Travelling through the airport at Christmas

Top tips from our industry experts to help you have a very merry journey through East Midlands Airport this Christmas

12 top tips for travelling through the airport this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but it can also be the most hectic! And while our East Midlands Airport staff will be spreading more Christmas cheer than Father Christmas’ elves, the airport can be busier than usual with people flying home to visit family or jetting off on a festive holiday. So a little extra planning can help make sure your journey goes smoothly.

Our industry experts have put together 12 top travel tips to help you navigate your way through the airport during the festive season, so you can enjoy a very merry East Midlands Airport experience this Christmas.

1. Choose your travel dates wisely

Did you know…? East Midlands Airport’s busiest December dates are the 10th, 26th and 30th, with almost 10,000 passengers travelling through the airport on each of those days last year. The quietest December dates are the 6th, 13th, and, unsurprisingly, Christmas Day itself on the 25th.

Part of the joy of travelling at Christmas might be the buzz of the airport alive with happy travellers, but if you want a quieter journey then consider your travel dates before you book your flights.

You might not be able to avoid the Christmas crowds altogether, but being flexible with your travel dates can help your travelling at Christmas stay as calm as possible.

2. Give yourself plenty of time

Running through the airport or missing a flight is only fun in a Christmas romcom! Avoid rushing by following your airline’s guidance on when to arrive at the airport and check in - it varies between airlines, but it’s typically somewhere between two and four hours before your flight time.

And although we aim to run to schedule, the unpredictable winter weather can sometimes mean disruption. So check the latest travel information with your airline and on our social media channels, so you’re always in-the-know about any last-minute changes.

3. Keep your Christmas presents unwrapped until you get there

Fact: Father Christmas only wraps his presents before he flies because he’s using his own personal reindeer and sleigh. But if he was flying on one of our East Midlands Airport airlines, he'd wait until he reached his destination.

There’s always the chance that Security will need to check inside luggage, including any wrapped gifts, and we’d hate for you to have to do your Christmas wrapping again. So please leave all gifts unwrapped until you get there - just in case. 

And don’t forget that the airport is an amazing place to buy Christmas presents, too. Check out our Duty Free shopping for the perfect Christmas gift.

4. Know the rules about flying with Christmas items

The rules about what you can and can’t pack are the same all year round, but over Christmas you might need to think about items a little out of the ordinary, such as festive jams and chutneys, gifts like perfume and aftershave, and even snow globes.

Remember the 100ml maximum rule when you’re going through Security (which applies to the above). You can fly with liquids under 100ml, so long as they’re popped in a clear plastic bag and placed in the tray when you go through Security. Items like party poppers, sparklers and Christmas crackers are also banned.

Click the button below for more information about what you can and can’t pack when travelling through the airport at Christmas.

5. Lose the winter layers at Security

If you’re travelling over Christmas, you’re probably going to be wrapped up in a big warm winter coat. Maybe with a hat, scarf and gloves, too (plus, it saves packing these bulky items in your suitcase!).

While travelling in layers is a great idea, especially if you’re going to be arriving somewhere cold at night, Security can only scan through one layer of clothing, so remember to remove bulky outer layers and accessories and place them into a tray when you’re going through this part of the airport.

6. Speed through Security and Passport Control with FastTrack

Whether you’re in a hurry or you simply don’t want to wait in queues, FastTrack is your answer this festive season.

There are two FastTrack tickets you can snap up to speed up your airport experience, giving you exclusive access to the express lane at Security or Passport Control – or both.

So you can get to the departure lounge quicker when you’re flying out, and get home even faster when you return.

Prices start from just £5 per person, making FastTrack the ideal add-on for a stress-free airport experience this Christmas.

7. Book parking in advance and get the best deals

No one needs to be worrying about finding a parking space when they’re travelling at Christmas. But parking at East Midlands Airport is easy and affordable. We can even park for you…

With Meet & Greet you can drive up, lock your vehicle, hand over your keys to a member of staff and head straight to the terminal – we’ll take care of the rest. And when you return? Your vehicle will be waiting for you.

8. Splash out on exclusive lounge access

It’s the season of giving, so give yourself the gift of exclusive airport lounges this Christmas!

Our Escape Lounge is a haven of peace and tranquillity, where you can sit back and relax, order from the elegant food menu, and toast your upcoming journey with a glass of something sparkly.

9. Check our Christmas opening hours for shops and restaurants

While lots of businesses close over Christmas and New Year, the airport is certainly not one of them! However, some of our restaurant and retail opening times might change slightly during the festive season.

Keep an eye on our website for the latest opening times if you want to eat somewhere particular at the airport, or you’re planning to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

10. Consider Christmas markets if you’re going on a city break

If you’re looking for a festive city break this year, then pack your bags, wrap up warm, and jet off to a beautiful European Christmas market!

Wander through sparkling fairy-lit streets and city squares, with the scents of mulled wine, spiced hot chocolate and roast chestnuts in the air, and lose yourself in one of Europe’s most enchanting winter market destinations.

We’ve rounded up 12 of our favourite winter market destinations in Europe, with flights from East Midlands Airport, so you can start planning your cosy winter getaway today.

11. Bring tidings of comfort and joy to your travel outfit!

When it comes to comfort on a flight, little things can make a big difference.

A travel pillow or neck pillow can help you get some sleep (especially if you’re in a middle or aisle seat and don’t want to doze on your neighbour!). And pack a light blanket and slippers to take comfort up a notch. An eye mask and earplugs can also help you escape your surroundings and get some shut-eye.

Listening to music or watching a film might be more your thing – but remember to download these before you take off, so you don’t need to worry about internet connection.

12. ‘Tis the season to spread Christmas joy!

While it may be the season of joy, travelling at Christmas can sometimes feel overwhelming, too. But remember - we’re here to help.

Our airport staff will help you navigate your way through the airport this festive season, and can answer any questions you have about your journey this Christmas.

So whether you need advice on going through Security, information on parking, or want to find out about the best Duty Free deals, we'll be there to make sure you have a very merry journey through East Midlands Airport this year.

Useful Links

Copenhagen harbour


Destination guides and travel tips to inspire your next trip away

Pre-book FastTrack

Book FastTrack

Save time with the express lane at Security and Passport Control

Airport parking

Accessible parking, close to every terminal