Quite like Gatwick. Range of shops and restaurants and plenty of seats to use whilst waiting for flights.
Great duty free shops and also some clothes shops for last minute shopping.
Queues at security where pretty minimum and went through without any fuss though I did get through before peak time. On arriving, the airport is well signposted for seeking out the Gatwick Express so no issues there. Used Gatwick before and I'm sure I will again.
This was the airport that my companion and I used when we arrived in London. It was a modern airport, but the thing that I really didn't like was the long walks to the arrival area.
The areas were well-signed, but seriously, it's as if they wanted all passengers to do a twenty-minute brisk walking exercise from the gate to the Immigration counter. The walk was very long, to the point that when we finally finished immigration and arrived to the baggage belts, our baggage were already off the belts and on the floor.
It is far from central London, but well-connected to the rails. I guess I don't mind it, but I am only giving this place three stars. Oh, I also hate the fact that they don't announce the gate until it is boarding time, so people are hoarded in this central waiting and shopping area, and people are glued to the screens, until their flight shows up, and they have to rush to the gates, because they only have twenty minutes to spare.
A pretty decent airport, although I do prefer Heathrow Terminal 5 when travelling to London. Check in and security are pretty straightforward and I was a bit perplexed as to the main terminal being a holding area until about 60 minutes prior to your flight time when they release the gate information. That aside, there are many shops and restaurants (located on the second level) where you can kill time.
Be prepared to be in the mix of many travelers as there seem to be quite a mix of domestic and international flights going in and out of this airport. The gate area is a bit sparse and cold and could do with some sprucing up.
It's better than Luton....
Nice security staff here at Gatwick, they treated me very well when I passed through recently using a crutch. I was able to use the limited mobility and family security gate. They even instructed me to the front of the X-ray machine queue. Overall this treatment made my visit to Gatwick for my flight home very good indeed.
Upon arrival we found the train station was ideal as we were able to get a train direct to Kings Cross, where our hotel was. I would however say that there could have been more ticket counters open. But that would be National Rail issue and not the airports.
As airports go, it's bright and clean. Also compact. From train to security for our flight home was no distance really (ideal when you've a dickey knee). Then there is a bit of a hike to the departure gate, but they have moving floors - yay!
Hassle free experience at Gatwick Airport.
Seems to have been newly renovated. More complicated/fragmented than a typical North American equivalent, but not confusing if you pay attention to your surroundings. Buses and trains run between terminals. Good selection of restaurants for every taste.
As far as an airport goes, this one was decent. I arrived on the Gatwick express and found myself exiting directly into the airport. The airport was easy to get around and I quickly made it through check-in, found the food court easily and made it to my flight promptly.
After having bad experiences with the sheer size of Heathrow and distance between gates, Garwick was welcome.
I would have to say that a highlight and what probably pushed it up a star was the bathroom facilities in the main area before check-ins and after exiting the train station. Wow. I have never seen anything like it. In the guys bathroom, each standup stall has its own enclave with the urinal, a personal sink and hand dryer. It completely takes you out of "airport mode" and into a classy 5-star resort hotel.
Now, this is an average rating, as I'm giving the airport a 3 star, and its bathrooms a 5 star.
The toilets.. my oh my. Where can I purchase those tiles for my own bathroom? They are stunning. Each stall has its own sink and hand dryer. The stall I was in was spotless! It smelled fresh and gleamed. Seriously, I'd take my lunch and eat it in there as its cleaner and more comfortable than half the cafes I've ever been in. I'd go back to simply visit the lav!
The rest, meh .. its an airport :) The usual shops, the usual refreshment places. Fairly well laid out and decently clean. Didn't spend a whole lot of time there, but found it easy to maneuver around and get to the gate. I've been in worse :)
I would give this place 5 stars for the checking in process and about negative 3 for the re-entry process. We got there for a flight down to Malaga, Spain - used the kiosk to check in, walked through some fancy gates to get into the security area and were through in a matter of minutes. We then found a decent enough place to eat some food and wait for our flight. We were out of there in no time flat. Coming back in (as a US or non-EU citizen) is TERRIBLE. We waited in line for about an hour while many many agents just sat there without anyone to send through. It was the most poorly organized and totally incompetent system I have seen since right after 09/11 in the US. I am really sad that that is the location of all the cheap flights out of UK b/c that was an absolute disaster. We also talked to some folks while waiting in line that mentioned that they have stood in line for 4 hours there before! What the hell? Also, all with no bathrooms in sight. That could have been a complete nightmare. I guess I should be glad that it wasn't 4 hours that we had to wait - though even just the one hour made me never want to return to the UK through this airport again. Unfortunately there aren't many options. Maybe one day this 1st-world country can get it figured out - until then, make sure you pee prior to getting off your flight. You could be in a world of hurt.
Gatwick is one crazy spread-out airport. I warn you of this, because wherever your plane is, it's going to take some time to get there. Just know this and plan accordingly.
This is not one of those walk in, get through security and go to your gate type places. Oh no. This is one of those walk in, through security, check the board to see where your gate is, wait forever for them to announce your gate, check it again to see where you gate is, go there by walking forever and then walking forever and then finding your gate.
Still, it's a clean and pretty airport and damn are they efficient. I got through security in no time as they divided up the main line and conquered through it. Bags on conveyor belt, through the machine, grab the bag and go.
The train to Gatwick is easy enough but semi expensive, I think it's like £25+ for the roundtrip. That was almost as much as my EasyJet flight.
I was there early in the morning and there was a very small amount of stands serving breakfast items. All I wanted was a muffin or something like it and it took me forever to find one. There was one all the way on the other end of the terminal. So be prepared to walk for your food too.
But then again, maybe a little walk before a long sitting flight isn't so bad.
it is a second rate airport out in the sticks. the shopping is ok but that is it. the food places are boring and mainstream.
Gatwick isn't fancy like the new Heathrow Terminal 5, but it's more easily reachable for those of us who are in South London. It's an airport: the security theatre is a pain, and the shops/restaurants are the same franchises you see everywhere else.
It can take quite a while to get to the gate - it might involve taking the air train from one terminal to the other, and a 10 to 15 minute walk onwards.
Super fast Security, and nice people in the clublounge! Just what you need! Plus both flights were early
Place is massive has a railway station inside plus a rail service to get between terminals very well signposted inside checkin staff were great (easyjet) also good out Let's are quite pricy )£5 for a sandwich best to go to boots get meal deal really fresh too
Gatwick is like...like the dentist!
You just bite thru it, and afterwards you are happy you did.
-The Gatwick Express
-It's almost London..?!
-...that's it. Them two, no more.
-The walk, it's toooo long and hardly any quicky-walky-belt-things
-Taxi will cost you £79 for 2 people to the city. £110 for 3 peeps...the guys count babies as full!!
-Getting a flight from here? Make sure you are (really) an hr early. Using Easy Jet? Man! I mean...girl!? Leave your high heels: you'll be waaaalking and struttin' those pedicured feet for a good hr!
-BA has prrrretty bad service here... "Sorry, no exceptions!" is the first thing I heard, even before I asked if..if? No? Okay! Sure, two bags is not allowed? I have a small bag for my 2month old? No? Okay... I no like you.
-Old...just dirty feeling...
Easy to get between terminals, bathrooms in south terminal are epic and lots of shops for while you're waiting!
By the way, by "bathrooms are epic" in the South terminal (I didn't try the north sorry) go to the bathrooms just after the train station, before you go through security or anything. Each stall is its own mini bathroom - toilet, sink, mirror and hand dryer. Nice!
A nice and clean airport with good food options. It's a nice location but that's also dependent on where you're doing business (or visiting).
We must have come at an unusual not so busy hour, or this airport is built for twenty times its capacity. It was so smooth and fast to pass security and check-in, but this could be because there were twenty lines to security of which one was only necessary and hence used :)
It would get more of a plus, but the taxfree selection of dark rum was to boring for me. They had, well, what everyone else has. Nothing new, local or existing.
As far as airports goes, it did it's job!
This week was actually the first time I'd ever flown to or from Gatwick Airport. Normally when flying to or from London I used Heathrow or Stansted, but it was a pleasant change. The airport is huge, so big that a monorail is required to get from the north to the south terminal, and a coach from the runway to the terminal.
The airport has a large number of amenities, including a Jamie's Italian restaurant and pop up stall at the door of the North Terminal. The queue at security was absolutely ridiculous for 6am, and the staff were unnecessarily rude. 'Twas overall a good first experience at Gatwick, but I didn't spend enough time in the place to experience a lot of it; the length of the queue at security made me almost late for my flight!
Londoners shouldn't bother.
If Heathrow has the look and feel of Shepard's Bush mall, then Gatwick is Brent's Cross - tired, low brow and in dire need of an overhaul.
For you non-EU travelers, expect to wait nearly 30 minutes at passport control.
Save yourself the trek, stick with Heathrow or London City.
Uh... Of all the European airports that I've been to, this airport seemed to be the most strict of them all... I mean they asked me why I'm there, what's my business, and how long am I staying... Perhaps, an international protocol? Nonetheless, I just wasn't pleased with the long lines! Felt like waiting for an amusement ride... Somewhat.
What's up with that mad dash?
My first time here, I was wondering why everyone had their heads to screens. Thankfully I'm a quick learner (so my CV says) and I caught on quick enough to catch my Ryan Air flight.
It's not a big airport, so it's not easy to get lost. More seating would be nice, or placement of the screens next to sitting areas would be ideal. But i'm no airport designer, what do I know?
If you get a chance, choose Heathrow over Gatwick 10 times over! Meh!!!!
Such a strange airport.
Getting off the plane I felt like I was in an empty warehouse. There was nobody around. And I walked....and walked....and walked until I made it to customs. Luckily that was quick as nobody was around.
It could use some better upkeep. There's tons of signs to transportation, so you can't easily get lost. Train goes directly to central London, which is convinient.
The first reason it hasn't got 5 stars is because it isn't London City Airport.
Ever since Gatwick was forceably sold by BAA (something I was originally against) it's transformed from London's also-ran airport into one of my favourites.
They've undertaken a huge refurbishment programme which has seen the security scanning redesigned and streamlined (so you actually get through it quickly), a bigger (or seemingly bigger) shopping area where you don't actually mind spending time while waiting for a delayed flight.
The whole place feels brighter and upon return you get the feeling of being glad you're home.
Finally, the other reason it hasn't got 5 stars is that they removed the IRIS system and replaced it with a different automated passport control. The IRIS system was much cooler, because you had your retina scan stored on your passport and to get back in the country you didn't even need to get your passport out of your bag :)
Since the sale of Gatwick by BAA, the new owners have made noticeable attempts to refurbish and upgrade the airport. It's a welcome move to freshen up a slightly stale feeling airport though the trouble is that I tend to choose my flights by airline rather than which airport to fly from.
There's still a lot of work going on but they've introduced new technology at the security gates, which did make a difference in the speed of getting through. The airside retail experience in the South terminal has expanded by stealing some of the floorspace which used to be landside by moving walls.
The car parks now have automatic number plate recognition technology so that the gates oopen automtically if you've pre-paid on-line
The main downside is that they've removed the IRIS queue at immigration, which can't be blamed on the new owners.
Gatwick Airport is like the redheaded stepchild of London's airports.
The love, time and investment that go into darling Heathrow's massive and impressive improvements seem to have been lost on Gatwick. What's left is sad, decrepit technology, less than fabulous facilities, terminals that don't connect (seriously, there is a 15 minute bus ride involved... on the motorway). In reality, it's more like a shabby tube station than an airport.
Even the pilot of my most recent flight said: "Apologies for the delay - because we're out in the sticks here at Gatwick the most basic needs like crew, equipment, planes... (heavy sigh) seem hard to come by."
Basically - don't head to Gatwick for the glamour, but if you're looking for a cheap weekend getaway in Europe, this'll be your hub. Get used to it. (And give yourself loads of extra time to navigate this hot mess!)
My oh my when are BA going to get their act together on the wifi in this lounge? It is lamentably slow. I have been waging a one man campaign to get them to do something. They're now blaming BT as I berate them on Twitter. Please join me in complaining to @British_Airways on Twitter.
To make matters worse LHT T5 lounges have ok internet.
Apart from the internet, the lounge is fine although they should really have a barrista serving Illy expresso and cappuccio
Mon amie, Gatwick. You are my favourite airport, but that's mainly because you are my closest airport. A mere 30 minutes from Brighton by train or car and the holiday can commence. I get excited the minute I arrive, for me this is when the holiday starts, with new adventures just around the corner.
I have always found Gatwick pretty easy to negotiate. The queues can be a little long for security, but this tends to be the case worldwide in this day and age. There is a transit system between North and South terminals, but this is usually quick and efficient.
The shops are pretty good and varied. I usually find that I have eaten in to my holiday budget long before I have boarded the plane.
The dining options could do with being a little more extensive and varied, but at the end of the day I am here to travel, not dine. Free WiFi would be appreciated but this is rarely found in UK airports.
There seems to be a lot of building work going on here at the moment. However, I feel I can overlook any disturbance this may cause in the hope that this will lead to an even better airport experience in the future.
Until next time, my friend, until next time...
God damn 4am, you look rough. Wait, so do I. I usually like to sleep with you, what the hell are we doing up?
Oh yea, Gatwick Airport. The worst kind of Coyote Ugly airport ever to wake up at. I've been to Heathrow and chav city, Stanstead. But you, why do you even exist? You're like the Mecca for stag dos, preppie private school boys wearing boat shoes and so so many families of small children. (Side bar: Christ, can you even imagine getting small children up in ski gear at 4am.. birth control!)
There are no children at Heathrow. None! It's full of barren, soulless corporate types moving swiftly through their lives without the need for human contact. I love them, they never clog up the queue at Pret.
Gatwick, you confuse me with your North and South terminals. I had to go on a shuttle bus, outside, on the motorway. I'm a city type, I hate the motorway.
Your flights are at stupid early-0-clock. You make me get on a train to Brighton, but I don't actually get to go there.
Point bonus: You have a McDonalds. Egg McMuffin at 5am... suck it Heathrow!
I haven't been to Gatwick for a long time- and it was such a pleasant surprise!
- The train to Gatwick is fast (though the plebs in it was pretty disgusting, I mean massaging someone's bare feet on a train at 6:30am? Eww.) If you check the times on the web, you can get a non Gatwick Express train for £13.70 that takes the same amount as the "official train" for £18.
- New shops and lots of duty free. Managed to squeeze in a super quick shop for a new pair of much needed uggs.
- Mcdonalds- nothing beats a mcBreakfast at 7am (though I actually think only the hash browns are good)
-Gates are pretty close by, only about a 10 minute walk with travelators.
- Lots of staffed border agency desks on return, no wait time!
-Shop'n'pick up. I learnt this at the arrivals store when they didn't have the whiskeys I wanted. Apparently you can buy all your crap at duty free on departure and just pick up when you return.
- Eateries aren't the most sophisticated. Which *might* be a good thing since Plane Food just Plane SUCKED.
- Boots had a masssive queue (as there was only 1 and quite small) so didn't get a toothbrush for my holiday. However, my 1 euro italio one came with its own caddy etc!
- After the shopping it hasn't been updated so pretty ick at the gates still.
- Bra freaking set off the metal detector (Ladies, apparently you shouldn't wear M&S bras at the airport as they have a tendency to set off the alarm...)
- Labyrinth from gate to luggage collection point.
When you encounter police officers carrying assault rifles while chatting about their upcoming tea breaks you know that you've truly made it to Gatwick Airport.
A bit dark and dingy and bereft of good pre-security shopping/dining options to fill any time you might have before or between flights, Gatwick is an airport that only locals could love. Locals that do a lot of travelling and just want an airport that flies virtually everywhere, is comparatively small and is relatively quick and gets the job done, that is.
Interesting bit of trivia for all you Gatwick malcontents: did you know that it only operates with one runway? It's pretty efficient considering this, if you ask me, being that it IS the world's busiest international single-runway airport.
Although, I have to say, the security personnel on my last visit was absolute shit. I couldn't even begin to describe how ineffectual and blinded by an inflated sense of authority they were.
In Europe no one wanted to stamp my passport. Ever.
So of all the traveling I've done over the pond, there's only one stamp.
And for that you get 5 stars (plus you're a nice airport!).
Because you're the only proof I have that my passport has been somewhere!
Gatwick has made some big improvements since my last visit here and now offers a better passenger services vs Heathrow in my opinion.
First, the security screening area in the south terminal has been completely revamped. Security screening was the fastest and best I have experienced at a large airport. Automated boarding pass readers let you into the screening area. A huge space with about 20 lanes and you can just walk up to any of them. No sign of the usual airport treatment where you are corralled into a snaking line like cattle being herded. No aggressive barking instructions at you about those bags for liquids. All good things.Time for the entire process about 2 minutes!
The departures area also has some reasonable food options, proper air conditioning, and toilets right there in the central area that are relatively spacious. These things are notable for their favourable comparison with the situation at Heathrow. Signage is also good and the whole place is less stressful than Heathrow. It looks well planned with the passenger's needs in mind (again, compare vs Heathrow which is clearly designed primarily as a forced shopping trip vs. airport).
On return from my trip, the passport control area was well organised (large and spacious with multiple manned counters) and no queue. Bags arrived fairly quickly. Maybe we were just lucky, arriving at 10pm.
Gatwick is quite far from central London but there are frequent trains into the city. The one caveat is that the ticket machines (standard issue on most stations around London) are very frustrating to use and appear to promote only the most expensive fares unless you really know how to navigate the ridiculously complicated number of options and don't just give in to frustration in the process.
Tip: First Capital Connect probably has the cheapest fare option to London Bridge or St. Pancras International and takes a similar time to the Gatwick Express (around 30 mins) and £17 return fare. FCC trains are a bit grubby compared with Gatwick Express but cheaper.
meh duty free @north Terminal as it has no designer labels
Bland food options
No power outlets ?! I didn't see them.
Immigration for non EU passports slow at 9pm at night?! WTH!
To be fair, I'm trying to find the good about this airport...
Thinking harder.... ^.-
Quick security screening.
OH! And Gatwick Express so I can leave quickly! yay!
Nice Airport, not as big and chaotic as Heathrow.
If you have to leave from there you will get departure gate information pretty late (~ 30 mins befor departure time) and then the way might be pretty long to the gate, but you can spend time in a lot of shops and different restaurants.
For anyone not using Gatwick Express to travel to and from the airport, expect to spend about 2 hours getting there (or home). Useless.
Real Life Example: My Easyjet flight landed at 9:30pm in the North Terminal. I was in bed in my Barnes flat at midnight.
(This probably isn't a typical experience for Londoners, I just felt like whining).
So apparently September 11th happened because some silly American left some lotion in their bags at a security screening.
This was the garbage told to me by the wonderful security staff at Gatwick airport. On what should have been a very exciting trip to Dublin turned very, very ugly.
It all happened when my friend forgot that she had left two bottles of lotion in her checked luggage. After putting her bag through the scanner, airport security promptly grabbed her bag and put it to the side. However they failed to tell us why her bag was pulled or why it took 10 min for someone to come over to hand check her bag. She asked if they could just toss out the lotion and just x-ray her bag again. But she was promptly told off. Apparently, Americans should know UK airport security procedure. Because you know it's things like this. ie, lotion left in a bag, that cause terrorist to hijack planes and crash them into building.
Suffice to say that we did complain, a manager was called over and he lamely apologised for the misunderstanding. Apparently the gentlemen only wanted to convey how important airport security is and didn't intend to offend anyone. I'm going to call bulls%&# on that. There is absolutely no reason for the employee to have brought that up. All he had to say was that UK security procedures are different and in the interest of security they have to hand check the bag. Oh FYI, this wasn't even the guy who a) pulled the bag or b) was there to inspect it. Just some dude who has nothing better to do than insult people.
My letter to the director of the airport is in the mail as we speak.
When flying into London, I think Gatwick is a better alternative to Heathrow. When going directly to or from London, there are plenty of alternatives: bus, train or taxi. (I think the bus is a relaxing, somewhat pretty ride.) There are conversion machines available to convert your currency. The people at Gatwick are also somewhat more helpful than those at Heathrow.
At Gatwick, there is a lot of walking. Or maybe that is just for the international flights. Luckily, the customs lines move fairly quickly and the customs officers are expedient and polite if not friendly.
For an early morning flight I once spent the night. There are a number of (fairly) comfy couches available, throw in some ear plugs, get a vice-like grip on your luggage and you may even catch a few winks.
I've met some fairly nice people here too. (Now if I could just do better with deciphering Northern Scottish accents I could probably do more than smile and nod.)
For my next trip, I will definitely aim to fly into Gatwick over Heathrow.
London's second largest airport, Gatwick is for many a solid alternate to Heathrow. Express trains take a half hour to get to Victoria station for £17 (about $25) for a single. The railway station also has departures for other destinations.
The airport is divided into two terminals, North and South. A free passenger shuttle goes back and forth every five or six minutes. It's outside security. Check carefully to where your carrier operates - BA is in the North terminal. Also, the airline clubs don't open as early as you might want, but the Caffe Nero was serving coffee at 4:30 AM.
My most recent flight was from the North terminal, which has a very large main concourse on two levels with the usual duty-free shops and the "Win a Porsche" lottery. A few different restaurants and bars as well as a full service Boots are on the air side. There is a Marks & Spencer on the land side.
Like so many airports, wi-fi is not free. Lame.
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