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Experience with a connection between London Heathrow and Gatwick?

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Mar 13th, 2018, 09:43 AM
  #1
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Experience with a connection between London Heathrow and Gatwick?

DH and I are starting to plan a trip for which the best flights (combo of best flight times and price) are on British Air and have a connection that arrives into London Heathrow and departs 4 1/2 hours later out of London Gatwick. BA's website says that their booking engine schedules no less than 3 hours between any flights for which a passenger has to change airports. Our flights are on Saturday morning/afternoon. When I called BA to make sure our connecting flight would be protected if we didn't get to Gatwick on time, he gave (more or less) what I later found on BA's conditions of carriage: that BA will protect us if we miss a flight due to their delays. Meaning, of course, a vehicular delay would not be protected.

So we've done our homework.

Any comments from those who's done this kind of connection, and whether it works out ok?
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Mar 13th, 2018, 10:26 AM
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My general theory is never to change airports if there's any other reasonable option.

You'll be passing through UK immigration, collecting luggage and going through customs before you can even consider getting between airports. Now normally 4.5hr would be enough but this is the M25 which can become a car park at the drop of a hat (or a two car shunt).
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Mar 13th, 2018, 11:01 AM
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Saturday helps a bit but I personally would never book that connection. So much can go pear shaped at LHR. Your luggage could be delayed, there could be long lines at immigration, you could just miss a coach and have to wait for the next one, a wreck on the M25. I have done that connection twice (one time in each direction). Once I scheduled it overnight - landed at LGW in the late evening, stayed at a Premier Inn walking distance to the terminal and took an early morning coach to LHR for my 11AM flight home. The LHR > LGW connection I had nearly 6 hours and made it easily Arrivals gate at LGW to departure lounge in LHR T-3 took just on 4 hours -- but I never check luggage so did not have to wait for my bags.
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Mar 13th, 2018, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for the information, though it's not really what I wanted to hear. Our alternatives would get us to our destination, basically, a day later, but I'll keep looking.

Any other comments about a Heathrow - Gatwick connection?
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Mar 13th, 2018, 03:17 PM
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>>that BA will protect us if we miss a flight due to their delays. . . .<<

If that happens they will put you on a later flight (or one the next day if no seats are available) getting you to your destination even later . . .

Where are you trying to get to?
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Mar 13th, 2018, 07:11 PM
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Going to Sicily. The difficult parameter is that we want to fly nonstop on an evening flight from our home airport in the U.S. to Europe, and only BA and Lufthansa do that. Lufthansa doesn't work because their overseas flights arrive after their daily flights to either Palermo or Catania leave, and flights are expensive when we'd be traveling due to Octoberfest. Any other carriers from LHR involve a stop and then we would arrive in Sicily even later, and our flight from LHR to Sicily wouldn't be protected. Ryanair and Easyjet each leave from London Luton. We're avoiding this issue on the return because we're spending a day or two in Rome first.
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Mar 13th, 2018, 07:47 PM
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Luton is an even nastier connection than LGW . . . And both EasyJet and RyanAir are very strict about airport check in time.

You don't say what you home airport is -- but it sounds like connecting through a major hub in the States would make more sense.
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Mar 14th, 2018, 08:03 AM
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"Any other comments about a Heathrow - Gatwick connection?"

If you're looking for reassurances that everything will be ok and will work out fine, you're not going to get them. There are reasons that a 3-hour crossover that BA sets as its minimum is in place and that a 4.5 hour lag is no guarantee. You're trying to go 37+ miles from one airport to the other in some of the busiest suburban areas of the UK and the two airports are among the busiest in Europe (or the world for LHR). By contrast, JFK and LaGuardia are only 19 miles apart and anyone with sense would tell you that a 4 hour gap is the minimum they would risk for that connection in NY.

I've done this transfer after BA completely farked up a connection through LGW (the plane was late into our originating airport and BA took its sweet gawdang time turning it around to depart - about 5 standard deviations below Southwest Airline efficiency - so we missed our flight at Gatwick). The transfer was not fun, nor was having to be shepherded by a BA agent once we arrived at LHR to make our new connection because traffic and the bus wait, etc. had made the transfer slow.

So yeah, transfer stateside to a flight to Palermo if that possibility exists.
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