We would like to wish all our readers and followers around the world a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Whether you’re staying at home, travelling for leisure, or on duty, we do hope you get some well deserved rest at some point over the festive period.
The end of 2019 of course rounds off a decade of enormous change in the industry. Aviation continues to prove to be anything but predictable. 2020 is already shaping up to be another significant year of change.
We’re very much looking forward to covering it all and will be previewing the year ahead from Boxing Day.
As thoughts turn to planning for Christmas, here’s our guide to travelling to and from London’s airports over the Christmas and New Year period for 2019
This is based on known information at the time of publication, which may be subject to change at short notice.
For the benefit of visitors to London, Christmas Day is the biggest annual public holiday in the UK.
Public transport in the UK on Christmas Day is extremely limited. Taxis and coaches will be your only option.
Tube, suburban and long-distance rail services also close down much earlier on Christmas Eve – most by around 20:00. Retail outlets at stations will close even earlier.
Most London Underground / Tube lines in London operate on Boxing Day, as will the Docklands Light Railway. For the first time this year, some London Overground services will also operate on Boxing Day. Suburban and long distance rail services do not operate on Boxing Day.
The Christmas and New Year period is also used for extensive engineering work on the UK’s rail network. Engineering work can overrun and encounter unforeseen problems, so there is risk of additional closures at short notice. The latest and most accurate rail timetable information can be found on National Rail Enquiries.
The big unknown over the Christmas period is of course UK weather. London airports have markedly improved their winter weather resilience planning in recent years. However, due to capacity issues, it is inevitable that any severe weather will cause delays and cancellations.
The Gatwick Express and Southern Railway services are due to operate between London Victoria and Gatwick airport on all days throughout Christmas and New Year, apart from on Christmas Day.
Thameslink services between Gatwick and London stations will operate throughout Christmas and New Year, apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
However, revised timetables for all rail operators will operate on some days.
There will be significant disruption to overland rail services to London Heathrow over Christmas.
Due to engineering work closing lines between London Paddington and Slough, there will be significant to disruption to rail services between Paddington and Heathrow. No train services will run at all into and out of London Paddington from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019.
The Heathrow Express non-stop service from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5 will not run from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019.
Trains will run at 30 minute intervals from Saturday 28 December 2019 Monday 30 December 2019. Trains will leave London Paddington at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour and London Heathrow from 12 and 42 minutes past the hour. Trains will also run every 30 minutes at these times before 14:00 on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
TfL Rail’s stopping service (formerly Heathrow Connect) will not run from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 from Tuesday 24 December 2019 to Friday 27 December 2019. Services will be reduced from Saturday 28 December 2019 until 13:00 on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
As is standard practice, there are no Piccadilly Line services to Heathrow on Christmas Day due to the closure of the Tube. It resumes on Boxing Day.
Many are now planning their annual ski trip or a Christmas trip to Lapland or mainland Europe’s markets, so here’s a quick run through of direct winter seasonal routes from London which operate in addition to scheduled year round services.
BA’s winter seasonal service from London Heathrow to Innsbruck resumes three times weekly from Friday 13 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020. Innsbruck also returns at Gatwick from Sunday 8 December 2019 to Friday 24 April 2020, with a decreased frequency of 4 flights a week.
easyJet operates a twice weekly seasonal service from London Gatwick to Klagenfurt on Wednesday and Saturday from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.
BA’s winter seasonal flight from London Heathrow to Salzburg resume, initially four times weekly, from Friday 13 December 2019 until Saturday 28 March 2020. This will complement year round services from Gatwick.
easyJet also operates a four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Salzburg from Friday 6 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.
BA’s seasonal service from London Gatwick to Vienna returns from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Sunday 12 January 2020.
Finnair is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal service from London Gatwick to Ivalo on from Thursday 12 December 2019 to Sunday 22 March 2020
Finnair is also operating a weekly seasonal service from London Gatwick to Kittilä from Sunday 22 December 2019 to Sunday 8 March 2020.
Both of these routes can be booked as codeshares through BA.
easyJet also flying to Rovaniemi on Wednesdays and Sunday from Sunday 17 November 2019 to Wednesday 25 March 2020. Norwegian also flies to Rovaniemi on Monday and Friday until Friday 27 March 2020.
BA is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal flight from London City to Chambery on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 up to Saturday 18 April 2020. There are also four additional weekly flights between Monday 16 December 2019 and Tuesday 24 December 2019.
BA is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal flight from London Stansted to Chambery on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 up to Sunday 19 April 2020.
BA will fly to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport from London Gatwick from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020 with increased frequency of 4 flights a week. and from London Heathrow on Saturdays from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.
easyJet will also fly to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport five times weekly from Friday 13 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2019.
BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Cologne returns from Friday 1 November 2019 to Friday 27 March 2020.
easyJet also operates a seasonal service to Friedrichshafen on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday March 2020. BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Friedrichshafen does not return this year.
BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Nuremberg returns from Friday 29 November 2019 to Monday 6 January 2020.
BA’s winter seasonal route from London City to Reykjavik does not return this year.
easyJet will operate a seasonal service from London Gatwick to Turin up to six times weekly from Friday 6 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.
Heathrow Airport has released its third annual Christmas film, featuring Doris and Edward Bair.
After last year’s “Love At First Flight” film telling their 50 year relationship, Doris and Edward have retired to the warmer climate of Florida Keys.
However, the prospect of spending Christmas alone together eating a Turkey microwave ready meal in a sparsely decorated air conditioned retirement village does not appeal. They make a last minute getaway to return to the UK to see their extended family.
With summer now over many are planning their annual ski trip or a Christmas trip to Lapland or mainland Europe’s markets, so here’s a quick run through of direct winter seasonal routes from London which operate in addition to scheduled year round services.
BA’s formerly winter seasonal service from London Heathrow to Innsbruck now operates year round, including twice daily flights on Saturdays from Saturday 3 November 2018 up to Saturday 30 March 2019. Innsbruck also returns at Gatwick five times weekly from Saturday 8 December 2018 to Sunday 14 April 2019.
easyJet operates a twice weekly seasonal service from London Gatwick to Klagenfurt on Wednesday and Saturday from Saturday 15 December 2018 to Saturday 23 March 2019.
BA is operating a four times weekly winter seasonal flight from London Heathrow to Salzburg on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sunday 16 December 2018 to Saturday 30 March 2019. This will complement year round services from Gatwick.
easyJet also operates a four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Salzburg from Friday 7 December 2018 to Saturday 23 March 2019.
BA’s seasonal service from London Gatwick to Vienna returns from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Friday 29 March 2019.
Here’s our guide to summer seasonal long-haul and short-haul routes from London Heathrow for 2018. Featuring new and returning routes to the USA, The Seychelles, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Over the past few years London Heathrow has progressively built up a quite substantial portfolio of summer seasonal routes, primarily short-haul routes to Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal from BA. So here’s our guide to Heathrow’s summer seasonal routes.
Why do all these leisure routes operate from Heathrow when we hear of the airport pleading for a third runway to open new international destinations? Well, business travel is seasonal and BA can make more money using off-peak departure slots in August to send an aircraft full of passengers to Mykonos rather than half-empty to Frankfurt! BA also has a lot more slots to play with since it acquired bmi British Midland in 2012.
London City airport has long carved itself a niche for passengers wishing to avoid the crowds of London Gatwick and Heathrow and the increasingly crampt Airbus aircraft that are the workhorses of short-haul travel in Europe. In recent years, summer seasonal routes have become increasingly popular for both airlines and passengers. So here’s our guide to summer seasonal routes for 2018
With CityJet in retreat, BA now dominates the airport and particularly seasonal routes. CityJets’s former summer seasonal routes to Avignon and Toulon are not currently showing as available for booking in 2018.
On BA at London City you do benefit from 2-2 seating, more legroom and complimentary catering over Gatwick and Heathrow. The one downside is that London City is closed to passenger flights from Saturday to Sunday afternoon.
Many BA routes are also served by one or more of London Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. It is of course possible to “mix and match” London departure and arrival airports in one booking if that is convenient.
Such is the nature of seasonal routes, it’s not possible to give precise timetable information as timings vary by day. Frequencies can also vary between the shoulder and peak summer season. Also note that routes are subject to change according to commercial demand and operational needs.
Now that Christmas is over thoughts turn to travel plans for the coming months. With many planning their next ski trip or an escape from the British winter weather, here’s a quick run through of direct winter seasonal routes from London which operate in addition to scheduled year round services.
British Airways is to launch another summer seasonal route from London Heathrow, to the Greek island of Kefalonia.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Kefalonia twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays between Tuesday 15 May and Saturday 6 October 2018. Flights will be operated using Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class, Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy configuration.
This latest route launches comes on top of recent announcements to Almeria and Corsica.
BA has also confirmed that summer seasonal routes to Ibiza, Mykonos, Oblia and Split will return next summer with increased frequencies. A large number of other summer seasonal routes will also return including Corfu, Kalamata, Murcia, Santorini and Zante. Three Heathrow routes that are not returning are Biarritz, Kos and Montpellier. Please see here for our full guide to summer seasonal routes at London Heathrow.