4 reasons to fly to the East Coast of America from Gatwick instead of Heathrow

Jan 21, 2020

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When planning a trip to America’s East Coast, you might automatically search for flights from Heathrow as there are so many flights every day with various airlines. But next time you’re thinking of popping across the Atlantic, consider Gatwick. Here’s why we think it’s a good alternative.

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1. It’s easier than you think to get to

Getting to Gatwick is easier than you may think, and can even be quicker than getting to Heathrow. The train is probably your best bet, as there are several options — Gatwick Express, Southern Rail and Thameslink all depart from various stations across London. The journey will take you around 30 to 45 minutes depending on which route you take — the fast train from London Bridge can even get you there in less than half an hour. The journey is a sure improvement on the hour or more trundling along on the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow.

2. Gatwick has smaller, easier-to-navigate terminals

Airports can be daunting at the best of times, especially super hubs like Amsterdam (AMS), Dubai (DXB) and Heathrow (LHR). Unlike Heathrow with its four terminals, Gatwick only has two — and they’re small in comparison. What does that mean? In many cases, an improved experience before you get on your flight. Smaller terminals with fewer passengers equals less time spent waiting around at check-in and security — more time to relax!

Related reading: What are the best European airports to connect in? 

Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy
One of Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-200 (G-VMIK) being prepped for a flight. (Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

3. Gatwick has one of TPG U.K.’s favourite lounges

If you’re flying out of South Terminal, the Clubrooms lounge is up there with one of TPG U.K.’s favourites. Access is £38 when booked in advance, but if you already have a Priority Pass — which you can get for free by being a cardholder of the Platinum Card from American Express U.K. — there is a smaller £15 surcharge.

Related reading: 10 things to do when you get the Platinum Card from American Express

4. Virgin and Delta are about to start new routes

There will soon be more options for Virgin Atlantic and Delta frequent flyers, as both airlines will each be launching daily flights to destinations on the East Coast.

First up, Virgin will be launching its first-ever flight to New York (JFK) from Gatwick Airport on 21 May. The route will be operated by the airline’s A330-200 aircraft. TPG U.K. has recently reviewed the -300 version of this aircraft in both economy and premium economy. The schedule for the flights is as follows:

  • VS193 London (LGW) 1:30 a.m. departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 4:15 p.m. arrival.
  • VS194 New York (JFK) 7:30 p.m. departure ⇒ London (LGW) 7:50 a.m arrival (+1)

The second new flight is to Boston (BOS), operated by Delta. The inaugural flight will be on 22 May and will be operated by the narrow-bodied Boeing 757 with the following schedule:

  • DL113 London (LGW) 11:00 a.m. departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 1:28 p.m. arrival.
  • DL112 Boston (BOS) 8:46 p.m. departure ⇒ London (LGW) 8:45 a.m. arrival (+1)

Both routes can earn you Flying Club miles. For a one-way ticket in economy from LGW to BOS, you can expect to pay 15,000 Flying Club miles + £108, and 47,500 miles + £318 for Upper Class.

Related reading: The best Priority Pass lounges at Heathrow

(Image courtesy of Virgin)

The added bonus of flying the route from Gatwick to JFK with Virgin is that it is flown by one of the carrier’s refurbished aircraft, which feature improvements in each of Virgin’s three cabins. For a one-way economy award ticket, you can expect to pay 10,000 Flying Club miles + £167.

(Image courtesy of Virgin)

Bottom line

With lots of easy options to get there, cheaper train fares than the Heathrow Express and more manageable terminals, Gatwick is a bit of an unsung hero. Add the new Virgin routes, and you’re on to a winner for getting to the East Coast of America.

Featured photo by Phoenix0031/Getty Images

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