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Stuart Messham
Airlines and routes, Blog, Entertainment,
’Tis the season to be jolly. So don’t go making elementary Yuletide errors as you whistle your festive way through Heathrow. Unwrap these 12 handy tips and conquer Christmas like a pro…

🎁 Pack your Christmas luggage with care  🎁

Here’s a handy list of Do’s and Don’ts when packing your checked-in luggage and your Christmas carry-on…

  1. Don’t pack anything valuable in checked-in luggage
    As much as we try our very best to make sure all luggage reaches its destination intact, millions of people use Heathrow during December, and some checked-in bags may arrive later than expected.
  2. Do carry precious gifts in your hand luggage
    The best way to make sure that expensively-framed photo montage you’ve been working on for the folks reaching its destination intact is to CARRY IT WITH YOU. The Three Kings kept their gifts in their knapsacks at all times – and you should, too!
  3. Don’t take Christmas crackers through Heathrow
    This is no joke. Christmas crackers are considered explosive, flammable substances that pose a risk to other passengers and crew and the safety of the flight. (Party poppers, fireworks, sparklers and any other party stuff that contains combustible substances should not be transported either.)
  4. Do use bubble wrap and thick clothing to protect breakable gifts
    Precious gifts need special protection, so keep them cosy and protected.
  5. Don’t take toys that look like weapons through security
    For everyone’s safety, the security area of the airport is a serious place. Colleagues working in the area know it’s Christmas but will not be ho-ho-ho’-ing if they encounter toy guns, darts, slingshots, sports bats or anything else they consider dangerous items to be transported on an aircraft.
  6. Do your expert wrapping when you get to where you’re going
    Not before you get to the airport. Wrapped gifts can be viewed as concealed packages and may need to be screened, opened and searched by airport staff. If you are taking wrapping paper and gift bags with you, make sure they fold flat so they won’t get creased. And if you’re expecting a festive haul on The Big Day, make sure you pack a swag bag to bring them all back safely!


🎄 Remember: liquid gifts could be removed at security 🎄

Remember shoppers: snow globes are liquid gifts, too!

Check, check and check again that you do not have any liquid gifts over 100ml in your hand luggage. It doesn’t matter who they’re for or how much they cost, you will have to dispense with these items at security!

Items include: all drinks and syrups; creams, lotions, oils, perfumes; sprays, shaving foam, deodorants, gels and pastes; soups, jams, preserves, chutneys…

…and snow globes!

(Liquid gifts over 100ml should be packed in your checked-in luggage.)

🎅 Make the most of Xmas airport shopping 🎅

There's so much on offer for all the family at Heathrow.

Packing and wrapping headaches can be swiftly overcome by doing all your Xmas shopping at World Duty Free. You can get perfumes, food, liquor, bags, chocolate, limited edition gifts, cigarettes, wine, watches, electronics, jewellery and all sorts of other airport exclusives – all at a pleasing 10% reduction.

You can also save precious time browsing by using our free Reserve & Collect service. Products from most shops at Heathrow are available to pre-order, even if you don’t see them online. Check the Explore Brands page or enter your flight number to see the brands available in each terminal. 

Home Delivery is a service already available at Heathrow, but for the Christmas season only, we are providing the service with no minimum spend so passengers can shop before they depart without worrying about travelling with their purchases.

🦃 Make the most of Xmas food specials at the airport 🦃

There's delicious festive menus aplenty at Heathrow this Christmas.

During school holidays – Christmas included! – parents should look out for the Kids Eat Free* offer. It’s a simple concept: when an adult chooses an item from the main menu your kids can eat for free. With great restaurants to choose from, and a wide range of dishes, they'll be spoilt for choice.

A lot of Heathrow restaurants will also be offering Christmas menus and if you’re in a hurry you can pre-order food and drink with selected restaurants via the Heathrow app (see below). It'll save you time queueing, which means more time to enjoy yourself.

❄️ Download the Heathrow app and monitor queue times ❄️

Book parking, reserve food, track flights and more on the Heathrow app.

You can track flights, access live queuing times, book parking, discover shopping and dining, and – as we mentioned above – even pre-order your food or beverages on the Heathrow app. Whether it's your first time at Heathrow or you're a frequent traveller, the app is the ideal travel companion to make the most of your Yuletide excursion.

😴 Consider staying at one of Heathrow’s hotels before an early flight 😴

A pre-flight hotel booking can really help you ease in to the journey ahead.

Christmas is a super-busy time for everyone, and early flights can cause even the most organised passenger unwanted stress and anxiety. So why not alleviate some of the pressure by staying at one of our on-site hotels the night before? 

You’ll be able to relax exactly how you want, get a prompt wake-up call, enjoy some tasty food and get to your terminal with the minimum of fuss.

Book the Aerotel at Terminal 3. (Walking distance to Terminal 2 and Heathrow Express, making it easy to travel between all terminals.)

Book the Hilton near Terminal 4. (Seven minutes to Terminal 4 via a covered walkway and less that 15 minutes to Terminals 2, 3 and 5.)

Book the Sofitel near Terminal 5. (Five minutes to Terminal 5 via a covered walkway.)

🛷 Track your flight (and Santa's) 🛷

You can monitor Santa’s journey across the globe this Christmas, and using our app or website you can do the same with every flight arriving and departing from Heathrow.


🎄 Get to the airport on time 🎄

Arriving at the aiport punctually will start you off in good stead.

If you want any trip to go smoothly, it’s important to plan ahead and that’s no different when travelling through Heathrow.

Over the Christmas period, we recommend that passengers arrive at the airport two hours before short-haul flights and three hours before long-haul flights.

We do ask people not to turn up significantly early for your flight, as this can cause unnecessary congestion in the airport. And to please make sure all your travel documents are up to date before you arrive. 

🎅 Be prepared for Christmas security 🎅

  1. Bring no more than two items of hand baggage through security control, and ensure they are no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 18in x 10in).

  2. Put coins, keys, mobile phones and other small items in your coat or hand baggage.

  3. Place your hand baggage and coat into a tray.

  4. Remove electronic devices larger than a mobile phone – including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles – and place in a separate bin to your hand baggage/coat for screening. Mobile phones can stay secured in your carry-on bag.

  5. Make sure your electronic devices are charged. If they don't switch on, you may not be allowed to take them on to the aircraft.

  6. Remember: Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less. They must be carried separately in a single bag, which is:

     - Transparent and resealable

     - No larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) 

     - Able to close properly with all the items inside.

  7. At security control, place the bag in the tray with your other items.


🥂 Book a lounge 🥂

Lounges are an oft overlooked way of relaxing and recharging before your flight.

Why not give yourself a treat this Christmas by relaxing and refreshing in style before take-off in one of our premium lounges?

They are less expensive than you think, children are welcome and you have access to a delightful array of complementary foods and beverages – with some seasonal twists to boot!

It’s a slick way of indulging and regrouping before take-off, and everyone should try it once.

⛄ Travel hand luggage only ⛄

The lighter you can travel, the quicker you will get through the airport.

Okay, so we know this isn’t always possible – especially at Christmas when there’s inevitably more stuff to carry – but if you are only travelling for a short period of time and don’t need to transport bulky gifts, then you should consider it.

You’ll just need to print your boarding pass, and then you can nip straight through to security to begin your journey. You won’t have to wait to collect any baggage on arrival either – straight to security and out, ready to enjoy the Christmas holidays.

(There are certain rules around hand luggage, so make sure you’re aware of these before you get to the airport.)

🫶 Be kind when travelling 🫶

Our staff are here to help you make the smoothest journey possibly through Heathrow.

We know that Christmas can be a demanding, pressured time and that Heathrow can be a busy place, but we do ask passengers, where possible, to remain in the Christmas spirit.

Being nice really is a superpower, especially at this time of year. A kind word can mean a lot and good vibes really do help a journey run smoother.

Our staff will always try their absolute best to make your time at the airport as comfortable as possible, so try and be nice to them where you can – and look out for other passengers too.


Wherever you’re going this holiday season, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.