Heathrow Airport is very well served by public transport ? tube, trains, buses and coaches. Let someone else be in the driving seat and use the following pages to plan your car-free journey to and from the airport.
Before setting out for the airport it is vital that you check which terminal you require. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are located next to each other at the centre of Heathrow, whilst Terminal 4 is located to the south of the airport and has a separate entrance. Heathrow is situated close to two motorways - the M4 and the M25.
From its earliest days Gatwick was an airport ahead of its time. Its first innovation was a direct link for passengers between the airport and the nearby rail station. Its second, 20 years later, was to build a covered pier from the terminal to aircraft stands, which became a standard feature of airport design.
For all its bright ideas Gatwick could boast no instant success in the pioneering era of civil aviation that was the 1930s.
It started life modestly in 1931 as a private airfield owned by Home Counties Aviation Services. Serious development was later carried out by Airports Limited and the first terminal, together with taxiways and aprons, was opened in 1936. Passengers arriving by train could walk into the airport through subways and covered walkways.
Like many pre-war airfields, however, Gatwick suffered from a lack of paved runways and was eventually abandoned by its principal airline operator in 1938. Gatwick's war time role as a Royal Air Force base saw it grow through the acquisition of the local racecourse but when it was returned to civil use in 1946 it was still basically a grass airfield.
Aircraft maintenance and a limited number of charter flights kept it ticking over but it added to its reputation for new thinking by housing the British European Airways helicopter base.
The big upturn in fortunes came in 1953 when the Government decreed Gatwick as London's second airport. The old airport was closed for major re-development. When it officially re-opened three years later Gatwick had been transformed into a modern facility. There was a 2000 feet runway, a terminal incorporating a rail station and a covered pier linking terminal with aircraft, the first of its kind in the UK.
Charter traffic became big business in the 1980s and with more than a million passengers then using Gatwick the terminal was extended and two more piers built. Despite the upturn Gatwick still ranked only fourth busiest of UK airports but British United Airways, then the main operator, was steadily introducing scheduled services.
Gatwick had ambitions beyond the charter market and those were finally realised in 1978 when it became a transatlantic gateway. By the time Delta, Braniff and British Caledonian, BUA's successor, started up their routes to the USA the airport had already extended its runway to handle the long haul jets and further improved the terminal.
Passenger traffic hit the 10 million mark in the 1980s and has continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, reaching over 32 million in 2000. A satellite to the original building, renamed the South Terminal, and the North Terminal have been opened as Gatwick established itself as Britain's second busiest airport and an international player.
As traffic continues on its upward path Gatwick is anxious to build a second runway to meet demand. It has run into implacable opposition but a history of successful innovation suggests a solution will be found.
Gatwick Airport is at Junction 9 of the M23 motorway and on the A23 London to Brighton road.
A number of train services run direct to Gatwick Airport Station.
Direct services from London Victoria station.
Gatwick Express trains run every 15 minutes from 05:00 to 23:45 and hourly overnight. Journey time 30 minutes. Information line: 0870 530 1530.
* Fare: ?10.20 one way, return/round trip is ?19.50. Same day return (valid from 9.30 am) is ?11.70.
Connex South Central's service from Victoria at 35 minutes takes a little longer but is cheaper. There are four trains each hour, Monday to Friday, with hourly service overnight.
* Fare: ?8.20 one way, ?16.40 return/round trip. An off peak day return is ?8.30.
Through trains from King's Cross station.
Thameslink trains run from Bedford, Luton and St Albans through King's Cross Thameslink, Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations to Gatwick.
There are four trains an hour during the day.
Journey time from King's Cross is 45 minutes.
* Fare: ?9.50 one way, ?10.50 day return/round trip.
southwest airlines fare
air tran airlines
discount airline ticket
american west airlines
jet blue airlines
southwest airline reservation
west jet airline
sun country airline
american airlines reservation
american airline home page
american airline center
airline discount ticket
america west airline
midwest express airlines