We usually self-drive to France or take cheapo flights to Europe at ridiculous hours in the morning so when we fly BA from Gatwick in the middle of the day next month I would like to enjoy the airport experience.
Our flight leaves at 3.30pm and I would like to have time to check in the luggage, get through passport control and into the departure lounge with time for a quick look at the shops and a light lunch before we make our way to the boarding gate. So what time do we need to arrive? Will 12.30 give us enough time to do all of that? Or is it too much time? Our children are 4 and 7 so will tolerate some waiting especially if there is food, a play area or a TV with suitable content but aren't great at queuing or generally standing around with nothing to do. We live just over 30 mins away so getting there isn't an issue and we'll be being dropped off so won't need to allow time for parking the car.
Hmm - we flew from gatwick on a saturday in May (not in holidays as preschool DCs) and it took45 mins to check in as queues were horrendous. Security was very quick though as they have a dedicated family area (think only for those with prams though). We got there 2.5 hours before flught but only just about had time for a coffee and sandwich before running to the departure gate. So I think 3 hours is probably about right as it will be busier in summer holidays.
We foun d recently that the check in desks at easy jet dont open until 2 hours before flight time. So not much point being there before that, and that will limit what you can do airside. The Jamie Oliver bistros and cafes are good!
I was going to say the opposite. We found it incredibly busy last year but thankfully had the premium gatwick thing which meant you could go through a different security channel and use a lounge but everywhere else was absolutely mobbed. We also tried Jamie's bistro on the way back for breakfast and it was absolutely terrible and has put us off going to any Jamie's in future
We usually get there 2 hours before which gives us enough time, if you want to spend a bit longer then 3 hours should be fine. With BA you can check in online the day before, which is what we are planning on doing this year.