Difference Wiki

Heathrow Airport vs. Gatwick Airport: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 5, 2024
Heathrow Airport is London's largest airport and a major global aviation hub; Gatwick Airport is the second-largest, serving as an important point for both domestic and international flights.

Key Differences

Heathrow Airport, located to the west of London, is the largest and busiest airport in the UK, serving as a major international hub for both passenger and cargo flights. Gatwick Airport, situated to the south of London, is the second-largest airport in the country, offering a wide range of international flights, but with a significant focus on low-cost and charter services.
Heathrow is recognized for its four operational terminals, extensive flight connections to almost every corner of the globe, and its role as the primary hub for British Airways. Gatwick, although smaller, operates with two main terminals (North and South) and is a major base for low-cost carriers like EasyJet, serving both short-haul and long-haul destinations.
The infrastructure and capacity of Heathrow Airport allow it to handle more passengers and flights, making it the busiest airport in the UK. It features more extensive facilities, shops, lounges, and services compared to Gatwick. Gatwick, on the other hand, is preferred by travelers looking for cheaper flights and has a notable presence of leisure and holiday flights.
Accessibility to and from Heathrow is facilitated by a variety of transport links, including the Heathrow Express, tubes, and buses, offering direct connections to central London. Gatwick also boasts efficient transport options, such as the Gatwick Express, trains, and buses, ensuring easy access to the city and beyond.
Heathrow Airport's role in international transit and connections, with its vast network of flights, makes it a critical asset for global travel. Gatwick complements this by providing valuable services for travelers seeking alternatives to Heathrow, especially for destinations in Europe and select long-haul routes.

Comparison Chart


West of London
South of London

Size & Capacity

Largest in the UK, 4 terminals
Second-largest, 2 terminals

Main Airlines

British Airways hub, major international carriers
EasyJet base, low-cost and charter flights

Passenger Volume

Busiest in the UK
Second-busiest in the UK

Transport Links

Heathrow Express, Tube, Buses
Gatwick Express, Trains, Buses

Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport Definitions

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow serves as a major hub for British Airways.
British Airways operates most of its flights from Heathrow Airport.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick offers both short-haul and long-haul flights.
Gatwick Airport has expanded its range of long-haul destinations in recent years.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is known for its extensive global flight network.
Heathrow Airport offers more direct flights to international destinations than any other UK airport.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick operates with two main terminals, North and South.
Our flight departs from the South Terminal at Gatwick Airport.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow features four operational terminals.
Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport is exclusively used by British Airways.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick provides competitive travel options for London.
Gatwick Airport is a popular choice for budget travelers heading to London.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is the UK's largest international airport.
I flew into Heathrow Airport from Tokyo last night.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is London's second-largest international airport.
We're flying out of Gatwick Airport to Barcelona tomorrow.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is central to London's position as a global travel hub.
Heathrow Airport plays a key role in maintaining London's international connectivity.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is a significant base for low-cost airlines.
Gatwick Airport is the main hub for EasyJet's European flights.


What is Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick is the second-largest airport in London, known for its range of domestic and international flights.

Which airlines are based at Gatwick?

Gatwick is a major base for EasyJet and hosts a variety of low-cost and charter airlines.

What is Heathrow Airport?

Heathrow is London's largest airport, serving as a major global aviation hub.

How far is Gatwick from central London?

Gatwick is about 30 miles south of central London.

Which airport has more terminals, Heathrow or Gatwick?

Heathrow has four operational terminals, more than Gatwick's two.

Can you take a train to Gatwick Airport?

Yes, the Gatwick Express and other train services offer direct connections to Gatwick.

Are there hotels inside both Heathrow and Gatwick airports?

Yes, both airports have on-site hotels and nearby accommodation options.

How far is Heathrow from central London?

Heathrow is approximately 15 miles west of central London.

Which airlines are based at Heathrow?

Heathrow is the primary hub for British Airways and hosts many international carriers.

Which airport is busier, Heathrow or Gatwick?

Heathrow is busier, handling more passengers annually than Gatwick.

Is Gatwick better for low-cost flights?

Yes, Gatwick is known for its significant presence of low-cost carriers.

How do I transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick airports?

There are bus services, trains, and private transfers available for airport transfers.

Can you take a train to Heathrow Airport?

Yes, the Heathrow Express and Tube provide direct train services to Heathrow.

Which airport offers more luxury amenities, Heathrow or Gatwick?

Heathrow offers more extensive luxury amenities and shopping options.

Can I find direct flights to the US from both airports?

Yes, both airports offer direct flights to several destinations in the US.

Are there more international flights from Heathrow or Gatwick?

Heathrow has a broader range of international flights compared to Gatwick.

Which airport should I choose for flights to Europe?

Gatwick has a strong network of European flights, often at competitive prices.

Is Heathrow or Gatwick closer to Oxford?

Heathrow is closer to Oxford than Gatwick.

Which airport is preferred for cargo flights?

Heathrow handles more cargo flights due to its larger capacity.

Which airport is better for accessing London's city center?

Heathrow's closer proximity and faster train services make it a convenient choice for accessing central London.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons