London Airport Etiquette

London Airport Etiquette


With the school holidays now upon us we have reached peak holiday season in the UK, meaning our airports are full to the brim.

Whilst airports across the globe may look the same, each country has subtle differences on its airport etiquette.

By following the tips below you will show consideration to fellow travellers and ensure a pleasant experience for all concerned before you board:


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  • Stress often equates to bad manners. Rushing and bumping into people as you run for your gate is the complete nemesis to airport etiquette so ensure you allow plenty of time.
  • Security is the same regardless of whether it is a domestic or long haul flight, so still allow the recommended 2 hours if you are flying from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or Luton Airport. 
  • Use the designated areas for cars that are simply dropping off (known as 'kiss and fly' at Nice airport). If someone is collecting you they will need to park in the short-stay car parks which are very close to the terminal buildings.
  • In the UK we are renowned for our courtesy when queuing so, to ensure you don’t get fellow passenger’s backs up before you begin, queue nicely please.
  • Make sure you have all your documentation ready for when you are checking in. Fellow passengers will be waiting behind you so be as quick and efficient as possible. Make sure these documents are easily accessible for the duration of your time before boarding.
  • Check the weight of each bag before you leave the house. You really don’t want to be opening suitcases and transferring clothing at the check-in desk. Not elegant and it will delay other passengers.
  • Before going through security you will be asked to transfer liquids into plastic bags. Take a couple of extra bags for next time you fly so you can do this before you leave the house. One less thing to worry about.
  • Once you have passed through the security x-ray, collect your tray and move it to an area where you can get yourself straight. Don’t do this at the conveyor belt; it holds other passengers up behind you.
  • Replace your tray in the area allocated. It is inconsiderate to leave it on the conveyor belt and/or expect someone else to remove it on your behalf.
  • If you are using an airport lounge then be considerate to those that are working or relaxing. Take any mobile phone calls out of earshot of other passengers.
  • If you are dining at one of the restaurants in the departure lounge and are limited on time, then advise the waiting staff when you arrive so they are able to manage your expectations on service times. If necessary settle your bill when you order so that you can leave as soon as you are ready.
  • If you are asked to board a courtesy bus to the aircraft then be considerate to elderly passengers and parents with babies/young children. Buggies must be handed over at the gate so some parents will be carrying young children. Make sure there is a seat available for those who need it.
  • And one final tip – carry a fan and some water. Travelling can get very hot, especially on courtesy buses jam packed with people, and both of these items are indispensible.

Happy Travels!