The Joys of London City Airport

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

London City AirportIf I had three wishes, one of them might be that all airports could be like London City.

Normally I am not one of those people that believes an airport is part of the travel experience. I view it with intolerance. It is something that has to be endured in order to catch a plane to get where you wish. Until you land and exit the arrival airport, the holiday or trip hasn’t begun. After all, airports are pretty much the same the world over.

For a start, London City isn’t the most convenient to get to. Yes, it is linked by the Docklands Light Railway which is a pretty efficient service but it is in the east of London so you need to allow about forty five minutes from the centre of London to get there. No problem if you are a Londoner but if you come from west or south of London, it can be a real chore. And don’t even think about driving and leaving your car there. Parking costs a fortune, deliberately so because there isn’t much room for parking so I fancy that the rates are deliberately extortionate to keep car drivers away. Expect to pay£49 for  a day’s stay.

Despite that, I would still rather use London City than many others and the reason is that you can get through it quickly. Being located on an island in the River Thames means that it will never grow too large so it shouldn’t fundamentally change from the way it is today. Once you arrive at the airport, there are check-in booths and baggage drop-off points like any other. One through, security checks are upstairs and then you are on the way to the gates. From walking through the doors to the terminal to reaching my gate – on my last trip – it took me eight minutes. And I was there at a busy time – 7am – a time when many daily commuters to major European cities are leaving for a day’s work in Brussels, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and the like. Returning, it took just ten minutes from leaving the plane to standing on the platform to catch the DLR back to central London.

It works efficiently because it is small in passenger numbers and small in area so you don’t have miles of travelators like you do at Gatwick, Heathrow or Manchester. Is it because it primarily caters for business people that it works so smoothly and quickly? Airports that have a similar number of passengers like East Midlands, Liverpool or Newcastle take longer to get through so what does London City do that is better?

Whatever it is I wish they would bottle it and make it more widely available so that I could travel just as easily though other airports.

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