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London Luton Airport

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  • 21-02-2019 5:54pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 10,833 ✭✭✭✭


    Hey all,

    I flew out of Luton yesterday for the first time, seems to be a new(ish?) route to ORK for Ryanair.

    What a pain of an airport. :mad:

    Firstly, the train doesn't bring you to the airport, but to a station about 10 minutes on the bus from the airport, and that's another £2.40 to get there. I knew this in advance, but still a bit cheeky to have it like that.

    When I got to the airport itself, security was weird. There were loads of staff around, but they weren't really helping people with the trays, and you were left to drop your tray onto the belt whenever you saw fit, which meant people were constantly jumping queues depending on where they were standing at the time their tray came up.

    The layout of the departures hall is weird too - it's very long and narrow, so long treks to the various shops, and the gates are ages away. There was very little seating too, and no quiet spots to hide out. I also noticed a lack of any charging points, which struck me as odd.

    The most annoying part of the trip was boarding. We were sent to gate 3, way at the end of the terminal. They queued us up, and then we were sent through a series of walkways separated with chains, outside. We were corralled into small groups as they allowed us to criss-cross between arriving passengers and general traffic, it took us ~40 minutes from the first person handing over a boarding pass to me getting onto the plane, and there was maybe another 5-10 minutes before the plane was closed.

    All in all, I get that it's closer to London city than Stansted, but I think that if LHR isn't an option (usually I fly there unless cost is mental) than I would go back to STN rather than put up with Luton again.

    What do others think? Was I just being overly critical? Or is it a pain in the hole of an airport?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 4,173 Mod ✭✭✭✭Locker10a


    Both Luton and Stansted are both absolute pathetic airport experiences.
    No surprises really when their main users are ultra low cost airlines who’ve no interest in decent product or passenger experience


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭kevinandrew


    Luton is a horrible airport but it was actually much, much worse until very recently. 

    The airport doesn't have a railway station, this much is true, but the shuttle bus journey time is usually much quicker than 10 minutes and the price is included in the train fare so there's nothing sneaky about that in my opinion. There are plans underway to replace the shuttle bus with a light rail people mover, you'll still be required to change onto the mainline Thameslink service at Parkway Station but the journey would at least feel more streamlined and under one roof. 

    The terminal and approach roads have had a major facelift recently but it was far from smooth sailing, the road layout was a disaster and appeared so poorly planned and organised that it made the airport almost unusable during the peak summer months, it was a regular occurrence to see passengers abandoning cars and walking to the terminal due the congestion on the approach roads. It's much better now.

    The terminal itself was a glorified shed, the temporary entrance lasted years and the walk from the carparks was uncovered and completely exposed to the elements and you always had to fight through crowds of smokers before getting inside. The departure lounge is much improved in terms of aesthetics but still lacks space and seating, most people still end up sitting on the floor or staring at the information screens awaiting their gate info so they can escape. 

    The boarding gates are at least a relief from the overcrowding in the lounge but the low ceilings, temporary feel and icy cold stairwells you find yourself waiting inside make for an overall grim experience. Most of this is down to the airline boarding process but the environment really doesn't help. 

    I was a regular user of the airport until this year so haven't seen the latest updates but it was showing promise last time I used it. Luton's largest airlines are Wizz, EasyJet, Ryanair and the holiday carriers so the facilities reflect that and most passengers have low expectations. I certainly wasn't complaining on my £9 flights to various destinations in Eastern Europe!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,593 ✭✭✭theteal


    Luton is closer than Stansted? I’d be of the opinion that they’re much the same distance tbh. Stansted is a nicer airport but they’re trying to force a shopping experience on passengers which just bugs me. City is the best airport for London, it helps being the only airport actually in the city. In saying that I use Southend a lot more these days, mainly because I live a 15 minute train journey away, if only Flybe’s punctuality was in any way decent. It’ll be interesting to see how Ryanair affect things come April.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭kevinandrew


    Luton is about 28 miles from central London while Stansted is about 42 miles away but in terms of driving and public transport, the travel times are very similar.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,086 ✭✭✭Nijmegen


    Shed airports generally are such a pain. I travelled through Lisbon’s LCC terminal recently and it had all the pain you describe in terms of layout and really long queuing arrangements. I think that it’s well worth paying a premium to fly through airports that have a better ground experience, ala LHR / LCY


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭bkehoe


    I prefer LTN to STN as a passenger in general since they made the enhancements to the terminal building.

    If you buy your train ticket to Luton Airport then the shuttle bus transfer is included in your ticket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,895 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Never done Luton, don't really plan to, but Stansted is an absolute hole. Awful place.

    LGW or LCY for me anyday. Sadly, neither are flown to that often from Cork, and so it LHR for me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,593 ✭✭✭theteal


    Luton is about 28 miles from central London while Stansted is about 42 miles away but in terms of driving and public transport, the travel times are very similar.

    Sorry to dwell on this point but those distance differences just didn't balance right in my head so I had to google map it. Stansted to Liv St is 35miles, Luton to Liv St is 34.5miles. That ties in with what I was originally thinking, I can only assume we're aiming for a different part of central London


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,358 ✭✭✭Thephantomsmask


    One advantage Gatwick has for me is being able to get the £8 off peak fare on Southern trains with my oyster card. I remember reading an article that the oyster zone is to be extended to Luton sometime this year, the Thameslink trains can be somewhat expensive if an advance ticket isn't available online and an hour on national express from Baker Street is a pain.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    dulpit wrote: »
    Hey all,

    I flew out of Luton yesterday for the first time, seems to be a new(ish?) route to ORK for Ryanair.

    What a pain of an airport. :mad:

    Firstly, the train doesn't bring you to the airport, but to a station about 10 minutes on the bus from the airport, and that's another £2.40 to get there. I knew this in advance, but still a bit cheeky to have it like that.

    Unlike the handy train station at Cork airport?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,833 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    Aegir wrote: »
    Unlike the handy train station at Cork airport?

    Apples and oranges, I was thinking more like the handy train station at Heathrow. Or Stansted. Or City. Or Gatwick.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭kevinandrew


    theteal wrote: »
    Luton is about 28 miles from central London while Stansted is about 42 miles away but in terms of driving and public transport, the travel times are very similar.

    Sorry to dwell on this point but those distance differences just didn't balance right in my head so I had to google map it. Stansted to Liv St is 35miles, Luton to Liv St is 34.5miles. That ties in with what I was originally thinking, I can only assume we're aiming for a different part of central London

    I may have been a little generous to Luton there but I was thinking more as the crow flies from Charing Cross which is usually regarded as the most central location for London. Obviously not much good for a road or rail comparison which is why actual travel times are near identical but geographically Luton is somewhat closer. 

    As for the airports themselves, Luton claims 32 miles by road and Stansted states 40 miles. Personally I always prefer the drive from Stansted but neither can beat the actual London airports of City and Heathrow.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,339 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    I’ve utalized all of the London airports over the last 10 years or so and I’d rank them this way....

    1. Gatwick
    2. Heathrow
    3. Luton

    100. Stansted

    Gatwick ticks all the boxes in terms of everything really from location, accessing the airport via the comfortable Gatwick Express, friendly, courteous and efficient screening, not 4 miles of retail to navigate through before you get to your gate....


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Strumms wrote: »
    I’ve utalized all of the London airports over the last 10 years or so and I’d rank them this way....

    1. Gatwick
    2. Heathrow
    3. Luton

    100. Stansted

    Gatwick ticks all the boxes in terms of everything really from location, accessing the airport via the comfortable Gatwick Express, friendly, courteous and efficient screening, not 4 miles of retail to navigate through before you get to your gate....

    The “comfortable Gatwick Express”????

    You do realise that standard commuter trains operate those services these days (albeit with Gatwick Express vinyls on the outside), and that for a fraction of the fare that Gatwick Express charge you can travel on an identical train operating a Southern service to/from London that takes no longer in time terms. Even greater savings are available on Thameslink operated services.

    Gatwick Express is nothing more than a tourist rip-off these days and should be avoided unless you’re happy to waste your money.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,699 ✭✭✭Tenzor07


    Didn't think STN was that bad, security que's can be quite long but it moves, though if you get beeped for the full scan procedure it can be a pain, but the design is still better than at DUB.

    Lots of shops and a big waiting area in the middle is great, loads of choices for food and drink, beats Burger King at DUB!

    Last time I went to STN I passed by the DLR stop for LCY, but was still out to STN in less than 2 hours from there, through security and all!


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,339 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    The “comfortable Gatwick Express”????

    You do realise that standard commuter trains operate those services these days (albeit with Gatwick Express vinyls on the outside), and that for a fraction of the fare that Gatwick Express charge you can travel on an identical train operating a Southern service to/from London that takes no longer in time terms. Even greater savings are available on Thameslink operated services.

    Gatwick Express is nothing more than a tourist rip-off these days and should be avoided unless you’re happy to waste your money.

    I’ve done both all be it a while ago. 80% of the Gatwick trips were work trips so it wasn’t exactly my money or indeed wasted more a convenience.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Strumms wrote: »
    I’ve done both all be it a while ago. 80% of the Gatwick trips were work trips so it wasn’t exactly my money or indeed wasted more a convenience.

    Well you’re wasting your employer’s money let’s be honest or does that not count now we aren’t in a recession any more?

    What convenience? The Southern services are as fast.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,339 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    Well you’re wasting your employer’s money let’s be honest or does that not count now we aren’t in a recession any more?

    What convenience? The Southern services are as fast.

    The money isn’t exactly being wasted and everything would need to be accounted for... if a more preferable, efficient and comfortable travel solution is to be found that can take you home within the allocated budget after you have spent 40 hours over the week on your feet delivering training, plus every supplementary task going in another country away from your home, natural comforts, family, friends and loved ones then investing sensibly a little extra in your ease and comfort of getting there and back is right and appropriate for any company who truly values their employees and their wellbeing. It’s not ALL about the bottom line but that seems to be an ongoing process of educational investment to those slower on the uptake to the wellbeing of their employees.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Strumms wrote: »
    The money isn’t exactly being wasted and everything would need to be accounted for... if a more preferable, efficient and comfortable travel solution is to be found that can take you home within the allocated budget after you have spent 40 hours over the week on your feet delivering training, plus every supplementary task going in another country away from your home, natural comforts, family, friends and loved ones then investing sensibly a little extra in your ease and comfort of getting there and back is right and appropriate for any company who truly values their employees and their wellbeing. It’s not ALL about the bottom line but that seems to be an ongoing process of educational investment to those slower on the uptake to the wellbeing of their employees.

    But it isn’t any faster or more comfortable!

    It’s exactly the same rolling stock as Southern operate.

    It takes no longer than Southern operated services.

    Yet you’re paying a premium fare.

    I’m not sure that you’re grasping that.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,700 ✭✭✭tricky D


    I may have been a little generous to Luton there but I was thinking more as the crow flies from Charing Cross which is usually regarded as the most central location for London. Obviously not much good for a road or rail comparison which is why actual travel times are near identical but geographically Luton is somewhat closer.
    LUT vs STN to Liverpool St wouldn't be a good model for comparison. Using airport to main stations generally on the Circle Line would be better: LUT to St Pancras vs STN to Liverpool St. That or CC would be more representative.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,339 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    But it isn’t any faster or more comfortable!

    It’s exactly the same rolling stock as Southern operate.

    It takes no longer than Southern operated services.

    Yet you’re paying a premium fare.

    I’m not sure that you’re grasping that.

    You need not worry about what I’m grasping or otherwise sunshine what I’m relating is from experience and can tell you the extra spend is of value to both me and the company. There is according to the timetables a small difference in the duration of the journey average about 10 mins. 10 mins earlier could save 30 mins if at that later time more people are dropping bags and trying to clear screening...I’d rather that extra 10-30 mins and peace of mind if it meant that I could relax after a long day, security screening etc, could be the difference between being able to grab a nice quick burger after a long day instead of an onboard sandwich. Things happen while on work trips... everyone passing the course first sit I’m sitting at the bar with 3 hours to spare relaxed, a resit or my old prehistoric work laptop dying halfway as happened and I’m racing against the clock to either be at home with friends and family in time for the weekend or on my own in a glamorous airport premier inn on Friday night.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,713 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    From memory, the claimed shorter time *never* happens. The Brighton Main Line is one of the most over-crowded and delay prone lines in the UK. I'd most use it from Gatwick going South but trips to London do happen.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Strumms wrote: »
    You need not worry about what I’m grasping or otherwise sunshine what I’m relating is from experience and can tell you the extra spend is of value to both me and the company. There is according to the timetables a small difference in the duration of the journey average about 10 mins. 10 mins earlier could save 30 mins if at that later time more people are dropping bags and trying to clear screening...I’d rather that extra 10-30 mins and peace of mind if it meant that I could relax after a long day, security screening etc, could be the difference between being able to grab a nice quick burger after a long day instead of an onboard sandwich. Things happen while on work trips... everyone passing the course first sit I’m sitting at the bar with 3 hours to spare relaxed, a resit or my old prehistoric work laptop dying halfway as happened and I’m racing against the clock to either be at home with friends and family in time for the weekend or on my own in a glamorous airport premier inn on Friday night.

    So when was the last time you used a train at Gatwick? You suggested above it was some one ago. By the sounds of it it was the old trains and old timetables at that.

    I’m not sure what timetable you’re looking at as the one I’m looking at right now is showing me equal journey times between the two operators (30-32 mins) at more or less the same frequency (Southern operate 4 trains per hour operating onwards to Brighton or Bognor Regis).

    Suffice to say that I’d happily rather pay £8.50 on Southern or Thameslink rather than be fleeced for £19.80 on Gatwick Express.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 310 ✭✭BlackandGreen


    Heathrow is a horrible airport too to be fair.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Heathrow is a horrible airport too to be fair.

    I don't know - I like Terminal 2 - it's much nicer than the old T1.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,339 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Last time in fairness would have been about two years ago but the timetable I’ve been looking at is in some way reflective of that now. If I value my comfort after a tiring week of work which I do, I think a few quid, ballpark a mere tenner is justified. A company with multi millions in profit and who claim to be a ‘great place to work’ can back up these ‘claims’ with actions and hand in pocket. Not fleeced but a good ‘people investment’ ��


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,709 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer


    Strumms wrote: »
    Last time in fairness would have been about two years ago but the timetable I’ve been looking at is in some way reflective of that now. If I value my comfort after a tiring week of work which I do, I think a few quid, ballpark a mere tenner is justified. A company with multi millions in profit and who claim to be a ‘great place to work’ can back up these ‘claims’ with actions and hand in pocket. Not fleeced but a good ‘people investment’ ��

    Please don’t take this personally, but quite frankly I think you really have no idea clearly of what the service is like now.

    Gatwick Express now operate to/from Brighton using the exact same rolling stock as the Southern services to/from Brighton & Bognor Regis - so no extra comfort anymore on Gatwick Express as it’s now carrying commuters using commuter rail stock.

    At the risk of repeating myself again - there is no 10 minute journey time difference - they all take 30-32 mins.

    They both operate four times an hour approximately 15 minutes.

    Yet anyone taking Gatwick Express can pay more than double the Southern fare.

    There are numerous threads about the Southern / Gatwick Express issue on UK consumer forums and UK railway forums - it’s a rip-off by the UK DfT to fleece tourists. Nothing more and nothing less.

    I stand by my comments - avoid gatwick express!


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,833 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    I don't know - I like Terminal 2 - it's much nicer than the old T1.

    Pity the walk to train station is so much further though...


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,468 ✭✭✭highlydebased



    The airport doesn't have a railway station, this much is true, but the shuttle bus journey time is usually much quicker than 10 minutes and the price is included in the train fare so there's nothing sneaky about that in my opinion. ,

    Only if you buy a train ticket to Luton Airport. If you buy a ticket to Luton Airport Parkway then the bus is a cash fare when you board. I flew back into Luton from summer holidays this year and there were a few surprised folk getting the bus thinking their ticket covered them


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,500 ✭✭✭Jack1985


    Terminal 2 at LHR is a fantastic experience compared to other London Airports... Not sure how regularly some of you fly.


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