London Gatwick International Airport
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London Gatwick Intl Airport Information
Gatwick is located 27 miles (43 km) south of the center of London. There are tourist board information desks in both terminals, located just past the passenger greeting area. Victoria Train Station also has a large London Tourist Board information center. The airport Web site is part of the BAA Web site with links to seven British airports. BAA is the British Airport Authority. Gatwick's site includes:
- A map of the airport's North Terminal and South Terminal
- Information on flight arrivals
- Access information
Taxis are available to London, but if you are going to the center the cost is high and you are at the mercy of the traffic. The fare will be about ?70 ($115) Black Cab or ?55 mini-cab. (By law, a Black Cab looks the part, plus can be flagged down on the streets; a mini-cab can't be flagged down.) Travel time from 40 to 90 minutes, depending on the traffic. An alternative is Gatwick Airport Cars. You can book one immediately at a stand just before you walk outside the terminal.
There are three choices for train travel, The Gatwick Express, regular trains to Victoria, and the Thameslink to other stations.
By far the best way into London is the Gatwick Express Train. British Rail operates the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station. The walk to the airport rail station in the south terminal is convenient. From the north terminal, take the free shuttle train to the south terminal which drops you off right by the airport rail station. Purchase tickets at the window for about ?10 ($17) one-way, with a travel time of 30 minutes. A First Class ticket costs ?16 ($26).
Depending on when you plan to return to Gatwick, you may be able to buy a cheap return ticket--inquire at the ticket counter. The trains leave every 15 minutes from 6:50 A.M. to 8:50 P.M. and every 30 to 60 minutes during the night. There's plenty of luggage space and excellent seating room; the trains are quite comfortable, and most feature a trolley buffet service.
There is also regular British Rail service from Gatwick. The fare is a little less than the express, and the trip takes only about 5 minutes longer than the express. If you don't have too much luggage, this will work fine and save you some money.
Thameslink provides good rail service from the Gatwick station to the Blackfriars, Farringdon, and Kingscross stations in central London. Some trains stop at London Bridge and City Thameslink stations. Trains leave Gatwick from around 5:45 A.M. until midnight, with a travel time of 35 minutes. Purchase a ticket at one of the ticket windows before boarding. The one-way fare is about ?10 ($17).There are direct trains to other cities in the southeast from Gatwick. Check the BritRail information office in the station.
Jetlink operates an express bus to Victoria Coach Station from Gatwick via Chessington and Wandsworth. The fare will be about ?8 ($12) one-way and the trip is scheduled to be 60 minutes. The coach/bus station on the ground floor of the South Terminal provides service to many other towns and cities around the UK. The Airlinks coach also serves as a transfer between Gatwick and Stansted Airports (see below).
Jetlink operates an express bus between Stansted and Gatwick, with stops at Victoria Coach Station, Chessington and Wandsworth. Fare is ?17 ($26). There are also frequent buses to the other airports. After leaving customs, follow the signs for these companies to their desks where you can buy tickets. You should allow at least 2-1/2 hours between flights if you're connecting to Heathrow, and up to 3-1/2 hours for a Stansted connection. The travel time to Heathrow is around 60 minutes, depending on the traffic, and about two hours to Stansted.
All major companies are represented at Gatwick. Follow the sign after customs to get to the rental car areas.
Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is London's second airport and the second busiest airport in the UK after Heathrow in terms of passengers per year. It is located in West Sussex, approximately 40 km (25 miles) south of London, and an equal distance north of Brighton.
Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport in the world, handling over 31 million passengers annually, flying to around 200 destinations. Charter airlines are generally not allowed to operate from Heathrow and many use Gatwick instead as their base. Many flights to and from the USA also use Gatwick because of restrictions on transatlantic operations from Heathrow. The airport is also a secondary hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
In 1979, when the last major expansion took place, an agreement was reached with the local council not to expand further before 2019, but recent proposals to build a second runway at Gatwick led to protests about increased noise and pollution and demolition of houses and villages. The government has now decided to expand Stansted and Heathrow but not Gatwick. Gatwick's owners BAA have published a new consultation which includes a possible second runway south of the airport, but leaves the villages of Charlwood and Hookwood, north of the airport, intact.
In common with many airports car parking is in limited supply, in part due to local planning restrictions, and facilities are full to capacity in the summer months.
Both terminals at Gatwick offer a range of facilities for travellers. Business travellers are catered for by several executive lounges offering peace and quiet and modern business facilities. There is also a conference and business centre with meeting facilities and business services. Business Travellers are also offered Fast Track which enables an efficient car park to airport to check-in and then to flight sevice.
Children are catered for with facilities for baby changing and feeding and there are play areas and video games to keep them amused. The airport also has Skyview in the South Terminal which offers views across the airfield and interactive activities, however this was closed to the public in 2004.