With an increasing number of Jersey passengers using London Gatwick as a ‘Hub’ airport, meaning they are connecting there to an onward flight – any service or facility offered that aims to make the journey as smooth and as stress free as possible is a welcome move, especially if that service is provided at no extra cost to the traveller!
Since May 2013, Gatwick Connect has been providing a complimentary airside check-in process for passengers connecting to an onward flight through Gatwick Airport with either easyJet, Flybe, Norwegian, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic or WOW (a low-cost Icelandic airline). This innovative service was introduced by Gatwick Airport as a result of extensive research as well as passenger feedback and is the first of its kind in a UK Airport, with over 250,000 passengers to date taking advantage of it.
The service provides a more comfortable and easier passenger and luggage check-in experience and can also print boarding passes if required.
For passengers travelling to and from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Channel Islands on either a domestic or international flight the process is easy. Provided you are in possession of a boarding card or confirmation for your onward flight with any of these six airlines then follow these four simple steps:
- Collect your luggage from your arriving flight;
- Proceed to the Gatwick Connect desk in the baggage reclaim hall;
- Gatwick Connect staff will reconfirm your onward flight details and check-in both you and your luggage, issuing you with your boarding card if you don’t already have one;
- Once this check-in process is completed, exit through Customs into the terminal building, head straight through central security search and into the airside departures lounge where you can relax and enjoy the facilities before taking your onward flight.
With Gatwick Connect desks located in both the North and South terminals serving both domestic and international flight arrivals, passengers can take advantage of the service even if their onward flight is from another terminal. Simply follow the steps as described above, exit baggage reclaim in the terminal building and jump on the free shuttle service.
According to Chris Baldwin from Gatwick Connect, the service is becoming increasingly popular with Jersey passengers. He said: “Here at Gatwick, we learnt that passengers are travelling differently and in a much smarter way. From the way that passengers search for their flights through to the way that they book and then travel. We serve over 200 destinations here at Gatwick Airport and discovered that a significant number of passengers are booking and travelling on two separate airlines across this network in order to reach their end destination. We wanted to assist these self-connecting passengers by providing them with a service that saves them time during their journey, the worry of a connection and the hassle of transporting their bags across the airport to check them back in with their second airline”
Gatwick Connect only provides this complimentary airside check-in service to passengers who have already purchased their airline ticket and cannot sell or issue tickets on behalf of an airline. It is also not possible to arrange onward flights should a traveller miss their connection; should this happen then the passenger must contact the airline to arrange further travel options. And unfortunately, onward flights cannot be delayed for a Gatwick Connect passenger who is late because their earlier flight is delayed.
While alleviating the stress of onward travel, the usual security measures in place at airports still apply and passengers will be subject to the usual security screening measures. Transfer passengers with Duty Free liquids will be subject to security screening, including those items in a sealed security bag with proof of purchase clearly displayed inside. It is also the responsibility of the passenger to ensure that they comply with the airline’s usual luggage allowance.
While this new initiative has been welcomed by many travellers, those Jersey passengers who ‘hub’ through Gatwick Airport have long been able to make use of a similar airside customer focused service provided by British Airways in the North Terminal, provided hold luggage has been checked-in to its final destination at Jersey Airport and passengers have their onward British Airways boarding pass.
While Gatwick Connect provides a much welcome service for those travelling outwards at the start of their journey, don’t forget it is also available to those flying back to Jersey with easyJet – a welcome relief, especially for those who have arrived from an international flight.
Gatwick Connect operates subject to airline operating hours and opening times but desks are usually open daily between 6am and 6pm. For further information visit www.gatwickairport.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org .Pre-booking of this service is not required.
Alan Donald, Group Marketing & Communications Manager, Ports of Jersey