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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,


OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 10-Oct-12 13:09:40

Thank you thank you thank you!!!


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!

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

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.

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

RichTeaAreCrap Tue 09-Oct-12 13:06:43

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 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.

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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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..

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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