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Top Tips for flying / going on holiday at Christmas

Do your family live abroad, so you have to travel to them at Christmas? Maybe you simply want to miss the festive season, and run to the sun whilst everyone in the UK is wishing for snow? Whatever your reason for travelling at Christmas, forward planning, along with our 10 top Christmas travel tips, will hopefully take some stress out of one of the busiest times of the year.

Book early

As you can imagine, Christmas time is one of Gatwick’s, and all other airports, busiest time of year. Whilst everyone is trying to make their way home for the festive season, flight prices, hotels, airport parking will all see an influx in price. The closer you book to Christmas, unfortunately the more you will pay.

Check the extra baggage allowances / fees

Since many will be carrying presents, on the outward journey especially, be sure to check your airlines baggage allowance and charges if you do go over. The last thing you want is to be landed with hefty baggage charges at check-in, before you even fly!

Be weather aware

Whilst many of us wish for a white Christmas, for those of us that fly to our loved ones at this time, the white stuff could really put a spanner in the works. We would advise booking your flights a few days before you want / need to get to your destination, rather than cutting it fine. This way if the flight is cancelled / delayed due to heavy weather, you won’t miss what you have planned. Plus if all goes smoothly, you’ll have an extra few days holiday too!

Arrange your Gatwick car parking

With the amount of people flying through Gatwick airport at Christmas, airport parking can also get booked up pretty quickly. Avoid parking miles away, paying hefty parking fees for late bookings and see what Ace can offer you. With us you won’t need to trawl your heavy present filled suitcases anywhere but straight into the departures lounge. We’ll park your car for you, and be there waiting on your return. Yes airports may be a little more stressful at peak festive season, but your parking certainly doesn’t need to be.

Remember Christmas Traffic

You may take every precaution for delays in the airports, with flights and extra queues etc, but remember that Christmas road traffic will also be affected. Imagine how many people take to the roads, all doing their last minute Christmas shopping, or simply trying to get to their friends / family in the UK. Give yourself lots of extra time to drive, and remember; if you book with Ace, you won’t have to rush to your parking if you do end up being late anyway. Simply drive straight to departures where we’ll be waiting, throw us the keys, and hot foot it to your check-in / departure gate!

Bring distractions / things to pass time

Expect delays, and more queues than usual as everyone around the world tries to get home for Christmas, making sure you have things to pass time will relieve anxiety, as well as boredom. Whatever takes your mind off things, it may be a book / magazine, a film on your laptop, or the latest ‘Breaking Bad’ episode on your iPad. Some may even take work to do!

Be nice to the airport staff

With such an influx in people in the airport, as well as flight cancellations or longer delays, the airport staff can get a lot of stick from unhappy travellers. We ask you to remember that these things are often out of their hands (like weather issues), and they will be doing everything in their power to get you to your destination. Being rude to them will not get you anywhere unfortunately, However, if you feel they are not dealing with you appropriately, kindly ask to speak to someone else in charge – it’ll be less stressful for all.

Book seats / priority boarding

On an average day at Gatwick Airport, we would probably tell you to pass on paying extra for priority boarding, or seat allocation. However, in peak season it may just be worth that extra little bit of money for it. You may get onto the plane faster, as well as not having to look for a seat, especially if you are in a family or group. Larger airlines for long haul flights will often allocate seats for free, but many of them will have airport lounge upgrades, that again might just be worth their while, allowing you to relax before your long flight, at a very busy time.

Christmas gifts

Packing up and getting all your presents sorted before you head home / to your destination for Christmas will feel great! However, it may be worthwhile remembering a few things; Wrapping all your presents pre-flight may not be the best idea, if your bag gets searched you may just have to unwrap them all; fun for some, very frustrating for the ones who have wrapped them!
Don’t forget restricted items – especially if you are only taking hand luggage. That expensive perfume you purchased, and wrapped, may be over 100mls, and will end up as a gift for the security bin. Ouch!

Be careful of breakables, and anything fragile in your suitcase. Your aunt may not be too impressed with new cracked wine glasses!
If it’s possible, and not too expensive to, get your presents shipped to your destination, saving you space, and extra baggage charges.

Enjoy the airport

Gatwick airport has superb facilities, from its many airport lounges, to restaurants, to tax free shopping. Don’t sit and get anxious about your flight, explore and enjoy the time you have there, just keep checking the departures boards every so often so you don’t actually miss your flight!


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