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The benefits of flying from a regional airport

Lorna Cowan / 08 August 2017

More people are choosing to fly from regional airports, and with more airports now offering a wider range of flights, it's easy to see why.

Departure board at airport
Flying from one of the UK's many regional airports means you can start your holiday closer to home without the stresses and strains of travelling before you travel!

Thinking about booking your next holiday? Then think about flying from a regional airport near you. 

It really can make all the difference if you begin your well-earned break at an airport close to home. 

Easy to travel to, and with a great range of holidays and tours to choose from, jetting off from a regional airport to destinations all over the world couldn’t be more fun – or more convenient.  

Discover our huge variety of expertly planned escorted tours and river cruises that take you to a world of fantastic destinations. Find out more here

Discover dream destinations

Whether you want to soak up the sunshine on an idyllic beach, explore the markets and museums in a captivating city or indulge your wanderlust on a wildlife adventure – you can fly to exciting and exotic holiday destinations in Europe and further afield from regional airports located around the UK.

Dream destinations are waiting to be discovered, and the flights to get you there may only be a hop, skip and jump from your doorstep.

Airlines and travel companies are increasingly offering a wide range of flights, holidays and tours starting from regional airports.

A huge sigh of relief for holidaymakers living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who no longer need to trek to one of the busy London hubs to board a plane, even if flying long-haul.

For those based north of the border, flights depart from Glasgow Airport to many popular city break destinations including Barcelona, Lisbon and Rome. 

Saga offers worldwide tours flying from Glasgow too, thrilling trips around Sri Lanka, Kerala in India and New Zealand. 

Sunseekers living in northeast England can jet off from Newcastle Airport to sunnier climes – take your pick from Saga holidays to Cuba, Mauritius and South Africa. 

And with flights from Belfast Airport and Cardiff Airport taking passengers to popular sunny shores in Spain, Greece and Portugal, there’s a holiday to suit everyone.

Save time and avoid hassle

It’s the start of your holiday, the suitcases are packed and you’re about to jump in the car and set off to the airport. 

Would what you prefer? A short comfortable drive, maybe even along familiar roads, to a regional airport close to your home? 

Or a day-long journey stuck behind the wheel, travelling on traffic-heavy motorways, all the while anxiously looking at your watch and panicking you’ve picked the wrong route and you’ll miss your flight?

While you can never guarantee a stress-free drive, choosing to fly from a regional airport takes away some of the strain of travelling on busy roads to a London airport, especially if you don’t know where congestions frequently happen – or any shortcuts.

A quicker journey is always going to be more convenient and enjoyable, not just for the driver, but for all the other passengers too. 

What’s more, you won’t need to spend any valuable days you’ve saved for your holiday just staring out of a window seemingly going nowhere.

It’s also easier travelling by public transport to regional airports, and more often cheaper than a long train or bus journey to London – another thing to organise! - where you may need to navigate your way around the city to connect to onward travel to the airport. 

This hassle and expense can be avoided by simply deciding to fly off on holiday from your local airport.

Saga customers can save hundreds on holidays and cruises - browse our available travel offers and find out more here.

Return home relaxed

Then, of course, there’s also the journey back home. 

And if you weren’t looking forward to a long car journey or trip on public transport at the start of your holiday when your excitement knew no bounds, you’ll certainly not want to face the prospect of a trek when your break is over. 

Flying back to a regional airport makes the return trip all the more bearable

Returning to the UK, perhaps feeling a little sad to leave the sunshine behind, all you want to do is collect your hold luggage from baggage reclaim and magically whisk yourself back home – where you can start sharing your marvellous experiences, and many a holiday photo, with all your family and friends.

As you board your flight home, you can relax, knowing that once you land you’re only a short distance away from a welcoming cup of tea in your kitchen.

Travel in comfort and style

Flying from a regional airport may mean that you’re offered a lift from a family member or friend – resulting in savings on airport car parking and the bother of finding a good deal in the first place.

However, even if you don’t know a willing driver who is prepared to drop you off, some holiday companies, including Saga, offer VIP travel services, getting you from your doorstep to the airport terminal in comfort and style – and setting the tone for the rest of your holiday.

All of Saga’s long-haul holidays, and a selection of tours in Europe and around the Mediterranean, include their special VIP door-to-door travel service. 

A chauffeur service will take you, and your luggage, from your home to your departure airport – and return you safely back home at the end of your holiday. 

Relaxing, comfortable and hassle-free, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. Someone else is keeping their eye on the road, lifting your luggage in and out of the boot, and finding a safe space to park at the terminal. 

What a wonderful way to start a holiday!

Saga customers can save hundreds on holidays and cruises - browse our available travel offers and find out more here.

Less time spent in queues

It goes without saying that if you are departing on a flight from a small regional airport rather than one of the big London hubs, then you’re not going to encounter the same queues at check-in, security and, on the way home, passport control. 

Figures reveal that around 40 million passengers pass through London Gatwick Airport each year, compared to approximately 820,000 at Exeter Airport. 

So if you live in the West Country and are planning a holiday in mainland Spain, Tenerife, Majorca or the Portuguese Algarve, it makes sense to fly from Exeter rather than travel an additional 180 or so miles to Gatwick, where you’re only going to queue with lots more people.

The same applies when flying from Norwich Airport, which sees around 460,000 passengers a year. Shorter queues, and as a result often cheerier staff, means your airport experience is much more relaxing and enjoyable. 

And again, Saga offers holidays to destinations in Spain, Greece and Cyprus.

More time for you

Travellers who arrive at a regional airport after a convenient journey, then wait in shorter queues within the terminal building, are going to feel more relaxed and excited about their impending holiday – and will have more time to enjoy the facilities the airport has to offer.

Airside, and comfortable knowing all you have left to do is board your plane, now is your chance to indulge in a little retail therapy, perhaps treating yourself to a new pair of sunglasses from the duty-free shop or a good book from WHSmith – at many you’ll find airport exclusive paperbacks.

Feeling peckish or fancy a drink? Make the most of the cafes, bars and restaurants catering for all tastes and diets.

Or take advantage of the peace provided in airport Executive Lounges, where you’ll usually find complimentary tea and coffee, alcoholic beverages and snacks.

Now is also maybe the time to start planning what you’d like to see and do when you reach your destination – or even just check the weather.

 Free wi-fi is available at all regional airports, though remember not all offer unlimited free internet access.

Enjoy a spot of sightseeing

If you're going to fly from an airport close to home, but not somewhere you visit very often, why not set off a little earlier and enjoy some local gems en route – it’s so true that we spend time visiting attractions abroad but fail to see the must-see sights on our own doorstep. 

If you'r flying from Liverpool Airport and your flight departs later in the evening (or indeed you arrive back in the UK early in the morning), then why not pop along to the compelling Titanic and Liverpool exhibition at the Merseyside Maritime Museum – entry is free and the airport is just seven miles south of the city.

If you're flying from Newcastle Airport, make sure you catch glimpse of the impressive Angel of the North. 

And on a journey to Southampton Airport, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to stop off and admire the beautiful scenery of the nearby New Forest National Park, with its wildlife-rich landscape and native ponies. 

It may also be tempting to take the youngest members of the family to Paultons Park, just a 15-minute drive away from the airport. The home of Peppa Pig World, you’ll be certain that after a few hours playing on rides your little travel companions will only be too happy to fall asleep on the flight.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.