A visit to the UK carries the potential to travel through Heathrow Airport. This is the busiest airport in the UK and also carries the distinction of being one of the busiest in the world. It is full of people at all hours of day and night and there is a strong chance that you might become separated from your partner or children if you are passing through at one of the busiest moments. Whether you are travelling with a group of adults or with young children, this can be a frightening experience which should be avoided if at all possible. Here are some of our top tips to help you keep you with your loved ones when in Heathrow.
Make Sure Everyone Knows Where They are Going
One of the first things many people do when they step through the doors of a terminal is check to see what their gate number is going to be. If your gate is up on the board, make sure that everyone in your party knows which gate it is. If you have little ones travelling with you, try to make up a game surrounding the number so it is firmly in their heads. If you can do this, even a separation will ensure that everyone knows where they have to get to. Even if you are going to take the lead to make sure everyone gets through the airport, don’t put yourself in the trap of being the only one who actually knows where you are going.
Buddy Everyone Up
Travelling with an even number? Make sure everyone has a buddy to hold onto. Pair younger ones with older ones and if you are travelling with infants or very young children buddy them up with adults to be on the safe side.
Everyone needs to be able to stick with their buddy come thick or thin. You need to make sure that your children understand the importance of not falling out or at least make them save the squabbles for when you are on the other side of the journey. The last thing you want is for someone to get annoyed and storm off in a busy place like an airport.
Pre-book Your Parking
If you are travelling through Terminals 2 or 3, you should pre-book a parking place with NCP parking Heathrow airport. This is an easy and convenient service where you simply turn up at the carpark, head to your designated parking space, and then take the complimentary shuttle bus to the terminal door. If you are searching for a way to keep everyone together without having to deal with multiple legs of public transport, this might be the perfect solution for you. While you are away, your car will be safely secured in a compound with 24-hour security so you can be certain that nothing will happen to it.
NCP parking Heathrow airport is also conveniently located behind the Park Inn Hotel. Why not break up your travel and spend some time here resting before the next leg of your journey? It might be the most comfortable and convenient way for you to set out your journey; especially if you have a long way to go.
Figures can get lost in a crowd faster than you can blink. You need to make sure that you have a way of keeping everyone together plus a system for quickly spotting anyone who is straggling behind. One of the fastest ways to do this is with colour coordination.
Your teenagers might not appreciate being made to wear a bright t-shirt or cap but if it helps keep the family together then you need to make sure that they wear it. Choose something eye-catching like red, orange, or purple that you are likely to be able to spot even if you see even in the middle of a large crowd.
Security often poses an issue for large parties travelling together as it means that they may have to go through different security gates. An area like this needs to be kept flowing freely and it moves so quickly that you might struggle to keep track of everyone.
Just off to one side of the security area, you can often find a fast-pass zone which will allow you to all go through together. There is usually a fee associated with this area but it isn’t much if it allows you to all stay together and go through security calmly.
Control the Passports – and the Money
If one person holds everything there is less chance of someone dropping something. If you have older children you can potentially talk to them about holding on their own passports. Otherwise, you need to find a bag or organiser which allows you to have everything close at hand but well-protected from any thieving hands.
Holding on to all the money is fantastic as it stops your children from getting lost in the maze of duty-free. There are so many shops and cafes in Heathrow and you need to make sure that your kids aren’t going to blow all of their money on silly things before they have even gone on holiday. Hold onto their pocket money for the trip and make it clear that they can get it when you actually get to their destination.
Keep the Phones Charged
In the event that you do get separated, make sure that everyone who has a phone has it on and charged. There are charging points all over Heathrow if anyone needs a top-up on power at any point.
If you are concerned that phones are not going to work because you don’t have a UK SIM card, you will still be able to send messages by connecting to Heathrow’s Wi-Fi service. This is completely free for your entire time at the airport, unlike other places which might only have free internet for 15 minutes or so.
Arrange Meeting Places
An airport presents us with the very unique opportunity to work out different meeting spots at various places inside. For example, if you get separated by the check-in desks, you should meet under the big departure boards. If you get separated on the way to the gate, make your way there.
Agree on meeting spots with everyone along the route and make sure that your children know who to approach if they get lost. It is probably going to be best if they look for a member of the airport’s staff; another family might want to help but will have their own flight to catch.
Approach with Calm
With these tips, it won’t be long before you have navigated Heathrow with ease! It is an intimidating place to visit even when you are getting through it completely on your own so taking a family can be fraught with new challenges. However, if you approach the day sensibly and follow the suggestions we have made above, you should hopefully be able to find your way through the airport and on to the next leg of your journey with no trouble whatsoever! Start planning your trip through Heathrow as soon as possible and it will be no bother at all.