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Flying with children through Gatwick

If you’re flying out of Gatwick with children then check out this article for top tips and helpful advice. It includes information on the services available at Gatwick and things you should know, and be prepared for, when flying with children.

Children’s passports
First things first – check your child’s passport. Unlike adult’s passports, which are valid for 10 years, a child’s is only valid for 5 years.

Renewing a passport costs £46 and takes about three weeks, slightly longer during peak periods, or £54 if using the Post Office’s ‘check & send’ service, which takes two weeks. There is a fast track service that takes one week and costs £87. Prices correct at time of writing – December ’13.

To renew, you will need to complete a new Passport Form, available from all major Post Office branches, and send two up-to-date passport photos, both of which need to be signed by a person meeting the Passport Office criteria, such as a Doctor, Professional, Company Director etc.

Timings
Bear in mind, especially if it’s the first time you’ve flown with children, that travelling with children will take longer than if you were in a party of solely adults.

Remember, toddlers may want to walk – at a much slower pace than yours. You will also need to get your child in and out of their buggy at security and when boarding the plane, all of which takes time.

Consider arriving at the airport slightly earlier than recommended: two hours before your short-haul flight, three hours before your long-haul flight and 90 minutes for a domestic flight.

Gatwick is a very child-friendly airport with lots of facilities and services to assist parents, and children zones to give children space to run around and let off some stream before boarding their flight. Check out one of our previous articles about Children's facilities at Gatwick.

Once the Gate number is displayed, make your way to the Departure Gate. Do not leave it until the last minute to go to your Departure Gate. Gatwick Airport is an extremely large airport, and some Departure Gates can take around 15 minutes to walk to.

Getting to the airport
If getting to the airport fills you with dread, then book our Gatwick meet and greet parking service, which will allow you to drive right up to the airport terminal with your children in their own car seats.

Baby milk
Baby milk is allowed through security control in quantities larger than 100ml, however, you will need to test bottled milk in front of a security officer, alternatively, take sealed cartons of baby milk.

While there is no official limit on the amount of bottles you can take, it’s advised that you take the amount you need for the length of your journey, plus one spare.

If you wish, you can pre-order your baby milk via Boots the Chemist, which is located airside in both Terminals.

Contact the North Terminal Boots on 01293 569606 or the South Terminal Boots on 01293 569353.

Gatwick security food & drink restrictions
Children constantly want drinks and snacks, however, be aware of the security restrictions surrounding food and drink in hand luggage.

No liquids of more than 100ml can be taken through security, so sealed drinks must be 100ml or less and fit in your one clear plastic bag.

No limitations surround food, so you can pack a ‘snack pack’ for your children – including sandwiches, crisps, biscuits etc. Especially useful on short haul flights where in-flight meals aren’t available, and on-board snacks are expensive and not hugely child-friendly.

Children’s travel first aid kit
It’s advisable to pack some medicines in your hand luggage as well as your checked-in baggage.

Remember – you are only allowed to carry liquids that are 100ml through security, so purchase travel-sized medicines, sachets of Calpol and Calprofen, which are small enough to administer a single shot. Alternatively, purchase medicines airside in Boots The Chemist.

Painful ear popping
Help prevent children’s painful ear ‘popping’ by packing some sweets to suck, and buy them a drink (after security) for take-off. For babies, simply get your baby to drink their milk or water from a bottle during taking-off and landing.