There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of travel. But as much as airlines are adapting their onboard experience to accommodate the new health protocols required to limit potential infection, so too are the airports they serve.

We’ve summarised the main changes you can expect as you depart from or arrive in the main airports across the UK below so you can prepare for what will be a very different experience. Some, like London City Airport, Heathrow and Manchester have produced informative videos to show the changes they have implemented. But, if you are travelling, we’d also encourage you to check with both your departure airport and your airline a day or two before your trip for any new updates.

Whichever airport you’re using there are a few things that you can expect to be the same though, including:

  • Facemasks or coverings are mandatory for everyone using public transport in the UK currently, and this includes airport terminals and transport serving them (trains, coaches, shuttles etc). Exceptions include children and anyone escorting someone for whom face masks create problems (ie. those who are reliant on lip reading).
  • All airports and airlines ask people not to travel, or attempt to travel, if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Signage, digital guidance and floor stickers have been installed at every airport to help ensure social distancing is maintained, as have hand sanitisers in every building.
  • Each airport has also introduced enhanced cleaning, especially of hard surfaces in high-touch areas – like escalator handles.
  • Travellers are encouraged by all airports to use online check-in and self service counters/facilities as much as possible to avoid unnecessary contacts.

Finally, at the time of writing, it is still the law in the UK that all arrivals in the UK, regardless of the country from which they have travelled, must provide contact details of where they are staying in the UK, and self-isolate there for 14 days. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £1,000.

Airport

(Click on the name to be taken to the airport website and further information)

Arrival  & check-in

Security

Departure lounges and boarding

Deplaning, immigration and luggage collection

Other information

Perspex screens installed at all check-in counters. Only travellers with a valid ticket to fly are permitted to enter the Terminal.

Perspex screens installed and staff wearing PPE. All security trays and hard services are regularly deep cleaned with a long lasting santiser.

Very limited shopping and dining options available (Boots, Whsmith, World Duty Free airside).

Over 12-year olds can use the e-gates at immigration, otherwise travellers are asked to approach a kiosk. Social distancing markers are in place throughout the immigration hall and luggage collection area, and it is mandatory to wear face coverings in both.

Currently trialling thermal imaging technology at the Terminal entrance.

Perspex screens installed at all check-in counters. Only travellers with a valid ticket to fly are permitted to enter the Terminal.

Perspex screens installed and staff wearing PPE.

All shops at the Airport are currently closed until further notice. Vending machines are available throughout the terminal to purchase drinks, snacks and items of PPE such as sanitzer and face masks. Take-away food and drink is available to purchase from the ’51° Bwyd Bites’ Cafe in Departures. Water-refill stations are currently unavailable. All airline lounges are closed.

The e-Passport gates are currently unavailble until further notice. On arrival at the UK Border, travellers should proceed to a kiosk.

A team of specially trained ‘Airport Stewards’ have been created to help customers with the changes throughout the terminal and to be on hand to answer any questions. Meet and greet parking currently unavailable.

On arrival, travellers will see that perspex screening has been installed at all check-in points, and all airport staff will now wear PPE.

Perspex screens installed and staff wearing PPE.

Only WHSMith and Starbucks open, for limited periods of each day. All other shops and restaurants remain closed. All airport and airline lounges are currently closed.

No information currently available.

Travellers are encouraged to pre-register with the airport through its app, giving details of when they will be travelling – and allowing the airport to communicate with them in advance about what to expect.

Physical distancing measures including perspex screens, a one-way system and signage has been installed throughout the terminal. Only travellers with a valid ticket to fly are permitted to enter. Before leaving, travellers must complete an online registration form, giving their personal details, plus a declaration of health, countries visited before departing, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who is infected.

Perspex screens installed and staff wearing PPE, travellers will able to access in limited numbers at any time.

Flights will be called, often by row numbers over the PA system when the aircraft is ready for boarding. Until then, passengers must remain in the airside departures lounge and not move through the passenger pier to the departure gate. All current facilities, such as airport executive lounges, shops, duty free and catering outlets are closed until further notice. There is a vending machine in the airside departures lounge.

On arrival in Jersey, travellers must provide documentary evidence of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Jersey or be swab-tested at the airport then while waiting for the results, limit the time spent away from accommodation, limit social contact and, where possible, avoid public transport and indoor gatherings. Arriving passsengers must be met outside of the Terminal building.

None.

On arrival, travellers will see that perspex screening has been installed at all check-in points, and all airport staff will now wear PPE. Only travellers with a valid ticket to fly are permitted to enter, but all car parks remain open.

Perspex screens installed and staff wearing PPE.

All shops in the Departure Lounge remain closed, however limited refreshments are available via vending machines.

Passengers are now required to scan their own boarding card at the Departure Gate, with staff on hand to assist passengers whilst remaining behind protective screens.

When there are no flights the terminal will remain closed until 3 hours before departure and only those travelling are permitted in to the terminal unless an accompanying adult is providing assistance.

Non-passengers (i.e. anyone without a valid ticket to travel that day) are not permitted to enter the airport, including family members and drivers. These individuals can wait for you in specially designated areas outside of the terminal. The airport strongly encourages customers to use online check-in if available, but staffed desks and self-service machines are available.

Passengers asked to maintain social distancing, staff will be wearing face masks and gloves. All surfaces thoroughly cleaned throughout the day.

Most shops and restaurants closed (although Pret and WHSmith are open). A strict boarding system is in place to ensure social distancing is maintained.

A one-way system and automatic temperature checks using thermographic fixed cameras are in place, withpassengers temperature checked automatically and autonomously as they walk through the airport.

A one-way flow system has been introduced to control passenger movement within the Terminal building.

All public transport options servicing the airport require face coverings to be worn. Passengers arriving by car can be dropped off outside as normal, but cannot be accompanied in to the terminal. A one-way system has been introduced throughout each terminal, with clear signage. Check-in and bag drop desks are fitted with protective screens and cleaned regularly, and all have two-metre floor markings to assist with social distancing.

Passengers are asked to social distance, security trays and mats are regularly deep cleaned. The security team will be wearing face coverings.

Shops and restaurants are currently closed but this will change on a limited basis once flights recommence. Lounges owned by Gatwick are closed, passengers are encouraged to check with their airline concerning airline-owned lounge facilities (i.e. for First or Business Class passengers).

Information not currently available.

Flights only currently operating from the North Terminal. Passengers arriving by train (which arrives at the South Terminal) can take the free shuttle service to the North Terminal.

All public transport options servicing the airport require face coverings to be worn. Passengers arriving by car can be dropped off outside as normal, but cannot be accompanied in to the terminal. A one-way system has been introduced throughout each terminal, clearly marked with signage. Check-in and bag drop desks are fitted with protective screens and are regularly cleaned, and all have two-metre floor markings to assist with social distancing.

Passengers are asked to social distance, security trays and mats are regularly deep cleaned. The security team will be wearing face coverings.

Seats have been re-arranged to maintain two metres distance between passengers. Shops are reopening on a limited basis, and restaurants are offering a take-way service. Passengers will be guided on how many people can enter a store or restaurant at the same time and will be asked to always use card payment. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline to see if their Lounge is open. To help with distancing, five people will be boarded at a time.

Use eGates where possible and travellers remaining in the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days and provide contact information. Special UV cleaning methods on all arriving bags are being trialled. While passengers wait at the carousel, social-distancing signs and floor stickers will help maintain distancing.

All flights now operating out of Terminals 2 and 5, following the temportary relocation of airlines from Terminals 3 and 4. Travellers asked to arrive at the airport two hours before a European flight and three hours before a long-haul flight. Driver of the buses connecting terminals wear full PPE, and passenger numbers are limited on those services to maintain social distancing.

Terminal Car Park 2, Mid Stay and Long Stay car parks are closed to new entrants. Travellers can only use Terminal Car Park 1, which is currently only accepting card payments. Only those who are flying can enter the terminal building itself.

Information not currently available.

WHSmith and Boots (after security) are trading with reduced hours. All other shops and restaurants remain temporarily closed.

Information not currently available.

The airport is undertaking limited passenger temperature screening trials designed to test equipment and potential procedures.

Face masks must be worn on all public transport serving the airport including the Stansted Express. Travellers arriving by car can only use certain car parks, and only those with a valid ticket can enter the terminal. Protective screens have been installed throughout the check-in area.

Protective screens have been installed throughout Security and staff will be wearing PPE.

Most shops and restaurants are currently closed but are expected to open again as we move into the summer period. Currently, there’s very limited options for food and drink inside the terminal.

Observe social distancing as far as possible when collecting baggage and leaving the airport, leave the terminal as soon as you have collected any baggage. Travellers being collected must arrange to be met at their car in the designated area.

Trialling the use of UV cleaning technology on escalators to keep handrails as clean as possible, and the use of temperature screening technology at the entry to Security.

Unless escorting a passenger who needs special assistance, only those people  with a valid ticket will be allowed inside the terminal. Make sure you arrive at the airport with a suitable face covering, as these must be worn throughout your journey, including on airport busses and in the terminal building. Additional masks can be purchased at the airport. Limited car parking is available for the time being. Protective screens are in place at check-in for those unable to check-in online.

Travellers can book a dedicated slot to go through Security, and reduce queueing.

Most restaurants and shops currently closed, but expected to reopen on a limited basis in the summer.

Follow the one-way system and depart the terminal as soon as you have collected any luggage. It is not possible to be met in the terminal building itself.

The airport is trialling the use of temperature screening technology, specifically at the entrance to Security.

Customers encouraged to travel by private vehicle, and only use the self-parking car parks that are available. Only those with a valid ticket can enter the terminal.

Information not currently available.

The only outlets currently open in the terminal are Greggs (landside), Boots (airside) and Cafe Ritazza (airside). Vending machines are available for passengers wishing to purchase drinks or snacks in the departure lounge. More outlets will re-open throughout the coming weeks, with each having implemented a range of social distancing measures.

Observe social distancing as far as possible when collecting baggage and leaving the airport, leave the terminal as soon as you have collected any baggage. Travellers being collected must arrange to be met at their car in the designated area.

Information not currently available.

As well as the airports making it safe to fly, there are some small steps you can take. Read our tips on how to have a hygienic flight during the coronavirus pandemic.