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Cardiff to Heathrow via coach on same day as my flight?

Cardiff to Heathrow via coach on same day as my flight?

Feb 28th, 2010, 01:17 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Cardiff to Heathrow via coach on same day as my flight?

Question for people familiar with traffic, esp. in the Bristol-to-London area:

Does it seem reasonable for me to plan to take a coach from Cardiff direct to Heathrow (on a Sunday, scheduled to arrive at 12:05pm) in order to catch a 4:20pm international flight to the US? How risky does that schedule sound? (If it matters, I'd be travelling either in late April or in late May (on the Sunday of the end-of-May Bank Holiday weekend).

A traffic-free alternative would be Cardiff to Paddington via train, then Heathrow Express -- but that of course requires a change of train.
tahl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2010, 02:30 PM
  #2  
 
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You should have no problems at all. At that time of year, there should be no bad weather, and there will be little traffic congestion at that time of day on a Sunday going in that direction. Most residents of Cardiff would expect to leave home on the day of the flight to get a flight at that time.

Having said that, there is occasional very heavy congestion caused by bad accidents. Any reasonable alternative route to the M4 would be chaotic if the motorway was closed. But that is a chance you have to take.

The train would be a good alternative, but you should leave the train at Reading, and get the Rail-Air coach from Reading Station to Heathrow. The train might be diverted because of engineering work (it's too soon to say at present), and could equally be disrupted by something exceptional.

British travel insurance usually covers unexpected delays on public transport leading to a missed flight. It would not cover you if were driving your own car and were delayed.
chartley is offline  
Feb 28th, 2010, 03:29 PM
  #3  
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Thanks much for the quick response; I hadn't thought of the Rail-Air option. Is the rail website for First Great Western likely to be my best source of info on engineering delays, as the time approaches?
tahl is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 03:41 PM
  #5  
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Question: Do trains get so full on Bank Holiday Mondays that you absolutely need to lock down tickets well in advance?

I may be rearranging my travel plans in a way that would put me taking a train from Bangor (North Wales) to London on the end-of-May bank holiday Monday. There are trains about every hour-and-fifteen minutes, with some a little faster than others.
tahl is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 10:16 PM
  #6  
 
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"Do trains get so full on Bank Holiday Mondays "...

Some do. Some are completely empty. I've occasionally been surprised at how full the Chester-London bit has been some BH Mondays.

But, in any case, it's usually dramatically cheaper on that line to commit to a specific train several weeks in advance
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 02:06 PM
  #7  
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After-action report: I did wind up taking a Bangor-to-Euston train on the end-of-May bank holiday Monday. I'm glad I booked in advance because of the fare difference and also because the train was jammed (standing-room only, and not much of that). I ran into a complication here. I'd booked a seat, and the Virgin train has a supposed system where a light over the seat shows blank if the seat is unreserved (and so available to anyone who wants it). But something was awry, because lots of seats didn't show up as reserved, so other people sat in them, which led to several (verbal) confrontations among people as the train got more and more full. (I was lucky. Someone was in my seat because it did look unreserved, so rather than uproot him I sat elsewhere, and nobody ever claimed the seat I was in.)

Moral of the story: reserving a seat won't necessarily mean you get the seat you've reserved, at least without putting up a fuss.
tahl is offline  

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