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Between fighting traffic on your way to the airport and facing record-setting security lines once you arrive, making it to your seat on the plane has become the first leg of any journey. While actually catching your flight on time might seem like its own small victory these days, easyJet has begun penalizing passengers at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) for arriving just in time for their flights, first by denying them entry to the gate area, then by charging them to choose another flight.
A new rule put in place by the low-cost airline has security personnel at Gatwick rejecting entry to passengers whose flights are due to depart in less than 30 minutes. Late-coming travelers are being warned about the new policy right on their boarding passes, where it notes (in tiny print) that “Gatwick security control gates are automatically being timed to close 30 minutes before departure.”
A spokesperson for the airline told MailOnline that “Punctuality is important to our passengers and that is why we ask passengers to be at the gate no later than 30 [minutes] before the flight departs. This means that if passengers are still yet to clear security [less than 30 minutes before take-off] they will be unable to achieve this – particularly at larger airports like Gatwick, when walks to some gates can take up to 20 minutes.” They also noted that the change is “based on a proven model” that London Heathrow uses. (In Heathrow’s Terminal 5, British Airways customers are required to enter security at least 35 minutes prior to departure.)
Ticketed easyJet passengers attempting to bypass the new system are being sent back to the customer service area to rearrange their flights — those travelers who didn’t fork over the extra £7.50 (~$11) to cover the cost of a missed flight are being charged an £80 (~$115) “rescue fee” to choose a new one. Given that an easyJet passenger could currently fly from Gatwick to Prague, Luxembourg, or Basel for less than £50 (~$ 72) one way, it could be cheaper to change your destination altogether.
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