Despite the implication of an active, not to mention congested, UK airport, Gatwick is generally small and easy-to-navigate. But then again, travelling with our family adds a distinct element to the equation, one that requires us to prepare from top to bottom in order to enjoy a stress-free trip. Here on The Backpack Traveller, we’ve already shared tips on how to travel with kids. In line with that, let’s delve deeper into the intricacies of flying from London Gatwick; all the important moments before leaving, en route to the airport, and while at the terminal.
According to Panethos, Gatwick is the busiest single-use runway commercial airport in the world. Part of this also involves the constant influx of airline passengers in the departure areas. As a way to avoid long departure hall queues, the most obvious thing to do is to check-in online 24 to 48 hours prior to your scheduled flight. In addition, pick and reserve airplane seats that suit your kids’ needs. If they want to sightsee clouds and/or the city below, then select a window seat. Lastly, be sure to double check hand luggage requirements and security restrictions, as these are some of the often-ignored facets of airline travel. Since you’re flying with children, get the latest regulations on basic items such as baby milk, medicine and all the other essentials on your carry-ons.
En Route to the Airport
This component can be somewhat tricky especially if you have a late night or early morning flight. Common knowledge suggests that if you’re driving to Gatwick, booking an airport parking space – similar to online check-ins – should be done one or two days prior to your departure time. For your reference, this Crawley, West Sussex landing field has long stay and short stay parking options at both North and South Terminals. However, if like what we’ve stated earlier, you’re travelling with kids at an inconvenient hour, you can start the holiday a day early and spend the night at one of the many hotels surrounding the airport. Parking4Less, a website that operates out of Gatwick, provides a long list of accommodation near the aviation hub, as well as its respective amenities. On-airport hotels such as the Hilton Gatwick, Sofitel and Copthorne are included on the website’s Gatwick Airport Hotel page, making it easier for you to choose what matches your family’s needs.
While at the Terminal
Aside from the plethora of fast food joints and restaurants, cafés and bars, fashion boutiques and Wi-Fi hotspots, London Gatwick has fantastic departure lounges. Both North and South Terminals have family-oriented airport lounges like Servisair and No. 1. For a price ranging from £9.99 for kids and £22.50 for adults, you and your family can enjoy services such as video games, cable television and, of course, high-speed wireless Internet. They also serve refreshments and snacks throughout the day. If this proves to be too costly for your liking, then you can head over to an all-new “kids zone” located opposite Café Rouge and behind Boots inside the North Terminal departure area and upstairs at the South Terminal. Another important thing to note is that Gatwick has special assistance security lanes for families with young children. Here, there are extra large security scanners, which make it easy for you to wheel children around in buggies. Just follow the signs for these lanes, and you’re on your way to a relaxing, trouble-free vacation with the family.