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Transfer: Southampton—London (incl. LHR/LGW) train, car, other?


jedco
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  • 2 weeks later...

I hate to start a new thread for this simple confirmation, so I will post here and see if anyone sees it.

 

A question for the UK train savvy travelers.... I've booked a South Western Railway train from London Waterloo to Southampton Central on the morning of my cruise.  I tried booking directly on the South Western web site, but it wasn't pleased that I live in the US, so I booked it via thetrainline.com per the advice of the Man in Seat 61.  No issues with the booking.  Great price of just over $12 total.  

 

On the South Western website, it let me partially do the booking before it found out I lived in the US.  During that partial booking, it first said "A seat reservation is required for this journey" and allowed me to specify my seat preferences (aisle, forward facing, etc.).  The when I clicked on the Confirm Seat button, it came back and said "A seat reservation is not required for this journey, sit in any open seat".  And it appears to show that I had finished the seat reservation process.  

 

On the trainline.com website, it also asked for seating preferences but when the ticket was paid and confirmed, it says "sit in any open seat" on the screen and "no specific seat" on the ticket.

 

I assume this is normal? and I'm ok for the trip?  I was just thrown off by first being told a seat reservation was required, then told it was not required after requesting it.

 

 

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That's really odd. I've never even thought about seat reservations on a train to Southampton (although I haven't done it since South Western took over). So I've had a look.

 

https://www.southwesternrailway.com/contact-and-help/faqs has this:

 

Q. Can I reserve a seat on South Western Railway trains?

 

A. No. If you buy an Advance ticket, you must travel on the train you’ve booked but you are free to choose any seat – this must be in Standard Class if you have a Standard Class ticket.

 

Also, https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/SW.aspx has this (in the "Ticketing & Fares" panel):

 

Seat reservations: Not available

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This is a quirk of the rail booking engines - they seem to have been programmed by twelve year olds who have no idea how the UK rail system works.  (More likely a 30 year old somewhere on the Indian Sub Continent - who has no idea how the UK rail system works).

At that price, I'm almost sure your ticket type is an "advance" ticket.  That means you ticket is valid ONLY on the date/time you have selected.  For most "advance" train tickets, you also get a seat reservation - and it sounds like whoever programmed the booking process has embedded that logic.  But - the route you will be using never (never-ever) has seat reservations.  So although your ticket is for a specified date/time, you can sit in any seat.  They are usually ten carriage trains on that route, so you should have no trouble getting a seat.

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What is the fastest and easiest way to get from Southampton to LHR post cruise? I understand that Smiths is no longer providing transportation.  We have a 12:30 pm flight.  Thanks.

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Just now, EMS8 said:

What is the fastest and easiest way to get from Southampton to LHR post cruise? I understand that Smiths is no longer providing transportation.  We have a 12:30 pm flight.  Thanks.

Hire a taxi/private limo.

 

You have to provide a couple of boundary conditions on this sort of question.

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We bought a transfer from the cruise line just because it was the easiest and hopefully, reliable.  Your 12:30 PM flight seems to leave little or no room for your transfer to have problems.

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3 minutes ago, EMS8 said:

I’m not quite sure what you mean by boundary conditions?

When you ask 'fastest and easiest' that sort of leaves things open to all kinds of transportation options you may not really be interested in.  My suggestion of a private limousine service from the cruise terminal to the airport terminal is probably one of the fastest and easiest ways of making the trip.  On the other hand, you may have some financial conditions on what you'd like to do ie.  for less than 500 GBP.

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On 8/20/2022 at 10:32 PM, EMS8 said:

What is the fastest and easiest way to get from Southampton to LHR post cruise? I understand that Smiths is no longer providing transportation.  We have a 12:30 pm flight.  Thanks.

 

Neither National Express scheduled buses nor the trains will work in your time-frame.

Taking an un-booked taxi from the rank could cost as much as your flights !!

 

If this is a saturday or sunday (or a holiday monday), ship's transfer bus should be OK barring any massive hold-up en-route. 

Buses leave the dock from about 8am. nominal journey time to LHR by coach is 90 minutes - but will be longer, sometimes significantly longer, when mixing it with commuter traffic heading for London 

 

But a private transfer gives you a bigger window, and for two people is cheaper than some ships' transfer buses.

Browse this thread for suggestions, but ignore Smith's who were sadly a victim of the Covid travel restrictions.

I'm out of date on the cost, was £85 or less pre-Covid, but inflation generally & especially fuel prices mean it'll be over £100 for a sedan, mebbe £120 to £130. But nowhere near d9704011's £500 !!!

On a weekday I recommend giving yourselves a decent window for delays - book a car for 7.15am & disembark unassisted (don't put your bags out in the hall on your last night, instead schlepp them off the ship yourselves when the ship is cleared for disembarkation) - that'll be 7am or a little earlier.

 

JB 🙂

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1 hour ago, John Bull said:

But nowhere near d9704011's £500 !!!

That figure was thrown out there simply as an attention-grabbing device, as I'm sure you're well aware.  Let's just say that the cost of the transfer will be substantial (and yes, I understand that's a subjective term).

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Dropping in to share my experience today, National Express LHR>Southampton:

Had pre-purchased a coach ticket for 15:15, hoping to actually make the 14:00.

Flight scheduled to arrive @ 12:10 arrived an hour early.

With carryon only, made it through immigration pretty quickly and rushed off to Central Bus Station, where I thought there was to be a 12:00 but was actually 12:30.

There is not customer service desk open there supposedly since 2021.  A nice employee walking around said I'd have to call or ask the driver of the 12:30 coach.  I had the $5 change and go add on.  My ticket couldn't be amended online.  I asked the driver and he told me to to wait until everyone else had boarded.  There was a couple who arrived just after me that wanted to take this earlier coach also.  The three of us did eventually get on the 12:30.  The coach then went to T5 where there were a few people who also were not ticketed for that bus that wanted to go on and were turned away.  There may have been a couple of seats but the luggage compartments were packed.

 

In conclusion, it's not easy to change even changeable tickets.  If you want to get an earlier coach at T5 you may have to contend with the people who opt on an earlier coach at the Central Bus Station. 

 

I'm so glad it's over with.

Edited by SomewhereGirl
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13 minutes ago, SomewhereGirl said:

Dropping in to share my experience today, National Express LHR>Southampton:

Had pre-purchased a coach ticket for 15:15, hoping to actually make the 14:00.

Flight scheduled to arrive @ 12:10 arrived an hour early.

With carryon only, made it through immigration pretty quickly and rushed off to Central Bus Station, where I thought there was to be a 12:00 but was actually 12:30.

There is not customer service desk open there supposedly since 2021.  A nice employee walking around said I'd have to call or ask the driver of the 12:30 coach.  I had the $5 change and go add on.  My ticket couldn't be amended online.  I asked the driver and he told me to to wait until everyone else had boarded.  There was a couple who arrived just after me that wanted to take this earlier coach also.  The three of us did eventually get on the 12:30.  The coach then went to T5 where there were a few people who also were not ticketed for that bus that wanted to go on and were turned away.  There may have been a couple of seats but the luggage compartments were packed.

 

In conclusion, it's not easy to change even changeable tickets.  If you want to get an earlier coach at T5 you may have to contend with the people who opt on an earlier coach at the Central Bus Station. 

 

I'm so glad it's over with.

Thank you for that report. No ticket counter open either at the station?

Did he charge you the extra?

TIA

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2 hours ago, PacnGoNow said:

Thank you for that report. No ticket counter open either at the station?

Did he charge you the extra?

TIA

No ticket counter open at the station.  This was the middle of the day.  The girl I spoke to sarcastically said they expect you to call and wait for 2 hours for someone to pickup the phone, and she motioned towards the pay phones.  It just really surprised me with this being at a huge international airport where not all customers would necessarily have international calling plans, but maybe I'm just the only one who doesn't. 

The driver didn't charge me extra.  I had paid for the ability to take an earlier or later coach but I don't know if he saw that.  He was pretty winded by having to load all the luggage himself and it was quite warm even in the shade.

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On 8/20/2022 at 5:32 PM, EMS8 said:

What is the fastest and easiest way to get from Southampton to LHR post cruise? I understand that Smiths is no longer providing transportation.  We have a 12:30 pm flight.  Thanks.

I don't know whether you're still investigating this but maybe yo'd like to have a look at this site:

https://www.limo.co.uk/cruise.htm

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2 hours ago, SomewhereGirl said:

No ticket counter open at the station.  This was the middle of the day.  The girl I spoke to sarcastically said they expect you to call and wait for 2 hours for someone to pickup the phone, and she motioned towards the pay phones.  It just really surprised me with this being at a huge international airport where not all customers would necessarily have international calling plans, but maybe I'm just the only one who doesn't. 

The driver didn't charge me extra.  I had paid for the ability to take an earlier or later coach but I don't know if he saw that.  He was pretty winded by having to load all the luggage himself and it was quite warm even in the shade.

Thank you!  Have a great cruise!

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On 8/4/2022 at 5:51 PM, macmax said:

I stand corrected.  It looks like only WS flts from Calgary fly to LHR.

YYZ, YVR all fly into Gatwick.....interesting.

 

And they've now cancelled all service from YYZ to Gatwick after the end of October. (I was originally booked with them for my November trip, but it was cancelled and I had to rebook with BA.) 

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Blackberry has quoted us £186 for 2 people Heathrow to Southampton.  Guess prices have increased substantially.  EC minibus confirmed my request for a price but after nearly 2 weeks still no quote.

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32 minutes ago, Senga said:

Blackberry has quoted us £186 for 2 people Heathrow to Southampton.  Guess prices have increased substantially.  EC minibus confirmed my request for a price but after nearly 2 weeks still no quote.

Try West Quay Cars. We booked with them a few years ago and will be using them again next month.  Pickup at LHR (waiting with a sign with your name) and drop at hotel in Southampton, 3 adults, 3 large luggage, 3 carry on bags, for 125GBP.  Same price post cruise from cruise port to London hotel pre flight home.  They respond to email within 24 hours. They have an app so you can see everything on your phone. 

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1 hour ago, Senga said:

Blackberry has quoted us £186 for 2 people Heathrow to Southampton.  Guess prices have increased substantially.  EC minibus confirmed my request for a price but after nearly 2 weeks still no quote.

 

33 minutes ago, thethreeofus said:

Try West Quay Cars. We booked with them a few years ago and will be using them again next month.  Pickup at LHR (waiting with a sign with your name) and drop at hotel in Southampton, 3 adults, 3 large luggage, 3 carry on bags, for 125GBP.  Same price post cruise from cruise port to London hotel pre flight home.  They respond to email within 24 hours. They have an app so you can see everything on your phone. 

 

That does seem to be a big price increase from Blackberry.

West Quay's price for LHR to Southampton seems to be the new norm., but by comparison the same price for So'ton to London hotel sounds cheap - or is that a London-Heathrow hotel?

 

JB 🙂

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11 hours ago, thethreeofus said:

That price is for next week.  125GBP each way. 

Sorry, obviously skipped that part!  🥴

I’ll definitely check them out.  Thanks.

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