Will I make this connection in England?

Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Will I make this connection in England?

My AP and I will be flying from the U.S. to Italy. When I booked it, the schedule, date and everything else looked fine. Except I forgot that there were 4 airports in London.

What the outward bound from the U.S. involved is making a transfer from London Heathrow to London Gatwick. The ETA is about 10:30 and the EDA from Gatwick is about 1:45 p.m. I checked the BA site--BA will fly us from London to Italy--and the minimum time required is 3 hours to make the connection.

I thought we would barely make it if we con't check in our luggage and walk very fast and figure out the layout of Heathrow and Gatwick.

The problem is, now that the Homeland Security people are making Britain, Mexico, and other countries put air marshals on flights, what are the odds that we will still make our tight connection? I was thinking of what happens after we get off the plane at Heathrow and of what happens when we get to Gatwick. We do not have boarding passes for the London to Italy leg of the trip.

I did talk to BA about what happens if we did miss our flight to Italy. They have another flight to Italy later in the day that will get in at 10 p.m. Italian time. Our hotel reservation guarantees late arrivals so we should be okay there.

Sooo...what should I do? (The tickets have been issued a while ago and are in our possession.) Any advice and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Lil
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:25 AM
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Hi

I don't think the air marshalls make much difference.

It will be 50/50 (or worse) if you make that connection.

Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:29 AM
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Lil - there is no way that is enough time.

- The bus-ride takes 45-60 mins even if the traffic is very light (I took the bus at 11pm one evening and it took 45 mins in NO traffic). I would estimate a minimum of 90 mins travelling and add 30 mins waiting time : 120 mins
- It will take you at least an hour to get through immigration and collect your luggage - many international flights arrive between 9am and 11am and the international hall is generally packed (I assume you don't have an EU passport). I do this trip every 4-6 weeks, trust me!: 60 mins
- You need to be at Gatwick at least an hour before your flight: 60 mins

I can't see you making a 1345 flight. Is there no way you can get a flight from LHR??? It is worth paying extra!


Best of luck ... Ger
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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I would mentally prepare myself for taking the later flight. If everything goes smoothly and you make the earlier flight, great -- you can celebrate. But why set yourself up for disappointment and anxiety at the beginning of your trip?

There are so many possibilities for delaying you -- the first flight arriving a bit late, major traffic on the London motorway, long check-in line at Gatwick. Fast walking and familiarity with the airports can only do so much.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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If you can reschedule without too big a penalty, that would really be a good idea.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 10:49 AM
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Are you traveling in business/first? if so, you will get a fasttrack card to get through immigration at Heathrow. Under normal conditions that will take about 15 minutes, including the walk to the immigration hall. If you're in coach, try talking to one of the FAs, but do it discreetly so others don't hear your request. Show the FA your connecting BP at Gatwick and ask if it's possible to get the fasttrack card. Never know, it may be your lucky day.
Now the bus. The waiting time is 15/20 minutes at worst. The busses leave every 15/20 minutes at the time when you'll be there. Unfortunately it will also take about 1 hour and 15 minutes at that time to do the run.
Check this site for the times and ticket info:
www.nationalexpress.com
So, assuming you get through the immigration with the fasttrack card and you find the bus station without problems, you should be able to catch either the 11:10 or 11:30 busses. They will arrive at Gatwick(under normal traffic conditions) at 12:25 or 12:45. You do not have to check-in, since you will have a BP issued and only carry-ons, so proceed to security. Make sure you check the departure gate on the screens as they don't assign them in the UK ahead of time like here. They will usually post them about 2 hours before the flight.
To summerize, it's a possibility, but don't kill yourself trying to do it. If it doesn't happen, you will enjoy the fine shopping at Gatwick for few more hours.
Have a great trip!
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 11:10 AM
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Even though the reservation is already guaranteed, if you do miss the flight, call and advise the hotel.

Keith
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 11:14 AM
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HI, this may or may not be useful but.. I work at Gatwick and I used to be a travel agent so have a pretty good knowledge of this kind of stuff. The three hours should be fine. The connections that BA give are to allow you adequate time to get from one airport to the other, the bus from Heathrow takes 45/50 minutes, unless it's rush hour. You can check in in plenty of time and everything is clearly sign posted. Try this website for some info that may help. www.baa.co.uk ( it's the british airports authority site). Hope this puts your mind at rest a little.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Isn't there a rail connection between Heathrow and Gatwick? Maybe I'm thinking of the one from Gatwick to London. If there IS a rail connection, that would be the way to go.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 12:28 PM
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There is no direct connection. Take Heathrow Express to Paddington station(about 12BP and 15 minutes), transfer to the underground Circle line(1.6BP and another 15 minutes or so), and finally transfer at Victoria station to the Gatwick Express(another 12BP or so and 30 minutes). All the times are just for the train runs, so add another 30 minutes for transfers/waiting.
Not the best option IMHO. Very expensive, troublesome(stairs, crowds) and longer times.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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I have a similar connection in March, although I have 3:30 hours for the transfer, but I would have booked it for three. I know anything can happen, but I did that transfer just last year and did it in less than 3 hrs so I never thought about being worried. They were kind of disorganized that day, also, and yet it wasn't a big problem although there wasn't time to spare. I know the bus took 45-60 min (light traffic, I suppose, no big problems), but it didn't take an hour to get through immigration and I don't think I needed an entire hour at Gatwick because it was a connecting flight. It may not have taken a half hour to get my bags upon arrival, either, I don't recall.

Anyway, I did it without too much trouble, but I did have to wait a while to get on a bus, though -- they didn't have enough buses for the crowd, so that took up maybe an extra half hour. Just be sure to go check-in at the BA desk for the transfer bus rather than going right on the bus as they need to give you some kind of ticket, as I recall.

I did that post 911, but I don't think air marshals will slow things down--not sure why that would matter.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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Hi lilley,

I suggest that you ask the BA people to book you on the later flight, if it doesn't cost anything, and spend the extra time having a look at London.

If they won't do it for free, don't kill yourself trying to make the connection. If it works, good. If notyou get to see a little bit of London.

The important thing, as noted above, is to NOT expect that you will make the connection, especially if that will cause major stress to your AP.

Just how old is AP? Where are you arriving in Italy?
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 04:37 PM
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O'Reilley's message: I can't see you making a 1345 flight. Is there no way you can get a flight from LHR??? It is worth paying extra!

There is no direct flight to Bologna from LHR. I decided to do Bologna because it was cheaper and because it was designed to let us recover from our jet-lag--it would be less touristy and hectic.

lisa_b, I've been to the baa.com site. It made me realize that it might be possible, but the odds might be against me.

As Marilyn and others have suggested, I might as well steel myself for missing the flight. Good thing I bought the travel insurance from Travelocity....

I guess it will be a long flight, we'll be extremely tired. Are there rooms that you can rent to sleep at Gatwick if we missed the flight. The AP is 65 and might be too worn out if we ended up just sitting at the gate waiting for the next flight to Bologna.

Also, what are the shopping opportunities at Gatwick? This might be a temporary diversion while we wait for our flight.

I will also advise the hotel as Keith suggests. That should allow me to "cover all my bases."

Thank you all for your advice!

Lil
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 04:42 PM
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I have a similar connection coming back from Malta. I need to go from Gatwick to Heathrow. Although, I have more time (3 hours 45 minutes),I planned on hiring a cab service.
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Old Dec 30th, 2003, 05:16 PM
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Lil:

I missed a connection through Gatwick. I changed my ticket, checked in for the evening flight, rented a room for the day, in an attached hotel (sorry, can?t remember the name, but it is a 4-star and was lovely - 50 GB day rate), had a bath and a good sleep, wathced telly and then took a late evening flight.

I felt really refreshed for the flight and, although I missed enjoying the afternoon at my destination, I had a wonderful evening.

If you miss the early flight, go to the hotel desk and ask them to negotiate the best possible rate for a few hours ? I found the gentleman I dealt with really helpful.

Yes, there is shopping ? same old stuff, but I think the shower and sleep option is a better way of spending your money and starting you holiday

BTW: at the hotel, you can also have your hair and nails done ...

Best wishes for a lovely holiday! What's your final destination?
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Old Dec 31st, 2003, 08:03 AM
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O'Reilley's message: If you miss the early flight, go to the hotel desk and ask them to negotiate the best possible rate for a few hours...

Great idea!

O'Reilley's message: Yes, there is shopping ? same old stuff...

Just in case the AP wants to stock up on British goods after the nap--wouldn't mind picking up some Clarke's myself....

O'Reilley's message: Best wishes for a lovely holiday! What's your final destination?

Thank you. heading out to Bologna, then Florence and Rome. I know it sounds hectic but it's our first time in Italy.

Lil





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Old Dec 31st, 2003, 08:12 AM
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mzredhead,

Taxi will be VERY expensive and not that much quicker than the bus. The busses and cabs take the same expressway.
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Old Dec 31st, 2003, 08:04 PM
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The cost of a car for up to 3 people is 59 GBP and there is no waiting time as there might be for a bus.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 09:09 AM
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Hi lilleyl2
There are 2 airports on site at Gatwick one is the Hilton (pricey!!) and one is Le Meridien (pricey too!!) There are lots of other accommodations around as well and prices at the Travel Inn start at around £50.00 per night per room.
Again hope this helps!
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