* Prices may differ from that shown
I think I must have come across the same member of staff as the previous reviewer. I got off the train at Gatwick recently, scanned my ticket and passed through the barrier and was called back by the staff member on the barrier demanding to see my ticket. My husband who hadn't yet gone through the barrier asked him what the problem was, and without the person even looking at my ticket he said "her ticket's not valid, she just followed someone else through the barrier"...then he looked at my ticket and gave it back to me. When I took it, he said "don't snatch", and then said something which I didn't hear as I walked away. I went back and asked him what he'd said, to which he replied "you''re an ignorant person". I asked him for his name and he refused, covered up his badge and said "what's your name?". I went to the Gatwick Express Info desk and asked how to make a complaint. The person I spoke to said he was the Duty Manager and would deal with the matter personally, took my details and said he'd get back to me. I've heard nothing since. Obviously this sort of thing happens regularly as the previous reviewer has witnessed. The staff are allowed to get away with this behaviour because nothing is done when you make a complaint. Imagine if I'd been a first time visitor to this country and was treated like that. What an awful first impression of the country this would have given. This matter needs to be taken seriously and appropriate action taken against those responsible.
I've used the Gatwick Express service for 3 return trips and one single from Gatwick airport to London Victoria now and have very mixed opinions on the service. It is convenient that the ticket is open (my only reason for using the service). This means that if you are flying into Gatwick airport and have any delays on your flight you will be able to jump on any Gatwick express train whereas pre-booking some cheaper trains may limit you to one specific train time and if you miss it you will have to purchase a new ticket.
This happened to me on one occasion, when flying from Gatwick I got stuck in traffic getting to London Victoria due to a Syrian embassy protest and a 15 minute bus journey took 2 hours, 2 buses, a walk and a train. Luckily I had left plenty of time to get something to eat etc. so I made the flight but missed the train and had to buy a new ticket.
On this occasion I used the Gatwick express and as soon as I got on the train I was told there was a delay (not what we needed when we were already late), luckily this was only a few minutes and we got to the airport in time.
The Gatwick Express is a train goes directly from Gatwick Airport to London Victoria. A train leaves every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes except on Sundays when it takes 35 (I'm not complaining over 5 minutes but I wonder what the reason for this is, is there a slower train speed limit on a Sunday?).
The train station is in the South Terminal of Gatwick airport, if your flight is in the North Terminal there is a free shuttle bus to take you to and from the South Terminal.
If there's a group of you travelling you can get 3 or 4 tickets for the price of 2 which makes the service much better value. You can't get the group offer by paying on the train so either get your tickets online or in the ticket office.
If you have a railcard you are entitled to 1/3 off the ticket price
Another "great offer" is that you save money by booking a day return, which is useless to most commuters as it can only be used after 9.35. Nice one.
Another "great offer" is that childrens tickets are half of the adult fare BUT only for children up to the age of 15. So if you're travelling with 16 year old children they are classed as adults.
Anytime Single - £17.90
Anytime Return - £30.80 (lasts one month)
Day Return - £23.80
If that's not pricey enough, opt for First Class and blow a few more pennies:
Anytime Single - £26.00
Anytime Return - £50.00 (one month)
Day Return - £30.00
This is the part that annoys me, I think it is a lot of money if you are travelling alone or as a couple, group discounts are available so it isn't too bad if there are a few of you.
The First Capital Connect service offers a similar service from Gatwick airport to Kings Cross costing only £18 return for only a slightly longer trip
Other trains where you are restricted to a certain time can be bought from only £5 each way, if you miss the train for some reason you will have to fork out for a new ticket though.
For those who use this route regularly you can buy a Carnet which gives you 10 tickets for the price of 8 and are valid for a year.
ON THE TRAIN
The trains are pretty basic, due to the fact that they are fairly frequent I've found them pretty quiet during the day but I did get on one which was overcrowded but this was at peak time for commuters and I expect all transport would be busy at these times. There isn't as much luggage room as I would have expected for a service which runs from an airport.
The toilets have always been clean, as have the trains in general, when I have used them.
There is no refreshment service on this train, which I wasn't bothered about as I didn't expect one for a short journey.
Every time I have used this service the staff have been appalling. They scrutinise the tickets when you get off the train, trying to catch tourists who've got on the Gatwick Express instead of another Gatwick to Victoria train not realising that many trains operate the same route and charge them. I've witnessed this whilst trying to get out of the Gatwick Express turnstiles on numerous occasions until one day it was my turn. I accidentally gave them a Kings Cross to York ticket on one occasion (I had several train tickets in my purse for various journeys that weekend) and the SCREECHING that went on from the member of staff was unbelievable! I apologised for being disorganised and told him I'd locate the correct one and got a big over exaggerated tut in response. I did what I usually do when I experience people behaving like idiots and started laughing, this seemed to anger this particular member of staff even more. I tried to tell him to calm down, it was all going to be okay and I would find the correct ticket immediately and this just made things worse!
He started ranting and raving about how people were always trying to "pull a fast one" and I just continued to laugh. I found the correct ticket, he threw it back at me and let me escape the through the turnstile before picking on someone else!
I won't make that mistake again! This was one of several occasions where I have seen the staff being rude to people. On my first ever trip to Gatwick airport I asked a man in a Gatwick Express coat when the next Gatwick Express train was due and he told me to "look at the board" and walked off. The board wasn't working. I'm not simple.
The service seems efficient, it is frequent and has been reliable whenever I have used it. Other than a bit more luggage space needed the trains are fine. The cost and staff put me off using the service again though. When there are cheaper trains services are available I'm always going to choose them so unless the Gatwick Express is going to reduce their prices I can't see me using them again.
The Gatwick express runs every 15 minutes between Gatwick airport and London Victoria, and has a journey time of about 30 mins. The service has no stops and so is marginally faster than taking the normal train.
The train is very comfortable and modern, with plenty of luggage space. A regular trolley service runs on the train, meaning that you can pick up something to eat or drink if you are in a hurry.
All announcements on the train are multi-lingual which is helpful if English isn't your first language.
All of this comes at a price though, with a single ticket currently selling for £16 online or £18 if you buy on the day. Yep, that's right. £18 for a 30 minute train journey. You might well end up spending more on the train to get you to central London than you did on your flight.
This compares to catching the regular train that only costs £5.30. Yes, you might have to put up with more stops, but some trains only stop at East Croydon and Clapham Junction so the journey time is only about 40 mins. For saving over £10, I think I can put up with two stops and 10 mins extra journey.
In a day and age that travelling from A to B can be a painful and somewhat financially expensive experience, its good to know on the occasional times that you need to get to a major transportation hub that something like the Gatwick Express actually exists. With Gatwick Airport on the main London to Brighton line and located on the Surrey/ Sussex border the Airport couldn't be located in a better place as it relatively equidistance from Brighton as well as Central London at around 26 miles in either direction and I have to say as a resident living in the nearby area that it is well served with trains, busses and coaches. The Gatwick Express is simply what it says on the label, an express service that runs non-stop through South London from London Victoria direct to Gatwick Airport. The journey time is always scheduled at 35 minutes, however when I have used this as a commuter to get to or from work the train always seems to pull in to its destination early rather than later. The trains are fast and you see stations like Redhill, East Croydon and Clapham Junction whizz by so fast that it is a blur to people inside the train. It is an important service as well as it does tend to relieve congestion on the stopping routes meaning that they don't get clogged up by suitcases in the aisle or whole groups of people travelling together. Although this is a good thing there is a downside as well, the fact that you are paying for a express service means that the ticket cost is higher. Considering that the normal single fare from Victoria to Gatwick on a stopping service that will stop at a minimum of three stations en route is around £7 to £9 depending on what time you travel, the Gatwick Express will charge £16.90 single fare. I can you groaning from here, personally this service is covered on my Season Ticket so using this for me doesn't cost me anymore than the £245 I pay monthly to get to and from work and for me it means that I can save money using this everyday that I travel, which includes the weekends when I go to Football as well. I do genuinely think that the price they charge is steep and can see how this is aimed at the business traveller. However from experience I do see a lot of international visitors use this to get to and from the Airport and in the mornings the stage where passengers have to stand can easily be reached quite quickly given the fact that there are a heavy amount of arrivals at that time in the morning of 7am.
There has been a lot of thought in how the service is run, it uses the fast line from Victoria and in my experience is usually given priority as this is a non-stop service, the regularity of the departures at both ends is quite impressive as it is every 15 minutes that a train departs and this are usually in excess of 90% full as well. To cater for this there have been some changes in the manner of which the Gatwick Express is run, firstly the rather impressive Class 450 trains that are unique to the service have been replaced, this is a shames as these trains are quite stylish and modern to look at with the front faintly resembling the Eurostar trains, the insides were light modern and spacious and took into account the luggage requirements of the passengers in question. Seating was a simple two seats, corridor and two seats configuration across the carriage that more than served requirement. I had an issue with the fact they had three First Class carriages as this not only segregated travellers but also meant that half the time there were seats that could have been utilized to soak up the overflow of people standing as the train was ten carriages long yet only seven were Standard Class. The Class 450's are currently being withdrawn and replaced by the refurbished Class 442, these trains used to be owned by South West Trains and in my opinion are ugly to look at and don't stand out at all even though they have been liveried up with the product name on the side of the carriage in the company colouyrs of red, white and blue. The internal layout is the same two seats, carriage and two seat configurations as the Class 450; however the carriages can hold far more people as the seats are closer together meaning that in excess of 100 people per carriage can be transported and this doesn't include people standing! However there is overhead luggage racks for small holdalls or rucksacks that the 450 didn't have, so even though the 442 are superior trains due to the cargo principal of carrying more people the trains are tight on space which at busy periods can make a carriage rather stuffy in nature. I think this is due to the popularity of the service and the area it serves, obviously any successful business will grow over time and this is just one of the successes for Southern in the time they have had with their franchise. When you alight from the carriage the doors are at either end, so if you happen to be sitting in the middle the congestion quickly builds up when the recorded announcement that is played in several different languages there is always people starting a chain reaction to get to the doors, it all starts with one person and then others simply kneejerk thinking they must be first, although it has to be said they do tend to try and get to the impossibly over filled and stacked luggage racks at either end quite quickly.
As you may be aware the London to Brighton mainline is one of the busiest routes in the country given the number of people that use it to get to work and Southern, the owners of the Gatwick Express have done their homework to assist in attempting to find more seats. Naturally Southern had to be concerned as they are the major service player on the main line, so what they have done is using the 442's run a service from Brighton to Victoria and in return in peak hours that serves Haywards Heath, Gatwick and fast to Victoria with the same station on the return journey. This does work and having joined the service at the Airport in the morning means that normal commuters mixing with the new arrivals either coming home or visiting the country, in turn it also relieves pressure on the stopping services considerably, however you cant get away without thinking that this is just a form of stylised herding, again the main problem is the high density 442's that do ram, stack and pack them in. And yes I have been on the last one leaving Victoria which is usually around midnight as well, so the service for me is always there. In fact it does tend to run to the rough outline of the flights to and from Gatwick and even when it has stopped for the night there is an hourly service that stops at the Airport.
The Gatwick Express also runs a trolley service that has Coffee, Tea, Cakes, Biscuits and is also licensed for Alcoholic beverages. If the service is simply going to Gatwick then its usually too short a time to get a Coffee, however for the longer route I do see people using this "at seat" service. Needless to say the prices are a little higher than normal and something that I call "Motorway Service Staion prices" in comparison, a good example is that a small Starbucks branded Coffee is £2.70 on it own. A 500ml can of Fosters or Stellar is around £4, which given the fact that you can buy five cans for that price in Victoria Station is a total rip off.
In this day and age where travel costs can result in a hefty fine if you don't have a ticket, there are a revenue team that walk the train to sell and check tickets, I think this is a good thing as it does annoy me that people try and fare evade for no good reason. There is a team based on board the train and are flexible enough to let people buy a ticket on the train and it will be the same price as advertised as well. The thing that impressed me was the fact that they did offer the traveller a return ticket that saved them money instead of buying to single tickets. This was nice to see and the team showed good customer service at all times. One area that is a problem are people who buy tickets for the stopping service and get on the Gatwick Express, always funny to watch people being told they don't have a valid ticket. In reality this is mentioned as part f the announcements and the Ticket Office staff do say this as well and besides it is sorted out at either terminus by the Revenue Staff. I have to mention that the staff all have their very smart uniform that is unique to the Gatwick Express with read and black colours that remind of the original black and red colours when the service when the Mark 1 slam door carriages were pulled by a Class 73 Locomotive. Now I know that the Gatwick Express is nowhere near the old and very missed Brighton Belle service and that there is no restaurant car on board that will provide a Full English Breakfast throughout the journey either, okay its silly to compare the two as they were a generation apart, yet you do get that feeling that Southern are trying to introduce something with a modern concept along the lines and at the same time satisfy the needs of all their passengers as well.
With the recent snow before Christmas this was the main train service that was running on the Brighton line, okay it was one of the 450's that caused the initial blockage on the first day as the electrical conductor froze to the third rail, but after that Southern introduced the diesel 442's and this eliminated the electrical issues and they still managed to get up to the normal speeds of 80mph!
I have a lot of comfort knowing that I have this service on my doorstep to get to and from work, this easily cuts 20 minutes of my journey time and means if I leave at 7.30am I will be in the office for 8.15, something that I am easily getting used to. It could be considered a little bit of a tourist trap as well due to the fact that this seems to be the preferred method by visitors to the country and from their point of view it is better to use this than sit with the weekday commuters, however as this is the first thing outside the Terminal that the visitors will use, it does concern me that the price of the single ticket will paint the wrong picture from the tourism aspect given the comparison of the price of the stopping service that in some cases can take a little over ten minutes longer in journey time and can work a lot cheaper in cost.
I like using this as it is the means to get me to and from work, the chairs aren't as comfortable as I would expect them to be and legroom is a luxury if you are at a table of four, however it also means that I don't have to stand and that my journey time is shorter and as I said at the beginning this is included in my Season Ticket, I'm on to a winner as I don't extra to sit on the Gatwick Express, yet I can see both sides of the argument when it comes to ticket price.
I used the Gatwick Express recently to go from Victoria to Gatwick. I paid £22 for a First Class single. The train was so overcrowded that there was no way anyone could get along the aisle. No at-seat service and no complimentary newspapers. People standing bumping in to you all the way to Gatwick. No relaxed atmosphere as advertised.
The company has admitted that the Gatwick Express doubles up as a commuter train and customers may experience overcrowding. See their reply to my complaint here:
'Thank you for your e-mail regarding crowded commuter trains on the Gatwick Express. Sorry for the delay in replying. May I take this opportunity to apologise for any delays or inconvenience this may have caused.
If you boarded the Gatwick Express at 17.45 you will have experienced commuter conditions. During scheduled hours it doubles up as a commuter service to alleviate crowding and congestion between Brighton and London Victoria. It may well be the case that crowding and cramped conditions might be experienced on the 17.45 service and for this I am very sorry.
The Gatwick Express on this route may be carrying people returning from London to catch business flights out of the UK. It is an unfortunate issue due to the timing and addition of extra stops for these set hours. Gatwick Express would be able to direct you to Delay Repay for a train delay but unfortunately would not offer standard compensation for train crowding.
Again, please accept my sincere apologies for any difficulty this experience may have caused. Thank you for choosing to travel with Gatwick Express. '
In my opinion the Gatwick Express is a rip off
We used the Gatwick Express when traveling to Gatwick Airport (funnily enough) for our Honeymoon. As it was a special occasion, we decided to treat ourselves and paid for 1st class which was £24.50 each for a 30 minute train ride! Pretty expensive!! Standard class is cheaper at £16.90 each, but this is still a lot for only half an hour's trip!
Trains run every 15 minutes from Victoria to Gatwick and arrive at the South Terminal, which is just a 2 minute monorail ride away from the North Terminal.
The train itself was very clean although the carriage did seem quite old with frayed and marked seats. Every seat in 1st class has a table with it, although we did think there was a lack of luggage space which could be a problem when the train is full (ours was empty).
You can book your tickets in advance though the Gatwick Express website (www.gatwickexpress.com), or you can pay on the train for no extra cost.
The train journey itself is seemingly quite quick, but not that much faster than other National Rail services although the Express train doesn't stop anywhere else on the way.
We used the Express cos we didn't want the hassle of having to keep an eye on our luggage at all the stops and (God-forbid) if we ever have to go from Gatwick again, we'll probably use the Express then too!
The Gatwick express does provide a wonderful service. Thirty minutes in to London Victoria, I mean that's unbeatable isn't it?
The answer, the one Gatwick airport don't like you to know, is that it isn't unbeatable. What many passengers don't realise is that most of the normal trains that pass through Gatwick airport take about two minutes longer to get you to the city centre. There is very good service of high speed trains that stop only once between Gatwick and the city centre.
These trains are not quite as clean or as comfortable, but they are almost as frequent and they are cheaper. There's another advantage to them too. You don't have to go to Victoria. Trains also go to Kensington Olympia, London Bridge or Blackfriars, which is more convenient for many people. By changing trains, you can increase that again.
You can also buy a national rail ticket for London "Terminals" which means that while you travel to Victoria on the way out, you can travel from London Bridge on the way back.
The trick is to look carefully at the options when purchasing your ticket. The machines present you with the Gatwick express as the default and you need to go further into the options to pick the non-Gatwick express routes.
When I fly to London, I prefer to use Gatwick Airport, and one of the reasons for this is the Gatwick Express.
The trains are clean and bright, with plenty of luggage space. A train is invariably always waiting for you at the platform at either Victoria Station or Gatwick Airport Station and this means you don't have to stand about waiting for a train.
There are also dedicated ticket counters at Victoria and Gatwick stations which means you don't always have to stand in a long queue for a ticket.
I have a Railcard and my advice if you have one is to always purchase your ticket before you travel as the conductors on the train won't give you your Railcard discount if you try to purchase your ticket from them onboard. As you will see below fares are steep so any discount is appreciated!
Currently the fares on the Gatwick Express are £16.90 single and £28.80 return in "Express Class" and £24.50 single and £48.00 return in First Class. Child fares are £8.45 single and £14.40 return in "Express Class" and £12.25 single and £24.00 return in First Class. Please note Railcard discounts are not valid in First Class coaches.
It is also possible to take the Southern Railways trains between Gatwick Airport and Victoria and these are cheaper if a little slower. There is also less room for luggage, something to consider if you have lots of bags as some commuters do not appreciate having already cramped conditions cut down further by your suitcase!
All in all I have found the Gatwick Express to be a speedy and comfortable way to travel between central London and Gatwick Airport.
I have used Gatwick Express on 4 occasions recently. On each occasion I have had a smooth and trouble-free journey. It has been quick, and there is ALWAYS a train waiting for me when I come down those escalators!
You can buy a ticket in advance, or on the train. It is no more expensive to buy it on the train, so why bother to queue? I believe that Southern's ticket is cheaper, but the Gatwick Express makes up for this in ease-of-use and frequency.
On ticket pricing, Gatwick Express costs £25 return for Full Adult, £16.50 for Railcards (Young Persons, Seniors etc.). Whilst this is pricey, I think it is worth it for the speed, comfort, reliability and frequency of the service.
However, I usually travel up to Manchester, as it's where I live. The gem of this service is that if you are travelling from Manchester, Macclesfield or Stoke-on-Trent (not sure about other stations), the fare added ontop of your Virgin fare less than the Gatwick Express Fare (at the cheapest £6 Adults, £5.30 Railcard). So basically, you can go from Manchester to Gatwick and back (at the cheapest) for £33 Adult or £21.80 for Young Persons.
I think that it's fantastic that this service can be used in conjunction with Virgin West Coast, and as a YP Railcard holder, I've never had to pay more than £21.80 for my return. Go on thetrainline.com and check it out! You'll definately be better off booking it all in advance.
The train comes into Victoria station, and offers excellent connections with Southern and South-Eastern's services, as well as Underground links, Victoria Coach Station and a London Transport bus station outside.
It is the easiest and most convenient way to get into London, and in my opinion, the best of the three airport expresses (Gatiwick Express, Heathrow Express and Stansted Express). The through-ticketing is my gold star for this service, as other airport expresses do not allow this. The staff are friendly, and upon arrival at Victoria, there are Platform Assistnats with trollies to help those with hefty or lots of luggage.
Only those travelling to/from Gatwick are on this train, where as with Southern or First Capital Connect, you might be jostling with space with some commuters!
Gatwick express is (for the Government) the most sucessful franchise they have issued. It has never required a penny of Government support and has paid the strategic rail authority for the provilidge. Gatwick Express is expensive but fast. It takes its passingers directly to the airport. If you are flying with BA or American Airlines it is also possible to check in at Victoria station and give them your bags. Personaly I would always prefer to stay with my bags until the last possible moment as they will be less likely to be lost in this way. The company has had a little trouble getting its bright new 'legoland' style trains into service. These are gradualy comming on line and you have a fivety percent chance of getting one now.
Recently flew from Gatwick and we were tossing up weather to go on the Connex Service or the Gatwick Express, to ensure we would'nt be on the next episode of 'Airport' and would make our flight in time. We got prices for the Connex return from Victoria St to Gatwick terminals and althought yes this would have proven to be a few pounds cheaper, there were a few stops along the way and would have been abit slower than catching the direct service on the GE. So we caught the GE and although it was expensive you can guarantee you will be there within 30 minutes of leaving Victoria and there are no stops along the way, its clean comfortable carriages with First Class and Economy seating, all are comfortable and kept tidy. Although we did not travel with any heavy suitcases I'm not sure what you would do with these, so speak to someone before you departure, there are small areas in the standing areas of each carraige where you can put small-ish bags in stead of putting them on the seats etc.Be sure to check before hand what to do with your heavy suitcases though !! You can either just jump on and buy your ticket when the ticket vendor comes along the carraiges or buy your ticket at the station. For our return tickets it cost £20 per person, and they leave every 15 minutes during the night and day and every hour during the early hours of the morning. So overall we were impressed and were glad we paid the extra to ensure we would make our flight check in, and travelled in comfort.
I've taken the Gatwick Express once, it's another expensive express rail link to a London airport but probably the handiest way to get to Gatwick. (You can also use the regular rail service but that is a little slower.) The Gatwick Express runs from Victoria station and BA/American Airlines passengers can check in there. Trains run every 15mins and every hour right through the night in both directions. It's a 30 minute journey to Gatwick's railway station and any time I've used it, the trains were bang on time. There's just the main rail station at Gatwick whether you fly from the North or South terminals. I paid £19.50 return, expensive but maybe worth that extra to get a reliable service on clean, spacious, comfortable trains. (They've got a new fleet of modern trains since I've been on it.) The fares are the same whether you buy tickets before boarding or on the train. There's also the familiar refreshments trolley service on most trains. I'd highly recommend the Express as a hassle free comfortable way to get to Gatwick, I found it was worth paying more to get there on time.