JetBlue will fly to London Heathrow and Gatwick: Which route should you choose?

May 19, 2021

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JetBlue made waves on Wednesday when it announced that its long-awaited service to London would fly to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The airline will begin flying from New York’s JFK to London Heathrow (LHR) on Aug. 11, and from JFK to London Gatwick (LGW) on Sept. 29. The carrier will add flights from Boston to London in summer 2022, though it was not immediately clear whether the airline would fly from there to both London locations.

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From New York, the flight to Heathrow, JetBlue Flight 7, will depart JFK at 10:10 p.m. before arriving to London at 10:10 a.m., all times local. The return, Flight 20, is scheduled for a daily 6:10 p.m. departure, arriving back to JFK at 9:43 p.m.

That’s a relatively late departure from New York, but it also means a shorter wait between landing and hotel check-in times for jetlagged vacationers.

Meanwhile, the flight to Gatwick, JetBlue Flight 43, is scheduled to depart daily at 7:50 p.m., arriving at 7:55 a.m., offering an earlier arrival for those looking to attend meetings or make use of a full first day on the ground. The return departs Gatwick at noon, arriving to JFK at 3:33 p.m.

More: JetBlue announces long-awaited flights to London

JetBlue will operate out of Terminal 2 at Heathrow, and the North terminal at Gatwick.

If you’re indifferent to the late vs. early departure, the choice of which airport to fly into largely comes down to where you’re ultimately traveling to, and how you plan to get there.

If you’re planning to stay in London, you could go either way. Both airports are fairly easy to get to from central London, with express trains available.

Generally, though, Heathrow has significantly better connections into the London area.

The Heathrow Express runs about every 15 minutes, and takes just 15 to 20 minutes to get to London’s Paddington rail station, where you can connect to the Hammersmith and City, Bakerloo, and District and Circle lines on the Underground.

More: Paris is reopening June 9 – here’s how to fly there for just 40,000 miles round-trip

Heathrow also connects directly to the Piccadilly line. It can take about an hour to get to central London, but it’s much less expensive. The Piccadilly line also connects to Kings Cross station, helpful if you want to connect to a train to a variety of other sites around the U.K.

If you want to splurge for a cab, fares from Heathrow can cost around £100 ($142) and — depending on traffic — take up to an hour to central London, which is about 13 miles away.

The Gatwick Express connects to Victoria station, also centrally located, and also runs as often as every 15 minutes, but this train takes a bit longer than the Heathrow Express.

However, the Gatwick Express also connects to several other stations across London, as well as to the Thameslink, offering easy transit to the main City of London, the city’s busy financial and historic center. The Thameslink also connects to a wide range of communities around and outside of central London, ranging from Brighton to Luton and Cambridge, while several other British train lines, including the Southern and Great Western Railway, also connect to Gatwick Station.

Taxis to or from Gatwick will be pricier, as the airport is nearly 25 miles outside of central London.

If you’re planning to connect elsewhere in the U.K. or Europe, then it’s best to consider the airline connection options at both airports.

Heathrow, the main gateway to the U.K., is home to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and a wide range of long-haul international carriers.

Gatwick, however, has a major advantage: it’s the main hub for EasyJet, the British ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC). Other ULCCs like Ryanair and Vueling also service Gatwick.

That means that if you’re looking to self-connect onward to Europe, Gatwick may be the better choice.

More: London Heathrow vs. Gatwick: Which airport should I fly into?

In terms of lounges, JetBlue hasn’t shared its plans yet. However, both Heathrow Terminal 2, and Gatwick’s North terminal, have Priority Pass lounges: the Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow, and the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick. That latter is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, though it’s scheduled to reopen on May 21, according to Priority Pass. Passengers flying into Heathrow can also access the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge with Priority Pass, although it’s also temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

While there have been reports that Plaza Premium is removing some of its locations from the Priority Pass program, there is no word as to whether the Heathrow locations are among those on the chopping block. The Arrivals lounge only joined the Priority Pass network in 2020.

Ultimately, which airport you choose comes down to where you’re final destination is, what train lines you need to connect to, and whether you plan to venture onward past London.

Featured image by Hollie Adams/Getty Images

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