I'm landing in Heathrow (from Toronto) and want to book a flight out of Luton how much time will I need to allow to between flights
You will need to clear immigration where the queues are usually lengthy and then collect luggage. I would allow at least 90 minutes to two hours to do this. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports that you can pass through. Luton Airport is not far away in terms of distance but when you account for traffic that can add significantly on to your travel time, especially if you take the M25 into account which can be incredibly slow at times. Again I would allow for at least 90 minutes at best but to be safe I would allow fort 2 hours. You then need to take into account the time you will need to check in at Luton, if you are flying within the UK then you need to be at the airport a minimum of an hour, European flights allow for 2 hours.
You should allow a lot of time, imo, for the reasons given above. Not only is Heathrow a hugely busy airport but also traffic congestion on the M25 is commonplace and can be very bad. And there are also *massive* roadworks on the M1 at the turn off to Luton airport, causing huge amounts of congestion there as well.
So...allow around 90 minutes from Heathrow landing time (which is touchdown time, not gate time) to be landside at the airport.
The simplest way to travel between airports is to use the National Express Heathrow>Luton Airport bus. Buses are fairly frequent, with a journey time (in theory) from 1h 20m from Heathrow Central bus station....but unless you are travelling before 7am after 7pm I would allow much more time for potential traffic congestion:
You should aim to be at Luton at least 2 hours before departure. Although bag-drop will close 40 minutes or so beforehand, Luton security is notoriously busy and crowded...so much so that I've written a tip about it:
[original VT link]
If you don't want to spend 4GBP getting a 'priority' ticket for security from the machines then you should allow at least 45 minutes to get through. You may be lucky and get through more quickly...it all depends on the day and time of day. Some gates at Luton are up to 15 minutes' walk from the departure lounge, so you need to allow for that as well.
If it were me, I'd allow at least 7 hours between landing time and departure time as an absolute minimum and, if I were travelling from Heathrow to Luton during commuter times (roughly 7-9.30 and 4.30-7) I'd want to allow longer.
Note: the airport's website today is advertising: "Major roadworks on approach to London Luton Airport" - so add this to Clare's list of impediments if you are going in the next few weeks (months?)...
The simplest connection will be to take the National Express bus from Heathrow T5 direct to Luton Airport.. However, I imagine that this route will involve a lot of the M25. Clare's comment above that the M25 "can be incredibly slow at times" is optimistic...because it can be stopped DEAD at rush hour...hahaha.
The bus is at least 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes - and that's not counting for traffic. The bus does appear to do a pickup at T5. It leaves every half hour to an hour (varies during the day).
All in all, I would give it at least 5 to 6 hours to go from A to B...London does not make it quick nor easy to transfer between airports...
It's funny, J...your post was 13 minutes old when I posted mine...but I swear that I didn't take 13 minutes to write mine (i.e., I didn't see your post when I started typing)...I wonder if there is a time delay sometimes on posts???
Oh, shawnaka, honestly, I might be inclined to go with J's 7 hours...my 5 to 6 hours could be optimistic...which should give you a thought...how much money are you really saving by going to Luton? Think about it - you are blowing an entire day in the transfer from Heathrow to Luton. Is it really worth it? Or is there a flight out of Heathrow that may be more expensive, but well worth the fact that you won't spend all day in transit?
It is weird how posts appear, Bill...13 minutes seems a long gap though.
Yes, the roadworks are massive (I flew in and out of Luton last week) and will carry on until mid-2015. The M1 can be a nightmare at the best of times but these roadworks are causing great congestion not only on the motorway itself (narrow lanes and reduced speed limits) but also on the road leading from the motorway to the airport, which is packed with cones and, in parts, reduced from two lanes to one (it's a dual carriageway).
Add to that the fact that there is only one way into and out of the airport drop-off area, which all buses, coaches, taxis, shuttles and cars have to use, and you can see why I advise more time rather than less.
It's probable that the OP is flying onwards with a budget carrier, so being on time for check-in/bag drop and gate is even more essential. Budget carriers do not wait.
Luton airport traffic has been bad for several years now...which is why I wrote the tip below...but these new roadworks have made an iffy situation much worse:
[original VT link]
By the way, shawnaka....the M25 is commonly known as the world's longest car park. :-(
If your timing is dubious, it might be worth going with Bill's suggestion of checking for flights out of Heathrow...or even thinking about staying overnight and flying on from Luton the next day.
Personally speaking the last thing I'd want to do after a transatlantic flight is get on a bus round the M25. I'd take the train into London Paddington and have a bite to eat and maybe a beer and then take the tube to St Pancras and get the train from there out to Luton Airport. It's still going to take six/seven hours but at least you get a chance to stretch your legs and catch a bit of London.
That's a good alternative, John.
I'd just note, in case the OP decides to take this route, that Luton Airport Parkway railway station is some distance from the terminal.
There are free (if you have a rail ticket) shuttle buses to and from the station. The journey should, in theory, take 10 minutes but....guess what...they can and do still get stuck in any congestion on the road which leads to the airport from the M1. So, again, allow plenty of time if you take the into-London-and-out-again route.
heh heh, that's why, John, I said that the bus is the SIMPLEST thing to do...no connections...yikes, 10 hour transatlantic flight with little sleep, then take a train into London and have a BEER...hahaha, they'll be lucky if they're compos mentis after that point ;-)
For someone who knows what they're doing, that could be a good and fun alternative, but I guess we don't know the OP's background...
Thanks very much to all who answered - It seemed from the National Express website like it might have been doable but I am now sure flying into Heathrow and out of Luton would not be worth a days transit and all the hassle ... I'll check flights again for another option . Cheers !
In theory it is certainly do-able, and still is if you allow enough time. But once one factors in the 'normal' potential M25/M1 congestion plus the present mega-roadworks around Luton airport it becomes much more iffy.
I hope you manage to find an alternative. :-)