London Gatwick Introduces Premium Immigration Lines

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

London Gatwick Airport has brought in a new service for anyone prepared to part with $19 (£12.50/€25) to skip a long line at passport control. The service is open to both EU and non-EU nationals and passengers using any class of travel (children are eligible too).

The service is limited to 50 passengers per hour and will be available from 6am to midnight every day except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day (26 December) and New Year’s Day.

If you happen to think that $19 is worth it for skipping a line that may or may not be long you’ll need to book between 3 months and 24 hours in advance using the new website here.

When you open up the page you be faced with a calendar from which to select your arrival date and the terminal into which you’ll be arriving (this service is available at both North and South terminals):

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

Next you select the number of people that you want to pay for:

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

The booking summary of the right of the page keeps you updated with the cost you’re racking up…..

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

And, when you choose your method of payment, you find out that they’ll charge you $3.50 (£2.00/€2.70) for the privilege of using a credit card:

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

Still, at least they accept Amex.

After you enter all your details…..

Gatwick Premium Passport Control

…and accept the terms and conditions, you’re good to go and you’ll receive a confirmation email – which you’ll need.

Upon arrival at London Gatwick:

  • Follow the signs to passport control
  • In the Passport Control area follow the signs to the “Premium Gatwick” lane where a “host” will meet you.
  • Present your confirmation email
  • You will be processed by a UK immigration official as normal (except without a queue) and you can then get on with your trip or proceed to baggage control where you’ll have to wait for your bags.

Clearly if you’ve checked baggage this isn’t the greatest idea. You’d end up paying for expedited passport control only to find that you’re left waiting for the baggage handlers at Gatwick to take their usual age to get your bags to you – it would be a waste.

If, on the other hand, you’re traveling with hand baggage only, this could be useful at peak times. More so if you’re from a non-EU country as the non-EU line tends to be considerably longer than the ones for EU citizens.

Overall I can’t see myself using this option too often – $19 is a lot to skip a line that may be non-existent when I arrive into Gatwick. However, I can see it being useful during peak periods (like school vacations) where a solo traveler or a couple could make use of it to avoid the homecoming crowds but I can see the cost being prohibitive to most families.

More information on the Gatwick Premium Passport Control offering can be found here.