Thursday, 9 June 2011
London Gatwick Airport (or the first circle of hell)
There is probably no other part of London and its environs that is as unloved as Gatwick Airport. Consisting of two terminals, located some 30 miles to the south of Central London, this is actually the second busiest airport in the UK and the ninth busiest in Europe, despite the fact that it is London's second airport. Yes, it is true. The British like to fly. It holds a few other records. It is the busiest single runway airport in the world, it was the first airport to build a satellite terminal and it was the first airport in the world with a direct rail link.
Can I just say, despite the breathtaking vision of connecting a city to an airport (ridiculous to think that forty years ago, Gatwick was unique in this), today, getting between Gatwick and Central London by rail is utter crap. Thanks to the privatisation of the UK's railways, the amount of choice is astounding, and likewise the amount you will pay will take your breath away. In total, there are 3 different services to the centre of town. The Gatwick Express to Victoria (direct and fast), the Southern Railway Service to Victoria (it takes ten minutes longer, but is a lot cheaper) and the Thameslink to London Bridge and St Pancras (cost price between the two and just as fast). There are also local trains to destinations across South London, over the river and towards the coast, but again, it is costly and the frequencies are at the whim of the railway companies.
But let me get back to the airport. I do not mind Gatwick, but I certainly would not be singing its praises from the rooftops. I have used this airport, both of its temrinals, far too many times. During my younger days, before Heathrow was truly opened up, I was there a lot as it was where most of flights to places like Seychelles and Sri Lanka left from. As the planes got bigger and the rules surrounding Fortress Heathrow were lifted, Gatwick changed from a major port of call in the international trade to a major port of call in the European Low Cost trade. And due to its location to where I live in South London, if I have a low cost flight, it is the first place I will pick. I have now used it twice this year, and I have planned another trip later this year, to depart from Gatwick.
So, yeah, it is not Luton. But, it is not exactly great either. I am not sure why, but for some reason, I do not have a real love for the place. Maybe it is because every scumbag from South London is heading out on their cheap flight to f**k some girl who also lives in South London but is holidaying in Spain, because it is just so hard to get laid while surfing the net for pornography in their own homes (wow, that's a bitter line Charlie - Ed). Maybe it is because Gatwick is forever being enhanced for the visitor experience, but there is still no place to get a decent bit of food (McTea, McSandwich and McShite will induce airsickness). Maybe it is the dread of encountering the local branch of the we hate colour and dirty foreign people league who also check your passports when arriving in the country (one terminal at the UK's second busiest airport had a total of seven immigration guards yesterday - think about it).
Okay, so I am back in the UK. And I would have to say that it was a great holiday. Where to? Oh, that little thing. Well, I will tell you all on Monday. While the break was short, I think I have found a new favourite country.