Self-connecting at London Luton Airport | Useful tips
London Luton Airport (LTN) is used primarily by low fare airlines and serves over 12 million passengers annually. Self-connecting at London Luton Airport means that you arrive at Luton on a flight from your origin destination and shortly afterwards you depart on another flight to your final destination, holding two separate tickets for your journey.
Since London Luton Airport is used by low fare airlines, it is designed as a point-to-point airport. It does not have connecting flight facilities you would find at hubs like London Heathrow (LHR). It means that upon arrival, you will need to pass through Immigration, formally enter into UK, collect luggage, then go to Departure halls and follow all the necessary steps for boarding your next flight.
Transiting faster thru arrivals at London Luton
Check visa requirements
First, make sure you are allowed to enter UK. If border control does not let you into the country, you can’t continue your onward journey. Get transit visa from a UK embassy beforehand if necessary.
Lines at passport control
Lines at passport control tend to get long. Low fare airlines operate at high load factors, so on average 180 people disembark from an arriving flight. If you are holder of an e-passport, make sure you have it with you. The lines at the e-passport kiosks may be shorter. This may save you 10-15 minutes of waiting time.
Hand baggage only
With carry on baggage you don’t need to wait at the belt in the arrivals hall and can go to departures straight away. Keep in mind though, that some low fare airlines (such as Ryanair) can still put your hand baggage into the hold, so check beforehand with the airline.
As a rough estimation, you need around 30 minutes to exit the airport. Once in the public area, follow the signs to departures. It won’t take you more than 5 minutes walking. Luton airport has a single terminal building, no buses, shuttles or long transfers needed.
Transiting faster thru departures at London Luton
As a rule, the airlines at London Luton require passengers to present themselves at least 2 hours before the flight. From experience, at non-peak hours even 1 hour is enough, but it is better to stay on the safe side when planning your self-connection.
As a rule, always check-in online for your next flight in advance and have the boarding pass ready on your phone or printed. This is highly recommended, as in the event of delay of your incoming flight, you may miss the check-in deadline at the airport and be unable to board your connecting flight.
Travel with hand baggage if possible
If you have hand baggage only and a boarding pass in hand, you don’t need to visit the check in desks at all, but go straight to departures. If you need to check baggage, you need to present yourself at the baggage drop facilities. This may take 10-15 minutes.
Buying а priority lane access
Luton airport offers some option to skip lines by using the priority lane at an extra fee. You can buy priority lane access for GBP 3 per person from Lution Airport’s website. It provides faster access to the security checks and can be handy at peak hours or if you are in a rush.
Tips on planning in advance your Luton connection
Traveling “self-connect” gives you the freedom to choose the flights your book. The minimum time between connections we recommend is 3 hours. However, the risk lies entirely with you. If your incoming flight is late, a tight connection time may lead to stress and missed departure. Make sure you leave enough time between your flights.
In case your connection requires to sleep at the airport, you may opt for the nearby hotels, which are cheaper than the ones in central London. Still, the expense may be unjustified for a stopover of only 6-7 hours. If you want to sleep or rest at Luton airport, bear in mind that it is extremely unfriendly in that respect. All benches airside have armrests and unjust for rest. Some good benches are situated in the public space at arrivals.
Written by connectionreview.com