London Gatwick, LGW

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London Gatwick, LGW


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79% positive

21 reviews from the community

Review of "London Gatwick, LGW"

published 24/03/2002 | Shufflebum
Member since : 01/10/2001
Reviews : 55
Members who trust : 30
About me :
Pro Very well organised. Clean. Lots of places to buy last minute essentials.
Cons Not the easiest to get to.
very helpful


To be honest Gatwick airport is one that I try to avoid, not for any other reason than it is possibly the trickiest of the major UK airports for me to get to form the East Midlands where I live.

However, when I booked my flights for my recent trip to Canada, the best fare was via Gatwick, so I plumped for the bargain, and faced the reality that I would have to get to Gatwick. This was made worse by the fact that my flight was at midday, and with the current advice to check in 3 hours at least before any international flight, meant that I had to be there for around 9am. The M25 at that time in the morning as many of you will vouch for is horrific, and I did not look forward to the journey.

In the end we left home at around 5 am, and got to Gatwick at 8.45 am, after stressing out whilst sat stationary on the M25, and generally having a very unpleasant journey indeed. Thanks go to Steve my husband for putting up with me moaning at him, and telling him that we should have booked that overpriced airport hotel after all!

Once we had arrived however things went very smoothly. I found the check in desk for Northwest airlines very easily, as there were huge screens telling you just where to check in. The staff here were very efficient, and there were plenty of people around to ask for help if you were having problems of any kind.

Once I had checked in we decided to have some breakfast before Steve turned the car around and drove back home (without his freaked out passenger!). So with the lure of food we went up the stairs to ‘Gatwick Village’, where there are lots of shops for those last minute holidays buys, and also bars and restaurants for the hungry. We opted for the fast food option and went to McDonalds for sausage & egg McMuffins.

Ok so it was 9am and they were reasonably busy, but the staff were so rude! The person in front of us got an argument with her breakfast, just because she didn’t understand what came with the value meal! Now being McDonalds breakfast veterans we did not have this problem, and we placed our order with the woman whose face could have quite possibly turned milk sour. Several Minutes later we got our breakfast. Not the fastest or most friendly McDonalds in the world, but the food was good as usual.

Full of energy after our highly nutritious start to the day, we followed the signs first to the toilets, and then to the observation deck. What a shock…it was a hefty 1.50 pounds each to gain entry. Having some time to kill though we went in. This was like something out of a comedy sketch, and well worth the money, even if it was just for the sight of several middle-aged men looking through binoculars, and noting down airplane ID’s in notebooks. We found out that you could purchase a season ticket to the observation deck for around 25 pounds! Perfect for the plane spotters. There was also a bar/restaurant up there called the ‘Skyview’, which did not look particularly inviting, and given our recent food stop we did not feel the need to go in. After wandering for at least 5 minutes, we decided to take a look at the old planes that were up on the roof. Hang about though…it was another 50 pence to look at one of these! What a rip off.

Finally Steve and I said our goodbyes, and wiping tears away I headed towards my departure gate to start my big solo adventure.

Gates 31 to 38 are accessed via a monorail shuttle, which I am glad to say was not busy, as I was very early. I presume that at times you might have to wait for quite a while until you can get onto one of the two trains. It was quiet at the gates, apart from a gaggle of Northwest staff discussing their travel nightmares! I bought a bottle of water from WHSmiths, considered the chocolate in one of the vending machines (and resisted!), and settled down in the window to wait to be called. I had a good view of the runway, and the plane at our gate, and I was pleased that the seating area was really clean, as I hate to be surrounded by rubbish.

Security at the gates at present is really tight, following the events on 11/9 (or as the Americans say 911). I saw several armed aviation police, and these were joined 6 other security staff as we were called to our gate for boarding. The passengers were split into two rows, male & female, and almost everyone’s bags were searched, and also inside shoes! However I must have looked entirely innocent, because I was waved right through the chaotic procedure, and onto the plane.(Perhaps they had mistaken me for that Jennifer Aniston! After all when one is as beautiful…)

So that was the end of my Gatwick experience, which was not bad when we eventually got there, and recovered from Post M25 shock disorder, and braved the wrath of the McDonalds crew. I was very impressed that the airport had lots of signs and staff to point you in the right direction, and also was reasonably clean. Not a bad start to my first solo transatlantic flight!

For more information on Gatwick or any of the other UK airports visit, which is maintained by BAA.

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Comments on this review

  • ampuk2000 published 03/12/2003
    Gatick is such a pain to get to even though I live fairly near the M11 which is linked onto the M25 so I try o avoid it at all costs. If I get a choice I prefer to go North to Birmingham or East Midlands purely for that reason.
  • Jules1957 published 20/11/2002
    The M25 is the 'Road to Nowhere' and is to be avoided at all costs. Let the train take the stain and avoid the stresses of travelling to Gatwick by road. Better still hop on a British Airways regional flight, it is probably cheaper than travelling by car and paying for long stay car parks. Great op though.
  • sdwill published 08/08/2002
    The worst airport I've had the pleasure of being in was actually Manchester Airport, this was a charter flight to Fuerteventura. The waiting area was overcrowded, there was insufficient seating and the place was grubby and unkempt.
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Product Information : London Gatwick, LGW

Manufacturer's product description


Product Details

City: London

Type: Airport


Listed on Ciao since: 25/06/2000