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Travel from Los Angeles to London
Old 06-21-2016, 09:57 PM   #1
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Travel from Los Angeles to London

Has anyone ever traveled from Los Angeles to London? If so, please describe the flight. How long did it take? What did you do on such a long flight and do you prefer any particular airline? Also, how long did it take to get through customs in London? What is the customs experience like? Any tips for a first time international trip?


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Old 06-21-2016, 11:59 PM   #2
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Why not break the trip up by stopping in some city on the East Coast for a couple of days, as LA to the East coast is already a long trip (5 hours).

Looking it up it says: The flight time from Los Angeles, California to London, United Kingdom is: 11 hours, 25 minutes

We did fly from Chicago to HI, and it shows as 8.5 hrs, which seemed a lot longer on the flight back.
You need to get up and do deep knee bends and walk the aisle every 3 or 4 hours for safety. Having eye sleep blindfold helps a lot to sleep which is the best way to make the time pass.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:05 AM   #3
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I've done military flights from Seatac to Inchon. Miserably long 17 hrs followed by an eight hour bus ride. Hard to keep the blood flowing to the extremities.

I've flown from Seatac to Paris. It was on economy+ with plenty of legroom. Delta, I think. Long flight, but the plane wasn't crowded and it was easy to stretch out as needed and pace the aisles a bit. I felt genius for ordering the kosher meals; they looked much better than the standard fare my fellow passengers received.

I've flown from Ohare to London. I don't remember taking too long at customs. Maybe 15 minutes, including moderate line wait. He had a lot of questions about how exactly I planned on leaving the airport and what I was going to do during my holiday and how long was I planning on staying. I thought that odd, but perhaps a lot of folks fly to the UK without any plans other than to apply for the dole.

I did have a friend who got held up at customs and deported back to the states. He had flown out there to meet a woman he met on Facebook. He couldn't articulate specific plans to the customs agent about what he planned to do for money and how long he was going to stay. But he returned a couple months later better prepared to answer the customs questions and he ended up marrying that welsh girl and living there. Not sure he ever managed to keep steady employment though. We stay in touch but he never discusses work.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:45 AM   #4
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You're in luck. Norwegian Air Shuttle is now making the flight in brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners into London Gatwick. We've flown them to Europe twice in the last year.

They're the 3rd largest European air carrier. As normal for budget carriers, they do charge extra for meals and drinks. But they're half the cost of a legacy air carrier like Delta, American or United.

Getting through the customs in Gatwick is comparable or faster than getting thru U.S. Customs coming back into the U.S.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:11 AM   #5
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We've traveled from LAX to London, and it was likewise our first transatlantic flight (i.e., our first trip ever to Europe). What a wonderful trip it was, jetlag, cultural differences and pound-to-dollar shock and all!

That was some 40 countries ago, so indeed it all went well.

We picked up some prescription Ambien before our flight, and we took neck pillows along as well. The Ambien was very helpful, the neck pillows less so. Left them home after that flight (not to mention what a pain they are to deal with after landing and beginning our visit . . . ). We changed our watches to London time immediately upon boarding, and never allowed ourselves to do the 'well, it's only this time at home' thing. Just put your head in the time frame you are going, and eat and sleep as close too where you are going as possible. And try and walk around on the day of arrival, which is the only way were able to stay awake until the evening.

My preference for passing times on long flights is electronic jigsaw puzzles. DH's is Sudoku. YMMV.

Customs upon arrival is pretty much like customs here in the USA. Plan on a good hour in line, and be happy if it turns out to be less.

Taxis are readily available to get you into London, but oh boy, they are expensive. We took the Tube instead, even though, yes, this was our first ever foreign visit, but it's London so you can read everything and ask for help if needed.

Also, London is uber, uber safe, so don't worry about feeling lost/confused. You are in a wonderful city, and you'll eventually figure it all out in a very safe environment.

Dress nicely, BTW. Meaning leave the loose jeans and American bright-white sneakers and fanny bags at home. London is similar to NYC dress, and then some. It's so much nicer to fit in when traveling IMHO, than to stick out like a sore thumb. And it shows respect for the place being visited, which goes a long way when you need help.

Enjoy the heck out of your trip; London is fabulous!
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:33 AM   #6
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Dress nicely, BTW. Meaning leave the loose jeans and American bright-white sneakers and fanny bags at home. London is similar to NYC dress, and then some. It's so much nicer to fit in when traveling IMHO, than to stick out like a sore thumb. And it shows respect for the place being visited, which goes a long way when you need help.
+1 We've lived in Europe (and Asia) for many years.

Nothing screams "Hey pickpocket! Rich American over here!! I have no clue!" like white sneakers and a "USA" T shirt.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:36 AM   #7
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Has anyone ever traveled from Los Angeles to London? If so, please describe the flight. How long did it take? What did you do on such a long flight and do you prefer any particular airline? Also, how long did it take to get through customs in London? What is the customs experience like? Any tips for a first time international trip?


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I would say the toughest part is the jet lag. Coming from LA, you'll be 8 hours out of whack and likely arriving in the morning. We used to book our hotel for the night before so that we could crash upon arrival get some sleep when we got to the hotel around 10AM; otherwise you have to wander around like a zombie until 3 or 4PM check in

"Jet lag is my favorite drug" Jacques Cousteau
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:49 AM   #8
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Actually, sleeping upon your arrival is the worst thing you could do upon arriving in the UK or Europe. A long overnight flight is ideal if you follow the advice provided earlier about sleeping on the plane. Get an inflatable neck pillow -- helps tremendously and can be folded up and put away when not needed.

There's a wonderful system developed many years ago by Argonne Labs for diplomats and early strike forces to reset your body clock. My boss told me about it when my first international business trip was coming up. See
http://www.netlib.org/misc/jet-lag-diet
Key steps include:

-no caffeine for 3 days prior to flight
-high protein breakfasts and lunches, high carb dinners 3 days prior to travel
- change your watch to destination time upon boarding the plane
-have 2 cups strong black coffee or tea at breakfast
- have high protein breakfast (tough unless you are in business or first -- I take beef jerky with me)
- get lots of light and stay active until bedtime destination time. Get outside and walk. Going to sleep during the day will encourage your body's Circadian rhythm to remain in your home time zone, and you will likely waste several days of your vacation feeling tired and taking naps.

I've followed this regimen for dozens of international trips and always adjust to the new time zone easily. I've introduced my husband to it and he has the same result.

You can also use this to prepare for your trip home, but my body has much less trouble adjusting when flying west so I find I don't need to bother with it.


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Old 06-22-2016, 12:20 PM   #9
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Our last few trips LA to London have been on British Airways. We used miles and companion tickets to fly Business Class. One advantage is the use of the lounges both at LAX and Heathrow. It is very relaxing, and they have light meals and beer and wine.
The only time I had a problem at security was an arrogant "my job" person who insisted on taking everything out of my carry on and back pack. I had politely requested to be fast tracked because we only had an hour to catch the one flight to Moscow. For some reason the person took umbrage. We did make the flight, fortunately.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:24 PM   #10
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+1 We've lived in Europe (and Asia) for many years.

Nothing screams "Hey pickpocket! Rich American over here!! I have no clue!" like white sneakers and a "USA" T shirt.
When I went to Greece, I bought comfortable black shoes and a different kind of hat.

Everyone still knew I was a tourist, except they thought I was a German tourist!

It was kind of funny.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:46 PM   #11
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<snip>Dress nicely, BTW. Meaning leave the loose jeans and American bright-white sneakers and fanny bags at home. <snip>
Makes me think of a time when we were in a small town in the UK for meetings for an extended period and there weren't a lot of food options in town. One of the places we occasionally ate at turned into a quasi-club in the evening. My coworker got denied entry one of those nights by the bouncer who told us "White trainers are not allowed!"
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:03 PM   #12
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Just wanted to throw my two bits in on jetlag strategy.
Get good sleep in the in the nights leading up to the trip. A few times, I've tried staying up to make it easier to fall asleep on the plane when I boarded but it just made my jetlag worse.

I try to convert to destination time once I board the plane and typically force myself to sleep. I usually can't do a full 8hrs sleep on the plane but can typically do 4-6hrs.
The morning leading up to my flight, I also try to eat according to destination time. There are some studies out there that indicate modifying your eating cycle with a bit of a fast also helps fight jetlag. This seems to really work for me. It does mean that I miss out on some meals on the plane which isn't a big deal to me. I do get hungry so I do end up snacking a little bit and drinking a lot of water.


And I generally like killing time by watching movies on the plane. I have a cheap pair of noise reduction earbuds which aren't perfect but do noticeably help.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:02 PM   #13
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Bring yourself lots of snacks of variety as the plane won't have much and snacking helped to pass the time on long flights for me.

I second the inflatable neck pillow, and those orange foam earplugs to cut down on the noise. (available at hardware stores).
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:27 PM   #14
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I disagree. They will be coming around with all kinds of goodies including wine and liquor. I found that Bose or other noise cancellation headsets really help.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:07 PM   #15
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Elizabeth T. Thanks so much for your reply. What was the cost of taking the tube to London?
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:14 PM   #16
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Elizabeth T. Thanks so much for your reply. What was the cost of taking the tube to London?
Per Google, looks like it's about 6 pound, or $9 USD for a one way fare from Heathrow to the city center, vs roughly $70 to $100 to take a taxi.

Underground | London Tube to Heathrow | Heathrow
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:23 PM   #17
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Per Google, looks like it's about 6 pound, or $9 USD for a one way fare from Heathrow to the city center, vs roughly $70 to $100 to take a taxi.

Underground | London Tube to Heathrow | Heathrow
A better alternative is the Heathrow Express, which on an on line 90 day advance purchase is 12 pounds, or about $19. It is fast and makes no other stops in to London
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:29 PM   #18
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Across from LAX to London many (>10) times - some for work, and some connecting via LHR to someplace else in the EU, but at least 3x for pleasure.

To your specific questions: It's about a 11-12 hour flight from LAX, a little less in the winter w faster wind aloft and a little longer in the summer w gentler jet stream. All of the major carriers have in-flight movies, etc, which are useful distractions. After many years of a heavy international travel schedule, my long haul (>6 hr) flight rule is simple for passing the time - sleep east-bound and work/stay awake west-bound. It makes the adjustment to the new time zone easier on both ends that way. There are many good tips on managing jet lag, some in this thread already - and follow those to get reset quickly. Immigration at LHR takes an hour more or less - sometimes more - - and also sometimes less, depending on when you arrive. The earlier in the day, the worse it tends to be as the airspace above LHR is closed until something like 5 AM, after which you'll have long-haul arrivals from the US/N America, S America, Asia and the Gulf all landing and sending 777, 747, 787 or big airbus loads of people through the lines at the same time.

First time tips, really little you need to do, as your credit card will work in the UK. You might want to have a few GBP in your pocket when you first arrive for small things and/or tips, and of course remember your passport and any medications, as well as power adapter for your electronics. Anything else you really need (and forget somehow), you can buy in the UK.

Personal recommendations to make it easier:

(1) Fly business if at all possible. If that doesn't work, then the Air New Zealand pod economy seats are a v good option ... you can figure out which flights have them (not all do) on Seatguru.com or on the Air New Zealand website.

(2) Use the departure lounge in LA and arrival lounge in LHR if you can (no issue with business or first), consider buying a pass in economy. Don't underestimate the value of a hot shower, a meal with some protein and coffee in a mug to make your day better on the arrival end .. or a nice relaxed glass of wine or other beverage of choice to take the edge off a chaotic international boarding process ... plus doing that on AM arrival makes the rest of your day on BDT/BST a lot easier from the west coast, and also can make the immigration line a little better as some of the crowd will clear while you're getting cleaned up.

(3) Take the tube to London from LHR .. Paddington express is around 15 GBP or less and takes you to Paddington (from LHR or to LHR from Paddington, mentioned by Souschef above +1), where you can take any of the subway lines anywhere else in the city. Way faster and cheaper than a taxi from Heathrow.

(4) Consider taking a flight that leaves a little later from the US to LHR for two reasons - (a) the mid-afternoon flight may be easier to sleep and will arrive a little later in the day - closer to dinner time - so you can make a shorter day of it on that end. Sort of check into your hotel, have dinner and get to bed early; (b) this time of year, the earlier departures from LAX (around noon to arrive LHR very early AM) may travel so far north that it never gets dark outside .. some people find this bothersome in terms of trying to sleep on the plane.

Best of luck and have fun with the trip - you'll have a blast!
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:37 PM   #19
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TallTim,
Thank you soooooo much. Great tips and advise.


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Travel from Los Angeles to London
Old 07-23-2016, 12:26 AM   #20
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Travel from Los Angeles to London

TimTall,

Any sites you'd recommend in London? I'll be in the general vicinity of the London tower.


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