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Mademoiselle Apr 9th, 2007 11:30 AM

London Gatwick Enough Time?
I'm flying into London Gatwick on a weekday morning at 6:20am then would like to depart from the same airport at 9:20am domestic via Easy Jet to Edinburgh, is 3 hours enough time to allow for flight incidentals, clearing customs, going from the international terminal to domestic flights?

I'm flying from SFO to JFK and have a 2 hr layover at JFK, but occasionally I've had layovers last longer than expected, that's why I'm afraid the 3 hours may not be enough. But I don't want to book the next flight which leaves at 2pm to Edinburgh, that is way too much time to be haning out at the airport after such a long flight.

I've never flown Easy Jet before, but if it's anything like Ryan Air, I assume that I'll have to be registered early. And I don't know if it will take a long time to get from the International terminal to the domestic terminal at London Gatwick.

Any insight would be appreciated =-)

PalenQ Apr 9th, 2007 11:37 AM

If you have to clear customs and then checi-in at EasyJet well...

I was in Gatwick a few weeks ago to fly back to U.S. and there was a huge huge mob trying to form lines at the check-in area of Easy Jet and its ilk.

Then it was a 45-minute wait after checking in to go back thru security so you make experience these absurdly long lines as well.

flanneruk Apr 9th, 2007 01:19 PM

First, there really aren't any domestic terminals in British airports.

Virtually all flying in Britain is to a foreign destination, and the handful of domestic flights are shoehorned into the arrangements made for international flights. Ar Gatwick, you presumably arrive at the North terminal, used by (I assume) Delta as well as for most full-fare domestic flights: you have to go to the South terminal used by the cheapos, as well as by people like Continental, Virgin and US Air. That'll take 3 mins on a small train that runs every 3 mins.

Your prob is that you need to allow at least an hour - and probably more - to get through immigration and onto the plane. You need a further hour and a half to be sure you get to the front of the Easyjet checkin queue by 0840, when checkin for your flight closes. Security's not the clincher: whisper it not in Gilead, but you can queue-jump if you're running late and don't mind getting lots of horrible looks.

But all that doesn't leave much time for things going wrong, like Delta arriving late, or the prat at the jetway not knowing how to work it (which happened to me the other week). And if they do, you're snookered, since EZ just cancel youir booking and you're left having to buy the next train or plane ticket at the highest possible price. And there's no way or really quantifying that risk.

Personally, I'd look at what BA's best deal is and book on that. Alternatively, I'd put my bags into left luggage, get the train to Brighton, de-lag with a bracing walk on the beach, followed by a wander round the museum or the Pavillion, then get the early afternoon EZ.

There's no hard and fast answer on this. Do you feel lucky?

flanneruk Apr 9th, 2007 01:21 PM

The firsat sentence in the third para should read "Your prob is that you need to allow at least an hour - and probably more - to get through immigration and onto the TRAIN."

janisj Apr 9th, 2007 01:22 PM

easyJet is very strict about check in. It is different at different airports - sometimes 30 mins some times longer. Anyway - whatever their LGW cut off is - that is when you must have you boarding pass in hand. Not just in line to check in - but checked in.

3 hours should be plenty. But if your arrival is delayed more than an hour you would have a hard time. Of course - most transatlantic flights do arrive on time or even a bit early. If it were me - I'd probably go w/ the 3 hours. But to be safer you might want to take a later easyJet flight. Sort of a crap shoot.

PalenQ Apr 9th, 2007 01:23 PM

Or hop Thameslink First One trains from Gatwick to Kings Cross and take the scenic 4.5 hour train ride to Edinburgh, with hourly departures - for the cheapest tickets as low as about 11 pounds and up.

janisj Apr 9th, 2007 01:40 PM

OK - we all help Mademoiselle figure out (on her other threads) that is it easier to just fly up to Edinburgh than some of her other plans. And now there are all these new suggestions.

Flying will be the easiest and fastest in this case. The main question is how long between flights is long enough -and whether easyJet is OK or would one of the other carriers be better.

As I said - 3 hours would be long enough for me - BUT then again I'd, more likely book w/ BA over easyJet.

el344 Apr 9th, 2007 04:44 PM

I had a (theoretical) 5 hours to make a Delta (from Atlanta) to EasyJet (to Budapest) connection last fall, which dwindled to a 50 minute connection when Delta cancelled my original flight and put me on a later one. I actually made the connection, but I did so only by the confluence of a great deal of luck: I was sitting in the front of the plane (it was a single class flight) so I got off as soon as they opened the door, then I ran all the way from the plane to immigration and was first in line there, I got lucky with the Baggage Gods (my bag dropped onto the carousel as I ran up to it), ran to the train and then to the EasyJet area just as they were doing final call for check in and (GASP) jumping the security queue, which was taking over an hour. (I still feel terribly -- well, pushy or some such about that, and I left a lot of scowls in my wake, but ...). I got into the departure terminal with about 10 minutes to spare and saw that I was still 15 minutes from the gate. Fortunately, it was really only about 7 minutes to the gate (running, of course). The plane door barely missed my rump as I hurtled through, gasping and puffing like a bellows.

The trek from airplane to immigration at Gatwick is endless, as is the trek from security to airplane in the domestic terminal. The scene in the domestic departures terminal is chaotic, and the security lines were (at least that day) very long. I'd be really worried about a 3 hour connection that was dependent on having two other flights go smoothly.

But I am living proof that you can make if in 47 minutes if sufficiently lucky, motivated and rude.

Mademoiselle Apr 10th, 2007 11:27 AM

I was all set to roll the dice but am now thinking twice after the 5 theoretical hour window post.

I've arrived in London (though think it might be Heathrow) at about 6am before, and remember getting through immigration rather quickly. Then again, this was about 6 years ago, and it was most likely Heathrow.

I was banking on it not being so crowded at 6am, but Gatwick may be more busy? And the long queues for Easy Jet are working against the situation too. Am still conflicted. I checked out BA and the timing didn't work for me so Easy Jet still seems like a good option. Arriving in Edinburgh before lunch sounded great, but I still haven't booked anything.

PalenQ Apr 10th, 2007 11:34 AM

The Gatwick crowding i was reporting above was on a Tuesday morning at about 8:30am - the queue if you could call it that - the funnel like queue leading to the EasyJet and other budget airlines check-in nearly reached to the train station and appeared not to move much

then there was the 45-minute wait to go thru security to get into the departure area.

annhig Apr 10th, 2007 11:34 AM

hi, mam'selle,

I haven't used Easyjet at Gatwick but I've used it a lot at Bristol and at various european destinations. They are usually VERY good at prioritising people who need to get to the front of the check-in queue, and generally, fellow travellers are helpful too, if you just say that your flight is closing.

THree hours will be ample, IMO if your inbound flight arrives on time. Your problem may be if it doesn't, but, there's not much you can do about that.

If the price on the Edinburgh flight is good, I'd risk it. What is your plan B?

regards, ann

el344 Apr 10th, 2007 04:14 PM

There is a 2:15 pm flight .... which would not get you to Edinburgh before lunch but would give you lots of time to make the connection.

Depending on your finances, the day of the week you're traveling, and your risk tolerance, you could book both the 9:20 flight and the 2:15 flight and just write off the cost of one of the tickets. The prices shown range from about 6 pounds to 23 pounds -- I'd be willing to invest $12 in peace of mind if I could get two 6 pound tickets.

PalenQ Apr 11th, 2007 07:28 AM

<They are usually VERY good at prioritising people who need to get to the front of the check-in queue, and generally, fellow travellers are helpful too, if you just say that your flight is closing>

i have no doubt about that but the mob scene i saw recently at Gatwick there was no way to get to the front of the line as it seemed a chaotic scene with no obvious line just to get into the regular check-in area. Don't think that would have been possible that Tuesday morning in February anyway - i just remember thinking that God i don't have to wade thru that mess.

Mademoiselle Apr 16th, 2007 03:56 PM

Hello everyone and thank you for your responses.

I'd just like to update that after careful consideration and realizing that it is 3 hours, 20 minutes (not just the 3 hours as I previously thought, every minute counts at this point) between flights, I'm rolling the dice!!

I cannot even imagine (and sincerely hope not to have to live it if we can't make the EasyJet flight) waiting until 2pm at the airport, I would rather rush like a madwoman.

I moved our seats to as close to the front as possible for the last leg of our trip so when we arrive at Gatwick, it's as good a start as we can get.

I shall update once I return to give my experience with the 3.33 hr time frame for these type of flights at this airport.

Edinburgh or bust!!

janisj Apr 16th, 2007 04:02 PM

Go, Mademoiselle!! We're all rooting for you :)

(you will probably be fine - and if your flight into Gatwick was delayed there isn't much you could do about it no matter WHICH flight/train or whatever you chose.)

noe847 Apr 16th, 2007 04:09 PM

Mademoiselle, you do have a few things that should/might(?) work in your favor. Many transatlantic flights into Europe land early (I think janisj mentioned this) and landing at 6:20 am should give you a shorter line at immigration. We had what looked like a beastly long line at Gatwick last month and it was under 30 minutes. Plus, you're prepared to run like O.J. through the airport!

CarolA Apr 16th, 2007 04:35 PM

And then there is the time DL had to land me at Manchester where we sat on the ground for about two hours after circling for an hour. (FOG) While you "think" that outgoing flights will be effected too, the truth is that it never works that way LOL! The plane you needed to connect too took off as SOON as the hold was lifted while you are still trying to land.

For my "Eurostar" connection in May I have actually given myself six hours. I figure I can have a pub lunch while I wait!

alanRow Apr 16th, 2007 11:16 PM

<<< Depending on your finances, the day of the week you're traveling, and your risk tolerance, you could book both the 9:20 flight and the 2:15 flight and just write off the cost of one of the tickets. >>>

Why, Easyjet will allow you to transfer to an EARLIER flight for free, so you book the later flight and if you arrive early you ask to be put on the earlier flight

susan4 Jul 2nd, 2007 10:20 AM

while doing research on a similar commection, I checked the previous Easyjet link. It includes the following:
"The only stipulation is that you must have already made an outbound journey with easyJet and be returning to the original point of departure."
So might not work for those coming in from the US on another airline.
Any one try this?

alanRow Jul 2nd, 2007 10:27 AM

It's changed since I posted it 3 months ago, presumably because people had twigged to it - and were getting cheaper flights

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