Setting out on any long journey can be a stressful and difficult experience. When your trip includes international air travel, the worries can multiply and seem almost overwhelming. You will be spending enough time thinking about whether you locked the door or remembered to turn the oven off, as well as double and triple checking that you have your passport that we want to take all the stress away from having to worry about how you will communicate and work when you are at the airport. If you are leaving on a business trip, it is even more important that you are able to relax and concentrate on work rather than worrying about the mundane and simple tasks that can often distract for more important things.
Wi-Fi is fast becoming the norm in a large number of public areas, and airports are no exception. In fact, if you arrived at an airport you would probably be more shocked to find that there was no wireless internet support than you would if all the planes were running on time and there were no queues at the check-in desk. Many people, especially people using their laptop, tablet or smart phone for business use, rely on there being Wi-Fi available in order for them to work as the wait for their flights.
In order to help you organise your time and your resources effectively, we have put together a handy guide that allows you to easily see what kind of charges you can expect to pay at the major airports in London. If you are staying in a budget hotel in London on a business trip then this information will be vital for you to help you work out your schedule on the day your are due to fly.
The lesser known Southend airport is one of the best airports in London for free Wi-Fi. If you are travelling to Ireland and selected European cities, it may be worth flying from this airport as you will get 2 hours free Wi-Fi before charges set in.
Stansted is the next best option, and as this airport serves many destinations within Europe, it could be the number one choice for business travel with 1 hour free Wi-Fi. As this is the base for the airline Ryanair means that there are always many budget flights available from here.
Stansted is also the home of Harrods Air, and allows VIP access to London. For example, when Barak Obama visited the UK in 2009, it was into Stansted Airport that the US government’s private jet, Air Force One, landed.
The two largest airports in London, Heathrow and Gatwick, both have free wireless internet for 45 minutes. At Heathrow there is an option to purchase more at a lower rate depending on how long you intend to stay at the airport. Gatwick is the base for many budget airlines including Flybe and Easyjet and as such serves many long and short haul destinations. Being the 10th busiest airport in Europe means that many people will be using the Wi-Fi as it is one of the top destinations for business flyers. Heathrow is the 3rd largest airport in the world, and is the base for the world famous and iconic British Airways. Mostly being the chosen airport for long haul destinations, there will be many people taking advantage of the Wi-Fi as they wait for long connecting flights or simply pass the time in an airport notorious for long delays and even longer queues.
The busiest long haul flight in the world is the route between London and New York, with almost 4 million people per year making the journey. People flying to London from New York may well be connecting to fly onto other European destinations. While they are at Heathrow however, they will be able to make use of the free Wi-Fi before continuing on, whether that be onto another flight or simply staying in London. Many of the people will be there on business trips and will want to work, catching up on emails having been in the air for 10 hours or maybe a family with teenagers who can’t wait to tell the world that they have landed using social media networks. Either way if they are travelling from abroad, they will not want to use expensive data packages as roaming data can be very expensive.
By far the most expensive airport in terms of Wi-Fi is Luton. This moderately busy hub is the 42nd busiest airport in Europe and if you find yourself waiting there you will get 30 minutes of free W-Fi before having stump up £3 per hour after that.
It is quite clear that there are big differences between the costs of Wi-Fi in the airports across London. Unfortunately, your choice of airport is usually pre-determined by the dates you wish to travel, your destination and your chosen airline. Having said that, if there is a small degree of flexibility, and you can fly from Southend or Stansted, you can take advantage of 1 or 2 hours of free Wi-Fi, which should be enough to see you through until boarding unless there are delays or you like to arrive with more than a couple of hours spare.
The costs also need to be weighed up against various other factors such as parking, transport to and from the airport, as well as the cost of any budget hotels in London nearby; it would be pointless to pay extra for flights in order to save £3 on Wi-Fi, especially if you have an inclusive data plan and can use 4G instead.