The 6 Airports in London - Your Complete Guide

London city has a total of six major international airports nad various domestic airports. The six international airports are Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Southend, and London City airport. They together make the busiest airport system in the world and the city also ranks as the 2nd busiest in terms of aircraft movements. Around 60% of England’s air traffic is operated together by these six airports and they offer airline services to around 400 international destinations and 15 domestic destinations. 

Here Are the Six Major Airports in London -

1. Heathrow Airport

Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is the largest airport in the United Kingdom. It serves more than 80 million passengers every year and operates with more than 80 airlines. These connections make journeys possible to all major cities in the world. There are a total of 5 terminals in Heathrow airport. The most regular airlines like British Airways and the National Airlines operate in third and fifth terminals along with other airports in London. 

Distance and Transport

Heathrow is located around 23 kilometres west of London and is the main hub for British Airways. It has frequent bus connections to the city.

Services and Facilities

Free WiFi is available at the airport. Cash machines are available around the airport and Travelex is also a good option to change money but it has terrible exchange rates. So, it is better to change the currency at the city centre instead, where many currency changers are available. You can go on a last-minute shopping spree without taxes in the airport at a luxury brand stores like Burberry, Prada, Gucci, etc. 

2. Gatwick Airport

North Terminal in Gatwick Airport

Gatwick airport is also one of the major international airports in London and it is the second biggest in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger traffic. The two terminals of Gatwick airport serve more than 40 million passengers per year and has connections to more than 200 destinations around the world. British Airways and Easyjet are the two dominant airlines in the airport and you have to check the departure details beforehand to avoid confusion just before travelling.

Distance and Transport

Gatwick airport is located around 47 kilometres south of Central London and just like Heathrow airport, it also has good connections to the centre of the city. Free buses are also available for passengers to travel between the terminals. 

Services and Facilities

Free WiFi service is available in the airport which you can enjoy for the first 90 minutes but you have to register with your email after that. Cash machines are also available in various areas inside the airport or you can use Travelex to change money. However, Travelex is terrible at having exchange rates which are really high. So, no matter what airport you travel through, it is better to visit the city centre for currency exchange services. The food area is impressive and the food options near the departure hall are very famous and you better savour those flavours while you are there at the airport. Like any other airport in London, you can enjoy shopping without taxes in the airport at luxury brand stores like Boss, Ted Baker, etc. 

3. Stansted Airport

Arrival Hall at Stansted Airport

Stansted airport is the third largest airport in London. Stansted is the main hub for Ryanair and it also offers flight services from other low-cost airlines too like EasyJet and In 2018, the Stansted airport was ranked the 4th busiest airport in the United Kingdom by handling almost 28 million passengers.

Distance and Transport

It is located 68 kilometres northeast of London and there are a number of ways of reaching the centre of London. However, one of the most used transportation options for such purposes is the airport bus.

4. Luton Airport

Arrival Gate at Luton Airport

Luton Airport is another international airport in London which is very popular among the on-budget travellers. The airlines that are operated frequently and that offer affordable flight services are Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz Air. In 2018, Luton airport was ranked as the 5th busiest airport in the UK with more than 16 million passengers passing through. Interestingly unlike other airports in London, Luton airport has a multi-faith room that passengers or others can visit to spend some personal and spiritual time with God. It is open for 24 hours throughout the week and offers all facilities in it like prayer mat, books, and other equipment.

Distance and Transport

Luton airport is located approximately 45 kilometres north of the centre of London city. It is named after its nearby small city called Luton. To reach the city center, you can choose to travel by airport bus or local train besides many more options available in London.

5. Southend Airport

Inside Southend Airport

Southend Airport is the smallest airport in the London city with regard to the passenger numbers but still recorded 1.4 million people in 2018. This number or record is definitely big but the fact is that other international airports have a greater number of passengers travelling through. It is a popular hub for low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. 

Distance and Transport

The Southend airport is located near the city of Southend-on-Sea in Essex county. It is approximately 58 kilometres far from the east of Central London. 

6. London City Airport

London City Airport

London City Airport is the closest airport to the city centre of London. Passenger numbers in this airport curiously keep increasing every year, and in 2018, there was a record of almost 5 million people passing through. Airlines that fly from London City Airport include British Airways, Alitalia, Blue Islands, CityJet, KLM, Lufthansa, Luxair, Sky Work and Swiss International Airlines.

Distance and Transport

London City Airport is located around 11 kilometres east of the city. It is very easy to reach the centre of the city as the airport is very close to it. However, the other advantage is that the city centre is the place where tourists or other passengers exchange currency and deal with other money issues.

Tips for Travellers 

  1. Travellers can use the ePassport gates in the airports if you have an EU passport with a chip.
  2. Travellers with non-EU passports want to use this function, they have to be travelling by Business class or should be an Executive Club member (Silver/Gold), and OneWorld member (Emerald/Sapphire).
  3. Non-EU citizens must also fill up the landing card when they arrive in London, which is available near the passport control areas or given to you on the plane.
  4. The cash declaration form must be completed at customs if you are carrying more than €10,000 or equivalent.

This post was published by Sravya Ronanki

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