How to transit Gatwick expeditiously
September 28, 2009 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Mrs L (US passport) and I (UK passport) are flying from Orlando to Gatwick (Virgin Atlantic)arriving 0845, then on to Nice, France on Easyjet departing 1125.

Once at Gatwick (and thus inside the EU) will we have to pass through Customs and Passport Control again to get on the Nice flight?
I have paid extra for Easyjet "Special Boarding Plus" but cannot find details of special disabled boarding on their website.
Anyone done this, if so please advise!
posted by lungtaworld to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I think you will, yes. When I flew to London and waited in line to go through customs, there were many people who were going on to connecting flights within the EU and they still had to go through customs and PC. The issue may be that your line is likely to be quite a bit shorter than hers and you will have to wait for her. There is usually one line for UK/EU citizens and another for the rest of the world. And it's the same when I return to the USA, one line for US citizens and one for all other citizens.
posted by soelo at 3:29 PM on September 28, 2009

I think you will. I haven't made this exact journey but I have flown from America, then to London and then on to Italy. I had to pass through Customs and Passport Control to get onto the flight to Italy.
posted by Laura_J at 3:55 PM on September 28, 2009

Yes for passport control, baggage pickup and customs: because you're flying on with EasyJet, you'll need to check in groundside. (You'll find some brief directions from arrivals to EJ check-in at the bottom of that FlyerTalk thread.)

If possible, you should wait close to the exit of the non-EU passport control, in case a silly jobsworth Border Agency officer suspects that she's got plans on staying in the UK. (That's more likely with younger arrivals, but you never know...) It may be a good idea for both of you to carry tickets (or copies of them) for when you join separate queues, and perhaps even copies of each other's passport photo pages. Alternatively, you could both join the non-EU queue, which may or may not be longer or take more time to process; both joining the EU queue is also an option, though as this thread notes, that depends upon whether the officer is in a good mood.

That's a glorious summary of your life in your profile, lungtaworld.
posted by holgate at 4:05 PM on September 28, 2009

Yes. You go through customs once to get into the UK and once to get out of the UK and into (Schengen area) France.

Arriving at customs in Edinburgh my US wife has been told that it is OK for her to come through customs with me (UK passport/shorter queue). This will rule may also apply at Gatwick and could save you time.

The basic rule of Easyjet's "Special Boarding" is that they will call you up slightly before everybody else. This is can be a meaningful advantage if you are boarding an aircraft at a gate but it pretty useless if you happen to be all catching a bus to the plane. So it would be worth seeing if you can find where the flight normally leaves from.
posted by rongorongo at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2009

Arriving at customs in Edinburgh my US wife has been told that it is OK for her to come through customs with me (UK passport/shorter queue).

This is not specific to Edinburgh. My experience is with Heathrow, not Gatwick, but we always all go through the EU line - me with a UK passport accompanied by 1-4 family members with US passports. I think the people behind us in the line might hate us as they do the whole stamp the passport thing for the US passports, rather than the look at the page and wave through that they do for the UK ones, so we take a little while to process. We started doing this years ago after we were specifically told to do so by one of the officials.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2009

Very helpful to know that we have the EasyJet check in at Groundside Zones A & B! We are lucky we arrive/depart in LGW South Terminal. (We return the same way).

Many thanks all!
posted by lungtaworld at 6:01 PM on September 28, 2009

Can't use the UK queue at Gatwick - they don't have the immigration cards there. Otherwise my husband and I use the UK queue under their policy of not splitting families
posted by wingless_angel at 11:50 PM on September 28, 2009

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