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).
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:
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?
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.