Edinburgh to London – By Train and Plane

When travelling from Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow or any other Northern cities to London, it can be difficult to choose what mode of transport to take.

I have travelled between Edinburgh and London several times this year and have used both the train and the plane as well as driving the route on one mad occasion.

Is flying really the best way? Read on to find out.

For the purpose of this article I have chosen a random date (my birthday – February 16th 2018) to compare prices on the journey. All costs will be correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. I have selected the Shard as the final destination and Edinburgh Waverley Station as the start point. I will not be using London Southend, Stanstead or Luton as London airports. I will be basing the comparisons around British Airways Business Class vs Virgin East Coast 1st Class.

So, here goes!

A little bit about the options:

1. The Plane

British Airways operate a non-stop 23 times daily service between London and Edinburgh using a mixture of A319, 320, 321, Boeing 767 and Embraer aircraft. All of these aircraft are fitted with both an economy and business class cabin. If flying into London for a meeting your quickest route would be to fly to London City. Prices for this route start at £70 one way in economy and £138 in business class. Prices to Gatwick start at £39 in economy and £112 in business. Prices to Heathrow are slightly more expensive at £68 and £150 respectively.

Mid flight with BA

Other airlines to operate this route are FlyBe who’s prices start at £40 one way, thus undercutting BA on the Heathrow route, and EasyJet who operate the Gatwick – Edinburgh route. Their prices start as low as £34 one way.

 

2. The Train

The Edinburgh to London route is operated by Virgin Trains to London Euston and Virgin Trains East Coast to London Kings Cross. Prices on this route start at £40 in standard class and £86 in First Class. Virgin are the only operator on this route. Trains leave Edinburgh two to three times an hour and vary in length. The longest service is the Virgin Trains West Coast service to Euston (5hr 40min) and the quickest is the Virgin East Coast service to Kings Cross which takes 4hr 20min and leaves at half past every hour. This service stops at Newcastle, Doncaster and Leeds.

photo by LeedsList

 

  • Beating the Clock – Flying Takes the Lead.

If you’re travelling on business travel and need to be in London/Edinburgh for a meeting or anything else that requires you to beat the clock then your best bet is to fly. The flight time to London City is meant to be 1hr 30min, however, it rarely exceeds 1hr 15min. Obviously when flying you have to factor in all the other times, too. My times are as follow and are based on a business class flight on BA8713 from EDI to LCY with British Airways.

Flying is unarguably the fastest routing
  • 7.30am leave Edinburgh Waverley Station
  • 8am Arrive at Edinburgh Airport
  • 8.40am Through security and lounge
  • 8.50am Board BA8713
  • 9.10am Pushback and takeoff
  • 10.25am Landing at LCY
  • 10.50am DLR and Jubilee to London Bridge
  • 11.15am Arrive at Shard

TOTAL TIME TAKEN= 3hrs 45min without delays. Could take between 4 and 5 hours.

 

These times come out the fastest in comparison with the train which you can see summarised below:

  • 8.30am Train leaves Edinburgh Waverley
  • 12.50pm Train arrives Kings Cross
  • 1pm Northern Line to London Bridge
  • 1.15pm Arrive at Shard

TOTAL TIME TAKEN= 4hrs 45min without delays. Could take up to 5 hours. Delays less likely than when flying.

So, if you’re in a hurry – fly. The time taken at both EDI and LCY are minimal seeing as they are small airports. If you flew to LGW or LHR then you would have to factor in the train journey into London, too. These could add up to 45minutes to your journey and a hefty cost.

Gatwick to Edinburgh

 

  • I Spy With my Little Eye – Good Views From the Train

When flying from Edinburgh to London you don’t get a chance to take in the beautiful views or get a sense of how much the geography of Britain changes as you move south. I found the train a great experience and especially loved the views between Edinburgh and Durham. If you have the extra time, the train journey is a really fun experience. When travelling towards the South you want to make sure you have a left-hand seat to really appreciate the coastline.

 

  • Comfort – Virgin Trump Again

The most comfort you will get while flying is in the business class cabin on BA where the middle seats are removed for extra space. When sitting at the front of the cabin, comfort is great. The most comfort I have ever had was onboard the B767 in Business Class. If you’re sitting a few rows back, the legroom on all three airlines will disappoint you. Although for a 1hr 15min flight, does it matter?

Front of the cabin legroom on a BA A321

In the 1st Class coaches of Virgin’s East Coast service, the legroom is great and you get a very large table to share with three other passengers. I decided to go for a single seat which had a smaller yet still decent table. The space was good but I had to use the floor for some storage.

Coach M

If you’re not in the front row of the BA Business Class Cabin then comfort is definitely better by rail.

 

  • Service – Too Close to Call

On an early morning flight in BA’s Business Class, your service will start in the lounge. With free juice, booze and food on tap – its not bad at all. The meal on the flight is also good, I usually go for the cooked breakfast and there is always an offer of more. You can read about both my evening and morning business class flights by clicking the links. If flying EasyJet or FlyBE then you’ll have to pay for your meal. In terms of service, it depends on the airline and specific crew. I have had fantastic crew on BA and grumpy crew. If flying the 767 routing, you’ll have EuroFleet crew who always seem to make an extra effort.

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While the train journey is longer, the menu isn’t as good as I’d hoped. The hot meals on offer are beef and chicken however the person next to me got beef and it didn’t look great so I went for the chicken wrap. The service was fantastic. The crew were polite and smiley and came around with drinks and snacks many times during the trip. This was impressive. Virgin have a lounge at Edinburgh where you can eat snacks and make drinks. Not as good as BA’s offering but still enjoyable.

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Overall, the service on both modes are good, the meals are sufficient and crews polite but neither stuck out as superb.

 

  • Ease – Sorry Planes, You’ve Lost Again

While flying may be enjoyable for the vast majority of us, including me, it doesn’t seem worth it to fly such a short distance unless you’re under strict time constraints. There are no barriers at Edinburgh Waverley so all you have to do is walk onto the platform, take your seat and relax.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Flying requires check-in, security and LOTS of waiting around. Once you arrive at LCY it will be very easy but if you fly to LHR or LGW it could be a lot slower to get through.

 

  • Conclusion

If you are in desperate need of getting between from Edinburgh to London and don’t have the money to splash then Fly EasyJet to Gatwick for £34

If you want the most enjoyable ride with the best views then Get the Train with Virgin for as low as £40

If you want comfort then Get the train in first class for £86

If you want speed then Book Business Class with BA to London City for £138.

 

I hope you enjoyed this review. Join the discussion by using #londonspotter on your posts and tweets.

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W!ZZ to Warsaw: Airbus A321 Flight Review

BACKGROUND: W!ZZING TO WARSAW

Wizz Air is one of the fastest growing carriers in Europe at the moment. They primarily fly throughout Eastern Europe, but, recently, they have branched out – offering flights as far afield as Dubai and opening a major base in London’s Luton Airport. In 2018, Wizz will offer over 550 routes across Europe, Israel, Asia and the UAE. Recently, they inaugurated their brand new fleet additions: The Airbus A321  with sharklets – which they call ‘the most efficient aircraft in the skies’. With this celebration, came a new livery, a rebrand and a mission to fulfil their slogan ‘Now we can all fly’. But, will we all enjoy a polished flight experience, or a lacklustre low cost escapade? I flew to Warsaw with Wizz Air to find out.

AIRPORT EXPERIENCE: LONDON LUTON

Luton Airport often gets a bad rap in the media (and has even been voted worst UK airport in a multitude of surveys) – many believe it is a cramped, low cost airport catering only for holiday makers. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well organised, efficient and modern operation. Security was handled with ease, and the selection of well-known eateries and premium-brand shops available was on par with other regional airports in the UK, such as Birmingham or Liverpool. The management team at LLA are taking big strides to improve the airport’s overall experience, with new retail outlets and seating areas being added. In the future, this will continue to improve the prospects of travelling through London Luton and future prosperity of the airport.

IN-FLIGHT: LONDON LUTON-WARSAW

At 0730am, the gate for my flight to Warsaw-Chopin was announced. Boarding was efficient and organised, not chaotic – unlike some experiences I’ve had on comparable low cost airlines. Boarding commenced soon after and, as I embarked on my journey, I was met with a warm “Dzień Dobry” (Good Day) from Justyna and directed to my seat. The cabin immediately gave an impression of space, with a light, airy feel but not sterile and unwelcoming.

Wizz Air possesses 23 A321ceo aircraft, equipped with sharklets for additional fuel efficiency.

Wingview from Seat 8A

A large amount of these are based in Poland – with Gdańsk and Warsaw being the largest; a tribute to the fact Wizz commenced its journey to one of Europe’s leading low cost carriers in these cities back in 2004. My aircraft – HA-LXK – was delivered in November 2016 and the modernity of the aircraft was evident.

Disembarking at Warsaw.

These aircraft are configured in a single-class configuration, with 230 Economy Class seats with 30″ of seat pitch. In spite of this, it appeared evident cabin crew were keen to sell the extra-legroom seats left unoccupied, so this is something to bear in mind. Even though 230 passengers can fly on Wizz’s A321 aircraft, this is achieved by Airbus’ Space-Flex scheme and slim line seats which achieve great economics simultaneously with adequate space and comfort.

Wizz Air Flight 1302 to Warsaw became airborne at 0836am – just 20 minutes behind schedule – and we were informed of a flight time of 1hr 50mins. Soon after departure, Monica and Anna passed through the cabin with the food options for the journey.

The cabin crew on my flight were truly caring and cheery. They give the impression that they thoroughly enjoy working for Wizz and refer to themselves as ‘Wizz Ambassadors’ proudly sporting their vivid and vibrant brand. They completed every task with a smile, and had a genuine enthusiasm for their work. I was very impressed! View the slideshow below to take a look at the cabin and in-flight service:

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I love the freshness of the Wizz Air brand; it stands out in the aviation industry and reflects many of their revolutionary policies such as Wizz Flex or Wizz Discount Club. The Wizz Discount Club is a membership scheme that results in massive savings for those who travel frequently, and even those who only travel twice or three times a year. It also results in perks such as priority boarding, and access to ‘Member-Only’ deals. These benefits can also be extended to your travel companions. What’s more, Standard Membership only costs €29.99. In addition, Wizz’s new Flexible Travel Partner service provides you the opportunity to create a new reservation without adding all passenger names at the time of booking. When creating the booking, it is sufficient to provide only one name and include more passengers without an additional fee, unlike other airlines.

DESTINATION: WARSAW

Warsaw is a true gem – up and coming as one of the best cities to savour across Europe. An architectural mix of St Petersburg and Paris, old and new are elegantly combined, with a shiny centre and a quaint ‘Old Town’ (rebuilt after the horrors of the Second World War). Lazienki Park provides a reprieve from the bustling Old Town, with a beautiful ‘floating palace’, large expanses of greenery and an abundance of Red Squirrels. Add this to superb value for money, frequent flights from the UK with Wizz Air, authentic atmosphere and a heart-warming local cuisine and Warsaw is a new name topping the list of many European travellers.

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THE VERDICT: WIZZ AIR

Compared to other low cost carriers, Wizz Air tops the league table easily. Organised, welcoming and comfortable; they fulfil their slogan ‘Now we can all fly’ with pride and honesty, reaching out to more people than ever before with an ever-growing network. The fact that Wizz Air also flies to Chopin airport, rather than Ryanair’s alternative of Modlin, is very convenient – being only 20 minutes from central Warsaw.

W!ZZ’s branding is unique among the aviation industry.

Wizz Air operates frequent flights from Luton to Warsaw with fares starting from £24.99 (One way, including all taxes, non-optional charges and one cabin bag), enabling everyone to explore this beautiful city. Wizz Air also flies to Warsaw from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Doncaster Sheffield and Liverpool. Flights can be booked at wizzair.com. I can’t wait to explore more of what Poland has to offer, with Wizz.


Disclaimer: This trip was provided by Wizz Air

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