Gatwick Airport

Bottle refunds at Frankfurt Airport. Drop-off fee at Heathrow.

We keep an eye on airport trends and creative airport amenities.

We love that Frankfurt Airport has bottle refund machines security checkpoints where passengers may turn in an empty and donate the bottle deposit to charities. As noted in FRA’s tweet, the airports has gathered 370,000 euros (about $428,000) for charities since 2013.

Below FRA’s tweet is an alert from London’s Heathrow Airport announcing a new £5 Terminal Drop-Off fee (about $6.70) for cars entering the airport drop-off zones starting November 1, 2021. Scofflaws will get an £80 (about $107) parking fine, which would result in a £40 fee ($53) if paid within 14 days. London’s Gatwick Airport already imposes this fee. (These drop-off fees don’t go to charities).

“Our car parks remain open, where normal parking charges apply. The drop-off charge does not affect passenger pick-ups, which will continue to take place via the car parks. You cannot pick up passengers from the drop-off zones.”

Norwegian Airlines head to Denver and Seattle


Good news for flyers who want to get to London from Seattle or Denver – on the cheap.

Norwegian Air – which has been rapidly expanding its long-haul, low-budget route network – just announced it will be launching new flights from both Denver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport in September, flying a 787 aircraft on the new routes.

Launch fares – available now – to London from both Denver and Seattle start at $199 one-way (including taxes) in economy and start at $839 one-way (including taxes) in the airline’s premium cabin, which includes sleeper-seats, drinks, meals and extra luggage allowance.

Service from Denver to London launches September 16, with twice-weekly flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, then increases to three times per week, adding Thursdays, beginning November 2.

Service from Seattle to London will launch on September 17, with four flights per week on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays.

Another option for getting to London from Seattle launched last week, with the start of a daily Virgin Atlantic flight between London’s Heathrow Airport and Seattle.

With Seattle and Denver, Norwegian will be offering nine nonstop routes from the United States to London, “more than any American airline,” Norwegian Air notes, and 48 transatlantic flights from 13 U.S. cities (both seasonal and year-round).

Here’s their current map of U.S. destinations and routes.  More are likely to be added.



Gatwick Airport’s baggage woes

Blackpool SuitcaseArrives

London’s Gatwick Airport is promising to help unload and move luggage and deliver checked baggage to homes for free in hopes of avoiding a re-run of last weekend, when a shortage of handlers reportedly left some passengers waiting four hours to be re-united with their bags during one of Britain’s busiest air travel periods.

Airport officials blame the bag delays on Swissport UK, which provides baggage handling services for many airlines.

In a statement, Gatwick said Swissport failed to meet service standards set by the airport and “[a]lthough bags are being delivered on time for 95% of flights, this is not good enough.”

In its apology statement, Swissport said it hopes to minimize inconvenience that might occur “during any times of future schedule disruption.”


(My ‘quick bit’ on Gatwick Airport’s baggage woes first appeared on NBC News Travel in a slightly different form.)

Giant mosaic of Queen Elizabeth II lands at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick art

What’s in a face? Well, in the case of “The People’s Monarch” mosaic photo at London’s Gatwick Airport, 5,500 photos of people from nearby communities.

The work – which is size of a double-decker bus – was created by artist Helen Marshall and depicts Queen Elizabeth II at the time of her coronation in 1953 and at her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The photos that make up the larger image were sent in by BBC viewers and listeners.

Here’s a short video about the mosaic and about some of the people whose photographs are in the larger image, which was in several other places in London before landing at Gatwick.

Gatwick treats old and young travelers; Dulles doles out cake

The search for the UK’s oldest traveler is winding down at Gatwick Airport.

Citing researching that shows 56% of O.A.Ts (Old Age Travelers) over 70 are traveling more often than they did when they were younger and a “staggering” 61% of those aged 85 and over are out on the road more as well, Gatwick airport has been trying to find the oldest “holidaymaker” and give them a trip for two to Las Vegas on British Airways and three nights at the 5-star Vdara Hotel and Spa.

The deadline is June 29, 2012. Rules and details here.

Gatwick Airport also has something for very young travelers.

As part of its free audiobook download program, the airport is offering recordings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, the Ugly Ducking, Sleeping Beauty, the Three Billy Goats Gruff, the Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, the Tortoise and the Hare, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. You can download the stories at the airport or give a listen on SoundCloud here.

They do it at theme parks so why not at airports?

Earlier this month the 500 millionth passenger at Washington’s Dulles International Airport was surprised with soda, cake and cupcakes and given a Dulles Airport swagbag with a $50 gift card from Shop Dulles Airport.