London Gatwick Airport Traveler’s Guide

London Gatwick Airport: Your Guide To The World’s Leading, Low-Cost International Airport

London Gatwick Airport Traveler’s Guide

Travel tips, airport maps and COVID updates to help you navigate London Gatwick, the world’s leading low-cost international airport!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, London Gatwick (LGW) named the “world’s top international, low-cost airport”! The town crier was somebody hired by the town council to walk through the streets reading out loud whatever propaganda thought townspeople should hear. 

And we believe London Gatwick being the world’s top international, low-cost airport is town crier worthy!

This is no propaganda! In the 21c where the internet has replaced the town crier, you will find multiple press releases sharing this exciting news.

Low-cost flight options are fantastic, however what else should one expect as they visit visit U.K.’s second busiest airport? This London Gatwick Airport traveler’s guide will highlight how to best navigate Europe’s 10th busiest airport.

Affordability At It’s Best!

So, just what has contributed to London Gatwick’s worldwide, low-cost success? For starters, over 40% of Gatwick’s total flights as of 2016 were booked on Europe’s leading short-haul airline, EasyJet. To put it in perspective, that means 18.6 million of the 46.6 million passengers flew on EasyJet in 2019.

Affordable, short-haul flights don’t always equate to second-rate! According to the World Airline Awards, this British multinational low-cost carrier was second best in the world in 2019. Impressive given the in-depth methodology used by the world’s largest, annual airline passenger satisfaction survey.

EasyJet, headquartered at London Luton Airport, operates domestic and international scheduled services on over 1,000 routes in more than 30. THey do this via its affiliate airlines EasyJet UKEasyJet Switzerland, and EasyJet Europe.

Affordable flights on EasyJet, as well as other airlines, are more prevalent than ever. The popular search engine, Kayak, is a robust OTA that offers a variety of destination guides and booking options for flights, lodging, trains, rental cars, and vacation packages. In addition to conducting more than 6 billion searches per year, Kayak is translated in over 30 foreign languages such as Italian, España, Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), and Turkish. Perfect for the world traveler!

Visiting The UK In The Days of COVID

While affordable flights are super sexy, the UK’s response to COVID has received a lot of press in 2020. This have left many to wonder how best to approach traveling into and out of England.

The cabinet office of the UK Government issued new national restrictions starting November 5th, 2020 including impacts on travel. This guidance report states that, if you live in England, you must stay at home and avoid travel in the UK or overseas unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

For those planning on traveling to England, what are the rules especially pertaining to 14-day self-isolation? The UK Government has provided a “travel corridor list”, updated November 21, 2020, in which passengers from specific countries, territories and regions do not need to self-isolate if travelling to England from those noted.

Countries on the Travel Corridor List, as of November 21, 2020, include:

London Gatwick COVID Mandates

Regardless of self-isolation requirements, the UK government mandates that face coverings are compulsory. This includes shops, supermarkets, shopping centers and enclosed transport hubs e.g. indoor train stations and terminals, airports, maritime ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals.

Related Reading:  Phoenix Airport Maps & Everything You Need To Know!

And London Gatwick is no exception! While visitors will be required to wear face coverings, there are several additional health and safety precautions to be considered. Additional COVID travel advice including safety measures, helpful video’s and an infographic summarizing all the necessary information is provided.

Furthermore, most airlines have supplied helpful COVID updates, specific to their operations. Contact details and links to information prepared for the Coronavirus situation can be found for the following airlines:

Aer LingusQatar
British AirwaysRyanair
EasyJetSwiss
EmiratesTurkish Airlines
IcelandairVirgin Atlantic

See LGW’s airline contacts for a comprehensive list.

Regardless of airline, all passengers arriving into the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Government Form. This form can be downloaded to your phone, completed, and submitted any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK.

Upon Arrival

For visitors arriving at London Gatwick, their first step is to clear passport control. At present, there are no changes to travel arrangements or passport requirements. However new rules may come into effect 1 January, 2021. For more information on 2021 Brexit and travel, see the UK government’s official advice.

There are two terminals at LGW (North and South) and knowing which you will be landing at, or departing from, can sure help navigate this large airport. During these days of COVID, all flights to and from Gatwick are only operating from the North Terminal.

An interesting historical nugget about the terminals at London Gatwick! While there are 2 terminals, only one can operate at a time due to proximity. In 2015, Gatwick became the first single-runway airport to handle more than 40 million passengers annually. Incredible!

Cheers To Your Health & Safety

As one plans for travel during these unprecedented times, reviewing health insurance policies and Travel Insurance options should be completed prior to lift off.

This is especially true with international trips. FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance provides recommendations based on considerations such as how often you travel, length of trip, where you are going (see country travel advice), what you will be doing, what you are taking, and how many people you will be travelling with. 

If reducing jet lag is of interest, fresh air and blood circulation during a post-landing stroll can go a long way adjusting to different time zones. Visitors to London are truly spoiled as the city and surround neighborhoods are best experienced by foot. For this reason, there are a wealth of options to explore, including self-guided walks, taking in one of the many museums, or taking a tootle through a beautiful English garden?

Related Reading:  Public Health and Safety Advisories

On a personals note, I typically try to land in Europe during the morning, making it possible to take a post-landing meander. It is during this walk that I get fresh air while scoping out shops and yummy looking restaurants that I wish to revisit! While GPS on my phone will get me from point a to point, I like to grab a printed walking map to make notes as to places I would like to keep in mind.

Speaking of dinner, a person’s appetite can be affected by differences in time zones and mealtimes in Europe may vary from what you are used to; therefore, packing snacks can go a long way to keep you fueled during flights and upon reaching your destination.

There are hikes galore for the more adventuresome. Additional ideas can be found by perusing online travel blogs, free online fitness guides, as well as travel guides. Heck, you can even find travel guides in multiple languages such as Chinese (Simplified) and Hindi!

Currency Exchange Options

The UK, and London specifically, can be quite expensive especially if traveling from the US. While I like to have a little cash in my pocket upon landing, I often find it difficult to anticipate how much cash will be required for an entire trip. It never fails, at some point throughout a visit, I may need to make a withdrawal.

On the topic of currency exchange, prepared travelers keep an eye on currency conversion rates. This goes a long way to know just how far their dollar will go. While exchanging money prior to departure is a sound idea, visitors to LGW will find a number variety of options upon arrival. Pre-ordering, as well as understanding fees and buyback policies will help save on expenses.

I am part of a credit union therefore do not incur foreign transactions fees for purchases or to withdraw cash. Prior to departure, check with your bank and credit card company regarding FTF’s for both purchases and cash withdrawal. While you have em’ on the line, let them know you will be traveling out of the country to avoid security holds that lead to declining of charges.

Prior To Departure, Check Foreign Transactions Fees

Check with your banking institution or preferred credit card company to learn about foreign transaction fees for general use and cash withdrawal.

FTF’s can sure add up quick!

LGW Ground Transportation – Something For Everyone!

London Gatwick airport is based in Surrey, England. While it is 28 miles (48km) south of Central London, no matter how you choose to get to LGW, there are a lot of well thought-out options to consider.

Gatwick links passengers to 120 train stations directly and over 700 within just one change, making it one of the best rail connections of any airport in Britain. To this end, visitors going by train can expect an efficient 30 minute commute between central London and Gatwick.

Related Reading:  Airport Maps & Insights To Help throughout Your Journey!

The railway station at LGW is located at the South Terminal and a free shuttle that takes passengers to and from the North Terminal. All flights are currently operating from the North Terminal. Therefore, if you are coming in by train, be sure to allow time to catch the free shuttle when departing for a flight. In contrast, those planning to leave LGW by train can purchase tickets at the station or at the rail information desks located in arrivals at both terminals.

Gatwick Express is a popular train service that offers non-stop trains between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport up to four times an hour. At present, many routes are suspended due to COVID. As a result, checking the Train Service Update page for up to the minute information on disruptions.

Ground Transportation While In London!

Driving in London can be quite the adventure and fortunately, there are ample tools to help visitors along. The live route planner is ideal for for those picking up a rental car and the intuitive waving goodbye or saying hello feature helps drivers pick up and drop off visitors.

If parking at LGW is in your plans, then you will find a lot of different options. With this in mind, it is recommended to book in advance of travel and the official Gatwick parking is closest to the airport, offers total security, and has a host of options.

Keen to leave the driving to others? If so, Gatwick’s shuttle service through National Express runs day and night from several pick-up points, direct to the airport door. For service information and extended ticket flexibility, visit their service updates page to stay informed.

With A Little Help From Your Friends!

With a host of booking options, researching travel can feel overwhelming at times. And your research may be further compounded by navigating today’s new way of travel due to COVID. For complex trips, especially those with multiple international legs, why not leave the planning up to the pro’s? Working with a Travel Agent who serves as an expert guide on the side can be a great way to put one’s mind at ease!

The proof is in the pudding! In a past life I spent 17 years traveling full time for an Educational Technology firm. Much of this time was spent developing new markets and Europe was a key international region. Consequently, most trips to Europe took me through multiple countries, on numerous airlines, staying at a variety of hotels.

I flew in and out of London, specifically London Gatwick, a lot!

One trip in particular was the bleisure trip of all trips, attending the UK hosted 2015 Rugby World Cup. As a huge rugby fan, and one who loves bleisure travel, there was no better place to schedule some work while taking in some good footie than the United Kingdom. It is the birthplace of Rugby after all!

Mixing business with leisure, my travel companion and I were over the moon to offset travel expenses while attending this men’s rugby union tournament between top international teams.

All told, our month adventuring throughout the UK (including a 4-day side trip to Budapest), took us on 2 International, round-trip flights on Icelandair and 12 short-haul flights booked on either EasyJet or British Airways, lodging stays at 2 Marriott Hotels, 6 AirBnB’s and 2 client sponsored hotels, and more airport taxi’s, subway rides, and shuttle service commutes than we could keep track of!

As a result, working with a Travel Agent proved invaluable!

Upon Conclusion…

While a lot has changed in today’s international travel scene since 2015, one thing has definitely stayed the same. London’s rich history, sporting spectacles, world-class museums, international cuisine, and incredible shopping never disappoints!

We’re Curious … How You Are Preparing For The ‘New Normal’ Of Travel?

As the hospitality scene comes out of it’s post-COVID slumber and re-awakens as a redefined industry, just what will the ‘New Normal’ of travel look like?

Our team at GOeConcierge is interested in your opinion. What do you think the ‘New Normal’ of travel will look like and how will these anticipated changes impact you? If you have dusted off that wheelie bag, dipped your toe in and tested the waters, what have your experiences been so far?

About the author

Simply put, Tamara lives for travel and travels to live! With 25 years of bleisure travel under her belt, it is only fitting that she founded HospitaliYAY LLC, a 2020 start-up described as the perfect intersection between technology, travel, and hospitality.

Tamara and the HospitaliYAY team bring their unique tech and travel expertise to the eConcierge suite of products designed to help novice and experienced alike travel like a pro!

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