not to think about long term damage to DS's hearing sad

iamabadger Mon 01-Oct-12 20:28:55

I think Heathrow is a fabulous airport to get to, there are so many options. I feel uncomfortable about the idea if encouraging people to drive there to be honest, I'm always exhausted and a bit disorientated from the holiday and long haul flight! I tend to take the tube as although it looks longer on paper, I find it takes me a while to get to paddington anyway so balances out. I have always thought though that Piccadilly line trains should have a carriage designated for airport goers as you get some filthy looks from people when you have a suitcase-quite what they expect from a train with the destination Heathrow I'm not sure!

CheeryCherry Mon 01-Oct-12 20:37:47

We have done all the different ways if travelling to the airport.
Driving...less stressful if booked online in advance, we are in control of getting there, not waiting around. The shuttle buses are ok, fairly often but seem to take forever with all the different stops. Can get straight home afterwards too.
Taxi... More expensive, only stress is hoping it will turn up. But usually the most stress free journey (unless you get a manic driver...)
Public transport....bus&train...was ok but there was a lot of waiting around. Made the trip such a long drawn out affair.
A lift!....best way all round but now with 3 DCs, can't usually all get a lift from anyone!
I always consider flight times&transport when booking, and try to get it arranged asap, so u know the costings and timings. We would probably drive more often if it was cheaper to park, and if the shuttles were more direct.

Notgoingtotakeitanymore Mon 01-Oct-12 20:39:52

Fly to Heathrow from Manchester. Usually get txi from home to Manchester aiport - cost is comparable with long-stay parking and is convenient.
Have stayed in airport hotel before an early morning flight and travelled there by train, which was convenient.
For me, if's about minimising the faff - I hate off-site car parks, wondering whether the shuttle will turn up, bags on, bags off etc etc.

ParrotTulip Mon 01-Oct-12 20:54:52

We drive and use the parking where they take your keys and park it foryou.

dublinmary Mon 01-Oct-12 21:07:13

We use all the London airports, choice depends on timings and cost, including the cost of trains/parking. Before kids we almost always got public transport, usually tube to heathrow or Stansted Express. We have tried long term car parks with kids, but they were too far away and the return shuttle buses can be a nightmare! We now choose to either get a minicab or else use a valet parking service which can be just as cheap. Our minicab company is a lot cheaper than the taxiorpark website, which must use black cab rates. I think black cabs are the only form of transport we haven't tried!

ohmeohmy Mon 01-Oct-12 21:18:04

To Luton would take cab or drive if holiday not too long or flights are at awkward times. Gatwick would take overground train as fairly direct from where I live. Heathrow depends, have parked sometimes park at relatives who lives nearby and get a lift, have used tube. Avoid express as too costly.

Wheresthedamndog Mon 01-Oct-12 21:19:25

It depends if it's work or family travel.

For work,it's me and a small case. So I generally use public transport, particularly if I'm going from Heathrow or Gatwick. It is quick, easy and no stress at the other end (the Heathrow express is a brilliant thing).

For family, the thought of going on the tube / train with kids, bags and stressed husband makes me break out in a sweat. So we usually drive, having booked parking in advance via one of the online sites ( holiday extras, BCP or similar). Just build in the extra time to get across on the shuttle bus. Or sometimes, for a morning flight, stay over in a hotel the evening before, and take their shuttle across.

I do think it is more of a hassle from London. When we use regional airports, the parking, along with everything else, is quicker and easier.

wonderstuff Mon 01-Oct-12 21:39:13

I try to use my local airport (southampton) if I can, because it is an easy and not too expensive train ride away. Sadly they don't seem to do as many routes as they used to.

I'm within an hour of Heathrow(just) - and have parked there before - it is fairly reasonably priced and easy to book online. If I'm going for longer than a few days I can park at a relatives house in Hayes, which is only a few minutes away, the problem I have with this is black cabbies are so pissed off at such a small fare from Heathrow - was a bit scared last time as the driver went so fast to get back in his time slot!
I'd love to take a train - but it is SO expensive.

If using budget airlines and going from stanstead/luton have booked hotel for early morning flights and driven - does add an awful lot of to the cost of travel. Now we have kids we don't fly so much - so expensive.

bluebump Mon 01-Oct-12 21:44:04

If we travel from Exeter airport we've tended to get friends or family to drive us as its only 20 mins from home and we would pay petrol and any car park fees. If we travel from Bristol we drive and park in the silver zone off site parking and get the bus in as its cheaper than parking on site and the shuttle buses are regular.

It's been ages since I've flown from a London airport, the last time I did we stayed in a hotel nearby that offered transport to and from the airport.

Waswondering Mon 01-Oct-12 21:46:54

We haven't flown from Heathrow for ages (if we do it's via a regional transfer, so we're in transit .... or we're just down to London for the day with work, so actually, we're driving to our regional airport and parking/flying from there. We live 600 miles from LHR! So a taxi is a no-go. wink

So - for family hols we tend to fly from Manchester as it's SO much cheaper than flying from any Scottish airport (and not that big a deal drive wise). We pay for valet parking - it's not that expensive, and we can drive to the departure door, hop out with the dc, take our bags and go, leaving our car blissfully behind. On returning, a quick call from baggage reclaim and it's only a minute or two to wait for the car at the door, once we're outside. For us it works as we don't have to take our stuff on to courtesy buses etc and get tired dc through further transfers.

We have discounts to apply to the valet parking both by being returning customers and from our car breakdown service provider. Booking the parking is a key part of booking the family holiday (along with insurance etc).

Re our regional airport - I drive there if I'm going anywhere and park in long stay. For the length of my trips, parking is more or less equivalent to 2 taxis, and it's nice to be in my own car (particularly for getting there as the taxi insists on having you there about 5h before you fly!!!!!!).

HeathRobinson Mon 01-Oct-12 21:56:07

Drive to Birmingham, park and use the shuttle bus. No hassle.

Dh flies out of Heathrow/Birmingham on business and drives or takes a taxi according to what time his return flight gets in. Stupid o'clock on no sleep - taxi.

pipsqueak Mon 01-Oct-12 22:02:00

just costed travel for 6 with family and friends rail card to heathrow from east mids and it is cheaper to get taxi --- argh ! how can that be right? but am getting a cab therefore on costs grounds alone.

We usually get a lift to and from the airport. It's much easier than dragging luggage on and off shuttle buses. We have parked at the airport (MAN) a couple of times though when we had no other hooch and its such a bloody faff that'd I'd rather get a taxi if there were no one else to take me.

I've used the heathrow express a couple of times and its a fabulous service, but at real rates (I.e. not discounted, I used to be airline staff) it's horrendously expensive and miles from the platform to the actual terminals.

clare21 Mon 01-Oct-12 22:05:58

We once looked into staying near Gatwick before early holiday flight but then read so many horror stories about trying to get from Gatwick back to hotel to pick car up via shuttles that just got up v early and got mini cab to Victoria.

We normally get minicab to Heathrow as don't have to then leave extr pArking and transit time. Minicab cheaper than rip off Heathrow Express. But once were completely let down by minicab driver not coming to pick us up from Heathrow so got Heathrow Connect then black cab.

Could get tube from home but it would be over hour and having done it myself and started to lose will to live wouldn't subject holidaying family to it. Also Nywhere near rush hour tube is just too full for families with luggage.

Yes we do take airports into consideration when booking holiday.
Preference for Heathrow or city.

drcrab Mon 01-Oct-12 22:15:47

We live within 2 hrs drive to heathroe

PepeLePew Mon 01-Oct-12 22:19:46

I rarely drive to airports - Gatwick occasionally but only because I have a friend who lets me park at her place and drives us to the airport. The last time I drove to Heathrow I had a tiny baby, and I can't really remember why I thought it was a good idea...we get the train to Gatwick and cabs to Heathrow.

I don't think much could persuade me to drive to the airport - we tend to travel light and it's much easier to get public transport. If I did do it we would use valet parking.

I usually give some thought to travel when booking because it is a factor in choosing the airport - Gatwick is super easy for us by train.

drcrab Mon 01-Oct-12 22:21:27

Doh sorry about previous post. Phone slipped.

We live about 2 hr drive from heathrow in the SE. When it's a holiday and I'm paying for it, we tend to drive, stay overnight at one of the hotels and park there too. Its cheaper to do that and park for 2 weeks! We book through holiday extras. It was much more relaxing knowing that we are literally minutes away from the airport at 8am in the morning, than panicking on the m25 at 6am! That is traveling with 2 kids aged 4.5 and 2 years! And Of course when they were younger, with all their stuff for a long haul flight!

If it's traveling for work then work usually pays for a taxi to bring me there and pick me up. It's usually just under £100 each way.

QOD Mon 01-Oct-12 22:22:02

£302 for a taxi grin

We always do valet parking

and choose Gatwick for shorthaul due to distance

We normally get a family member or friend to drive us to the airport to save on parking fees.

Taxi is extortionate- they charge more here (Glasgow) the minute that they hear airport. If it was just standard rate I'd consider it.

At Heathrow/Gatwick we use public transport. The trains/tube is fab. I'm so jealous!

afussyphase Mon 01-Oct-12 22:22:38

We have a car but would always take the train, tube or bus (when we lived 2 hours away) rather than drive. The main reason isn't cost, it's the unpredictability of the timing: who knows how long it's going to take to find the parking, unload, drag everything to some shuttle stop in the middle of a hectare or 10 of parking lots, wait for how long, and then slog along slowly in the bus for 3 miles or whatever to the terminal? Better to step off the train/tube/bus and slog the predictable 800m from the 'central bus station' to the terminals... When you're flying, you need to reduce all the unknown delays as much as possible - not add more, first with traffic, then with parking/shuttles!

SuiGeneris Mon 01-Oct-12 22:32:47

We usually get dropped by DH if he is staying behind, otherwise we drive and use valet parking or the short stay car park. In either case we book parking immediately after booking the flights, lest we forget.
The pods for T5 business parking are great, would use them more, but we tend to use Gatwick.

Pre-children we always used public transport or taxis, but neither is an option now due to lots of luggage and the car seat issue.

LCarbury Mon 01-Oct-12 22:37:08

We flew out of Heathrow in the summer and did not for a moment consider parking in an airport car park as we would always take it for granted that it was too expensive. We used Purple Parking for the week we were away, it was fine. We don't usually use a taxi because last time we used a taxi it parked somewhere miles away from the terminal (I think it was trying to avoid airport parking charges!) and we had to carry 2 tired children and baggage to find it at a silly time of night and when we did get to it, it had the wrong car seats.

MephistophelesSister Mon 01-Oct-12 22:49:08

With two children under five, and booking low cost flights that generally leave before any public transport is available, we have always driven.

Haven't used Heathrow recently, but have flown from Stansted, Birmingham and Gatwick. Stansted has affordable carparks from which you can walk, Birmingham has affordable valet options - Gatwick has 'summer special'. Summer special = expensive and uneccessary chaos and stress to both begin and end your holiday. A bus that leaves every 10-15mins is only any use if you can get on it, and if there are staff available to marshal passengers and help with luggage stowage. On the return journey, it helps if the bus stop is actually marked with the correct destination. [Shudders uncontrollably at the memory].

Can't wait until kids are big enough/we win the lottery, and budget airport parking is a distant memory.

StainlessSteelCat Mon 01-Oct-12 22:53:22

Used to live in London, used Heathrow and Gatwaick. Heathrow was for family holidays, we used black cab. Public transport would have included multiple changes, travelling into central London and back out, so was never a realistic choice. Driving and parking might have been, it would have been my parents driving, but the convenience and lack of concentration required when using taxi was worth a lot of cash to my parents. I once accompanied a friend to Heathrow on the tube. It was OK as he only had a backpack, but wouldn't fancy it otherwise.

Gatwick I used when on my own, and I always got the train (Gatwick Express) as it was the most reliable method and quick, easy.

Now I live in Manchester, and have flown from Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester. The last time I used Liverpool was a few years back, and got there via public transport - it was a nightmare, too many changes, had to use train, bus and taxi when things went wrong.

Now as travel with family we always use Manchester. We live relatively close to the airport and can get a train there from a station 10 minutes walk (with children and suitcases) from our house. It's a bit of a walk from the train to the terminal, but not impossible. We have used taxis previously, but with small children and car seats logistics, we now use the train. The train journey is so quick and easy, we purposely only fly from Manchester as the ease of getting to the airport is so important.

We wouldn't take the car because the train is so quick and convenient, the cost of parking would outweigh the small increase inconvenience. And we would have to drive home when knackered after travelling home from holiday, not something I look forward to (habit learned from parents I guess!).

noviceoftheday Mon 01-Oct-12 22:54:26

We always go by taxi. I can't think of anything more stressful than driving ourselves to the airport. We book the taxi in advance and we know what time it's coming so whatever else, we know that we have to be ready by that time. If we were driving I dont think we would be that disciplined.

Heathrow has become my 3rd choice airport, the stress of dealing with M25 and M4 is such that if I am on a work trip, I always try City first then Gatwick. T5 is great and the shopping definitely compares with Singapore and Hong Kong, but I am sure one of the reasons why these two are regularly voted world's best airport is that getting there isn't stressful!

SetFiretotheRain Mon 01-Oct-12 22:56:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaVitaBellissima Mon 01-Oct-12 23:15:23

We live about a 20 minute car drive from Heathrow. Pre children we used to get the bus then the Piccadilly line very easily. Since we've had children we always use a local mini cab company as it is only £20 each way, so suits us well.
I've never thought of paying to park, always assumed it would be too expensive, getting a taxi saves us time too.

is1 Mon 01-Oct-12 23:25:11

Always a taxi, private hire on way there with local company, black cab on way back. Costs about £10 as live about 15 mins away.

Jinsei Mon 01-Oct-12 23:31:43

I never park at heathrow or any other airport - my perception is that parking is expensive, though I've never actually checked this out. But also, I find it less stressful to hop on the train/tube (for heathrow) or in a taxi (for my local airport), and I don't want the hassle of driving. On the one occasion I did drive to heathrow (work-related emergency), I found the roads quite confusing and it took me too long to find the terminal. If I had a flight to catch, I'd rather not have the worry of getting lost, having to find a parking space etc.

Also, DH and I have travelled a lot and we've both perfected the art of travelling light, even with dd in tow, so hauling baggage across London isn't such an issue. This obviously makes the car a less attractive option than for those with loads of heavy cases.

I'm the driver in our family, and that's my view anyway. DH doesn't drive, and I suspect his answer would be quite different - he'd far rather just take the car and leave it at the airport. But as he doesn't drive, he doesn't get to choose. grin

We do always consider travel to the airport when booking flights - we factor it into the cost and journey times etc. Where possible, we much prefer to fly from our local airport, but having to travel to heathrow wouldn't put me off if that was the only option.

Not sure what would tempt me to drive to the airport tbh - I guess I'd consider it if I thought there would be a huge cost saving, but not otherwise.

LineRunner Mon 01-Oct-12 23:42:09

I don't live near Heathrow.

Where I do live, I always take the train to the airport. I have often had to travel between London airports eg from Gatwick to Luton.

Cattle trucks. Vile awful cattle trucks.

Hopezibah Mon 01-Oct-12 23:58:17

We used to always get a lift to the airport before we had kids but as our family grew, there were too many of us to fit in someone else's car! So that's when we needed another solution. Public transport is too much hassle with kids and luggage so using airport car parks is usually the best option.(taxi's are usually quite expensive so airport parking probably works out cheaper).

Although we haven't used the parking facilities at heathrow specifically (we got a lift last time as it was pre-kids time), we did use the long stay parking facilities at gatwick and were really pleasantly surprised by how cost effective, simple and efficient this option was. We felt our car was well looked after and the kids loved the bit of journey by bus to get to and from the car park to the airport terminal.

Because of our good experience of doing this, we have talked our in laws into doing the same so we don't have to give them a lift. and also we would do the same if we needed to fly from heathrow.

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 00:13:17

we live relatively close to heathrow by public transport so would chose to take the tube rather than pay for parking. Otehr airports, I drive because its such a pain in the arse as a single parent particularly if I'm with my disabled mother and 6 year old son dragging suitcases around station platforms

MildredIsMyAlterEgo Tue 02-Oct-12 00:19:07

I don't tend to fly out of Heathrow these days, but DP and I do fly frequently (usually separately, unfortunately) from our local airport (Bristol).

If DP is flying - I drive and drop him off at the airport, no parking involved.
In fact he is flying back into the UK on Friday night, can't wait smile

If I'm flying with DS - it's a more complicated affair due to massive amounts of my clothes stuff for DS, we usually get a lift from my DBro (very often at 5am bless him), and it's a short stay parking job. Likewise when he picks us up.

PorkyandBess Tue 02-Oct-12 01:19:42

We're about an hour away.

We drive and use meet & greet parking. So easy, they meet you outside terminal & are there when you return. We are checking in within 5 minutes of getting out of the car, usually.

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Tue 02-Oct-12 01:29:03

Either taxi or train depending on which airport, what time the flight is and how it works out financially.

Heathrow on the tube because we just live a few stops away, unless it's a time when tubes not running and then either a taxi or a lift.

Don't drive.

Thelittlestranger Tue 02-Oct-12 07:31:58

Always drive...the thought of catching a train with 3 children and luggage fills me with dread.

We have a holiday booked for next August and I'm already contemplating parking and the associated costs.

I have found in the past that I have got a cheaper parking deal booking last minute with short term parking, which was fab as it meant no fussing with suitcases and children on a bus from the parking site to the airport itself. So, offering empty spaces in short term car parks for a good price is a definite bonus.

Also, trains often don't run in time for families to get the cheaper timed flights early morning and late evening, so the only option when you live where I do is the car.

Tyranasaurus Tue 02-Oct-12 09:25:56

I try and avoid Heathrow as the drive is always stressful and I worry about getting stuck on the M25. I would always park onsite as you are not at the mercy of anyone else

PeskyPiskie Tue 02-Oct-12 09:32:46

when we travel to the airport as a family we always drive because none of them are feasible by public transport. Also, as has been said above, the idea of using public transport with 2 children, 3 suitcases, car seats and hand luggage just isn't possible. Stansted is the nearest airport but is still over an hour away. We pre-book our parking as early as possible and look for "meet and greet". This service is, in my opinion, the least stressful way to sort out parking and going by air. We have not travelled from Heathrow as a family yet (we are due to do so in February) but will still look for meet and greet there, but due to the time of the flight we may have to stay in a local hotel for the night first. Heathrow is over 2 hours from our house.

popsypie Tue 02-Oct-12 09:43:26

If we fly from heathrow we stay with friends, leave our car there and get a lift in. We have always flown long haul from heathrow so never fancy starting the long drive back to the north east as soon as we get off the flight so we tend to go back to friend's for a little rest/poss overnight stay then drive back. We might consider parking at heathrow in the future as now we have two children it becomes more of a hassle than just a couple staying at friends. So yes I would consider using the parking service.

If we travel from our most local airport - Newcastle then we always drive and pay to park our car there. We looked into also booking an overnight stay as we had a v early flight, but with a family of four it was three times as much as parking only. I found the parking system really straightforward at Newcastle. You could get a bus to the terminal but it was just as quick to walk and less chilly then standing around at 3:40am!! On the way back I did struggle to remember where I had left my parking ticket needed to exit, but I had stashed it in a safe place - it was just tricky to recall after a long flight! Maybe a code which is text would be easier cos I was told the small parking ticket is a total necessity to get car back and obviously such things do get lost when travelling. Maybe reg should be enough. I think it cost between £45 and £55 for eleven days.

finzean Tue 02-Oct-12 10:44:10

on the few occasions my family have flown, we have used airport parking and an overnight stay.....why cant family rooms accomodate 3 kids...many families are like ours! would love another holiday to try out heathrow!

iwantavuvezela Tue 02-Oct-12 10:52:34

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday?

Usually when we fly from heathrow we are going on a long distance holiday and therefore take either public transport / taxi or heathrow express to heathrow. This is because i have assumed that parking for longer than a couple of days would just be too expensive. Heathrow is also almost the only airport where you can get public transport and not have to pay almost £20 per person in rail fares like Stanstead, luton etc. I have sometimes found taking a combination of taxi to rail station and then hoping on the heathrow express the quickest way. It doesnt work out any cheaper than a taxi (mini cab, not black cab) but is a fast and easy way to get there.

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?

When we have taken cheap flights that fly either at 5.00 am or arrive back in the Uk after midnight, and we have gone for just a weekend break we would often drive to the airport and park there. This is because my daughter will often sleep on the way or on the way home. We have also used the conceirge/valet service when parking, where you drop off your car, and they park it. This really helps with flights that are very early or late and travelling with a child and has been worth the cost.

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.

As mentioned earlier one of the reasons for not driving to heathrow (although we would drive to pick someone up / or would park there if going away for a couple of days). However as we often find ourselves at Heathrow for long haul flights (South Africa) we do not park there as feel this cost would be crippling. If only one of us from the family (adult) was travelling we would use public transport (tube). Only when we go as a family with suitcases and a child do we then look more at what is the easiest. Driving is the easiest option but not always feasible as mentioned.

AppleCrumbleAndFish Tue 02-Oct-12 11:32:56

We used to live about 10 minutes from Heathrow. We would take a mini cab there and get a hackney cab from the rank home. The cab driver would then moan at us all the way home about how long he'd had to queue to get onto the rank and how dare we get a hackney cab for such a short journey hmm.
We now live a couple of hours away and prefer to use a local airport when we can. We have done one family holiday which departed from Heathrow since we moved here. We drove up and parked at an off airport site with a coach transfer to the terminal.
DH is departing from there next week on a business trip. His company send a car for him.

elizaco Tue 02-Oct-12 11:54:05

Have previously flown from Manchester and Leeds airports. We've always taken our own car, and found private parking with a "park and ride" service provided to take us to and from the airport. Next year we are travelling from Blackpool airport for the first time. It offers free parking, which is great, and would possibly influence us in the future when choosing which airport to fly from.

Primafacie Tue 02-Oct-12 11:58:16

Minicab both ways. We don't drive so parking would not be an option anyway, and I can't face public transport with two toddlers, stroller, luggage, kitchen sink.

Belo Tue 02-Oct-12 12:06:22

We always get a cab. Parking is marginally cheaper if we're on a 1 week holiday, but the convenience of having somebody waiting for you far outweighs that. The cheaper parkign normally involves waiting for a bus to take you to the car park. It can really add to the journey time. Normally by the time we get to the airport, we just want to get home ASAP.

EllenParsons Tue 02-Oct-12 16:26:22

I used to go to heathrow quite often as I was living abroad but had a lot of commitments in London. I generally used to stay at my brother's house in Richmond and take the 490 bus to Heathrow. This was really really convenient as it was pretty much door to door. If staying elsewhere in London I have also gone on the Piccadilly line a few times. I have got a taxi once or twice to and from richmond but usually go for public transport. I think a taxi to somewhere more central would be too expensive, e.g. I now live in highbury in north London and I would assume a taxi would be extortionate!

I don't have a car so obviously can't drive, but I think I would expect the parking costs to be off puttingly high anyway.

jessiegee Tue 02-Oct-12 17:53:15

I always fly from Leeds/Bradford airport. The cost of parking the car at the airport while we are away is too high for our budget, so we use a local taxi firm. We live about 20 mins from the airport and the fare is about £13. The airport have stopped their free drop-off for 10 mins and now charge a flat £2, even if you only need to stop for 30 seconds. So this is now added onto the taxi fare. We book the taxi the evening before we're due to travel. On the way home we book one once we have retrieved our luggage.

Springhasarrived Tue 02-Oct-12 20:00:21

I live about an hour away by car if the there is no traffic hold ups. I use a valet parking service which works out only a few pounds more expensive than the long stay car parks and is so convenient and time saving. I also feel safer when travelling alone doing it that way. I search on line for the cheapest deal.

To travel by train is far too inconvenient and expensive. Coming home on Sunday night is actually impossible by public transport due to appalling train services ie engineering works and time tables. You just couldnt risk it with a flight getting in lte etc.

I have used a taxi service too. It is nowhere near as cheap as driving/parking myself though.

cherryjellow Tue 02-Oct-12 22:33:03

Generally I drive to the airport. If I go to Birmingham, I park a couple of miles away and then get a lift with friends into the airport. If I'm going to Heathrow airport I usually drive close buy then stay in a hotel nearby, leave my car there wilst on holiday then catch a bus to the airport. I do this because it cheaper for my family than getting public transport. I have once parked in an airport car park a few times I think. Once i caught a train to Manchester airport... that was a good and cheap experience.

When we book our flights my husband looks at parking etc. We have always found it easy to find parking information. we usually google the information smile

Cambam2010 Wed 03-Oct-12 10:32:17

We always drive to Heathrow and either park in the Long Stay on site parking or park outside of the airport with one of those companies that shuttle you in. We never use public transport as I think that it is too much to juggle cases and children especially if you are on a tight time schedule.

LettyAshton Wed 03-Oct-12 12:29:53

This is pertinent as we are due to travel to Heathrow Airport soon.

We do have a car and on the last two occasions have driven to Heathrow as I found a mega-special offer for valet parking. That was sheer bliss! Self-parking is a long, long way away and if I am alone or it's just me and the children I don't fancy wandering round dimly-lit parking lots late at night. Furthermore I wish the queueing system for coaches/parking would be fairer. When the appropriate coach pulls in, there is a huge barging scramble. Plus unless you are a weightlifting gold medallist, it is a huge feat to lug your cases onto the coach and into the baggage hold.

Still haven't thought about the parking... very much an afterthought. Look at websites and try to find a compromise between expense and hassle. Would like a clear table of costs.

Live an hour and a half away from Heathrow. Have taken a cab before as although this is expensive, frankly it's worth it when you have four people and to rid yourself of the stress of having to negotiate parking +coach.

Gethsemane Wed 03-Oct-12 13:23:02

We always use the car. Getting kids and bags to the airport is just a nightmare without it.

Before kids we would typically use the tube - but lots of stations don't have elevators which makes it difficult now. Also when weighed down by bags it is not so easy to chase after your children when they inevitably run around to explore.

I would not use a bus - as it is much less convenient than a car. There is the problem of getting to the bus stop, the timings, and seating (making sure we get seats all together). Also when returning we are usually completely worn out and a convoluted bus journey home is not something to look forwards to.

We travel quite frequently, and find the airport parking (more typically a commercial car park outside of the airport with regular buses to and from the terminal) quite convenient. This is usually the cheapest option for parking - although we would prefer to park at one of the official airport car parks as this would be quicker.

Last time we flew we used the official airport short stay parking and we were really pleased to find family friendly spots right next to the bus stops (for the buses that take you to the terminal). This was a big help. As was the electronic screen telling you the time until the next bus - so you can tell the kids how long they have to be patient and wait for!

bubby64 Wed 03-Oct-12 14:10:40

We drive to friends near Heathrow and then taxi the last part, as its easier and cheaper than the car parks. However, lately, we have used Stansted more as its closer, easier to get to and it has the pre-booked Valet Parking, which is a Godsend when you have luggage and young children in tow, especially on the way home, you ring them as soon as you pass through passport control, and every time (so far) the car has been warmed up and waiting just outside the entrance for us to get straight into- tired kids do not have much time to moan befor we are on our way!

We live an hours drive of Gatwick and 30-40 minutes away from Heathrow.

We often take a cab to Heathrow when we fly from there, as public transport from SW London is NOT great when your flight is at 7.20 (which it usually is for where we are going normally). It is too cumbersome. We have tried to use airport parking there, but again, it is not great. The cost is high, the bus service to and from the car-park is long and infrequent. It therefore ends up both cheaper and more convenient to take a taxi. £40 one way.

It is a different story altogether with Gatwick. When we fly out of Gatwick, public transport is even less convenient, with two kids and a lot of luggage. It will require walk, bus, tube AND train. Our usual flight is 9.15 (I bet some plane spotter will gush out: you must be flying to Oslo! - true that is the first leg of the journey)

The last couple of times we have used a fantastic service where we are met at departures where we drop off our car, a driver pick up our car, and drive it to the carpark, and we are met at arrivals by the driver, and find our car parked outside. Bliss. It is worth it, compared to both taxi, train fare and the cost of airport parking in general.

If, we fly from Gatwick using "A Low Cost Airline" to fly to some other european destination, where we dont bring much luggage, or we dont fly out before the crack of dawn, we have been known to use public transport.

Our next flight will be out of Heathrow. We have not decided how we get there this time.

Most of the time, when budgeting the cost of the flights, we do consider the cost of parking or cost of getting to the airport. This is usually the reason we normally end up at Gatwick, as the airline taking us to Oslo from Gatwick is usually A LOT cheaper than Scandinavian Airlines. Therefore, the combination of a very convenient parking service with cheap flights get my vote most of the time! Shopping is pretty Pants at Gatwick though, but not at all a deciding factor when booking and paying for flights!

StillSquiffy Wed 03-Oct-12 16:29:24

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? Yes, because it is a pain to use public transport with the children, and taxis are too expensive (see below). Also I often stay at the airport the night before and like to have somewhere to dump an extra overnight bag that I don't want to lug on holiday.

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? I do it all at the same time I book the flights, usually at least 3 months in advance. But I have also done it last minute when we've decided to holiday last minute.

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? I normally link straight form the flight booking, using the BA/Easyjet links. Sometimes search via airport website.

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. Yes, I often use taxis when travelling by myself for business but only because (a) it's a tax deductible expense so I can justify higher payment and (b) I don't have the kids with me.

Mayisout Wed 03-Oct-12 16:43:56

I have flown to and from George Bush Int Aport in Houston and the long stay car parks have loads of small buses ferrying everyone to the airport AND the driver (male or female) lifts your luggage on (with a smile and chat). This seems beyond us in the uk which is ridiculous, surely it should be part of the job. Wheeling your suitcase along is one thing, lifting it swiftly up two high steps is another.

glitch Wed 03-Oct-12 16:47:52

I used to travel from Heathrow on business and found the parking there fine, the shuttle buses a doddle and not even too expesive.
I think the difference when with family and going on a longer holiday is that you have more to cart about, ie, kids, luggage, hand luggage, and I find that a bit easier when you are dropped at the door rather than getting the bus from the car park.

GreenShadow Wed 03-Oct-12 16:51:33

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?

Yes, we always drive to the airport because:
- for 5 of us it is far cheaper than public transport or taxi (too many people for a standard taxi)
- It is far more convenient than public transport - only one direct journey rather than trying to get a station/bus station etc. and therefore quicker.

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?

We don't think about what method to use - just always assume car. We book airport parking well in advance, although probably not at teh same time as we book the holiday.

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?

We book car parking online having searched for cheapest/most convenient options online first. This information is readily available.

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?

We live 2 hours away.

abadoo Wed 03-Oct-12 17:06:51

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? No, never really considered as assume it's very expensive to park (and requires zero drinking on the plane, although now with a DS, this is less a consideration!)

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? We live near Arsenal tube, so the piccadilly line is brilliant, except it's not open early enough for morning flights half the time and, with DS, would be hell in rush hour with a pram and bags etc.

When do you start to think about how you and your family will get to the airport? After have booked flights

Do you (or your DH/DP for that matter?) plan when booking your flights/holiday or is it an afterthought? Planned generally based on time of flight and thus ease of tube access

How do you search for information on getting to the airport or on parking there? Google

Do you find information is readily available or not? Yes

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. I do now. It's about the same.

LazySleepy Wed 03-Oct-12 17:24:39

To and from heathrow airport, I have always used heathrow express.
The other airport I use is a £25 taxi ride one way and I always take a taxi , Have never thought of driving and parking at the airport.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 03-Oct-12 17:35:39

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.
I always get a taxi to Heathrow, as I live about 15 miles away.

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?
Only very cheap parking would persuade me to drive to LHR, as a taxi always costs less if you are away from more than a day.

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?
I will only consider airports to the South & West of London, as otherwise the journey to & from the airport is either hideous or very expensive.

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.
Yes, I know how much a taxi costs to LHR & how much parking costs at LRH. The parking vs local cab service comparrison rarely works in the favour of parking!

JulesJules Wed 03-Oct-12 17:44:26

Newcastle Airport is on the Metro - you get off the metro and you are virtually inside the airport terminal building. The metros start at about 5.30 in the morning through to about midnight. Takes about 20 minutes to the centre of Newcastle.

Failing that I would get a taxi.

I wouldn't even think about it when booking a holiday, would always go for the metro first, taxi outside of metro hours.

When I lived in London I would use the tube, I lived in central London so that was an easy option. My parents (lived in Surrey) used to drive in to one of the carpark services and then shuttle bus.

EauRouge Wed 03-Oct-12 18:00:48

We've used the valet parking at Heathrow and Gatwick before, it saves so much hassle- no parking miles away and having to lug loads of suitcases, car seats and small children on the shuttle bus. Price-wise it worked out the same or not very much difference as a taxi from where we live (about 2 hours away)

Last time we parked at a friend's house who lives nearby and put him on our car insurance so he could drop us off, it was cheaper than valet grin

Depending on the time of the flight, sometimes we stay at a hotel near the airport the night before so we don't need to worry about traffic and getting to check in on time. Stressing and rushing is not a good start to the holiday and I'm a rubbish traveller so anything to reduce stress and the chance of a missed flight is worth looking into.

androbbob Wed 03-Oct-12 19:50:52

Never flown from Heathrow as up north. Tend to get a lift if liverpool airport and decent flight times or book local taxi n leave car safe at home

InvaderZim Wed 03-Oct-12 19:53:10

We always take the Oxford coach. Quick, easy, convenient, and frequent. I priced up taxis once and they might be worth it if our family were bigger. Would never consider parking at the airport as we tend to take long trips overseas; the amount of time spent parking plus driving on an 8 hour jetlag is too great.

choccyp1g Wed 03-Oct-12 19:56:27

We live about 5 miles from Heathrow, and if the whole family are travelling from there, we get a local taxi firm to take and pick up.
-It works out cheaper than parking.
-Less hassle than messing about with a courtesy bus, and if you are going somewhere hot, you don't need to take a warm weather coat.
-I like to leave the car on the drive, as it makes the house look a little less empty. We were once burgles when away for 10 days in the UK, when we had the car with us.

For Gatwick we generally get a taxi one way, depending on the flight times, and use the train the other way.

cipollina77 Wed 03-Oct-12 20:02:20

info: I usually travel alone with my two (soon to be 3) DC under 6.

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? only once used a care/cab for transport between London and any airports (heathrow or gatwick usually) as they do not save time nor money and traffic can be unreliable due to accidents or queues. Public transports saves in hassle.

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? for heathrow: tube / for gatwick: bus to victoria then gatwick express. Kids can move around more on a train then in a car and this helps in keeping them busy.

When do you start to think about how you and your family will get to the airport? we are now used to traveling to these airports so no problems whatsoever.
Do you (or your DH/DP for that matter?) plan when booking your flights/holiday or is it an afterthought? as above. I did look into traveling by bus to Gatwick but again am afraid traffic might hold us up.
How do you search for information on getting to the airport or on parking there? internet
Do you find information is readily available or not? absolutely
Is there anything else you'd like to know?

GetKnitted Wed 03-Oct-12 20:05:43

We get hotel airport parking. There are often deals on which give 2 weeks parking in with a night at a local hotel for the same cost as long stay parking at heathrow. We much prefer travelling in the day too.

Valet parking - because getting on a bus to get the car with cases and small children is a nightmare.

Parisbanana Wed 03-Oct-12 21:12:20

We live in London. Our nearest tube station is a 5 minute walk away and is on the Picadilly Line. So we get the tube. The journey takes about an hour.
For those reasons we wouldn't ever dream of taking the car.

Backinthebox Wed 03-Oct-12 21:19:38

I live just west of Reading, only 2 miles away from a mainline station. It is really very poor that there is no rail link between Heathrow and the towns to the west of it. Many Heathrow employees (including myself!) would certainly prefer to use the train - staff parking is often miles away from the location of our work, so once you've driven in you still have to catch a bus.

When I go on holiday I use a Meet and Greet valet parking service if travelling with the kids. My aim is to minimise the amount of traipsing round the airport with small children in tow. I would prefer not to have to drive at all, but living over 40 miles away along the M4, a taxi is not an option.

smalltown Wed 03-Oct-12 21:22:51

I use meteor meet & greet.
It's cheaper than onsite parking, doesn't involve a bus transfer, and is much much more convenient.
Now I have to pay for all of us on public transport, even with child fares, it's simply not worth considering public transport vs parking charges.

CestTout Wed 03-Oct-12 21:24:54

Always drive due to the distance. Park on site as normally my trips away are only a few days which keeps costs down.

I book parking at the same time as booking the flights as certainly at Stansted I tend to get super saver rates on the official BAA parking.

2cats2many Wed 03-Oct-12 21:30:05

I live in west London and would always choose Heathrow over other airports if possible. Most of the time, I get dropped off by a friend, but sometimes get public transport.

The Tube to Heathrow is cheap and very easy. The overground train (not Heathrow Express) is also a good option.

I'd rather cut off my right arm than use their long-term parking. Its far too expensive and I just can't bear all that shuttle bus from the long-term carpark nonsense with two children in tow.

Dotellorno Wed 03-Oct-12 21:33:26

I don't drive and live in East Kent. Much easier by train to get to Gatwick (and even that is a ball ache), so opt for that every time. Last time I used HR was when work paid the high taxi fare! Suggest better transport links, perhaps via bus?

DrDolittle Wed 03-Oct-12 21:51:06

I travel a lot for work (based in London). It just isn't economically viable to park at LHR - I tend to take public transport. But even that is a rip-off (£32 return per person, for a 15 minute train ride!).

For family holidays, I simply do not choose Heathrow. Ever. Too expensive to get to (or park at), too overcrowded, too many delays. Train fares (and parking) are much smaller to/from/at rival airports, even if they are further away, and the other airports are far less busy and tend to be on time more often. City airport (despite limited destinations) is my airport of choice.

The only reason I fly to/from LHR for work is the number of destinations served coupled with my personal wallet not being extorted. Other airports in London often don't fly where I need to go, although to be honest, just recently I have chosen to fly long-haul via other airports (e.g Frankfurt, with connections from City) as it is cheaper, more reliable with fewer delays, LHR increasingly doesn't have direct flights to my destination and European airports are generally more pleasant (the staff at LHR are very rude and not very competent).

I say, close LHR and build Boris Island. We need a cheaper way of getting there, fewer delays and more destinations (last two need more runways). Beijing are building a nine(!) runway airport at the same time as our government are delaying a third at LHR whilst faffing over whether to waste billions on HS2 that doesn't even connect to LHR (despite having its supposed tracks only a couple of miles away).

Ponders Wed 03-Oct-12 21:56:22

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.

We live in Lancs & generally fly out of Manchester (occasionally Liverpool)
Manchester airport is accessible by train, but takes longer, so for convenience we generally drive - adult kids are dropped off, if we are travelling ourselves we park in long-stay unless someone can give us a lift. Taxi would cost twice as much

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?

Last time we flew on a family holiday we used meet & greet, which was more expensive than long stay but worked very well. Cheaper meet & greet would be good as it saves dragging luggage around car parks, on & off buses etc

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?

tends to be an afterthought, as we often don't know in advance if someone is available to give a lift or not. If paying to park, usually search initially via google. Information easily available

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.

not applicable

stickylittlefingers Wed 03-Oct-12 22:13:12

We live in the North East. We would normally drive to Newcastle airport, driving and parking is fairly cheap and easy. The train would mean changing, so definitely more difficult with cases, children etc. We have once used a taxi service when we were staying away longer, this was also quite cheap and easy. I do always plan ahead as there are often good deals to get money off the parking.

Last holiday we went down to Manchester. Could have used train as there is a direct service, but only one train would have got us there on time so it seemed too risky to depend on, therefore used a holiday extras package to park which was not too expensive. The information for Manchester airport on its website was excellent. I did plan ahead to get a good deal.

Don't live within an hour's drive of Heathrow.

fuckwittery Wed 03-Oct-12 22:15:06

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.

We last went to Heathrow on hols for 2 weeks over Easter, and we live an hour's drive away, but at rush hour could be two or even three hours - M25 +A1 car parks!

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?

I ALWAYS want to use the car but DH hates paying for parking unless it's cheap. The price of 2 weeks parking last time meant we got the train. 30 mins from Kings Cross, then sat on the Piccadilly line. DH gets free travel on overground and tube as a police officer (but not on the Heathrow Express, we checked), and both girls were under 5 so we didn't pay for them, and I have a season ticket to Kings Cross. So it was price of Oyster card journey from Kings Cross to Heathrow versus about £150 to park for 2 weeks. However it was a real trek across London with our bags especially on the way back after an overnight flight with two small kids, and our buggy got broken so I was carrying toddler.

Cheaper parking would have persuaded me! the price of holidays is so astronomical though, especially now we are stuck with school holidays that any saving we can get we will try and make. I really hope parking doesn't go up in school holidays but I suspect it does, as I've just tried that site to see how much parking for 2 weeks in Nov would be and it seems much cheaper than what I remember for 2 weeks at Easter hols (quote for 2 weeks in Nov is £75, suspect I would have paid anything up to about £100 to avoid the hassle).

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?

I check after I've booked the flights, online info re parking seems OK. Then I spend weeks arguing with DH about the cost v convenience.

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.

Says taxi would be £200 and parking £75 but as above, i think quote was more expensive when I looked in the school hols. However just checked a local taxi firm and it's actually only £65 each way.

Dotellorno Wed 03-Oct-12 22:18:32

DrD it's the same price for a 3 or 4hr National Express bus ride from where I live to HR. Oh but you can rule out any (cheap) flights at all before 10am as you simply can't get there in time. Unless you fancy camping out with your family from 11pm... We have Manston in Kent, but they didn't advertise it when it had a better carrier going to interesting places and they chucked it in. I think even Londoners might find it easier to get to tbh!

achillea Wed 03-Oct-12 22:20:39

Please ask the London Underground to put better signs in, I don't understand the four terminal thing and panic about where to get off the tube. Signage is everything when travelling.

International arrivals is s hellhole, overcrowded and dirty.

Make sure your workers speak nicely and have a comprehensible UK accent.

For those of us who check in our baggage it is extremely annoying to have to wait for people with overstuffed handluggage to go through their cases. You should be able to get through quicker if you have checked in bags.

please indicate the walking distances or some big maps so we know what to expect, on the tube platform.

Travelling to Heathrow is so much better for us than any other airport but the airport itself is pants. Too big, too confusing. If I had young children a play area might be a nice idea.

Devora Wed 03-Oct-12 23:05:08

I use public transport or a minicab, depending on how many children and how much luggage I have with me. Since the introduction of the Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express, it really is very easy to get there by train. And in London there are loads of minicab firms competing for airport business.

I don't have a car, but if I did I still wouldn't park it at the airport. My assumption would be that it would be expensive, that it's a hassle getting to the carpark, and I've heard too many bad stories of security problems (i.e. getting stuff nicked from car).

I usually start thinking about how to get to the airport about a week in advance. I look for information online, if I need to.

No, I didn't know that the cost of parking at Heathrow compares with a return taxi journey. I may check that out one day.

VirtuallyHere Wed 03-Oct-12 23:16:15

I head into London on the train to Victoria then take the tube. My handy hint with luggage is do not take the Victoria line and change at Green Park. Instead take the district west and change at Acton town. It takes a bit longer but you literally have no walking at Acton Town when you get off as the trains go from the same platform. Victoria does have a couple of staircases but its always busy so you can ask for help.

neolara Wed 03-Oct-12 23:23:11

We drive our own car to the airport and then do meet and greet. We do meet and greet because getting all our luggage as well as 3 car seats and 3 small children onto a minibus from off-site parking would be a bloody nightmare.

We drive our car to the airport because we have 3 small kids and we take our car seats with us to use in cars we hire abroad. Managing all of the above plus luggage on public transport is a terrifying thought. Also, the costs of using public transport to get to the airport or driving and parking are broadly similar.

I think about it after we have booked our flights, but a month or so before we fly. I look online for parking options. Info is easy to find.

Ingles2 Wed 03-Oct-12 23:29:55

We tend to fly from Gatwick as its our closest airport. We drive and use a meet and greet service. I wouldn't use any other form of transport.
I don,t usually think about parking when I book the holiday, but I don't wait till the last minute either, I tend to book the service about 2 months before departure. I use essentialtravel.co.uk

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)

MrsMuddyPuddles Thu 04-Oct-12 23:04:21

We don't have a car, so it's public transportation or cab for us. Before having DD, it was public transportation generally; now that we have her, it's a cab if she's around and public transportation otherwise.

Even back when we did have a car, airport parking was too expensive to even consider!

stephgr Thu 04-Oct-12 23:16:13

we never drive to Heathrow because of the parking costs. We either get a mini - cab because they're cheaper than black cabs or we use the Heathrow Express. Although the Heathrow Express is expensive for a family of four, we at least know that we'll get there quickly. We once missed a flight due to an awful traffic hold-up so we allow extra hours if travelling by car.

cluttered Fri 05-Oct-12 00:12:30

We always drive to the airport, live in London and normally only fly from Heathrow or Gatwick. We tried using an off-site long stay carpark once but it was a nightmare waiting for the shuttle bus with tired kids and lots of luggage so now we always use Meet and Greet, normally Meteor but we look around a couple of months in advance to see what has the best deal.

I always had the feeling that this option was cheaper than a taxi and using the taxiorpark and Meteor websites shows it definitely is for trips of 1 and possibly 2 weeks if you book in advance. Also with your own car you have the carseats already in place and we have a roof box so don't have to worry if all our luggage will fit in a normal cab or if we will need a minivan. Another advantage of Meet and Greet for us before we replaced our car battery is that the immobiliser always used to make our battery flat after leaving our car for more than a few days but with Meet or Greet they would have jump started the car and have it running for us!

However the reason we do drive is purely because of the kids. If I am flying for business I always take public transport and if DH and I ever were to go without the DC we would also use public transport.

catonlap Fri 05-Oct-12 07:54:37

I'm in Greece at the moment. Flew here from Gatwick which is a 3hr drive from my house. Because of the flight being really early morning we drove the night before and stayed in the hotel attached to the airport. The cost of hotel included parking in the airport long stay carpark. If the flight had been later in day I still would have used the car but would have just prebooked parking in the long stay (I did look and it would have cost about £40).

Earlier in the year we flew from Heathrow. Flight there was about 11am but was long haul so had to get checked in fairly early. So again we chose to go night before. Drove to hotel which was about 1 mile away and had a regular shuttle to the terminal. Paid the hotel for a one night stay and parking package.

Going further back in time we have flown from Birmingham which is easily under an hour drive from house. There we just prepaid the parking in the long stay on the Internet.

Back in pre-child days me and DP did just go with a backpack each, get train to Birmingham airport and then short flight. Now with 3dc I would only think about going in the car. The cost of a public transport ticket for all of us would be significant and such a hassle wrestling with all the bags required and trying to keep a toddler still.

When do we decide how to get to airport? Well it's already assumed we'll go in the car when booking. Depending on the flight time, we then decide whether to do hotel and park deal or just go straight to airport.

lisad123 Fri 05-Oct-12 09:43:30

We nearly always get family or friends to drop us off. It's too costly to park IMO.
We have taken the train before however, when we returned home there was massive flooding and our trains weren't running. There was no coach ect set on and what should have been an hours trip took nearly 9 hours via underground and buses angry

vic1981 Fri 05-Oct-12 10:18:33

We do take a car and use the parking at Heathrow. Cheaper than a taxi and very convenient. The buses that drive to the long stay car parks are very regular, so we never have to wait very long before getting one.

Ponders Fri 05-Oct-12 10:48:10

Having commented earlier about not using trains to Manchester airport because car is quicker & more convenient, I thought I'd have a look at train timetables & ticket prices.

The station is only a 10 minute walk away if that; the train takes 1½ hrs, with 1 change; & we both have senior railcards now (DH is appalled by this grin). An open return ticket is under £13 each!!!

It generally takes around an hour in the car, & the M60 is involved of course so it can be a lot longer (it's not as bad as the M25 but still can be horrendous)
last time parking cost over £40 & fuel costs at least £13 on top of that
we struggled to find a parking space & the car park bus was rammed both ways

Our next flights are both at civilised times so we will definitely let the train take the strain next time grin. DH has done it before & grumbles a bit about the distance from the station to the terminals, but IMO it's worth it to avoid the stress & anxiety of traffic hold-ups.

I wouldn't even have thought about it if not for this thread so thanks, Heathrow! thanks

EarnestDullard Fri 05-Oct-12 11:55:30

We live in North London and tend to take the tube, which takes about 1.5 hours. If we fly from Heathrow it tends to be for a longer holiday, so paying for airport parking would be quite expensive, and the drive would take almost as long as the tube anyway. Mind you, with 2 young children now (as of 2 days ago!) maybe in future we'll find that driving or taking a taxi is more convenient than lugging all the bags, pushchair and children on a long tube journey.

Chopstheduck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:03:47

We tend to drive.

last time, we used the pod things to get to Terminal 1, and I loved them. The only problem we did have though, is it is a bit of a nightmare trying to get three cases from the trolley into the pod, since you can't take a trolley right up to the pod. I had visions of my suitcases disappearing without me!! Then when you get to the car park, there are no trolleys again, and it is impossible for one person to move three large cases!

I'm now looking for next year, but will be T3, so can't do the pods. I will probably get a cab. Too many of the car parks are too far from the airport terminal building, it's either a long hike, or a bus transfer - neither of which are fun with bags.

trice Fri 05-Oct-12 12:44:17

We get a taxi usually. Have done the train before and it has been very good but not with small children.

We drive usually, using onsite parking or a carpark nearby who ferries us by bus. Always worked well for ussmile although the costs added onto a holiday always hurt!

BlueStringPudding Fri 05-Oct-12 14:55:57

We live about 45 minutes from Heathrow, and tend to use it to fly to France and Switzerland to visit family/friends - which is typically a shorter stay of 3-4 days. We always drive and look out for special offers at T5 Business parking - which can often be only a few pounds more expensive than long term parking, but you get to go on the Pods which are great.

For longer holidays we either drive (France) or fly from Gatwick and use Long term parking there. Always much cheaper to drive and park than use a taxi.

Goldchilled7up Fri 05-Oct-12 15:52:48

We most often take the Heathrow express, sometimes a cab.

We travel to from Bath to Reading by train )1 hour) , and then take the Heathrow bus/coach.

When we lived in North London we took the tube or a minicab.

EverybodysCryEyed Fri 05-Oct-12 20:29:43

We live in central london and if low on baggage take the heathrow express/connect

if we have more baggage we drive. DH always manages to get a good deal on parking.

We would take a taxi but
a) we have the car seat issue
and
b) we always have problems when we get back - the taxi driver never seems to be waiting where we are told!

upinthehills Fri 05-Oct-12 20:53:25

I would prefer to drive because of the car seat/ safety issue with taxis. Though some black cabs do have the middle seat as a booster option which is great for DC.
The distance from the terminal is what mostly puts me off most about driving though, the waiting for a bus to get us to the terminal. worrying how long it will take and how far away it is, lugging our bags and the buggy. At least a taxi can drop you off at the door of departures - worth and extra £10 or £20 to me.

BAA Glasgow had an offer (maybe still do) that if you parked Thurs - Sun and pre-booked you got a great rate at the multi storey connected to departures - used that lots when we were local - all the benefit of a taxi in terms of proximity to the terminal for about he same price as a taxi, but much better on the safety and convenience front.

EverybodysCryEyed Fri 05-Oct-12 20:54:47

I would never take a back cab to Heathrow - they just don't have the suspension for a smooth ride and are too expensive compared to a mini cab

Vijac Fri 05-Oct-12 21:47:28

When I went away in the summer, we went to airport by taxi. We are within an hour and the taxi is convenient, easy and not too expensive. The cost and time to transfer puts me off parking. Though using a strange baby car seat puts me off taxis as not sure the one in the taxi was very secure.

livealoha Fri 05-Oct-12 22:40:13

We take a taxi if going for longer than a week or drive and leave the car in long stay if only a week.
I like flying from heathrow good shopping to start my hols smile

defineme Fri 05-Oct-12 23:44:26

We are near East Midlands and have always parked there. I could get a bus from where I live which would cost about £15 return for all of us, but we tend to go at stupid o clock and I couldn't face trogging to the bus stop. There was a special offer on the carpark next to departures this summer and it was bliss.A taxi is more because we're 5 so a mini bus one and car parking is cheap at East Midlands. I'd hate to wait for a taxi too-rather just get in car as soon as ready.
Surely this question is for those people who live in London?
I know that travelling to East Midlands at 6 am that I'll never hit traffic-London it's bad all the time.

StickyProblem Fri 05-Oct-12 23:49:38

I would rather gnaw off my own leg than drive to Heathrow. I did it once and got completely lost and ended up airside, had to reverse out in front of all these grinning van drivers. We finally found the car park (Pink Elephant) but the cost was about the same as if we'd had a taxi. We've moved since then and the distance is much further, another reason not to drive.

Now we get a train to London (1h 45) then tube across London, then the Heathrow Express. Expensive but reliable and the timing is much more predictable

achillea Sat 06-Oct-12 07:35:05

I got back yesterday and found the tube a great door to door service for me. But I was exhausted from the absurd 25 minute walk to be from the plane to the tube. It took about 15 minutes just to get to baggage reclaim. Made my walk home from the tube seem a doddle. A sign warning people of distance to walk would be helpful. Or a bus.

mirpuppet Sat 06-Oct-12 08:53:07

We don't drive to Heathrow because of the traffic and dealing with parking.

If he whole family is going we take a mini cab which is much cheaper than a black cab (and for looking at the parking site cheaper than parking).

If I am travelling with my child we take the tube -- as it is the cheapest way to go and the child enjoys the tube.

Although we have taken the Heathrow express it just saves us 15 minutes of journey time so not worth it for us since we are based in East London.

gelo Sat 06-Oct-12 09:58:05

Parking at Heathrow seriously puts me off using the place, so last time we took the train to London and tube across London and out to Heathrow which was not only expensive but took ages, and due to being booked in advance (the only way to make it remotely affordable) reduced our options significantly when our outbound flight was cancelled just 2 days in advance. We had to take a later flight rather than an earlier one and had even more hanging around than usual as well as arriving at our destination late, so I probably wouldn't choose to do that again either.

MrsWolowitz Sat 06-Oct-12 10:02:39

We always drive to Heathrow. We have family in Kenya so fly quite frequently but we have never travelled to the airport by any other means. We live in Cornwall where the bus journey is over 8 hours and is not what you want before a long flight. The train journey is about 5 hours but with it being such a long journey, the potential for delays and changes put us off. Also it is not much cheaper (if at all) to get the train so the incentive really isn't there.

alibeenherealongtime Sat 06-Oct-12 10:21:40

I live 30 mins from the airport, M1/M25 junction, or it could take 2 hours depending on the M25. If it was just a weekend break we used to use the meet and greet service which was excellent, but the parking cost element has got very pricey.

As we tend to fly long haul a lot, we have had the same driver for 14 years, he takes us and collects at anytime of day or night and is trusted with our house keys. It is also reassuring that we do not have to drive when tired after a 12 hour night flight, he also packs the luggage in and hands us water bottles, stops for milk and bread on the way home!

The cost hasn't changed a lot in those years, and is worth the cost, as my car would cost just as much in fuel to use as we pay.

Having looked at taxiorpark, I am happy with what we are paying £110 for the service and security of only my driver knowing I am away from home.

Kingcyrolophosarus Sat 06-Oct-12 10:33:52

The new valet parking is so good that I would always now try to get a flight out of t5.
Started off with a special offer for a long weekend that worked our cheaper than a taxi return, but even now it's still worth doing for the sheer convenience
Having small children, I find it stressful sorting out carseats with taxis, so having your own car at the airport is preferable.
I have tried some of the other valet parking at gatwick and have actually complained.
Wandering around/ waiting for the car, having to walk in the rain. Not good with little children
Heathrow express is excellent, but Paddington not very convenient for us as a family but great for dh from work

Selky Sat 06-Oct-12 12:14:12

We get a taxi. The cost of parking at the airport for the duration of a holiday is way more than the taxi cost. If going for a weekend we might drive to the airport.

We book a taxi at least 2 weeks in advance, but we know that is how we will get to the airport as soon as we book the holiday.

NorthernNumpty Sat 06-Oct-12 14:47:45

We always drive to Heathrow and use on site parking. We live in Essex and can get there in just over an hour, a taxi would be about £70 each way. I wouldn't dream of using public transport unless I was on my own as a business traveller with minimal luggage, in any event the train and tube fares would not save any money.
I have only used off site parking once and my parking change in the dashboard cubby hole thing was stolen!!
I find the long stay car park at Heathrow very convenient and easy although I would like all the bays, not just family ones, to be wider to avoid dents in doors from careless neighbours.
I would like to see bigger discounts for early booking.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 06-Oct-12 17:07:47

Now I can afford to I choose anyway except driving and parking. I can't stand the stress if there are delays, hate having to drive home if I arrive back late at night, dislike the trudge to/from long term parking etc.

Car service to airport, taxi home is favorite when traveling with kids. A lift from someone second favorite with kids, though space often makes this impractical and I do like the sound of kerb side valet so would possibly try this with the kids.

If on my own I love taxi/bus/tube to Paddington then the Heathrow express - feel relaxed as soon as I step on board at Paddington.

RubyrooUK Sat 06-Oct-12 18:17:30

We use the Piccadilly Line or the Heathrow Express. Both taxis and parking add over £100 to our holiday. That normally puts me off so I try to choose flights that I can get the tube for....unless ones at anti-social hours are still cheaper when you add in the Heathrow Express and a cab there from home.

kid Sat 06-Oct-12 18:40:20

We drove our own car to the airport this year and used a meet and greet service for the first time. It cost us less that £80 and it meant we could drive right up to the passenger drop off zone with out luggage and have the car collected from there.

On our return, the car was waiting for us in the same location so we were quickly on our way home again.

It was much easier than public transport and cheaper than a taxi too.

suchnonsense Sat 06-Oct-12 21:30:27

We live in London and tend to travel from Heathrow or, occasionally, Gatwick and, in general, tend to drive to the airport.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. we aren't very well placed, public-transport wise, to get to either airport. It takes half the time (or less) to travel by car.
2. we like being able to travel door to door, without having to walk with luggage and a toddler, changing trains/buses several times.
3. compared to a taxi, we usually find that the cost of airport parking is comparable, and saves the hassle of dealing with a car seat. If we're taking it on holiday, fine. If not, we can simply leave it in the car. That isn't an option with a taxi.

We prefer not to use off-site parking, as the bus journeys are long and you often have to wait for a bus. Instead, we often use valet parking or business/short stay. The valet parking is very often the cheapest option, and is fantastic!

We usually start thinking about parking when we book the flights, but often forget to book until nearer the time. We generally use the BAA website to check for parking rates, and we already know our local car company rates. The information on parking is clear and easy to find.

It's generally around the same, assuming a week-long holiday. For longer, a taxi may work out better value, but we would still tend to prefer the convenience of being in our own car. In those circumstances we may be inclined to look at off-site options to get a better rate. However, as noted above, the valet parking is often the best rate.

Taxiorpark isn't particularly helpful as it uses Hackney carriage rates - most people would use minicabs rather than black cabs for airport journeys, as they are much cheaper.

marmitemad Sat 06-Oct-12 21:53:53

we usually drive our own car and park at off site places or on site parking depending on the cost comparison although we have also bagged lifts with family members in the past.

I prefer getting lifts as I feel its safer and easier to leave our car at home and there is no hassle with bus transfers to the car park. we usually book parking online as soon as the holiday is booked to get the best deal we can.

we have never used public transport as a family although dh has done when travelling on his own as it takes 3 times as long by whatever method despite living only 30mins/15 miles from Heathrow.

taxi's are too expensive (although I don't mind when my employer is paying) although the valet parking option was twice the price of the other options using the www.taxiorpark.com link above.

Alone, I tend to use public (coach) transport as, although it is expensive, it is still cheaper than airport parking. Links in our area aren't too bad for London, and leave 24/7.

With my children I either drive or beg a lift. It is still a nightmare to fly and manage kids + luggage + pushchair, but at least there is no extra waiting around or long walks.

I really dislike the Heathrow bus station. The staff are lovely, as they are at Gatwick too, but the distance to get to the terminals is just huge, especially with kids and suitcases in tow. Given a choice between Heathrow and Gatwick, I would choose Gatwick despite the extra travel to get home!

I have family in the west of the country, and I prefer using smaller airports (Bristol as a good example) and paying more for flights than having cheaper flights to London or Birmingham and then struggling on the next leg of my journey.

neontetra Sun 07-Oct-12 09:19:11

We always drive and park in longstay carpark - it gives us most flexibilty with timing, and as we live in the countryside public transport isn't really an option for us. Depending on flight times we sometimes stay in airport hotels, but they are very expensive.

lljkk Sun 07-Oct-12 10:27:52

£110 for a driver! OMG shock

Family of 3-4-5-6. We only go every 2-4 years (long haul, 3-4 week stays). My husband picked us up once in a car, but normally the jetlag is hideous & neither of us would be up for 4 hour drive back. So it's tube/train, and sometimes we've stayed overnight with friends in London the night before, and taken a regular taxi if it seemed like it would be a little cheaper & quicker than Tube. We stayed in Heathrow travel-lodge the night before flying out last time, we're too big a group to crash on people's floors now.

I just did some cost comparisons on this website and train/tube options still much cheaper than driving would be for us, although hotel is extra (but who wants to start a 11 hour flight to a place 8 timezones away with 4 hours sleep loss because of driving since 4am to get there on time?

issimma Sun 07-Oct-12 12:20:31

We flew from Heathrow earlier this year, and drove to the airport (as we always tend to do, whatever the airport).
Reasons: Easier with a baby in tow - she fell asleep for the 2-3 hour journey, flexibility with flight arrivals and departure, easier to carry luggage, DH gets fuel free (well, offset from tax) so cheaper than the train and certainly cheaper than a taxi. Parking was made cheaper through a Quidco deal.

We make travel plans to the airport when planning the rest of the holiday - mainly to take advantage of advance booking prices at the car park. We google the airport and use quidco. Information seems readily available - never had a problem, anyway.

We live over an hour from Heathrow.

MySecretSelf Sun 07-Oct-12 12:23:20

When it comes to family holidays we usually take the car to the airport and park it in the long-stay car park. it's convenient for us and the car park runs a shuttle service to the airport departures every 10 minutes or so. However, we do weigh it up against the cost of a getting a taxi to and from the airport - prices have gone up in recent years so the car parking charge is usually more reasonable. We'd use google to find out the latest car parking charges/services available on the internet.

If I'm travelling for work I get a taxi to the airport as I usually have to leave about 5am and I can leave the car for DH to take DS to nursery.

We wouldn't consider getting the bus to the airport to be honest. There is a very reliable and affordable service from the the town centre to the airport, but we live on the other side of town and would then have to get a second bus. The whole journey from the airport could take up to 1 1/2 hours compared to the 20-30 minutes by car or taxi.

We don't need to give much thought on travelling to/from our local airport but flying anywhere from London is a real pain and we have to think about that before we book our tickets (live in Scotland). We need to look at the cost of getting to London, whether we need to go down the night before and stay, what time we would get back etc. The extra hassle and substantial cost means that we try and fly from Scotland or the North of England. We have flown from Edinburgh via Heathrow or Gatwick but the times were tight and our luggage has never flown on the same plane with us so we avoid it now if we can.

kateemo Sun 07-Oct-12 12:50:36

When travelling as a family, we've driven and used the long-term satellite parking. It's easy enough and worth it for a trip of one week long. For our longer trips, taking a cab is more sensible. I've always booked these online and ahead of time. Either way, it's an expense of about £100 each way by cab or roundtrip by car (including parking and petrol).

We would never take a train with the kids. Too much luggage and baby gear to schlep. And the Underground is not buggy- and suitcase-friendly IMHO. We would need a sherpa! Too bad, since the train is a fraction of the cost of driving/cab. But we factor this in to the cost of holidays.

Buttertart Sun 07-Oct-12 13:59:45

We live about an hour and a half from Heathrow, and travel overseas to see family at least once a year. We always use a car service. It's pricey, but, with two young children and all the associated baggage, we can't do public transport.

We have looked in to driving and parking (researched the options online), but we're always away for at least 10 days, often longer, so it didn't seem like that big a savings, considering the cost of petrol as well. We also don't think we could fit in all the bags and the buggy. Perhaps most importantly, we have to take a night flight on the return journey, and facing a long drive with our children after a 9-hour flight is too much. We tried it once, when we had one child, and felt lucky to make it home alive. It just wasn't safe to drive when we were that tired.

Friends of ours booked into a hotel for the night on their return before heading home the next day, but we just want to get home. If it were significantly cheaper to park at Heathrow for 2 weeks, we might consider it when our children are older, but I doubt that will be the case. As it is, we get dropped off at the terminal without faffing about with luggage, buggy and two car seats and two children, plus it's such a relief to walk into Arrivals and see someone standing there holding a sign with our name on it and know we can have a catnap on the way home.

OhlimpPricks Sun 07-Oct-12 14:44:42

Taxi to the airport (lgw or lhr). We live in South
London.
Normally book the local taxi firm to pick us up. The options at the airport are a rip off, and a disgrace to offer arriving visitors. Our house to Gatwick is £33 each way. The minicab desk in Gatwick, for a Crawley based firm was £75 for a single journey. DH had to catch a black metered taxi (luckily on expenses) non rush hour, no jams, £88.
We ring local firm the minute the plane lands, they only take 40 or so mins to get there, by then we are hopefully through baggage etc.

achillea Sun 07-Oct-12 15:18:48

I noticed on arrival at Heathrow a man was trying to sell tickets for the Heathrow Express. I overheard him say to passengers that the cost was the same as the normal train - £36.00. hmm

Great welcome to rip-off Britain!

Always public transport - we live near Gatwick and I have a season ticket for the train. Wouldn't want to worry about being delayed in traffic, paying for parking then having to drive home again. For Heathrow, we take the National Express coach so everyone can have a snooze and the journey is practically door to door so no driving at all required.

Fairyjen Sun 07-Oct-12 16:29:39

We usually get friends or family to drive us for the cost of petrol and a promise of a gift from duty free! However have recently moved to London and apparently public transport is vey good. I guess it depends on how much luggage there is as well.

I think taxis would be our next preferred option to save on cost of long term parking.

I plan holidays to have early morning flights and then do a stay and park deal at an airport hotel.
I have used taxis before but never again since the occasion when they forgot to pick us up.
Cost isn't the main consideration, it's comfort, timing and the least stress at the start of a holiday.

3duracellbunnies Sun 07-Oct-12 20:43:19

Flying from Heathrow I've always taken public transport, or driven to relative who lives nearby and bus from there. Gatwick, although closer to us, we drove to and parked as the return flight was late at night and we wanted to take a car seat on the plane for our over 2/under 3 to sit in. Gatwick would be about 4 or 5 changes by bus/train even though it is only 20 miles.

We plan transport as soon as we have booked flights..

Tigerstripes Sun 07-Oct-12 21:43:16

We get taxis as I find driving to heathrow really stressful and want to start my holiday relaxed! We don't take public transport as it's awkward from where we live (south east London).

Chewbecca Sun 07-Oct-12 22:00:54

We live about 1.5hours away and flew from heathrow this summer. My parents drove us there and we took a taxi home. If my parents hadn't been able to do one leg, we would have driven as parking is cheaper than 2 taxis but more expensive than one (for just over a fortnight).
I prefer to get a lift as I like being dropped at the door and not having to face driving the m25 when I've stepped off a long haul flight but will only do it if the cost is comparable, not too much more.
Wouldn't ake public transport, doesn't run 24hours a day and would take a train +2 tubes and be a long slog from home.

cakeandwine Sun 07-Oct-12 22:16:46

We always travel on the train to Heathrow, the Heathrow connect service. It takes us about 15 min from home and for that reason we always take the train (even when travelling as a family of 6) and will specifically chose flights that leave from Heathrow. Taxi's cost £18 one way which would be necessary on a sunday when the connect service doesn't run. We would never drive and park. Too much grief and too expensive. Ultimately we tend to book out flights around the service we can get from Heathrow Connect - it's really that important and convienant to us.

Jux Sun 07-Oct-12 23:13:43

Given the choice, I would stay at my brother's near Wimbledon, and get a train to Gatwick, or bus to Heathrow. DH refuses to use pub trans at any time, so the last time we flew from Gatwick we drove to my brother's, left the car there and got a taxi (that's an extra 30 quid shock not to mention, they forgot to send a car to pick us up, despite having booked one!). However, that was a couple of years ago.

If we were to drive from my brother's we would save about 60 quid according to that link. I broke the page when I put my actual post code in though!

This year dd and I flew to France from Bristol, and as dh wasn't coming, he drove us there, and picked us up when we came back. We're near Exeter and would have preferred to fly from there but last minute booking, and no flights left.

DH fumes about the cost of parking at airports. Bristol annoyed him particularly as he wanted to use the quick pickup lane, which meant dd and I had to walk a long way to get to the car. It takes me a long time and is very painful, but he couldn't get anywhere closer without going into the actual car park for which he would have to pay. As it was he had to pay to use the quick pick up bit anyway, which is a bit cheeky, really.

Tamoo Mon 08-Oct-12 06:28:55

I google long term car parking near the airport pretty much as soon as I book a holiday. Simply because it's the cheapest option for me, and booking as far in advance as possible makes it even cheaper.

That's true even though I'm on the airport side of town and it's only about 20 mins away.

The last few times I've travelled it's been at odd times of the day (and night) and I feel more comfortable running my own schedule and relying on myself rather than having a 4am panic about whether a pre-booked taxi will turn up on time or at all. I'm typically a stressed traveller anyway and worrying about a cab wouldn't help.

Where I live there is a variety of options for airport parking and they all run those shuttle buses that get you to the terminal within a few minutes. They have always in my experience been efficient and the staff friendly and helpful. I also like having my car waiting for me when we get back, it's something reassuring and familiar and again means we don't have to faff about with taxis.

I have on one occasion used a dedicated airport bus that went from town directly to the airport. This was only marginally cheaper and of course unless you are in the town centre already or pay extra for a taxi to take you there it's going to be a hassle getting luggage and DC to the bus stop. Also you have to factor in quite a bit of extra time for this part of the journey. I probably wouldn't use the bus again as for myself and one child it was approx £7 each way; I'd rather pay a bit extra for car parking and shave off half an hour/an hour from our total travelling time.

lljkk Mon 08-Oct-12 07:39:33

How much are people paying for the parking & their petrol/diesel when they drive?

I've heard of people living near me who ferry people to & from the big London airports; it's 3 hours each way if low traffic. So that's 12 hours of driving to be your visitor's taxi service.

lljkk Mon 08-Oct-12 07:43:39

And how much for taxis do you pay? (I know some people have said, but many haven't). I am shock at how many of you always drive, find that driving is essential; we aren't Amazons but we manage to lug all our stuff for (& from) 4 weeks abroad & up to 4 children, usually over Xmas so gifts to haul both ways, too, pushchair, etc., all on public transport, to likes of Gatwick & Heathrow. I had no idea we were that weird.

Last time DH drove to pick us up because I had a broken arm & it was either that or him come down on train, anyway.

telsa Mon 08-Oct-12 08:54:27

I hate going to Heathrow and try to book flights from other airports if possible. I live in Central London. The reason I hate it is the time and factors. To save money I prefer to take the tube, but it adds onto the travelling time. I never take the Heathrow Express because of cost and because there is no real time saving, given getting to Paddington. Sometimes we take the Heathrow Connect, but again there is the time factor of getting to Paddington. I really despise the way that tube passengers are made to walk further at the airport than Express and Connect passengers. The whole thing is rubbish and I really do try to avoid, even with paid for business flights. I go to Gatwick or City.

BeckAndCall Mon 08-Oct-12 10:06:19

We live 40 mins from heathrow and about 50 mins from gatwick and use them both. I guess we fly out as a family about 3 times a year .

Until about 18 months ago, we'd generally take the car and park in long stay on airport parking, and take the coach into the terminal. But getting 3 kids and 5 suitcases on and off was a pain and more than once twinges my DH's bad back - easier as DS got older and could help, of course.

Sometimes, and especially at heathrow where there's more room to pull in at terminal 3, we'd stop the car, take out the bags and kids and then DH would take the empty car to park and travel on th coach with no luggage. That worked really well.

You can't do that, of course, if you fly out from one airport and into another so we've also used taxis to and fro just a couple of times ( mostly north America plan it yourself road trips). But I don't like taxis as I don't like to have to chat to a stranger after an overnight flight. And it's awfully expensive.

So, what we've done most recently (3 times now) is use a meet and greet service - we drive up to the terminal, unload, they take the car. Then they bring it back when you land. What I cannot understand is why we didn't start doing that years ago - all those stressful coach transfers could have been avoided for literally a few pounds more.

HannahLI Mon 08-Oct-12 18:26:38

We usually drive but we get a family member to drop us off and pick us up again at the end of our holiday. We picked this method the last few times as t works well and is less stressful for us all and also we find the drop off point and short say parking so much easier and quicker than parking and busing in. We had previously used the park on site scheme but after a long haul it's not good to be driving. We usually consider transport options as we are booking or shortly after!

riveroise Tue 09-Oct-12 12:52:24

I flew into Heathrow terminal 4 this summer with two large and heavy suitcases and a child who had motion sickness due to the turbulence on the flight.

I was planning on taking the Woking airlink bus to Woking station so we could get a train...only the buses don't stop at terminal 4 and I could not face getting the tube to the central bus station with 2 heavy bags and a vomiting child....it was a real nightmare....we got a bus to terminal 5 that meandered round the airport, to get the link bus.

Moral - don't fly into terminal 4 if you want to get use public transport like trains or National Express coaches.

This is good for me - I spend my life at airports travelling due to work! I have answered below based on travel that I do with my family for holidays rather than business travel.

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.
9 times out of 10 we drive our own car to the airport. Sometimes, if we cannot book parking at a reasonable price we will take a taxi, especially if going from a more local airport. We normally take our own car as it just feels so much more flexible to drive when we want and have the car there waiting for us when we get home.

If you have a car - do you tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday? If so, why? Yes, we tend to drive to the airport on a family holiday. It is more convenient for us and easier than using public transport. It also means when we arrive home we are free to stop and do some grocery shopping on the way home if we are not too tired.

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? On the odd occasion that we do take a taxi it is usually because we cannot get a good deal on car parking and it is working out to be too expensive.

When do you start to think about how you and your family will get to the airport? As soon as we have booked the holiday and know flight times.

Do you (or your DH/DP for that matter?) plan when booking your flights/holiday or is it an afterthought? We always plan this when booking our holidays. We would not want to fly from somewhere that would mean a few hours drive to the airport.

How do you search for information on getting to the airport or on parking there? Usually on the airport website. We then google to see if we can get a cheaper deal anywhere else.

Do you find information is readily available or not? Yes, never had a problem with finding it.

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. I tried to use the website to compare and it keeps telling me my postcode was not recognised. I do have a rough idea thouh and I think it would be a lot cheaper to park if I booked in advance.

Alameda Tue 09-Oct-12 13:30:39

have to go to stinky heathrow because Alitalia have cancelled my return flight to gatwick, it is my least favourite airport in the whole world and do almost anything to avoid it so will be interested to see how difficult it is to get home again

GoingForTheGold Tue 09-Oct-12 13:50:14

We fly abroad frequently. We live in South East London and pre-child we used to use public transport (tube for LHR and rail for LGW / STN) all the time.
Since we had dd, we travel by car by which I mean we get driven to and from the airport by a neighbour, it works cheaper than a cab and more convenient than public transport. We pay the neighbour less than a cab but he is happy, we are happy, it's win-win situation. So we do not have the stress of driving to/from the airport as well as not have the expense of parking.
We go for longish periods of time, varying from 9 days to 18 days and parking fare for any period of time at the airport, is atrocious.
When we fly out of the UK, our neigbour drops us off and does not have to pay for parking, obviously. When we arrive into the UK, again the neighbour arrives one hour-ish before our estimated arrival time and again, does not have to use the car park too long.
We travel 3 - 4 times a year and use mainly LHR due to more flights being available to our destination, therefore better competition in terms of air ticket prices but, we really prefer STN airport the best, it is much better access and less traffic en-route and easier to get around inside the airport.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Oct-12 10:06:27

Hi - thanks for all the comments. Am pleased to say the winners of the vouchers are below - I am pm-ing you now alibeenherealongtime (who reallyhasbeenhereavvvvvlongtime wink, DrDolittle, OhYouBadBadKitten & MrsBartlet

alibeenherealongtime Wed 10-Oct-12 11:06:54

Thank you! I'm off to Heathrow next week, so this will be handy for a bit of self indulgence!
Yes I have been on here at least 12 years, but name changed a bit because I became too conspicuous to clients!

shock
<faints>
Thank you thank you thank you!!!

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