Following the opening of easyJet’s new self-service bag drop area at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal earlier this year, the check-in queuing time will now be reduced to less than five minutes. With this in mind, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has created a guide comparing the different ways passengers can check-in at UK airports, helping savvy travellers plan ahead and cut down their check-in queuing times.
The research compares the closing and opening times issued for checking-in online and at all major London airports, with airlines such as British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic.
All the airlines were found to provide staffed check-in desks at the airport, apart from easyJet and Virgin Atlantic which now only offers self-service check-in kiosks at London Gatwick North Terminal and London Gatwick South Terminal, respectively. Monarch, on the other hand, is the only airline out of the six studied that does not allow passengers to check-in at a self-service kiosks at any of the airports.
Passengers looking to whizz through the airport as quickly as possible should also be wary of the closing times allocated for bag drop, which varies between airline and airport. Ryanair’s bag drop service opens two hours before scheduled flights at London Luton Airport, whilst Monarch’s bag drop opens three hours before flights at London Gatwick South Terminal. British Airways closes their bag drop 45 minutes prior to take off at London City Airport, whereas bag drop closes 40 minutes before departure at London Stansted Airport.
For travellers looking to really plan ahead, easyJet has the earliest online check-in opening of 30 days before flight departure, whereas British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have the latest online check-in opening of 24 hours before the flight departs. Monarch’s online check-in closes six hours before the flight is scheduled to leave, while Emirates online check-in closes 90 minutes before the flight takes off.
For an easy airport experience, five of the airlines researched, including British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic, allow passengers to download their boarding passes onto a mobile device. However, travellers should note that British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair require passengers to use the airline app in order to access mobile boarding passes, whereas Emirates and Virgin Atlantic only allow travellers to access their mobile boarding passes via email or SMS. All six airlines also offer the option for customers to print their boarding passes, however Monarch does not currently offer any type of mobile boarding pass.
As an easy alternative when checking in, travellers should also note that if they are flying with Ryanair twice within the space of 15 days, then they can check in for both flights at the same time.