Written on: 12/07/2004 by redcloud (2 reviews written)
Loads and loads, and loads...see below...
I can't understand why so many airlines are desperate to get into Heathrow Airport. Its common place to be held in a 'stack' for hours and then be kept waiting on the ground for a similar time because there are no available stands for the plane to park on.
The airlines that are already present at Heathrow are denied the space for an appropriate size check-in and you therefore have to queue for long periods of time to check-in. You then have to queue for long periods of time to get through security and by the time you have got to the gate you have to end up standing because there aren't enough seats.
When you fly into Heathrow you should add on another hour or two to get through immigration if you don't have a UK or EU passport...if you do still expect to wait 20 or 30 minutes to get through.
Heathrow is always very, very busy and therefore very noisy. There is always some kind of building work going on which complicates getting around even for those who use the airport regularly. The shops are expensive, designer labels which outprice the majority economy class travellers. Gatwick and Stansted are certainly better for those who enjoy looking round the shops before their flight. However, Heathrow does have a very large duty free shop for alcohol, cigarettes, gifts, etc...
Heathrow, the 'busiest international airport in the world' is spaced over a huge area and you should expect to have to walk literally miles to firstly get into the terminal and then up to a 20 min walk to get to your gate. The airport is void of sufficient means of moving people around terminals. Check you terminal before getting to the airport, if you go to terminal 1 and find your actually meant to be in terminal 4 its a 10min train ride away- and when I say train I don't mean a little shuttle or monorail, I mean a modern British electric train that you see moving up and the down the country...that's how far terminals 1,2,3 are from 4.
Finally, to get to Heathrow the majority of people have to navigate the M25 and M4...probably the two most congested motorways I have ever used. Leave with lots and lots of time!!
However, the good points? It is on the Underground which means getting into London is easy. Baggage is usually fairly promptly delivered to the baggage hall. Flight connections are fairly straight forward at the airport. Security is very good and certainly live up to their responsibility and an airport like this. Also, unlike Gatwick and Stansted, Heathrow is within London's locality and means getting into town is usually fairly prompt.
My advice, if it can be avoided...use Gatwick or even better Stansted!