Gatwick Airport: Advice for passengers travelling this Summer, what you cannot take in your hand luggage and the latest Covid travel rules

Gatwick is expected to be back at 2019 levels this Summer with travellers looking to get away.
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The airport saw the South Terminal reopen in March and CEO Stewart Wingate said the summer schedule have been 'astonishing'.

But in recent months some airports in the UK have suffered huge queues due to flights being cancelled and shortages of staff, so we asked Gatwick for their advice for passengers who want a smooth experience.

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A Gatwick Airport spokesperson said: “The terminals may be busy during peak periods, such as weekends and the Easter holidays, when we see the airport returning to 2019 levels, and Gatwick is advising passengers to arrive at the earliest time their airline allows to check-in - and to make sure they know what they can and cannot carry through security before arriving at the airport.

Queues at Gatwick Airport on Monday, May 23, 2022Queues at Gatwick Airport on Monday, May 23, 2022
Queues at Gatwick Airport on Monday, May 23, 2022

Passengers are also reminded to check that their passports are still valid - and have enough time left on them for the country being visited – and to check the foreign travel advice for all countries they will visit, or pass through, well in advance of travel.”

When should I arrive to check-in at Gatwick Airport?

Check your ticket or contact your airline for advice on checking-in times. The following times provide a general guide, but Gatwick advises you to arrive at least two hours before your flight to allow plenty of time.

Long-haul flights: check-in opens around three hours prior to scheduled departure

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European flights: check-in three hours before scheduled departure

UK and Ireland flights: check-in two hours prior to scheduled departure

At check-in, to save time, have your tickets and passport ready, and make sure your hand baggage contains only valuables and items you will need during the journey.

Once you've checked-in, it is recommend that you head straight to security and through to the departure lounge. Gatwick hast plenty of shops and restaurants to browse, or you may choose to simply relax.

How do I know when my plane is ready to board?

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Information screens in the departure lounge show flights, boarding times and gate numbers. Boarding usually begins around 45 minutes to one hour before the departure of your flight.

Please note that no flight calls are made at Gatwick, so watch the screens closely.

What the hand baggage rules at Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick's general advice is to carry the very minimum of hand baggage. We also advise you to arrive early at the airport and allow plenty of time for security screening.

You are allowed just one piece of hand luggage (with some exceptions) and this must not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Most airlines do also allow passengers to carry a handbag too, but you should check with your airline to make sure.

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Your hand luggage must not contain any prohibited items. There are some items that you’re not allowed to take on your aircraft in either your hand baggage or your hold luggage. Gatwick recommends you check with your airline if in doubt but here is a list of prohibited items

Flammable liquids and solids; Oxidisers such as bleaching powders; Organic peroxides; Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders; Infectious substances such as live virus materials; Wet-cell car batteries; Magnetrons; Instruments containing mercury - however, thermometers with mercury are permitted in hold luggage (but not hand luggage) only, if they are carried in a protective case; Instruments containing magnets; Fireworks; Toy/replica guns (metal or plastic); Non-safety matches; Firelighters, lighter fuel, paints or thinners; Poisons, arsenic, cyanide or weedkiller; Radioactive materials, acids, corrosives, alkalis or caustic soda; Creosote, quicklime or oiled paper; Vehicle fuel system parts which have contained fuel; Party poppers

You can find out more about specific items like Baby Milk, drinks, photographic equipment and smoking materials here.

Medicines over 100ml, supported by a doctor's note or prescription, are allowed through security. There’s no limit for powder or pills. All medicines are subject to additional security screening and must be kept in a transparent, re-sealable bag.

What's the advice for transgender travellers?

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Gatwick Airport say all their staff and passengers have the right to be treated with dignity and professionalism regardless of the gender they identify with.

Everyone travelling from the airport needs to follow the same security procedures and processes.

Check-in: All passengers must also provide proof of identity when they check in for their flight (usually your passport). The date of birth, gender and name of the passenger on the reservation must match that on your passport or government issued photographic ID. If you have different names and genders on different documents, you may choose which one to use, provided that it satisfies the airline’s ID requirements and matches the name you used on the airline reservation. It does not matter if your current gender presentation matches that given on your documentation or that of your photograph.

Security: If you are required to be hand searched at security, you may select the gender of the officer which you feel most comfortable with to perform the search.

Do I still have to wear a mask on flights?

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Each airline has their own rules on wearing face coverings. You must wear a face covering if asked to do so by your airline.

What are the Covid rules travelling to and from Gatwick Airport?

Most countries want proof of a negative COVID-19 test on arrival. The types of test and how long before travel you need to take it varies by country. Always follow the latest travel advice on the UK Government website. It may have changed since your last visit.

There are no testing requirements for arriving in England - regardless of your vaccination status.