Left your festive shopping until the last minute? If you’re flying there’s still a chance to do it all.
18 December 2019| Last updated on 14 January 2020
All Credits: PA
If you’re catching a flight in the run-up to Christmas and haven’t yet mustered the energy to buy presents for your family, a speedy shopping spree at the airport might solve your problems.
In recent years, terminals at both Heathrow and Gatwick have been revamped, with many quality outlets you’d expect to find on the high street. Lots of other departure ports across the country also have a good selection of stores.
Here’s how to fly through the festive mayhem before you even board a plane.
1. Give yourself plenty of time
It’s recommended to arrive at the airport an hour ahead of European flights, and a minimum of two hours before longer journeys. But passenger numbers swell drastically during the festive period, so it’s advisable to allow even longer. Use that excess time wisely to do your shopping, and you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs airside.
2. Consider placing orders in advance
To speed up your airport shopping, you can pre-order gifts in advance. World Duty Free have a website where you can browse items and arrange for collection – ideal if you have internet access en route to the departure lounge. Visit uk.worlddutyfree.com to see which products are available at your chosen airport.
If you’re travelling through London, Heathrow offers a complimentary Reserve & Collect service. You could choose to pick up your presents before your flight out – or on your return journey, if you are making a short trip before Christmas.
3. Make the most of Christmas elves
Choosing the right gift can be stressful – especially under pressure. Sales staff at major airports are familiar with the stock available, and have been trained to offer tips to indecisive customers. The range of expertise covers beauty, sunglasses, food and drink – everything you’d expect from walking into a department store.
For even more personal attention, Heathrow offers a complimentary luxury shopping service, available in all terminals in private shopping lounges. Book an appointment 48 hours in advance at boutique.heathrow.com. They also offer a free gift-wrapping service.