Gatwick Airport Guide
Airport Park and Ride: Gatwick Airport Guide
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second busiest. It sees over 43 million passengers make their way through its doors every year, and this number is growing.
With this in mind, we thought we would give you a guide to help you navigate your way round Gatwick Airport quickly and with the minimum stress.
Read on for our guide on best practices when parking at, and flying from, Gatwick Airport.
Before you leave for the Airport
Don’t forget to check that the name on your boarding pass matches the name on your passport. If there is any mistake, call your airline as soon as you can – you want to leave as much time as possible between this call and your flight – to get them to amend your name and print some new tickets and send them to you (there might be a charge for this – if you’re not sure, check with your airline).
Before you leave the house, ensure your passport, visa, boarding pass, airport parking confirmation and any money you’ll need are in your hand luggage. You don’t want to get to the airport and find you have to root through a massive case for all these things. Or worse, find your boarding pass is in the hold of the plane while you’re being held back at the desk.
If you can, weigh your luggage at home to avoid any excess baggage charges. There is rarely any leeway when it comes to baggage weight restrictions, once you get to the airport, and if you find yourself over the limit, you could also find yourself paying a hefty fine, or needing to dispose of some of your possessions before the airline allows your luggage to be placed in the hold.
To make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials, but still come in well within your allowance, check out our travel checklist.
Any liquids that you want to keep with you, in your hand luggage, must be no more than 100ml, and must be packed in clear zip-lock bags, to get through customs.
If you’re taking any medicine with you, it needs to be in its original packaging, with the prescription label still attached. If you don’t have the label, you must have a letter from your doctor.
If you’re visiting family, especially over the festive period, don’t wrap presents if they’re in your hand luggage. Staff at the security desk may have to unwrap them. If they need to be in your hand luggage, try using a gift bag, instead.
Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get from your house to the airport. For European flights, you should be aiming to arrive at least two hours before you’re due to take off. For international flights, try to get there at least three hours prior to the plane leaving the tarmac. Always prepare for the worst when it comes to traffic on your way there.
Are you driving to the airport? With Airport Park and Ride’s airport parking made easy, you can log on to our website, choose a Park Mark awarded car park at the airport you’re flying from, and book your parking, in no more than a couple of clicks. You can also be safe in the knowledge that we only provide parking services at approved car parks that have been awarded the Park Mark for the high level of service, safety and security that they provide. Just head to www.airportparkandride.com to book your parking in advance.
When you arrive at Gatwick Airport
Once you’ve parked your car at your airport park and ride car park, or handed your keys over to your meet and greet parking driver – depending which is your preferred mode of airport parking – you need to head over to your check-in desk. There are luggage trollies as you enter the airport, and if your flight isn’t checking in as soon as you arrive, there are plenty of places to shop, eat, drink and relax while you wait.
If you’re only flying with hand luggage, there’s no need to check-in at the luggage drop, just make your way straight to the security gates and use your printed boarding passes to scan through the gates on the way.
You won’t be lacking in information screens when you’re in the security are. They will be pretty much all around you, providing you with the information to seamlessly navigate your way through the security procedures.
Jewellery: watches, necklaces, earrings and bracelets, along with belts, boots, electrical appliances, wallets, loose change and your liquids that are under 100ml, should be removed from your person and placed in one of the trays provided.
Once you’ve divested yourself of your goods and chattels, you’ll head through the security scanner – it will probably beep, don’t worry about it, you’ll just be passed over to a member of staff who will pat you down, and you’ll be on your way. Collect your stuff, and make sure you don’t forget anything.
The Departures Lounge
Now you’ve successfully made it through security, you’ll be met by duty free (up to 50% off on some items!) and an array of shops, restaurants and bars in the departures lounge.
Armadillo, in the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport, serves what it states is “the best Santa Fe inspired food this side of Rio Grande”. There’s a veritable feast of burgers, burritos and their (self-proclaimed) famous full English breakfast. They serve a variety of beers and cocktails as well (it’s never too early when you’re on holiday – it’s beer o’clock, somewhere, right?), so you won’t go thirsty. They even have a kid’s menu and over 20 vegetarian options.
- Need a wake-up call?
There are plenty of coffee shops for those who find they need an urgent caffeine hit by the time they reach the airport. You won’t go without.
- Budget Bars
If it’s cheap you’re after (let’s face it, airport shops know they have a captive audience and overcharge as a result!), then both the North and South terminals have a Weatherspoon’s. They need no further introduction. Granted, the ‘Spoon’s in the airport isn’t as cheap as the one in your local high street, but it’s certainly a bargain by airport standards.
The Departure Gate
Again, there’s a plethora of information screens, so you’ll have no problem discerning which gate your flight departs from. They also display flight information, in real time, so you’ll know immediately if there’s a delay.
Gatwick is by no means small, some of the gates are as much as a 25-minute walk away from the departure lounge, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to yours. Your flight will set off without you!
When you get to your gate, grab a seat, use the toilet, or sneak in a snack from the vending machine, because in next to no time, you’ll be on the plane, and it might be a while before you’re allowed to get out of your seat and use the loo. And with the food cart only making its first appearance at least 35 minutes after take-off, a snack might come in handy.
Returning to Gatwick
When you land back in Blighty, at Gatwick Airport, you’ll be directed to the Border Control hall. This area can get really busy – if you’ve used meet and greet parking, don’t call your driver to return your car, just yet – so be prepared to settle in for the long haul.
Once you’re out of the airport, either jump on your airport park and ride shuttle bus and make your way back to your airport car park, pick up your car, and make your way home, or collect your car from the terminal from your meet and greet parking chauffeur and get home and enjoy your holiday pictures.