Air Transat operates from Gatwick’s North Terminal, so those traveling to the airport by train will need to get the shuttle from the South Terminal which only takes a few minutes.
My trip fell during the week of the rail strike in late June, but luckily was in between strike days. Still, tubes only began operating at 0800 and services were affected from the previous day, so I left plenty of time and arrived at the airport at 0900 for the 1135 departure.
Check-in takes place at Zone E. There are several desks for economy class, some self-service machines and a separate desk for Club Class. There were no queues and a staff member checked my documents ahead of going to the desk. To travel to Canada fully vaccinated customers must have an eTA (electronic travel authorisation) and have filled in the ArriveCAN form within 72 hours of travel.
Canada’s random mandatory arrival testing was suspended during my trip – it has now resumed and passengers are notified if they have been chosen in advance of their flight.
Once at the desk, my passport was checked and cabin baggage labels were affixed to my luggage. I was also informed that the flight was delayed by an hour, and staff checked if I had a mask for the flight as this is still required for flights to Canada.
Note that Air Transat has quite strict hand luggage restrictions. You are allowed a bag measuring 23 x 40 x 51 cm and a laptop bag or briefcase. Club passengers can check in two bags at no extra charge.
Guests in Club Class can use the Premium security lane, which was very speedy. I was airside by 0932, which was a nice surprise considering I had prepared myself for long queues given the recent disruption at airports across the UK.
While I was grateful for the hassle-free start to my journey, my early arrival and the delay meant that I now had three hours to fill. Luckily the airport was fairly quiet at this time and I managed to get some breakfast at Pure (located upstairs), which has plenty of seating with plug points, allowing me to get on with some work before my flight.
The downside is that Air Transat does not have an agreement with any of the lounges, which is not ideal for a business traveller. I noticed that the airport was very busy by 1030 and I would have struggled to find an adequate seat had I arrived any later.