easyJet are now participating in the airport operated ‘Gatwick Connect’ service – enabling arriving passengers to quickly re-bag-drop checked items as soon as they have collected them from the reclaim belt – regardless of the airline they arrive on.
Launched originally with Norwegian airlines and then joined by Virgin Atlantic (and now significantly by easyJet – the largest operator at LGW) the service is open to passengers arriving on any airline (including British Airways, etc) in either terminal and departing from either terminal – providing the onward departing flight is operated by:
- Virgin Atlantic
So, if you see the ‘Gatwick Connect’ desk in the reclaim hall, don’t think it is tickets for a train service they are trying to sell you. In fact, they are not trying to sell you anything – the service is free to use.
Passengers remain responsible for their own connections and the airlines don’t acquire any liability for missed connections even if you use this service, but it should mean a slightly easier journey – especially if you would have to drag your bags between terminals.
For those unfamiliar, easyJet are still a strictly point-to-point Low-Cost-Carrier (LCC) airline, they do not offer connection tickets, even with themselves – passengers remain responsible for miss connects and buying new tickets, and there is no through-checked luggage at all, even with themselves. So being able to instantly re-bag drop will be a big benefit to customers doing unofficial onward ‘connections’ with easyJet.
easyJet moving closer to a full service airline?
I’ve long said that what BA should be worried about is when easyJet start to offer official ticketed connections – as per the vueling model. Despite being a LCC, vueling allow passengers to book through checked connecting flight tickets (on their routes with reasonable frequency), giving passengers the protection of a through connection ticket against any delays and not needing to worry about re-checking their luggage while connecting.
It is worth pointing out that this has NOT happened with easyJet ..yet.
But with the talk of easyJet consolidating their operations at one terminal at Gatwick, if this happens Gatwick would likely be the place to try an official easyjet-to-easyjet connection model.
The European Common Customs and VAT area:
What I am less clear on is how ‘Gatwick Connect’ works with passengers arriving from flights outside the European Common Customs and VAT area, but ‘gatwick connect’ing onto flights to destinations inside the area.
On official through checked connections, transit bags that originated outside the area will be subject to customs at your final destination airport – Europe thankfully does not have the USA practice of needing you to walk your bags through customs when connecting.
To facilitate customs officers at the destination quickly and easily spotting those bags that began their journey outside the area, those that began inside have green-edged bag tags (those from outside will be all white).
The Gatwick Connect desks are inside the baggage reclaim halls, this is after immigration but before passengers and their bags have been through customs channels.
While the passengers themselves will still pass trough customs (as they head land-side to connect), their bags will surely be re-tagged as part of the ‘Gatwick Connect’ process. What colour tags will be put on? Plain white or green edges? Will they base it on the tag they remove from the bag?