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United Kingdom Travel Guide

United Kingdom — Airports

London Heathrow International Airport

The United Kingdom is well-stocked with a network of international and domestic airports, with Heathrow Airport in the West London suburbs its main artery. It’s the third busiest air hub in the world, and one of the most infuriating, according to travel surveys. Its flagship carrier is British Airways and the facility handles over 70 million passengers a year.

Main carriers include American Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, offering flights to and from all major US cities. The complex has five terminals, with Terminal 5 exclusive for British Airways and Iberia and the rest split between various airline alliances.

Banks, ATMs, Wi-Fi, currency exchange, assistance for disabled passengers, shops, coffee bars and eateries are found in all terminals. Airside VIP, airline and business lounges, duty-free stores and designer outlets such as Dolce and Gabbana, Tiffany, Jimmy Choo, Harrods, and Gucci are complemented by a selection of bars, cafés and restaurants. Ground transportation in the UK is by Tube, train, bus, coach, taxi or rental car.

London Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest international airport, situated in West Sussex county about 30 miles (48 kms) from the center of London. Annual passenger throughput is around 36 million a year, and the airport is a major hub for flights by low-cost and charter carriers. The complex has two terminals, a rail station and excellent facilities, although it’s exceptionally crowded in the high season.

US airways flies to Charlotte, with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offering flights to Las Vegas. Aer Lingus flies to Belfast in Northern Ireland, with flights to St Petersburg ad Beijing offered By Aeroflot and Air China. Most European cities can be accessed from here, as can the Mediterranean and North African destinations.

Passenger facilities in the terminals include banking, currency exchange, ATMs, Wi-Fi, a good selection of eateries, coffee shops, and bars. Assistance for the disabled is provided, as are family rooms. Airside you’ll find duty free stores, more restaurants, fashion outlets, and car rental for arriving passengers. Onward transportation is by overground rail to London and the south coast, taxis, airport shuttle, or local buses.

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