December 04, 2009

Tips to Beat the Christmas Rush at Heathrow Airport

Either way, with a little planning and some patience you should be able to navigate the mayhem that is London Heathrow during the holiday season.

Christmas travel at London Heathrow Airport

If you're heading through Heathrow Airport during the Christmas season, it will definitely pay to plan well in advance. In 2006 almost 3 million people passed through Heathrow in just the last 2 weeks of the year!

Booking your flights and/or rental car now would be very wise and will help avoid disappointment. When you are booking your flights try your best to avoid travel on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day if at all possible. Especially given that most of the facilities in the airport may be closed on Christmas Day including some of the car rental desks.

Christmas falls on a Thursday this year which is handy as it doesn't overlap with the already very busy weekends. It also gives you one or two "quiet" days before Christmas Eve.

If you're travelling with kids and you are waiting for a flight, Heathrow Airport usually has its own Santa's Grotto located somewhere within the airport. Where he will be in 2008 is not known at this time.

It's also worth bearing in mind that it's not just the air and human traffic through the airport that will be extra busy; the road traffic may well be chock-a-blocked also.

Rental cars do have the advantage of providing space for carrying shopping, so you may have to strike a balance between luggage capacity and car agility.

Christmas shopping at London Heathrow Airport

Some airlines allow you to check-in online before you arrive at the airport. This is a great time saver and one less queue can't be a bad thing. This may not be possible if you were Christmas shopping and are returning heavily loaded with many gifts. In this case it's probably best to put your gifts inside the luggage you have to check in. This should quicken your way through security.

And of course remember not to carry any liquids (bottles of wines, perfumes bigger than 100ml, etc) or battery-operated toys through security.

Don't forget to leave some space in your one carry-on bag just in case you spot something in the Duty-Free area that you simply must have, and then at least you will have somewhere to put it.

Mairead Foley writes for where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.

Visit for all you need to know before you take to the roads in London, like where to go and what to see with your car hire. Book your Car hire Heathrow Airport now.

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