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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,


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

craftynclothy Mon 01-Oct-12 10:45:53

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.

HipHopOpotomus Mon 01-Oct-12 12:03:47

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.

UnnamedFemaleProtagonist Mon 01-Oct-12 12:08:27

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 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.

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