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Transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick and a question about Heathrow taxis

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When we booked our trip from the US to Venice with FF miles, the only option was a 12 hour layover in London that included an airport change from Heathrow to Gatwick. Not wanting to waste the 12 hours, I explored transfer options other than the National Express bus which costs £50 for two. I looked into renting a car but every company except one charged an enormous drop off fee. The exception was Sixt which for £26 provided us not only with a less expensive way to Gatwick, but a way to see some sites along the way. After picking up the car at Heathrow, we first toured Windsor for most of the morning and then meandered towards Gatwick exploring the countryside and having a leisurely lunch in a little town along the way. The unmanned car rental return is in the terminal at Gatwick. You simply find a parking space; drop the key in a box, walk a few steps and you’re at check in.

I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone rushing to make a connection, but for those with a longer layover like we had, you might want to consider this cheaper alternative, especially if you are more than one person traveling.

Lastly, I have a question about taxi fares from Heathrow. Our return trip included a 12 hour layover at Heathrow (no transfer to Gatwick this time) with an arrival around 11 pm. I decided to book a room near the airport for the night as our flight didn’t leave until 11am the next day. The Heathrow Travelodge Terminal 5 seemed like the perfect solution at £24. On arrival at Terminal 3, we proceeded easily through passport control (empty at that hour) straight to the taxi stand for the short ride to the Travelodge at the edge of the airport property. The young lady at the taxi stand asked our destination and when I told her, she said the fare was a fixed £35. I couldn’t believe that a less than 5 minute journey was £35. I asked the young lady about alternatives and she said there were none at that hour. I decided it was too late to hunt for a bus so we bit the bullet for the £35. For those of you familiar, please tell me why this short trip is a fixed £35. I know there is a logical explanation. I just need to know what it is so I can plan an alternative the next time. Thanks.

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