The American friend: Heathrow’s the perfect airport for transatlantic tourists


If you’re interested in visiting the UK from overseas this year, then you’re in luck. Great Britain is a fascinating, ethnically and culturally diverse; it’s progressively modern yet historically resonant and a charming nation of great natural beauty. But then, you probably already knew that, right? So why else is it great to visit Great Britain right now. Because, more so than ever before, its major airports take in flights from all over the world.

Yes, the UK’s airport capacity is ever growing. And at the head of this flourishing of inbound flights are the five that serve the capital itself, London. Moreover, for visitors from North America, the number of flights is impressive – and, if we’re really going to get down to it, London Heathrow Airport (the busiest and biggest in Europe) is in a league of its own here.


 Spoilt for choice?

At present, there are as many as 10 airports across England, Scotland and Wales that accept regularly scheduled and connecting transatlantic flights. While, admittedly, some of these willonly fly to a select few North American cities, others boast direct and connecting flights to locations on the East and West Coasts, as well as those in the Midwest. And that’s in both the United States and Canada.

 The five – make that four – London Airports

At present, there are five airports that ostensibly serve London (all of them are located a few miles outside the city, sprawling though it is), although only four of them serve flights arriving from and departing for North American destinations. They are:

  • London City Airport – located east of the city, this one’s the choice of the jet-set business traveller; it’s ideal if you can afford to travel first class via British Airways, which offers premium flights to New York City (JFK)
  • Stansted – located to the north-east of the city, this one’s small, but growing fast and generally handles European flights, however it also services Orlando and Las Vegas
  • Gatwick –essentially still the capital’s ‘second’ airport, this one’s located to the south, possessing great transport connections to the city and a wide choice of flights
  • Heathrow –still the daddy of London airports (it was originally named London Airport, after all), it’s the biggest and the best, for practically everywhere. The gateway to Britain for many North Americans – hardly surprising, as there are so many Heathrow USA flights, which serve (deep breath): Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas/ Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Halifax, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, New York City (JFK and Newark), Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. No wonder so many people visiting the UK make use of Heathrow hotel offers

The other major UK airports

  • Birmingham –the airport that serves England’s second most populous city and provides great access to the Midlands and Wales handles flights from Boston, New York City (JFK and Newark) and Toronto
  • Bristol – another gateway to Wales and especially South West England, it offers connecting flights from Boston, Chicago, New York City, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington D.C.
  • Cardiff – the airport for Wales’ capital city offers direct flights to Orlando, as well as flights to East and West Coast locations and some in Texas
  • East Midlands Airport –ideal for the Nottingham, Derby and Leicester areas, this one operates for travellers to and from New York City (JFK) and Orlando
  • Edinburgh – Scotland’s secondary international airport that’s also convenient for the Northeast and Border areas welcomes flyers from Chicago, New York City (JFK and Newark), Orlando, Philadelphia and Toronto
  • Glasgow – Scotland’s primary airport nowadays serves an impressive number of East and West Coast locations; in addition to the recently added Montreal and Toronto, travellers can fly to and from Calgary, Halifax, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Orlando and Vancouver, as well as connect there for flights to Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco
  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport – as something of an alternative, this North West airport operates a one-stop route via the Irish capital Dublin to and from the likes of Boston, Chicago, New York City, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington D.C.
  • Manchester – the size of this airport and number of its flight choices arguably make it the gateway to the Northwest (if not the entire north of England), serving as it does Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.