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Christmas flying tips

Christmas is a popular time to get away for a short break, maybe to visit friends and family, escape the worst of our winter weather and get some sunshine, or hit the slopes for a skiing holiday.

Due to the popularity of Christmas holidays, all UK airports are going to be busy, including Gatwick.

The busiest days for travel are usually the weekend after the children break up from school, the days just before Christmas, and 27 and 28 December. If you’re flying from Gatwick this Christmas, here are some tips to help you pass through the airport with as few delays as possible:

Check-in online
Some airlines, such as Ryanair and easyJet, require you to check-in online before you get to the airport. Others, such as Flybe, allow you to use terminals in the airport to check-in. You can even sign up for automatic check in and have your boarding pass emailed to you, or sent as a SMS to your mobile.

If you can check in online, do so, it saves so much time when you arrive at the airport. You only need to check your luggage in, if you have any, and then proceed through security.

Travelling to the airport
Whether you’re driving or using public transport, allow plenty of time to get to the airport

Remember, it’s not just the airports that will be busier, the road and rail networks will also see an increase in passengers travelling to the airport.

Plan your route in advance and, if you’re travelling on public transport over the festive period, check timetables - often there are limited services operating at weekends and bank holidays.

Travel with hand luggage only
If you can travel with hand luggage only, you’ll avoid the baggage drops and save time when you arrive at the airport and also when your plane lands – no wait for you at the baggage carousel.

Familiarise yourself with baggage restrictions
Check your airline’s website for information on baggage restrictions, sizes and weights. If you’re travelling with hand luggage only, familiarise yourself with the liquids in hand luggage rules.

Don’t wrap presents that you plan to carry in your hand luggage, and don’t forget that the liquids in hand luggage rules apply to presents too.

Christmas items, such as party poppers are regarded as explosive items and are banned from hand and checked-in luggage.

Christmas Crackers are permitted by some airlines - it's best to check before you travel if you wish to carry anyt. Gatwick does allow crackers through security, providing the boxes are sealed and no more than two boxes per person.

Twilight check-in
Some airlines, such as BA and Virgin, permit passengers to check-in and drop off their baggage the day before their flight. This is a very convenient option if you staying at one of the airport hotels and helps you avoid the early morning queues on the day of your flight. Check your airline’s website to see if they offer the twilight check-in option.

You can also arrange for your Gatwick meet and greet parking to collect your vehicle from the airport hotel the day before you fly too.

Allow plenty of time
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport – with so many people travelling over Christmas the roads as well as the airport will be busy.

Give yourself enough time to pass through security too, allowing for extra time for queuing.

Weather disruptions
In the event of weather disruptions, such as snow, you should check your airline’s website for details of your flight.

Be prepared
Although Gatwick has significantly improved passenger experience at the airport, including the security search areas, expect queues and be prepared. Do as much as possible before you set off for the airport, pay attention to security rules and regulations and you should have a hassle-free transit through the airport.

Merry Christmas and enjoy your holiday!