Gatwick apologises for baggage delays

Gatwick Airport has apologised after passengers were forced to wait up to five hours to collect their baggage at the weekend. Some passengers even went home without their luggage.

Passengers flying with four airlines: British Airways, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, were affected by the delays caused by staff shortages at Swissport.

Swissport, which is one of three baggage handling agents operating at Gatwick, recently had problems with delayed luggage – two weeks ago some Gatwick passengers waited up to 90 minutes to collect their baggage. At the time, Swissport blamed staff shortages and warned that further delays could occur throughout the summer.

Gatwick passenger numbers up 5.5% in June

Passenger numbers at Gatwick are continuing to rise with the announcement that more than 3.6 million passengers passed through the airport in June, a rise of 5.5% on last year.

The 5.5% rise in passenger numbers compared with June 2013 represents an extra 190,500 people passing through the terminals.

European scheduled flights saw the biggest increase in passengers – 11.1%, while other long-haul saw a 7.1% increase.

In a rolling 12-month period (July ’13 to June ’14), passenger numbers increased by 6% to 36,697,200.

Speaking about the increase in passenger numbers, Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “Gatwick continues to successfully compete for business and leisure traffic, increasing passenger numbers and market share at record levels. From July, this will increase even further thanks to the start of US services including New York and Los Angeles with Norwegian Air Shuttle.

“A two runway Gatwick would ensure a competitive market for the next generation, where all passengers have more choice and the UK is provided with the essential air links it needs to both established and emerging markets.

“Expansion at Gatwick would provide London and the UK with two world class airports, enabling regional and national business to thrive and grow on the global stage. Businesses need certainty and Gatwick is, by far, the most deliverable option for expansion.”

Horley Council’s “Do You Want a Second Runway at Gatwick?” venue change

Horley Town Council has changed the venue for its open public meeting to discuss Gatwick Airport’s proposals for a second runway.

The “Do You Want a Second Runway at Gatwick?” meeting will now take place at Oakwood School in Balcombe.

The meeting, which will see guest speakers of Alastair McDermid, the Airports Commission director for Gatwick, Peter Barclay of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, and Peter Roe of the Gatwick Diamond Business forum, was originally scheduled to take place at St Wilfrid’s Church Hall.

The meeting will commence at 7.30pm on Friday 18 July.

Mobile devices face extra checks on US-bound flights

New security checks on all electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, mobile phones etc. are now in force on flights to the US.

Portable electronic devices that cannot be switched on will not be allowed on any US-bound flight.

US-bound passengers are advised to keep their mobile devices charged otherwise they could risk having them confiscated at security.

In spite of the new security procedures, Gatwick Airport is operating as normal, although passengers should allow extra time to pass through security.

For updated hand luggage restrictions visit the Government’s website https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/overview

Waitrose plans food collection service at Gatwick

Fed up with returning home from holiday to an empty fridge and having to drive to the supermarket to stock up on essentials?

Things could change if a planning application submitted by Waitrose is approved.

The food retailer has applied for permission to install chilled lockers in Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, the Crawley News reports.

If given the green light, chilled lockers could be used to store pre-bought food that could be collected by holidaymakers when they return home from their holidays.

Norwegian launches long-haul flights this week

A commercial deal signed last November between Norwegian and Gatwick Airport will come to fruition this week with the launch of three new long-haul services.

Norwegian, which moved to Gatwick from Stansted in 2009, will commence twice-weekly flights to Los Angeles on Wednesday, 2 July.

On Thursday, 3 July, flights to New York will begin (three times weekly), and then on Friday, Norwegian’s flights to Fort Lauderdale will start (twice weekly).

All flights will operate using 787 Dreamliner aircraft – 259 in economy and 32 in premium economy.

Gatwick to Riyadh flights launch this July

flynas, the Saudi-based budget airline, has announced it is to launch direct flights between Gatwick and Riyadh this July.

The airline, which currently operates flights to Riyadh via Jeddah, will operate two direct weekly flights (Tuesdays and Saturdays) from 29 July 2014.

Horley Town Council asks Do You Want a Second Runway at Gatwick?

Horley Town Council has organised an open public meeting to discuss the pros and cons of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

The meeting entitled: “Do You Want a Second Runway at Gatwick?” will be held from 7.30pm on Friday, 18 July 2014, at St Wilfrid’s Church in Horley Row, RH6 8DF.
Guest speakers will be

  • Alastair McDermid – Airports Commission Director for Gatwick
  • Peter Barclay – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)
  • Representative from Gatwick Diamond Business

For more information contact the town council on 01293 784765, or email: town.clerk@zen.co.uk

Trading Standards warns of rogue Gatwick meet and greet parking companies

West Sussex Trading Standards is advising holidaymakers to check the small print when booking Gatwick meet and greet parking.

Complaints have been received from customers who have suffered thefts from their cars, damage to their vehicles and excessive mileage added to their cars’ odometers while in the care of some companies.

The advice given by Trading Standards is:

  • Check the company websites and make sure you know who you are dealing with. Legally, companies need to provide their name and address details on websites. If contact address details are missing, be extra cautious and consider booking with a different provider.
  • If the cost of the booking is more than £100, consider paying with a credit card as this will give you extra protection should things go wrong.
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Trading Standards advises customers to take pictures of all 4 sides of their vehicle when they drop it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday.
  • The majority of meet and greet companies will have parking facilities which are relatively close to the airport. Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off, that way you will know whether or not it has been driven further than you expected.
  • Lastly, do not leave any valuables or money in your vehicle whilst you are on your travels.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for trading standards said: “It’s important to say that the majority of people suffer a stress free experience when dealing with official and regulated meet and greet firms.

“There are so many things to arrange when you are going on holiday that it is easy to look at car parking online and concentrate on price or availability rather than reading the small print.

“If you look closely some companies offering ‘meet and greet’ services do not have full contact details on their websites so you have no way of making contact if you have a complaint.

“In some cases claims of secure parking can actually mean a field or a street near to the airport.

“Our advice is to use the official airport car parking facilities or use a ‘meet and greet’ service provided by our ‘Buy With Confidence’ trading standards approved business.”

Advice from Gatwick blog:

  1. To check Buy With Confidence status click on the link – select ‘airport parking’ as business type
    Gatwick Airport’s postcode is RH6 0NP
  2. To view Gatwick ParkMark companies click on the link
  3. To view Gatwick Approved Operators click on the link.

Lightning strike caused delays at Gatwick

A lightning strike, which let to a power dip, caused delays and disruption to hundreds of Gatwick passengers at the weekend.

Extra staff had to be brought in to deal with problems caused by electrical issues at check-in and baggage handling. 14 flights from the South Terminal were delayed.