Me and a friend are going to Luton airport by National Express coach on Saturday 15 April. The bus I have in mind leaves Finchley Road station at 16:35, arriving at Luton airport at 17:40.

Is this bus likely to be delayed at that time, and if so, by how much?

To clarify, the bus has to arrive at the airport no later than 18:20, or it will be tight for our flight.

  • 2
    If you are so worried of being late, why don't you take the FCC train from West Hampstead ?
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 8:48
  • @DumbCoder Much more expensive - 12.10 quid per person rather than 1.95, and I'm paying for both of us to boot
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 9:27
  • Are there any big sporting events on in that area of London that day?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 20:37
  • @Gagravarr Not that I know of
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 22:19
  • Unfortunately, you're finding out why the bus is so much cheaper: you have to value your time at next to nothing, in order to leave several hours in hand, or not mind missing the flight.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 9:14

2 Answers 2


That's a safety margin of 40 minutes, which, given London's usual traffic chaos issues, I would personally consider too slim (I'm very cautious about missing flights).

I would either:

  1. take an earlier bus or
  2. find out the route and check the roadworks register to make sure nothing major is happening along the way.

Again, this is personal caution. You'll probably have no problem.

Also, have you looked at advance train tickets? They might be a lot cheaper.

  • Most London suburban trains, including Thameslink, lack advance fares. Abellio was different - I usually get Stansted Mountfitchet-Tottenham Hale tickets for 6 quid (admittedly cheating by a single stop). For what it's worth, the bus ticket allows you to take a bus up to an hour earlier than the one you book, if there are seats to spare. Would this route likely be fully booked at this time? Because simply booking an earlier bus will cost more.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 10:13
  • @Crazydre You seem intent on shaving a few pounds off the cost of travelling to the airport. Given that travelling to the airport is a small fraction of the cost of any trip, and the consequences of being late are fairly severe, this doesn't seem like a sensible way to prioritize your spending. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 10:44
  • @DavidRicherby A few pounds? 30 pounds difference (compared to the suburban train) if counting us both, plus the return trip for my friend. Mind you, I'm paying for both of us. Also we're flying Wizz, so the airport transfer isn't really that small a fraction.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 11:31

An update for the beginning of 2020. The National Express's website says:

For airport journeys we recommend allowing at least 3 hours (180 minutes) between your coach arrival time and scheduled flight.

So 40 minutes margin is certainly too small as per website operators.

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