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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

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!!

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