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Heathrow ready to welcome millions of passengers heading off for the holidays

Heathrow ready to welcome millions of passengers heading off for the holidays

5.6m people travelled through Heathrow in November, down from 5.9m in October. Over 55 million people have travelled through Heathrow already this year, which is nearly 70% of 2019 levels.
We expect December will be busy and are looking forward to welcoming people heading off for their first Christmas with loved ones in three years. New York’s JFK is set to reclaim the crown of most popular route this Christmas.

The vast majority of travellers will be unaffected by Border Force strikes. We are doing everything we can to protect a full flight schedule on strike days, so departing passengers should expect to travel as normal. Arriving passengers with UK, EU, US, Canadian and some other passports will be able to use e-gates as usual and their journeys should be largely unaffected on strike days. Border Force has contingency measures to ensure other arriving passengers are cleared safely and as quickly as possible. We are continuing to support them to strengthen these plans so that as few people are impacted as possible. If passengers who cannot use e-gates are concerned about travelling during the strikes, their airline may be able to offer them alternative travel dates.

This Christmas is a time for celebration after three years of covid, so we will be bringing the fun back into festive travel. Our customer service and Here to Help teams will be on-hand to give a friendly welcome and provide any extra assistance passengers may need. This year, they will also be handing out 10,000 gifts to departing passengers – ranging from treats to enjoy on the journey, through to lounge access and flight vouchers.

The airport will be busy, especially during the peak getaway, and we will all be working hard to get passengers on their way.

These 12 handy tips can help people to speed through Heathrow like a pro this Christmas, including:


Arrive no earlier than three hours before long-haul flights, and two hours for short-haul
Be ready for security: no liquids, creams or gels over 100ml, seal any liquids in the bags provided and ensure large electricals go in a separate tray
Check eligibility for and use eGates for a quicker journey when arriving back into the UK
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We are ready to welcome millions of passengers heading off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. We have extra people in the terminals on the busiest days, including me and my management team, to ensure we get people on their way as smoothly as possible and start to bring the joy back into travel. We are doing everything we can to protect full operating schedules on Border Force strike days and departing journeys and the vast majority of arriving journeys should be unaffected.”