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Time to get through security/bag drop

Houston, Texas
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193 posts
40 reviews
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Time to get through security/bag drop

Hello! How early should I arrive at Stansted airport for a 6:30 pm Ryanair flight on Tuesday? Thinking of taking a train from Cambridge that should arrive at 3:40 pm. Ryanair sent an email saying to expect delays and arrive 3 hours ahead. Agree/disagree, suggestions? Thanks in advance!

5 replies to this topic
Corringham, United...
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1. Re: Time to get through security/bag drop

If Ryanair sent that then maybe you should heed their advice.

If you have luggage you have to weigh it,tag it yourself and then take it to bag drop,then go through security

Busy time as it's holiday period.

I think your train should be ok

Personally am one of those that would rather sit back read a book and relax rather than stress out leaving things to the last minute

Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: Time to get through security/bag drop

Stansted is one of the worst organised airports in the world. There is a severe lack of signage and barriers. But there is a knack to getting through. When you first enter the building there can be ~1000 people milling around trying to work out where to go and whether or not they are actually in a queue (line). Ryanair bag drop desks are to the left - don't stand in the crowds but make your way to the left and back into the bays. If you are a US citizen I guess you will need a passport check so head across to the middle desks that clearly say visa check and make sure you are in the right queue! Then security is on the far left and has 2 entrances (After bag drop, head back towards the glass front wall of the building to get to security).

If you know what you are doing, you can be safe with 2 hours (Ryanair announce the gate around 1 hour or 45 mins before departure and they are all a long walk, if you are on the shuttle you need to go straight away but be sure of the gate number as you can't get back once on the shuttle). For the possibility of train cancellations, bad queues and getting to the gate, 3 hours is not a bad estimate. Honestly.

And the usual warnings about Ryanair, make sure you print your boarding pass or use the app, and that your luggage meets the weight and measurements, or it will be very costly.

Maldon, United...
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3. Re: Time to get through security/bag drop

In my experience, the worst delays happen first thing in the morning as there is a massive rush of flights taking the cheapest slots. After 8:30-9:00am the rush dies down a bit.

The biggest problem you will face is security - they are horrendously incompetent at every opportunity. Although you can do nothing about the ignorant fools in front of you who pay no attention to the billions of warnings provided in the queue, you can make your own passage through security quicker by making the following preparations as you finally approach the scanners:

* Place all of the contents of your pockets in one of the supplied plastic zip-loc bags ready to put into a scanner tray. Put your watch in there too.

* If you're wearing a coat/jacket, take it off - you can put your bag of pocket contents in it as it goes through the scanner.

* Remove laptop/iPad from bag ready to be placed separately into a tray

* Ensure your "liquids" bag is in hand, ready to be placed in a tray. If you are travelling with hold luggage, put liquids in there instead before check-in. Anything over 100ml (including water) should be dumped BEFORE you get to the scanners.

* Remove shoes, hat and belt. One less reason for the idiots manning the scanners to stop you.

Do not be surprised if you still trigger the scanner alarm even if you are not carrying metal or liquids on your person. This appears to be a ruse used by Stansted security to make the experience as uncomfortable and annoying as possible - they are hoping you will pay for "express" security next time (which is just as incompetent).

On a bad day it can take 45+ minutes to clear security, but the rest of your journey is straightforward and quick - albeit with very long walks.

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Time to get through security/bag drop

Reporting back that I must be the only person with good luck at Stansted. I took the train I planned on, which ran about 10-15 minutes late. From the train’s arrival through bag drop with Ryan Air was 10 minutes (I didn’t need a visa check since I have an EU passport, but FYI they were doing them at the same time as bag drop). From then until I got through security was another 10 minutes, including some time figuring out which way to go after bag drop and my bag being pulled for an extra check because my hat fell out of the tray in the machine. They had all the lanes open and only about 5 people lined up in each lane. It actually seemed well organized - they had a station set up before the security lines to sort hand baggage and lots of staff pointing the way. I must’ve caught them on a good day! The only problem was it was a miserable place to be once through security - seems like their bad reputation has caused everyone to allow extra time and it was packed, loud and lacked seating. Still better to be safe than sorry, though. Thanks for the advice!

Edited: 14 August 2018, 15:38
Maldon, United...
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298 posts
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5. Re: Time to get through security/bag drop

It is reported that there is just one seat to every three travellers at Stansted. And that's before some inconsiderate moron lies across a row of seats.

You definitely got lucky though - nice one ;)

Edited: 14 August 2018, 16:37
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