Useful Tips for Arriving at Gatwick Airport

Useful Tips for Arriving at Gatwick Airport

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The UK’s second-busiest airport, Gatwick Airport, serves the British city of London. It has the world’s busiest single-use runway and an annual passenger throughput of over 33 million. Many of these passengers arrive from overseas, and for first-timers the large airport can be overwhelming. By following our useful tips for arriving at Gatwick Airport, the confusion is sure to subside.

Gatwick Airport has two terminals; North and South. The South Terminal is the busier of the two, while the North Terminal is newer. The first thing to check is which terminal you will be arriving at. This is easy enough to do on the internet or via your travel itinerary.

Once you establish which terminal you will arrive at, things get a bit easier. Both terminals are busy, but knowing which terminal is your point of arrival will at least give you a grasp on where you are. Regardless of what terminal you arrive at, the first step after disembarking is immigration. There will be two areas at immigration, one for EU passport holders and one for all other passport holders.

If you are catching a connecting flight, there is a shuttle service to take you from one terminal to the other, as the terminals are quite far apart. For those that have a connecting flight at another airport altogether, such as Heathrow, there are numerous coach companies that offer inter-airport services.

There are plenty of ways to get from the airport to London’s city centre. The most popular is the Gatwick Express train, which leaves from the South Terminal. This mode of transport will get travellers into Victoria Station in 30 minutes. There are also buses into the city, which can be found at both the North and South terminals.

Many travellers do not wish to go into London. Luckily, there are coach services from the airport directly to most major cities in the country. Many of these services run from the bus station which is situated outside of the North Terminal. There are also local buses which take passengers from the airport to the nearby towns of Crowley, Horley, East Grinstead and Horsham, among others.

Those passengers that arrive at Gatwick late at night have no need to worry, as there are quite a few hotels in the area, and many provide airport transfer. There is also a taxi stand at the South Terminal for those that are in a rush to get into the city. If you’re heading anywhere other than London you may find it cheapest to order a taxi from that town or city who will come and pick you up. For example if you’re heading to Brighton you can book a taxi from a local firm like taxibrighton.com for £39 – whereas a normal metered taxi fare is likely to cost more like £60-70 for the same journey.

Many families use the airport, and it features some fantastic facilities for those travelling with children. First are the family assistance lanes. These are separate security lanes for both arriving and departing families, and there is even a family lane at immigration. Other family facilities include lounges, kids’ zones and family-friendly restaurants complete with children’s menus.

Shopping is a major thing at all airports, and at Gatwick this is no different. Whether you are looking for fashionable clothing, a souvenir or a book to read on a long flight, there is a shop for you. In fact, there are hundreds of shops at the airport that will keep anyone busy while waiting to board a flight. Be sure to check your customs and weight allowance to avoid disappointment.

One of the most useful tips for arriving at Gatwick Airport involves checking-in. There are often extremely long queues that travellers have to endure while waiting at the check-in counter. If you are staying close to the airport, these queues can be avoided by using the airport’s ‘day before’ check-in service. However, this service is not available on all airlines. Self-serve check-in is also a speedy way to avoid long lines, but to cut out queuing altogether, opt for the online check-in service.

John is a guest writer from Gatwick Diamond Jobs who list Gatwick Airport jobs

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