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Getting to London Gatwick or London Luton Airports from Heathrow?

Getting to London Gatwick or London Luton Airports from Heathrow?

Mar 1st, 2015, 07:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 57
Getting to London Gatwick or London Luton Airports from Heathrow?

I'm looking at flights to book from Canada and can be arriving at London Heathrow (LHR) at 9:35 am, 10:50 am, or 12:40 pm. I then have to get to either Nimes or Marseille that day (Saturday) and drive to St Remy (about an hour drive) to check into our hotel. I have two questions, the first one being 'HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED' to get through customs upon arrival at LHR, and then to get to check-in for either a Ryanair flight from Luton airport (LTN) to Nimes, or to an Easyjet flight from Gatwick airport (LGW) to Marseille (MRS)? My second question is 'HOW DO I GET FROM LHR TO THE OTHER AIRPORTS'?
Unfortunately there are no reasonable flights to France from my part of Canada and have found one other way, through Toronto and Frankfurt, that I'm keeping as an option.
3Xmom is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 09:52 PM
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Both Airports are far from LHR -- but there are express coaches from Heathrow to both airports.

You would want about 5 hours between flights (4 hours would probably work but any glitch and you'd miss your connection and have to buy a new ticket)

Plus do you really think it is a great idea to fly over night, have a 5 hour connection, another flight and then drive an hour?

I'd consider all other options -- even if they are more expensive they might 'cost less' in the long run.
janisj is online now  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:20 PM
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Use your backup options. Going to LHR to attempt to connect to a flight through another airport to reach an intermediary destination in France which leaves you a 1 to 2 hour drive is not a workable plan.

Take a one stop flight to Paris or Geneva and a train from there to Avignon. St Rémy is about 30 to 45 minutes from the Avignon TGV station.
Sarastro is online now  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:33 PM
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National Express buses are roughly every 15 mins to Gatwick, and are easily accessible from all terminals.

To Luton, from T1,2 and 3 they're every 30-60 mins - and far less frequent from T 4 or 5. Journey times are slightly longer, on average, to Luton: on paper 55-90 mins to both, depending on traffic, time of day and where in Heathrow you start from. I'd pay a significant airfare premium to use Gatwick.

5 hours between scheduled arrival time and scheduled departure is the minimum. But what are you going to do if your incoming flight is delayed? With an Easyjet or Ryanair connection, lose your booking (and the money you've paid), then pay top whack for the next flight you can get, from an airport with few flights to anywhere handy.

There have to be same-alliance flights to Marseilles from Canada, via Amsterdam, Paris, Munich or Frankfurt, that don't require a switch of airports to a low-cost carrier. Or to Paris then, after quick cab, a TGV train to Provence.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:36 PM
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You can fly from LHR to Marseille.
Add all the costs; getting to Luton or Gatwick, extra charges for the lowcost flights, and also the time you waste. Realise that Ryanair will not help you if you are delayed getting to check-in. You'll have to travel on the M25 to get to Luton or Gatwick: it can be extremely busy.

Have a look at www.road2rio.com. They give all the possible connections. Actually they advice that for Gatwick you take the tube to London and then the Gatwick Express from Victoria. That might be safer than a coach from Heathrow; less chance of delays.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:38 PM
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sorry that's www.rome2rio.com.....

handy site.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:29 AM
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Tulips is right to say that you can fly direct to Marseille with British Airways from Heathrow. There appears to be a 5:15pm flight available for around £85 basic cost, so if you arrive at LHR on the last of the three flights that you quote, you'll have lots of time to relax after the Canada arrival to catch the connection.
Rubicund is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 02:11 AM
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If you have not yet made flight bookings, you might check on flights to CDG. If you can do that, you could get the TGV to Avingon in the airport, nap for two hours on the train, and then have a relatively easy drive to St. Remy.
Jeff801 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:09 AM
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Icelandair has good prices from most Canadian cities (but not Ottawa and Montreal) to Gatwick. I'd look at that idea also.
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:21 AM
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Thanks everyone. Janisj, you're right about it being a convoluted and awful way to get to Provence. I will not be trying that route with the Flights from the other airports. You'd think there would be better options from a major Canadian city, Calgary. Sarastro, flanneruk, Tulips, Rubicund, Jeff801 and tom_mn, I will look again at the possibility of your suggestions. If there is a flight from LHR to Marseille, I don't know why it didn't show up in any of my searches. I've been using skyscanner and Kayak. As for Calgary to Paris, then taking the train and napping-that sounds great so I will look again at the flights to Paris which had looked unappealing before.. So far the best flight I've found is a 19 hr flight through Toronto, to LHR, then Marseille with British Airways. It's an overnight with us arriving in London at 9:35 am (1:35 am Calgary time so very little sleep) then a layover which gets us to Marseille at 4 pm.
I'll post my findings!
3Xmom is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 10:05 AM
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Another option - Calgary to Amsterdam, then train from there to Avignon

dotheboyshall is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 10:20 AM
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>>It's an overnight with us arriving in London at 9:35 am (1:35 am Calgary time so very little sleep) then a layover which gets us to Marseille at 4 pm.<<

Wouldn't every flight from Calgary be overnight?

Getting to Marseille by 4 pm would be a pretty good itinerary. You'd only have about 4 hours on the ground at LHR - if that.
janisj is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 12:33 PM
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Looks like you have a lot of options already, but Condor flies Calgary to Frankfurt starting from US$500 one way (connecting in Vancouver or Seattle on Alaska). There must be an easy train connection from FRA to Nice.
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:12 PM
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That's bad advice. Frankfurt to Nice is nearly 11 hours by train.
BigRuss is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:53 PM
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It's easy to fly from Calgary through Amsterdam to Marseille with KLM/Air France and some of the fares look cheaper than just going to London. Using a multi-destination search, you could set up the one-stop flight to Southern France, then use the train to work back to Paris via Avignon and/or Lyon, and home to Calgary from there. Or continue via the tunnel to London; either one gives you train rides like the Man in Seat 61. Don't work too hard on a complicated itinerary. Many airline search sites will help you to do it through the multi-destination function.
Southam is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:20 PM
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Skyteam (KLM + air France) is fastest for sure.

Not sure when you are flying, but Icelandair has us$575 one way one stops to Paris from Calgary for dates in May.
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:24 PM
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Ok I have narrowed it down to two choices after many hours online today. Thanks again everyone. I checked out the Icelandair routes ( 2+ stops over 20 or more hours ), LHR to Marseille ( not available on my date ), Calgary to Amsterdam ( not as good as other options but thanks Southam ). Janisj, you're right about all flights being overnighters. It's just that some would be a little better than others.

Jeff801 and tom-mn, I wasn't considering the train option as we don't use trains for travel in this part of Canada, but that helped a lot! Since I have so many connections to actually get to St. Remy, I have narrowed it down to two itineraries where they're average in total amount of travel time, have only 2 flights and get me to Avignon by TGV, which is even closer to St. Remy than Nimes or Marseille. There were no 2 or 3 flight options as good as the ones ending with a train. In Avignon,I can pick up a rental car for the 20 minute drive to St.Remy.

OPTION 1: I can fly direct to Frankfurt partly overnight ( arrive when it's 1:30 am back home, so I wouldn't have slept more than 2-3 hours ) then fly to Lyon arriving at 2:00 pm ( Geneva wasn't available on my date ) and then take the 2 hr. TGV to Avignon. I would get to St. Remy about 7:00 pm. The plus with this option is that I could save my airmiles ( needed for next option ) for a lot of other things as St. Remy is only the start to 4 weeks in Italy and France. Long story short - I have to start my trip in Provence. There is a 3 hour layover, in Frankfurt so do you think it would be long enough for me and my other two teens to get through customs?

OPTION 2: I can fly to Toronto using airmiles, then take a direct flight to Charles de Gaulle arriving at 1:00 pm, then the TGV to Avignon in 2 hrs.40 mins. The plus with this is the overnight is at a time that I actually sleep ( arrive when it's 5 am back home, so may sleep 5 or 6 hours-yippee ) and I can choose a long amount of time to go through customs and get to the TGV in case of delays. I would get into St. Remy about 7:30 pm. Hopefully it's still a little light out!

If you've had the patience to read all of this, a big THANK YOU! Now onto car rental, and 6 other stops.....
3Xmom is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 10:31 PM
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Option 1.. yes, 3 hours is more than enough in FRA to clear passport control and security on your way to the gate for Lyon. FRA airport can be a bit busy and you may have to walk a bit to your connecting gate, though. But unless you booked those 2 legs on seperate tickets with airlines with no interlining agreement, you will not pick up your luggage in FRA to go through Customs. Normally your bags will get checked through to the final destination, and going through Customs in Lyon means just choosing between the green/blue and red exit.
Just a word of caution.. on the less frequented legs like to Lyon you may get smaller aircrafts like the Canadair jets which cannot take otherwise legal carry-ons on board. You may have to check those at the plane on the tarmac before you board. And get it back on the tarmac in Lyon. So if you carry any valuables, documents, keys or medication, you may want to have that in a small day pack or any other small bag.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:28 AM
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Option 1: The FRA connect is fine as long as you are on a single ticket. Do not attempt to connect, with only a few hours time, through any airport when the trip segments are ticketed separately.

From Lyon to Avignon, be careful about which train station you depart from; one is at the airport, the other is in town. I would also allow at least 3 hours between scheduled arrival and scheduled train departure.

Option 2: The better option in my opinion as long as the TGV departs from CDG. If you book a train from Gare de Lyon, 2+40 is not sufficient time to get through immigration, baggage claim, customs, find the train to Paris (or even take a taxi), connect at Châtelet to Gare de Lyon and make the train.

My advice about booking trains: you have two general options - book early and save money or wait until you arrive but pay more for tickets and risk there not being seats available to sell (which can happen during busy periods). If you book early and miss the train, your tickets are probably worthless.

Book tickets here:

www.captaintrain.com (probably the better option)

Final thought: trying to make a two hop flight to Europe then connect to a train which involves a rental car pickup and a subsequent drive to your final destination may look good on paper but it is an itinerary full of potential disaster. Too many things can go wrong, i.e. weather delays, strikes, mechanical problems are just a few highlights of what can occur; not to mention you are attempting this very tired, in countries where different languages are spoken and using airports/train station with which you may not be familiar.

I would recommend an intermediate stop somewhere en route.
Sarastro is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2015, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,274
Sorry, I didn't notice that the Icelandair flights leave from Edmondton, so there's that extra leg on some other airline to get there from Calgary.
tom_mn is offline  

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