Holiday rush: Brussels Airport expects record figures

June 23, 2011

Today Thursday and tomorrow Friday will be very busy departure days at Brussels Airport, but the real holiday exodus starts next week. The number of departing passengers will gradually increase to 43,600 on 1 July. During the whole month of July, passenger numbers will continue to fluctuate around 35,000 a day. Although the airport was designed to deal with such numbers, the terminal will be very busy in the mornings.  

An overview of the number of departing passengers in the next few weeks:

Thursday 23 June: 28,900
Friday 24 June: 31,000
Saturday 25 June: 25,000
Sunday 26 June: 28,700
Monday 27 June: 30,200
Tuesday 28 June: 28,200
Wednesday 29 June: 30,800
Thursday 30 June: 32,800
Friday 1 July: 43,600
Saturday 2 July: 33,200
Sunday 3 July: 37,800
Monday 4 July: 39,300
Tuesday 5 July: 36,100
Wednesday 6 July: 38,400
Thursday 7 July: 36,000
Friday 8 July: 40,100

The peak of 43,600 departing passengers expected on Friday 1 July is a new day record for Brussels Airport. The previous record dates from 2 July 2010 with 42,000 departing passengers. In comparison: on an average day, about 23,500 passengers leave from Brussels Airport.

In July, the number of arriving passengers too will be fluctuating around 35,000 a day.

In anticipation of the expected rush, Brussels Airport issues the following tips and recommendations.

Leave for the airport well ahead of your departure time

Passengers are advised to arrive at the check-in desk two hours in advance of their departure time for short-haul flights and three hours for long-haul flights. From 4 am until past midday the departure hall will be very busy. This may also be the case in the late afternoon. During peak hours the extra time is necessary to find a parking space, for queuing at the ticketing and check-in desks, for border control and security checks and for embarking.

Please keep in mind that road works on the Brussels ring road as well as other major road works sites may have seriously affect your travel time. Travellers coming to the airport from the north of the country using the E19 can make use of the alternative Kiss & Ride area at Brucargo. This service will be available till July 10th, possibly to be continued after evaluation.

Liquids and gels

Since November 2006, Europe restricts the quantity of liquids and gels carried in the hand baggage. Although Europe plans to abolish these rules in 2013 they remain in full force for the time being.
Liquids, gels, foams or pastes and other items of a similar consistency are allowed in the hold baggage (which you check in) but are strictly limited in the hand baggage. Any liquids or gels you wish to carry into the cabin should be held in containers of maximum 100ml and have to be presented to the screening staff in a re-sealable transparent plastic bag of 20x20 cm, freezer bag type.
Brussels Airport strongly advises passengers not to carry any liquid or gel-like items in their hand baggage if the use thereof in the aircraft cabin is not absolutely necessary.
This restriction does not apply to tax-free goods: these may also be carried on board in larger volumes because they were thoroughly screened before they arrived in the airport shops. The tax-free goods will be put into a sealed plastic bag. The seal may not be broken until you reach your final destination. Water and other non-alcoholic drinks that were purchased beyond the security screening point may also be carried on board.

Every day about 500 kilograms of liquids and gels are confiscated at the passenger screening points. Containers that have already been opened are destroyed; unopened containers are donated to good causes. Spirits and alcoholic drinks are sold to an auctioneer’s and the proceeds are donated to a number of orphanages.  

Other prohibited items

Several items are prohibited in the aircraft cabin. Objects with a sharp point or edge (especially knives and scissors) and any object that can be used as a weapon (hammer, clubs) or to restrain someone (rope, adhesive tape) are not allowed in the hand baggage. Other items are not allowed anywhere on the aircraft: flammable, corrosive, radioactive, toxic or explosive items. More details are available on the airport website.

Attention: a growing number of passengers carry carbon dioxide cartridges, which contain pressurised gas used to inflate tyres or rubber boats. These cartridges are strictly forbidden on board aircraft, in both the hand baggage and the hold baggage.

Quick check-in

No more queuing at check-in with thousands of other departing passengers. Technology is helping us to check in more quickly. With some airlines over half of the passengers use the electronic self check-in systems.
Several airlines offer internet check-in. As from 24 hours before your scheduled departure time you can print a boarding pass from the website through which you bought your air  ticket. If you only carry hand baggage, you can immediately proceed to border control. The same is true if you use one of the self check-in machines in the departures hall. Many travellers seem to believe that these have been put there for the exclusive use of the “business travellers”, but that is not the case. Moreover these machines are very easy to use and there’s always someone from the airline around whom you can ask for help.  
If you also have hold baggage you can deliver your bags at the check-in desk. Most carriers have a separate desk for passengers who have checked in electronically.  

Identity papers for children

Like every other passenger, children under 12 years have to carry a valid proof of identity with photograph. This may be an identity card or passport. Children’s identity cards only have limited validity. Always check the expiry date before you leave.


Do not forget to check the validity of your ID card, passport or visa.  For some countries you need a passport that is still valid for several months. Make the necessary inquiries.
Please keep in mind that the procedure to apply for an identity card, passport or visa usually takes several days.

A certificate of theft/loss issued by the police is not valid for travels abroad.
If you wish to book a last-minute trip, please check first whether you have the necessary identity papers or whether there’s still enough time to obtain for them. If you’re leaving for an exotic destination, please bear in mind that you may need several days or weeks to get the necessary vaccinations.

Baggage tip

Passengers are advised to provide each piece of baggage (including hand baggage, camera bag, beauty case, backpack…) with a label carrying their name and contact details. Also put a visiting card inside each piece of baggage. If you’re baggage gets lost, this may be the only thing the services concerned have to go by to return the bags to you.

Children: beware!

Every summer incidents happen at the airport involving children getting hurt through the improper use of escalators, walkalators and baggage trolleys. Attractive as they may seem, these are no toys!

Parking facilities

The airport has a sufficient number of parking spaces to cope with the rush of departing holidaymakers in July and August. Details on the various formulas and promotions are available on the airport website:

Travellers who have friends or relatives take them to the airport can use the Kiss & Ride area at Brucargo or the passenger drop-off area in front of the terminal. For both areas the following rule applies: you may take the time necessary to step out of the car and unload your bags from the boot, but after that the vehicle is to drive on. Drivers are not allowed to leave their vehicle unattended in this area, not even for a few minutes. The traffic police are there to supervise.

Additional information

More detailed information on most of these matters is available on the airport website In exceptional conditions, the airport posts regular updates on Twitter and Facebook.
Answers to some questions may differ between airlines and depending on the situation. If you have any questions on the baggage allowances, travelling with pets, changing air tickets or retrieving lost baggage, you had best check with your travel agent or airline. Their web address and telephone number is usually mentioned on the ticket.



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