Checking-in FAQs

We want to make the check-in process as smooth as possible. We've answered our most frequently asked questions to help you.

What time does the airport open?

The airport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Which terminal do I check-in at?

To find out which terminal you need to check-in at, use our which terminal guide.

How long before my flight do I need to check in?

We advise the following:

  • Long-haul: check-in opens 3 hours before scheduled departures.
  • European: check-in opens 2 hours before.
  • UK and Ireland: check-in opens 2 hours before.

As a general rule you should check in a minimum of one hour prior to scheduled departure time for UK and Ireland flights and two hours before scheduled departure time or international flights. Find out more information about check-in.

Can I check in the day before?

Some of our airlines allow you to check-in the day before your flight, perfect if it’s early in the morning or if you’re planning to stay in one of our hotels. You can even drop your bags off too. Speak to your airline for more information about checking in early.

What ID do I need to check-in?

Ultimately this is down to your airline – however there are general rules:

For international travel - a valid passport is normally required. For some countries your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after your intended return and you may also need a visa.

Before travelling you should check your destination country's entry requirements and allow enough time to renew your passport and/or apply for a visa at the relevant embassy or consulate. It may also be worth carrying additional photographic ID separate from your passport.

For UK citizens – if your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the UK Passport Service by calling 0871 875 6859. All travellers to the US wanting to travel on the visa waiver programme now need travel authorisation in advance, in addition to having a machine readable passport. Please complete the US Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorisation in advance online.

If you are travelling to Canada you need a valid ETA. These can be applied for easily online at www.Canada.ca/eta. The fee is CAD$7.00, and the ETA is valid for 5 years or whenever your passport expires. If you forget to do this prior to arriving at Gatwick, you can apply online via your smartphone at the airport, or our staff at the Sky Break desks in both of our terminals can assist you.

When does my flight leave and what gate do I need to go to?

All of this information can be found on our live flight departure screens which are all around both terminals and on our website. The screens are updated with the latest information by the airlines.

How many bags am I allowed?

You should check with your airline or on your ticket for their on-board baggage rules. 

How heavy can my bags be?

Please check with your specific airline as rules and regulations may vary.