Departing from Gatwick Airport can be a stressful experience. We know how distracting it is to look for the right information here and there, and how frustrating it can get when the time is running out. While the Gatwick Airport website has all the information, it doesn’t have it all in one place, which makes it hard to find what exactly you’re looking for. You need the right piece of information at the right place at the right time.
This is where Parkhero comes in to help you prepare with our guide about Gatwick Departures. We will show you all the important things you need to know to ensure you can enjoy a hassle-free experience at Gatwick. See how to check the terminal that your flight departs from, the drop off zone and the public transportation options. Learn more about passing quickly through the airport security control, the check-in counters and all the available on-site facilities, restaurants, and duty-free shops.
With this guide, you will be ahead of the game and be able to help your co-travellers with any questions they may have.
When the day of your departure comes, one of the first things to do is to check your Gatwick Airport Departures terminal. Better to realise in advance if you are at the wrong terminal to avoid unnecessary anxiety!
Given that 47 airlines operate from Gatwick, you should always double check which terminal Gatwick you are flying from. Even if you are a regular passenger, don’t take it for granted that your flight will depart from the terminal that it usually does. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, all flights are operating from the North Terminal due to the reduced passenger traffic.
Gatwick Flight Departures Drop Off
Once you identify the correct terminal, you can then decide where you will need to be dropped off.
For Gatwick North Departures:
- The free drop off zone is on the lower level forecourt, between Sofitel Hotel and multi-level car park. From 2021, a £5 charge will be put in place for parking at the drop off area.
- Park at the Short Stay Car Park 5 for £8.00/1 hour.
- Park at the Long Stay Car Park, which is free for up to 2 hours.
For Gatwick South Departures:
- Free drop off zone on the lower level. A £5 charge will apply from 2021.
- Park at the Short Stay Car Park 3 (orange) for £8.00/1 hour.
- Park at the Long Stay Car Park free of charge for 2 hours.
Our Gatwick Drop Off and Pick Up guide explains in detail what your parking options are when someone is driving you to or collecting you from the airport.
How to Get to London Gatwick Departures
There are several ways to reach LGW Departures, whether you are coming from London or anywhere else in the UK. Below, you will find the four most common means of transportation.
Driving to the airport is undoubtedly the most convenient option. If your starting point is London, then you can easily access Gatwick via A23 and M23. Don’t leave home without first booking parking at Gatwick Airport. By reserving your parking spot in advance, you can save up to 60%.
Τhe second most popular option is the train, as Gatwick is proud to be one of the few airports with highly efficient rail connections. The train station is located at the South Terminal. If your flight departs from the North Terminal, you will have to board the free transit that will take you to your terminal in two minutes.
Four operators serve Gatwick and connect it with 120 train stations across the UK. These are Gatwick Express, Southern, Thameslink, and Great Western Railway. Read our Trains to Gatwick guide, for step-by-step instructions and information on tickets and prices.
By Coach and Bus
Regional and national private or public bus services run 24/7 and can take you to over 100 destinations in the UK. If you pre-book, you can find cheap tickets and ensure that there’s a seat waiting for you. The bus companies operating from Gatwick are National Express, easyBus, Airline, Megabus, and Metrobus. The designated ticket desks at both terminals only sell tickets for the National Express. Tickets for any of the other three companies can be purchased online.
You can catch the bus at the lower South Terminal forecourt. Some bus services also stop at the lower level outside international arrivals of the North Terminal.
If you’re in a rush or you are carrying many pieces of luggage with you, you can opt for a taxi. As taxi services are known for their high rates, consider pre-arranging a taxi ride to get an estimate for the fare. The taxi driver will pick you up from your home or accommodation and drop you off at your terminal. If you compare a taxi service to Gatwick with the other available options, you will realize that it is often much more expensive, unless you are travelling as a group.
Gatwick Airport Check In
If you don’t need to check in any luggage, then you won’t have to spend extra time at one of the check-in desks. If you have baggage that needs to be checked in, then factor in additional time before your flight’s departure.
For long haul flights, the check in opens three hours before the scheduled departure. The same goes for European flights. For domestic and Irish flights, the airport authorities advise you to check-in two hours prior to departure. In any case, you can also contact your airline for more specific information. For example, British Airways closes check-in 60 minutes before long haul flights and 60 minutes before short haul flights.
Once you enter the terminal, look for your check-in zone displayed on the screens. At the North terminal, the clearly signed check-in counters are located on the 3rd level, zones A-H. At the South Terminal, they are on the 3rd level, zones A-K.
Some airlines such as British Airways, EasyJet, Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic offer self-service check-in. Contact your airlines to ask if your route is eligible for the self-service option.
Gatwick Airport Departures Security Control
When you are packing your bags, make sure to take a few minutes to read the guidelines about what you’re allowed to have in your carry-on bags. There is nothing worse than having your bag pulled to one side and having to wait to have it searched! By checking in advance, you’ll pass through security fast and efficiently but give yourself plenty of time for the security screening process. You don’t want to risk missing your flight in case of a delay.
If you comply with the following requirements, you won’t face any extra security checks.
- Keep your boarding pass in an easily accessible place. If you have it in a digital form, make sure that your mobile phone is not running out of battery. At this point, you don’t have to show your passport.
- Take off jackets, coats, belts, jewellery, and other metallic accessories and place them in a specially designated security basket.
- Airport security officers will supply you with transparent airtight plastic bags to put any liquids and cosmetics. By placing any liquids in these bags, the x-ray scanning will identify them right away. The limit for these substances is 100ml/100g or less in size.
- Electronic devices must also be removed from the bag to be x-rayed as well.
- In some cases, you may even be asked to take off your shoes before passing through the archway metal detector.
LGW Departures Duty Free
Gatwick Departures Halls are a duty-free haven for all the last-minute shopping needs. There is a great shopping directory of brands and products for every taste and budget. If you are interested in a detailed description, read our updated Gatwick Duty Free guide.
Gatwick North Departures Duty Free
At the North Terminal, almost all of the shops are located after security control on Level 20. On this level are located Piers 2 and 3 and Gates 10-95. Some of the world-renowned brands are Accessorize, Bobbi Brown, Boots, Case Luggage, Collection, Dixons Travel, Dune London, Hugo Boss, and dozens of other shops.
Gatwick South Departures Duty Free
At the South Terminal, the duty free zone is after security, on level 2 before Piers 4 and 6 and Gates 45-55 & 101- 113. Here you can find the same selection of brands as the ones at the North Terminal. Whatever it is that you forgot to pack, you’ll find it for sure in one of the tax free stores.
LGW Departures Restaurants and Cafes
Sometimes your airline may not offer a meal on board, or you just don’t feel like spending a fortune for a cold sandwich on the plane. At both London Gatwick Departures terminals, you have plenty of options on food and drinks. You can have breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee and soft or alcoholic beverages. As this will probably be your last stop before leaving London and the UK, you can have a last taste of the local flavours or even begin your overseas trip with an introduction to international cuisine.
North Terminal hosts EAT, Shake-a-Hula, Pure, The Nicholas Culpeper Pub & Dining, The Red Lion, Union Jacks Bar, YO! Sushi, M&S Simply Food, Jamie’s Coffee Lounge, Jamie’s Diners, Jamie’s Italian, Comptoir Libanais, Costa, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Wagamama, Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar.
South Terminal is home to Caffe Nero, Itsu, Giraffe, Grain Store, Joe’s Coffee House, Nando’s, The Beehive, The Flying Horse, The London Bar, Wondertree, Costa, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Wagamama, Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar.
For a full description of the cuisine that each of the restaurants specializes in, find more information in the relevant section of Duty Free Gatwick guide.
Facilities at Departures Gatwick
A host of facilities are offered at Gatwick Airport Departures, from toilets and baby changing stations to money exchange desks and prayer rooms.
Here are the facilities that you can find at the North Terminal:
- Check-in Level: information desks, toilets, internet kiosks, excess and left baggage services, bureau de change, prayer room
- Check-in Level 2: information desk, toilets, internet kiosks, and bureau de change counters
- Lower & Upper Departure Levels: toilets, cash machines bureau de change, luggage trolleys, left luggage, special assistance, phone charging area, kids zone, internet kiosk, lounges.
At the South Terminal, you will find the same kind of facilities:
- Check-in area: information desk, toilets, payphones, internet access, special assistance, bureau de change, cash machines
- Departures zone: toilets, luggage trolleys, payphones, internet access, bureau de change, multi-faith chapel, lounges, designated smoking zone
One of the premium facilities offered at Gatwick Departures is the lounges. With prices starting at £21, they are the perfect place to relax in quiet away from the crowds while enjoying the numerous offered amenities. The lounges housed at both terminals are My Lounge, No 1 Lounge, Club Aspire Lounge, and Clubrooms. For your convenience, we put together a full Gatwick Lounges guide.
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You can see for yourself by trying out our easy-to-use search tool. Once you enter your travel dates, a list of parking facilities will be displayed. Compare prices and customer reviews, shuttle services, distance from the airport and security features. When you make up your mind, confirm your booking to benefit from the low prices. The earlier you book, the less you pay!
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While the contents of this article were compiled with the greatest possible care, there is the possibility that certain information will become outdated or incorrect by the time of reading. Last updated in November 2020.View informative-posts View all blogposts