London Stansted Airport

London Stansted Airport - terminal building, departures and arrivals

London Stansted Airport (IATA: STN) is London's third airport, located approximately 30 miles (48 km) north-east of the city in the county of Essex and nearer to Cambridge than London.

It's the fourth-busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers, with 17 million passing through its gates in 2012.

Understand

Stansted is dominated by the low-cost airlines EasyJet and Ryanair who use the airport as a hub, as well as holiday charter airlines Thomson and Pegasus). Stansted also accommodates a few other scheduled carriers within Europe and a small number of inter-continental flights.

Ground transportation

Getting to Stansted for an early morning flight is fairly straight forward as coaches run through the night. These are provided by National Express from Victoria and Liverpool Street stations. There is also a direct Citylink coach service to St Pancras station which may be useful for connections to Eurostar, or for trains to northern destinations from Kings Cross, St Pancras, or Euston. Be aware that queues are very common at Stansted and security checks can easily take an hour. Also getting to the airport can take longer than the proclaimed 90 minutes - it can take 120 minutes. When you arrive at the airport queueing for passport control can easily take up to 2 hours for non-EU passport holders, especially for Sunday night arrivals.

In addition to services to London, Arriva CrossCountry rail services operate to Cambridge, Peterborough (for further rail connections to the north-east of England), Leicester, and Birmingham. National Express coach services operate directly to Luton, Coventry, Norwich, Ipswich, Nottingham, Cardiff, and Bath.

Transport options into central London:

Connecting to Heathrow

Connect

There are several commercial Wi-Fi hotspots covering most of the airport but they charge extortionate rates. A free Wi-Fi hotspot is in the arrivals gate area, next to the phone booths offering fixed internet.

Sleep

Sleeping in the terminal

A large number of budget flights depart from Stansted as early as 6AM (when the lowest fares are available). However, this presents travellers with a problem, as the airport's location is a long way outside London, and transport to the airport is sporadic before 5:30AM. Due to the high price of accommodation in the city and near the airport, and the fact that many budget airlines don't pay for accommodation in the event of cancellation, an increasing number of travellers choose to spend the night in the airport prior to their flight. A crowd of around 100 travellers (up to 400 in summer) camp in the main departure/arrivals hall every night, effectively turning it into a giant dormitory. Tips for sleeping at Stansted Airport:

Airport hotels

Several chains have a hotel in the vicinity of the airport. The Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport is the most conveniently located, a short two-minute walk from the terminal. Others require a five-minute ride in a hotel-operated shuttle bus.

Nearby

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