Stansted Airport, Essex, UK
Created | Updated Mar 4, 2011
The airport is officially called 'London Stansted Airport', which has to be the biggest misnomer of modern times as the airport is situated at Junction 8 on the M11 in Essex, some distance from London itself. Fortunately, there is a train service to and from London, which takes 45 minutes and takes you directly to the airport itself.
If you're a motorist, and don't want to be totally fleeced, go for the long-stay car park, but take heed - it takes 25 minutes to get to the airport from the car park. If you're running late go for short stay zone 'B' for Ryanair or 'D' for just about everyone else and you won't have so far to walk.
Getting Something to Eat or Drink
As far as food and drink goes, there may be nowhere that's cheap, but there's plenty of choice, at both sides of passport control.
Getting to your Gate
You have to take a monorail from the main building to the gates, which can take another 10-15 mins, during which time you'll be subjected to a really annoying airline jingle. At the gates there are more places to buy magazines and overpriced drinks and pastries, which you'll need (if only to stop yourself from starving to death) if you're waiting for a flight with one of the budget carriers.
Ryanair now fly mainly from a set of gates not served by the monorail. (And about as far from their check in as it's physically possible to be). It's a very long walk, so you will need to allow another ten minutes to get there.
Budget Airline Excuses
They seem to operate a one excuse fits all policy there, your flight will always be late 'due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft', well duh? So it's late because it's late, hmmm. Winds you up when you've heard it for the 50th time.
Departing or Arriving
Another thing to watch out for is the greenhouse effect at the departure lounges. They are huge glass-sided affairs with a great view of the runway, and where your plane should be sat waiting for you (but normally isn't). The problem is, with even a small amount of sunshine, you'll fry, if your gate is on the sunny side of the building there's just no shade at all.
Returning from the EU: when you get back on the monorail, head for the front carriage, otherwise when you reach the main building and get out, and need to turn left (towards the front of the train) you'll be stuck behind crowds of people who have no idea where to go, blocking the 'platform'.