Gatwick Airport always lived in the shadow of Heathrow, but with convenient taxi Reading to Gatwick airport connections and a great infrastructure, this is changing.
Things used to be simple when you needed to fly in or out of the UK capital. Most scheduled and virtually all inter-continental flights departed from London Heathrow. By contrast, charter flights (e.g. package holidays) and some European flights departed from Stanstead, Southend, Luton and Gatwick.
But times have changed.
A Wealth of Choice
Firstly, all of the above airports now use the ‘London’ prefix. That’s partly a marketing ploy and partly an accurate reflection of the fact that it can actually be faster to travel to the centre of London from one of these ‘satellite’ airports than from Heathrow.
Secondly, the world of aviation is now far more complicated and competitive than it was back in those simple days of the 1960s and 1970s. For a whole host of environmental and economic reasons, long-haul and scheduled services can depart from or arrive at just about any of these airports.
It is Gatwick, however, which has arguably seen the greatest changes over the last 40-50 years.
Gatwick in the 60s/70s
Back then, Gatwick was familiar to an entire generation of Britons discovering the joys of packaged holidays and charter flights. Even then the airport had a huge advantage over the far more glamorous Heathrow, as it was smaller and therefore able to provide a more ‘human’ travel experience. In other words, the bars and cafés were quieter, customs clearance was smoother, and flight departures more reliable than the overcrowded Heathrow.
It didn’t take long for the airlines to recognise that fact too, as delays on the ground, and indeed in the air, were reduced due to the less congested airspace. Slowly but surely over the decades ahead, increasing numbers of scheduled airlines started to select Gatwick as a port of departure and its growth took off.
The Era of London Gatwick
Today, Gatwick is certainly no longer regarded as a satellite airport. In the 21st century, it is a major hub for a huge number of carriers and it has expanded hugely in order to cope with the growth in demand. In fact, this hasn’t just arisen because airlines are being forced to ‘migrate’ from Heathrow; many airlines choose Gatwick simply because Heathrow is now desperately overcrowded and Gatwick is far more relaxed and slower-paced.
Gatwick is also much better positioned for those travelling to the south-east, south or even west of England, because it doesn’t seize up with traffic chaos that is, sadly, almost a daily occurrence around Heathrow in the ‘M4 corridor’. If you’re travelling to London or almost anywhere else south of the Thames, Gatwick is the logical choice.
Getting Around from Gatwick
If you choose to fly into Gatwick, airport taxi services make getting to your accommodation fast, convenient and a lot cheaper than you might imagine. If you book online beforehand, you won’t have to queue with luggage or children and someone will meet you as soon as you land. If you’re flying out of Gatwick, you can also get a Gatwick airport taxi to collect you from your hotel or other accommodation and deliver you back to the airport ready for departure.