A London Airport Guide For First-Time Tourists

Flying can bring you a mix of emotions. It can be fun, but also tiring and anxiety-filling at the same time. If you’re visiting London as your airport of entry or departure, or even if you’re merely transiting through it, those feelings of anxiety can be compounded even more. In normal conditions, going through any of London’s airports should be an exciting experience with all the shops and restaurants to enjoy. But, during the peak seasons, the crowds may get the best of you. 

London Airport Guide

Surely, you may have already heard about how stressful it can be to go through London’s airports when it gets too crowded. It’s not the best start (or end) to your holiday if the chances of bumps along the way are going to be significantly higher. Airports aren’t a fun place to be, but you don’t always have to feel that way, especially when you know how to navigate through them smoothly.

The tricks outlined below are game-changers to make your first time experience at any of London’s airports a much more pleasant experience.

Read Also: How to Make the Most of a Quick Trip to London

London Airport Guide

Know That London Has Six Airports

Being the big metropolitan that it is, it’s not a surprise to know that London doesn’t have just one airport. In fact, it has six. Those airports are the following:

  • Stansted Airport is located at the northeast end of London. Many low-cost airlines offer flights from Stansted to other main European cities.
  • London City Airport is the airport closest to Central London. It’s a smaller airport, thereby making it a quicker and easier option than many of London’s other bigger airports.
  • Luton Airport is located at the northwest end of London. Like Stansted, this is also the hub where many low-cost airlines are based in.
  • London Southend Airport is located approximately 64 km away from Central London.
  • London Gatwick Airport is a major international airport located approximately 47.5 km away from Central London.
  • Heathrow Airport is the UK’s busiest airport, servicing a majority of international and big airlines from across the globe.

There are many ways to get to and from the London airports; for one, you can take a bus from London to Luton. But, when you do, be sure you know where you’re actually getting off from, or to what airport you specifically have to go to. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the wrong bus or train.

Don’t Travel During The Holiday Season

Well, this doesn’t mean you should skip traveling during this season altogether. But, if you can help it, then choose to travel during another season instead. London’s airports are already famous for being busy, given how London is also one of the main entry points to Europe. So, you can expect that to escalate more during this high-traffic season.

If you’re not up for the crowds, you want a smoother airport experience, or you’ve got young kids with you, then traveling through London airports and Christmas certainly won’t go together. Fly at off-peak times. Or, if you really must travel during the holidays, at least choose an early morning or late night time slot.

Check In Online

If the airline you’re flying with allows it, check in online ahead. Doing so can also save you so much time. Once you reach the airport, all you’ll have to do is drop off your check-in baggage, if you have any.

This tip is also advisable if you’re traveling during red eye hours. By checking in advance, you won’t have to be extra stressed during those hours when you’re still sleepy, for instance. You’ll have less to do for airport procedure, so you can easily walk to your departure gate with so much more ease.

Prepare And Bring Your Own Snacks

Snacks at London airports can be quite expensive, or have long lines. Unless you have more to spend on fancier restaurants where the crowd is sparse, then you’ll have to make do with the cheaper food joints that also draw in more crowds.

To avoid the hassle and the expense, pack your own snacks. Fruits, vegetables, and other solid foods are fine to take with you in your hand luggage. This is advisable, too, particularly when you’re traveling with children. It’s just the liquid beverages you’ll have to be mindful of.

Get To The Airport Three Hours Early

If you’re going to travel intercontinental, then the rule of thumb to follow is to arrive at the airport at least three hours early. If you’re traveling from London to another nearby European country or through the United Kingdom, then two hours will suffice.

Do note, however, that the airport security at London airports is very efficient. Giving yourself all that extra time, however, will help make your stay at the airport more relaxing. If there’s anything you’d like to see or eat, or if there’s any shop you’d like to go into, you’ll have enough time.

Read Also: What to Know Before You Go to London

London Airport Guide

In Conclusion

If you’re going to any of London’s airports soon, let this guide walk you through the whole process. As you can see, it doesn’t have to feel so overwhelming, even when you’re in one of the world’s busiest airports. Going through this London airport doesn’t have to feel any different from navigating any other airport, for that matter. It’s just a matter of getting the right tricks done right, so that traveling through London and its airports will be a breeze. 

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