Deplorable Gatwick ExpressBack to Forum
Anonymous29 Sep 2015
Last Thursday (24 September) I had an early departure from LGW. My minicab deposited me at London Victoria in good time for the 04.30 Gatwick Express service … which was cancelled. No driver.
This is completely unacceptable. A train service to an airport must be reliable. Maybe a landslide or an earthquake would be an acceptable excuse – but staff shortage?
I caught the flight, thanks to a charming and efficient uber driver who got four of us to the airport in time.
To add insult to injury, the Gatwick Express website is particularly unhelpful about claiming a refund. It tells you to log in, and then press a particular button – which I cannot find.29 Sep 2015
The earliest your flight could’ve been was 0720 to AMS. So there was still plenty of time to either catch the next GEX or jump on a Southern service (the first of which arrives at 0549).29 Sep 2015
These last two posts are amongst the oddest I have seen on this forum.
For a start “the earliest your flight could’ve been was 0720 to AMS”. I have just looked at the departure board for LGW this morning, and there are more than 50 flights before 0720. I did not say which of those earlier flights was mine. There is no 0720 service from LGW to AMS.
“Why not just hop on a Southern service instead?” Well, the first Southern service available left at 0502, and if taking that I mught just as well have waited for the 0500 Gatwick Express, timed to arrive 14 minutes before the Southern train.
“Your refund – did you buy it on their website?” Yes, I did – which is why I am looking there to find the link. No doubt it is there, but not exactly obvious.
Both posts ignore the important point I was making. If a train operator advertises a train to an airport at 0430, they should do everything possible to make it run30 Sep 2015
Clearly not read this forum for long if you think these are the oddest.
So – why didn’t you just hop on the next Gatwick Express then, rather than the next Southern which would have been a back-up?30 Sep 2015
“So – why didn’t you just hop on the next Gatwick Express then, rather than the next Southern which would have been a back-up?”
This the type of question that ‘enquiring minds’ like to ask on Flyertalk 😉
The answer seems obvious.30 Sep 2015
@Fairbs2380 – always amusing to see a first time poster make such a hash of it. Plenty of flights before 7.30.
I believe the point the OP was making was that at that time of day when trains are every 30 mins you should be able to rely on them. Probably a toss up between Uber and waiting 30 mins for the next service – I guess it depends on flight time. If flying from North terminal you also need the shuttle and it can get tight on the train.30 Sep 2015
SimonS1 – 30/09/2015 08:05 BST
I agree with you, at 0430, it would take about an hour to Gatwick with Uber and 30 mins waiting for the Express plus 30 min journey – IF there was a driver.
Had I been in the same position as DavidGordon10, Uber would have looked the better choice.30 Sep 2015
Agree with Davidgordon that on a service such as the Gatwick Express staff shortages as a reason for cancellation is really really poor.
I use the Heathrow Express weekly to LHR and whilst i’ve never had a cancellation due to staff shortages i’ve encountered many a delay due to signal failures, broken down trains etc etc. I’ve learned to never rely on the last possible scheduled service to get me to the airport just in time for my flight. I always make sure I take an earlier service just in case. I also check the Heathrow Express website/Twitter feed just before leaving home so I can take my alternative route (the tube sob) if need be.30 Sep 2015
To be honest, train cancellations can happen at any time, anywhere. Without wishing to sound smug I always build in additional time if at all possible to avoid this sort of thing. In this instance I’d have aimed for the 0400 train, just in case.
Unacceptable however that the OP can’t get a refund easily.30 Sep 2015
I had a similar problem earlier in the year, panicked thinking there might be a knock-on, and the three of us jumped in the nearest cab. £105 later we arrived at Gatwick. I’m departing from Gatwick next Monday and am definitely going to build in much more time to get there this time – I’ve checked the times from London Bridge (where I will be on Monday afternoon), so hoping to get a direct service from there. I’m not a Gatwick fan to be honest.30 Sep 2015
Sorry to hear about this issue. However, I believe it does serve to highlight that “flying from London” is not as quick and easy as the airport operators would like us to think. The bigger the airport, the higher are passengers’ expectations – and potential disappointment when things go wrong.30 Sep 2015
@Speedbird_ABZ – worth keeping an eye on London Bridge. Some trains are bypassing it and going via Elephant & Castle due to the redevelopment. Also some trains down to Brighton (mainly Thameslink) are being cancelled due to lack of drivers.
The frequency is regular so you will be ok but the services running are a bit more crowded.30 Sep 2015