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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 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,


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 link above.

sagelynodding Sat 06-Oct-12 23:14:16

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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
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!

MakeTeaNotWar Sun 07-Oct-12 16:19:52

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.

SecretSquirrels Sun 07-Oct-12 19:44:36

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.

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