6 Tips for flying with kids from Gatwick

The summer holidays aren’t far away now, so if you’re travelling though Gatwick Airport with children this summer check out these top tips about Gatwick’s children’s facilities so you can make the whole experience that little bit easier and simpler – getting your holiday off to a flying start.

  1. Meet and Greet Airport Parking
    If you’re driving yourself to Gatwick then be sure to book a Gatwick Approved Operator for meet and greet airport parking – arguably the only way to park when you’re travelling with children.Forget lugging children and luggage out of your car and back onto a coach from the remote airport car park, followed by a 15-minute journey back to the airport. Instead, drive right up to the airport terminal; pull up into the Approved Operator dedicated laybys where your driver is ready and waiting for you. They take your car to be parked so you can make your way straight into the airport.Do note, only Gatwick Approved Operators are allowed to use the Gatwick forecourts and Gatwick recommends only using an Approved Operator.
  2. Porter Service
    If the thought of getting through the airport with children fills you with dread, or you’ve never flown from Gatwick before, why not look into Gatwick’s Porter Service (Gatwick First). It’s ideal for families who can spend their time looking after their children (especially when it’s busier summer holidays) instead of negotiating the busy airport.This service offers you a dedicated Porter who will meet your as soon as you arrive, whether that’s in the car park or the train station for example. Ready with a trolley for your cases, they will guide you through check-in, security and the departure lounge.The Porter service at Gatwick operates 7 days a week, from 6am until 10pm and costs £10 for five bags or less, and £20 for six or more bags per family (up to 5 persons) – prices correct at time of writing.
  3. Kids’ Zones
    Kids’ Zones are specially designed soft play areas for children to let off steam and run around before your flight, plus TV areas (and plenty of seating for the mums and dads to relax with a cuppa). What’s more, they are free to use too!If you’re flying out of the South Terminal your Kids’ Zone is in the Departure Lounge, opposite Café Rouge.Flying from the North Terminal? Here you’ll find the Kids’ Zone is in the Departure Lounge, behind Boots.
  4. Game Grid
    For older children, Gatwick has entertainment covered too. Check out the Game Grid areas, full of full of video games, open 24 hours a day, landside (so before you pass security). Do note that charges are made to play each game.
  5. Family Assistance Security Lanes
    Do you dread the thought of queuing up through security with children? Don’t worry; use the airport’s dedicated Family Lanes which are geared up especially for families. The staff there offers help and advice and you’ll be surrounded by fellow passengers also with young children.Family Assistance lanes are in both the South and North terminals.
  6. Baby Changing Facilities
    Gatwick has made it easy for you to feed and change your baby. Look out for the large yellow ‘baby bottle’ signs to identify the location of dedicated baby change stations that offer clean and private changing facilities – there are also pull-down change tables in each of the ladies’ and men’s toilets.Boots the Chemist stocks a good supply of baby-change and feeding products, just in case you’ve run out or forgotten anything.

Information on Flying With Children Out of Gatwick

If you are one of the lucky ones flying out of Gatwick Airport for the bank holiday, then check out the following information on the children’s facilities offered at Gatwick. All to help make your time at the airport with children that little bit easier!

Gatwick meet and greet parking
When you’re travelling with children the last thing you want to do, when trying to park your car at the airport, is to think about finding a car park and lugging both your children and luggage on and off a coach.

Well, by booking Gatwick meet and greet airport parking you don’t have too! Meet and greet parking is the only way to park with children if you want to arrive stress free! Simply drive right up to the airport terminal. Your driver is waiting for you to park your car, leaving you and your little ones to make your way straight into check-in.

If you are struggling with luggage, push chairs and little ones then Gatwick offers a Porter service. Pre-booking your Porter will mean someone is there to meet you – whether that’s at the terminal entrance, in the car park or at the train station, assisting you right through to check-in.

Dedicated Family Lanes
Gatwick has dedicated family lanes at the security points at either ends of your flight – as you make your way into the Departure Lounge and when you arrive back into the UK. These lanes give families extra help, space and time, when passing through with small children and buggies.

Kids’ Zone Play Areas
To give your children some time to run around, Gatwick has introduced its new Kids’ Zones – and they are totally free to use! There’s a soft play area for little ones, somewhere to watch TV, and what’s more, plenty of seating!

If you’re flying out of the North Terminal you’ll find the Kids’ Zone behind Boots, and if flying out of the South Terminal, it’s upstairs opposite Cafe Rouge.

Airport Lounges
Many travellers prefer to book an airport lounge to truly relax whilst they are at the airport. Gatwick plays host to a lounge in each terminal, which welcomes children under 12. The lounges offer complimentary hot and cold food and refreshments including wines and beers.

The North Terminal lounge, managed by Servisair Lingfield has a separate children’s area with video games and computers. The South Terminal lounge, managed by No.1 has a dedicated family area for under 6s, plus a games round and cinema for older children.

Gatwick Airport Security Information

As at any airport, security is tight at Gatwick.

While most travellers are familiar with what is expected when passing through security, there are many travellers who are still uncertain about what they should and shouldn’t do.

Passing through the security areas unprepared can cause delays to both you and fellow passengers if you are caught completely unawares.

So here’s a helpful, quick reminder, on the procedures when passing through Security at Gatwick Airport:

  • As you approach the Security Gate have your boarding card and passport ready for inspection
  • As you approach the X-ray machines prepare your luggage for inspection…
    • All your liquid products, contained in a resealable clear plastic bag, should be removed from your hand luggage and placed separately in the plastic trays provided – your liquids bag and hand luggage can share the same tray to pass through the X-ray machine
    • Remove your laptop from its case – the device and its case will need to be screened separately
    • All other large electrical equipment must be removed from your hand luggage and any casing it is travelling in for screening
  • Remove your coat and place it in one of the plastic trays so it can be screened
  • Remove your belt and place in a tray, this can be placed in the same tray as your coat
  • Remove all loose change from your pockets and place in the plastic trays – your change can be put in a tray along with your coat and bel
  • You may be asked to remove your shoes and pass back through the body scanners if it sets off the X-ray machine when you walk through it.

Gatwick has introduced dedicated security lanes for families and those travelling with reduced mobility. These assistance lanes are clearly marked so if you qualify to use them do so to help you make your way through security easier.

1.5 million passengers expected at Gatwick this Christmas

Gatwick is expecting a busy Christmas this year with around 1.5 million passengers expected to pass through the airport between 17 December and 2 January.

The busiest day for departures is expected to be Sunday 23 December when around 56,000 people are due to depart.

The top three destinations from Gatwick this Christmas are Geneva, Edinburgh and Dubai.

If you’re flying from Gatwick this Christmas, staff and extra helpers, including the London Ambassadors from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be on hand to assist passengers.

Santa and his reindeer will be making an appearance at the airport on Friday 21 December, between the hours of 7 and 10am.

Don’t forget the restrictions on items in hand and checked-in luggage, for example party poppers are not permitted to be carried on aircraft and don’t wrap presents carried in your hand luggage as these may require unpacking at security for extra checks. To help passengers determine what can and cannot be packed, Gatwick has created a festive infographic – take a look here:

Border Agency strike could cause significant delays at Gatwick

Public sector unions will take industrial action tomorrow in protest against pension reforms and significant delays are expected at Gatwick Airport when Border Agency staff join the strike action.

Discussions between the airport and its airlines have taken place in a bid to ease disruption caused by the industrial action. Some airlines have also taken measures to offer passengers the option of rebooking their flights to reduce passenger numbers disruption.

Airlines offering rebookings include: British Airways, Virgin and Flybe (for international passengers with connecting flights).

Gatwick has drafted in hundreds of volunteers to provide support and assistence and Gatwick Police has said it will be supporting the airport.

Scott Stanley, Gatwick Airport’s Chief Operating Officer said: “Gatwick continues to work closely with the UK Border Agency and its airlines to ensure robust contingency measures are put in place to ensure disruption to passengers and airport operations is kept to a minimum.

”We have had face to face meetings with our major airline carriers to discuss contingency plans for the day and have called on them to offer their arriving passengers the opportunity, where possible, to rebook their flights either in the days immediately before or after the 30th November. We would advise passengers to check with their airline to find out what plans and arrangements have been put in place.”

“We recognise that this will be a challenging time for all airport passengers, and we would warn passengers to be prepared for the potential for significant disruption at the border zones on the 30th November.

“Unfortunately, airport staff can not man the desks at the Border Zone but we will provide all necessary assistance to the Border Agency and we are determined to make sure that the needs and welfare of all our passengers will be met on the day.”

Tips to help avoid delays:

  • Use e-Passport gates where available
  • Have travel documents, including passports, ready
  • Fully complete landing cards
  • Stay in family groups.

Border Agency Staff Strike 29 – 30 June

Air passengers flying into Gatwick Airport may be affected by a 24-hour strike by UK Border Agency staff.

The strike starts this evening, 29 June 2011, and could cause delays at passport control

The Border Agency is advising passengers arriving into the country to have their travel documents, including passports available and taken out of any wallets or to use e-Passport gates.

Overnight closure of M23 Junction 9 to affect travel to Gatwick

Watch out for overnight closures of Junction 9 of the M23 this week.

From Monday 22 March for one week, Junction 9 of the M23 will be closed between 8pm and 6am.

A fully-signed diversion will be in operation, taking in junction 10 of the M23, west to the Tushmore roundabout on the A2011 Crawley Avenue, then north along the A23 London Road through Lowfield Heath to the Longbridge roundabout at Horley, where road users needing Gatwick can turn around to come back along London Road and join Airport Way.

For more information check the Highways Agency website here: www.highways.gov.uk/news/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=411370

Gatwick Airport issues advice for passengers travelling this weekend

With around 400,000 passengers expected to flock to Gatwick Airport in search of a welcome half-term break, the airport has issued the following advice to help passengers avoid delays when passing through security:

  • Plan your journey to the airport and arrive at least two hours before your flight departs.
  • Check with your airline on restrictions that apply to both hand and checked-in baggage.
  • Liquids in hand baggage must be in individual containers no greater that 100ml capacity and placed in a transparent re-sealable bag, no larger than 20 cm x 20 cm (8” x 8”) in size.
  • Hand baggage: In many cases passengers can take more than one item of hand baggage per person through security providing any bag has maximum dimensions of 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (22” x 17.7” x 10”). However, some airlines continue to permit only one bag and passengers are advised to check their airline’s baggage policy.
  • Pack all sharp objects, such as knives and scissors in baggage you’re checking-in. They must not be carried in hand luggage.

Christmas travel advice for passengers travelling from Gatwick

If you are planning to fly from Gatwick this Christmas make sure you are aware of the restrictions for carrying items in both hand and checked-in luggage.

Checking luggage restrictions is particularly important if you plan to carry Christmas presents onboard an aircraft, as you need to make sure that you are aware of what is and what isn’t permitted to avoid having items confiscated at security.

If you are carrying wrapped presents, they must be carried within your checked-in luggage. Any presents carried within your hand baggage must not be wrapped as they are subject to checks at security and may be unwrapped.

Most travellers should now be familiar with the liquids in hand luggage restrictions, after all, they were introduced three years ago! Don’t forget that the liquids in hand luggage rules also apply to Christmas presents, so if you are carrying a present, be it a bottle of champagne, perfume, or even a jar of jam, if it’s over 100ml it must be in your checked-in luggage otherwise it will be confiscated at security. Liquids include perfumes, pastes, gels, jams, preserves, lotions, lip sticks and mascara.

While it is permitted to carry Christmas presents within your hand luggage they must still adhere to the security rules of hand luggage items – no sharp objects, corkscrews etc. Check the weight restrictions of your hand luggage and make sure the size of your bag is the within the size permitted by your airline’s cabin baggage policy – you don’t need the added expense of having to check your bag in to the hold because it is too heavily laden with Christmas presents, or too large.

Seasonal items:

Christmas Crackers
Gatwick Airport does not permit the carriage of Christmas Crackers or party poppers.

Some airports may permit Christmas crackers in checked-in luggage, but not in hand-luggage – crackers may contain restricted items so, where permitted, must be packed in checked-in baggage, and must be factory produced in unopened boxes.

Party Poppers
Party poppers are not permitted in either hand baggage or checked-in luggage. While they may seem to just be a bit of fun, they are an explosive device and are not permitted to be carried at all.

Other items

If you are carrying Lithium batteries, these can pose a fire risk if not wrapped correctly, or the item they are being transported in is accidentally activated during the flight, so be careful when packing these items.

Good that must not be taken on board an aircraft include:

  • fireworks, flares, toy gun caps
  • culinary blowtorches, camping or compressed gas cylinders
  • petrol, lighter fuel, paint, non-safety matches, firelighters

Items that can be carried include:

  • gas powered hair curlers (one per person) – the safety cover must be fitted at all times, however, refills are not permitted
  • safety matches, which must be carried on the person

If you are flying from Gatwick airport this Christmas and want to have as hassle-free journey through the airport, follow the rules, and if you have any questions about the carriage of any item check with your airline.