I had the misfortune to connect between a domestic and international flight at Gatwick at the weekend and it was a grim experience. Arriving from Geneva I diligently searched for the ‘Domestic Connection’ signs. There were nowhere to be seen.
Before I tell the rest of the story perhaps I should explain how it works at Heathrow.
After arriving you would clear UK immigration (Border Force), have your photo taken and then go through a security check (cannot trust those overseas security measures, you understand) and are then deposited back in to the departures area of the terminal. Not always quick but usually pretty reliable.
But not at Gatwick, here you have to exit through Passport Control, walk through Customs, get the lift up two floors and then try and find a security checkpoint that is open. Quite a challenge when Gatwick closed their main security area yesterday – whilst fully staffed, it was processing no passengers. We were all herded in to the ‘Fast Track’ line which took 20 minutes to get through.
So, my advice for Gatwick is not to try a connection which involves a domestic flight. International to International is apparently handled differently and you can stay airside. In addition, some of the walk are VERY long – I walked in excess of fifteen minutes during the connections I made over the weekend much of the time along windowless corridors. This is an airport asking to have a second runway as part of the review of air travel in the South of England. Honestly they don’t deserve it based on my experience.