About a month ago, I took a closer look at the myGatwick discount scheme. In that article, I mentioned the ability to purchase access to Gatwick Premium Security and or Gatwick Premium Passport Control. I asked for your input as to whether these were just a money-spinner for Gatwick, or whether they were actually worth it.

Feedback in the comments section was positive and so I decided, when making one of my admittedly infrequent trips to Gatwick last Thursday, to give Premium Security a go.


Who can access Gatwick Premium Security

Premium Security is available at both Gatwick North and South terminals between 04:00 and 20:45.

You can pre-book access for £5 per adult (or less via promotional offers) via this link on Gatwick website. Children under 5 are free.

Per the British Airways website, access is also available daily between 05:30 – 14:00 and 16:30 – 21:30 to:

  • customers travelling in First, Club World and Club Europe
  • Executive Club Gold and Silver Members (plus one guest)
  • oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members (plus one guest)

If you have elite status with another airline or are travelling in a premium cabin, you may also be able to access Premium Security on a complimentary basis.


How to book

Following a prompt from a reader in the comments section, I downloaded the myGatwick app to see whether there were any special offers available.

I logged in, added my flight details and found a 20% discount available on Premium Security. For the record, the same discount was available when I logged in via the desktop site (see below).

myGatwick Premium Security Offer 1.png

This brought the cost down to £4 per adult. You are asked to pre-select a 30-minute slot when booking.

One point to be aware of: the Gatwick website will not allow you to purchase Premium Security (or any ‘extras’) less than four hours in advance – something that almost caught me out on the day. 

I can’t imagine that they would turn you away if you turn up before/after your pre-booked slot, but I suppose it could happen. As it turned out, I simply flashed my booking confirmation email at the person manning the entrance and was waved through – there was no mention of the fact that I had arrived earlier than my pre-booked slot.


What was it like?

It was all very smooth, to be honest. You follow the signs for Departures as if you were heading to regular security. As you approach Departures, you’ll see a section off to the left bearing the Premium Gatwick signage.

If you haven’t prebooked online, you can also pay £5 on the door.

I’m not sure if this option is always available or if they restrict entry to pre-bookings if things are particularly busy. 

You then proceed through a separate channel to a dedicated security lane.

In an ideal world, regular security would have been far busier, allowing me to properly assess the advantages of purchasing Premium Security.

Instead, it was pretty quiet, as the photo below shows:

IMG_6403

I was through Premium Security in under two minutes. I’m told that even at busy times,  the waiting time at Premium Security is still considerably shorter than the regular queues.

One thing to note: the Premium Security section is situated next to some sort of family security zone and they ‘feed out’ side by side (perhaps someone can enlighten me quite how they decide who to send through there as I definitely saw families queueing for regular security too). This has the potential to detract slightly from the more relaxed experience through to duty-free and I say that as someone with two kids!


Do other UK airports offer a similar service?

Heathrow also offers a Fast Track security service that is available at all terminals.

However, the website requires you to purchase this at least two days before travel – which will be a frustrating restriction for some. At £12.50 per person, it’s also much more expensive than Gatwick Premium Security.

The one upside is that you can earn Heathrow Rewards points (convertible to Avios, Virgin miles etc) on your purchase.

You can find more info on the Heathrow Fast service here.

The Luton Airport website seems to offer a Priority Lane to the Security Hall but no Fast Track Security service as such.

I can’t offer much firsthand insight into other paid Fast Track security experiences at other UK airports, but please add your experiences in the comments section.

Have you paid for a Fast Track Service at other UK airports – was it worth it?


Verdict

So is Gatwick Premium Security worth it?

It’s a hard one for me to answer conclusively because, as Murphy’s law would have it, the regular security lanes were relatively deserted when I passed through.

Nevertheless, on a busy day, Premium Security may well help you hold on to your sanity and I’d have no qualms about paying for it again.

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts

  1. Sadly, I have to disagree that Premium Security is always better than Standard. I’ve recently used it a couple of times at just after 6:00am on a Monday morning. It was very slow (bags were taking an eternity to be scanned) and there was a queue of disgruntled customers (including me) who could see folk just sailing through standard security (quiet at that time of the morning) just a short distance away. So, really not good at all. As booking of this service is via websites like the official gatwick parking (or Easyjet Plus membership, etc), it’s hard to know if any negative feedback will ever actually reach those responsible for delivering the service.

    1. Interesting feedback, thanks. One of the drawbacks that I highlighted in my review was that security as a whole ended up being fairly quiet when I visited, when for the purposes of my review, ideally it would’ve been teeming.

      Have you had better experiences with Premium security previously?

  2. There have been occasions previously in daytime when it offers some advantage. I suspect that early in the morning (esp on a Monday), the proportion of business travellers, who are possibly more likely to use it, is higher compared to the number of “normal” travellers such as holidaymakers. It appears that they don’t allow for that.

    On another occasion, at Gatwick North, I turned up for an evening flight only to find they’d closed the Premium security! As I was flying on my Easyjet Plus membership that time, I wasn’t in a position to insist on a refund.

    Currently I regularly fly to Glasgow where, on the return leg, the Premium security takes you via a separate door to what is actually just a separate queue to the same baggage scanners and personal check. It’s left to a member of staff to manually manage who comes forward out of each queue, which works ok sometimes and not at all well others!

    1. Fair enough. I suspect you’re right on the Monday morning front in terms of a higher proportion of business travellers. Not much consolation though, because a busy period is exactly when you’d hope having Premium security would come into its own.
      I suppose in terms of the EasyJet Plus membership, it would depend how much value you place on having the Premium Security access in terms of the annual fee you pay…

  3. If like me (as an independent consultant), you want to use the cheapest Easyjet fares, then the Plus membership is essential in order to be able to take two pieces of luggage into the cabin, e.g. small case plus laptop. The value of the membership cost is in being able to choose any seat on the plane for free and the priority boarding. I’m often the first on board and sat in the front row. The inclusion of premium security is just a nice to have perk on top

    1. The perks do look good on paper – especially assuming you would pay for these perks on a per flight basis anyway. The price does seem to keep rising though.

  4. I use Premium Security regularly and have done since it became available. Its advantages are slowly being eroded. Passengers from standard security are now often filtered through when it is busy into the premium security channel. The scanning of bags has slowed and often there are a long build up of bags chosen to be checked meaning standing there for up 15 minutes. These seem to be management issues. Certainly if one complains on the spot one is told nothing can be done then typically extra staff do appear. Staff also appear poor at asking people to take their bags of the conveyor belt once they have been scanned and to dress and sort their belongings at the stands provided. As a result the belt blocks up and one stares helplessly at your bag waiting to come through but whkch you cannot reach.

    1. Good to know – thanks for the feedback. Feeding passengers from standard security through when it’s busy is poor. That’s presumably why most people would pay for Premium in the first place – to avoid the queues when it’s most busy.

  5. Hi I’m a little confused may be a silly question but… is the premium security after standard luggage check in or do you go via another desk to check in for all operators?

    1. Hi Justine, definitely not a silly question! It’s after you complete regular check-in, just before you reach regular security, you sort of veer left and follow the signs for Premium Security.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.