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Save time and money says SAGA Holidays report

Holidaymakers Can Save Time and Money Flying from Regional Airports

Whether holidaymakers are looking to unwind in the sun, go off piste or explore new cities; the build-up and thrill of going on holiday can often cost both time and money, especially when travelling to the airport.

Using data sourced from the CAA and Gov.uk, Saga Holidays have taken a look at how – by choosing to fly from their local regional airports – travelers can save both time and money, as well as enjoy a relaxed start to their holidays.

Save on time:

The amount of time it takes to catch a flight can often be a major headache for travelers. Do you book a day-time flight and risk getting caught in potential travel disruption and traffic, that can cause all manner of stress, or book an early morning/late night flight and need to stay in a hotel near-by – all at a potential additional cost.

According to data from Gov.uk, the average time it takes to travel to a UK airport via public transport is over an-hour-and-a-half or one hour by car.

However, when Saga looked at these figures compared to how long it would take holidaymakers to travel to their closest regional airport, they found that some holidaymakers could knock off anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours from their journeys to the airport via public transport, and between 20 and 110 minutes if driving themselves.

In response these figures Maria Whiteman, Managing Director of Saga Holidays, said; “The time it takes to get to the airport is often a forgotten aspect. However, as we looked into the travel times for our customers it became clear that, for many, these times could be cut quite significantly by us introducing more regional airport departures.”

Save the pennies:

Both public and private modes of transport have their merits when travelling to the airport. However, the cost of return rail tickets to airports can easily end up being above £100, depending on locations, times of travel, date of booking, and the potential need to pass through London’s travel zones.

Private vehicles aren’t exempt from high costs either. Parking charges at 22 of the UK’s ‘large’ and regional airports charge an average of:

  • £57 for 7 days standard long stay parking
  • £97 for 7 days premium (non-valet) parking
  • £15 short stay 1-hour fees

However, many of the UK’s airports do offer some form of free drop off and pick up parking; although these are often for less than 45 minutes. So, should a flight or luggage return be delayed, a driver could face a fee if they over-stay in the zone.

When Saga compared the parking prices of regional and London ‘gateway’ airports they found that, on average, regional airports had the cheaper ‘premium’ (£83) and hourly rate (£4.71) parking. While the large gateway airports had the cheaper standard long stay parking (£56.50).

Less Time Queueing:

It goes without saying, flying from a regional airport rather than one of the large London ‘gateways’, then travelers are not going to come across the same queues at check-in, security and, passport control.

Data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) showed that between October 2016 and September 2017 regional airports helped 115 million passengers reach their destinations, whilst the London ‘gateway’ airports had seen almost 170 million people pass through their doors.

This equates to just over 6 million people passing through each of the regional airports analysed by the CAA and 34 million per London ‘gateway’ airport. Or, to put it another way, for every 1 person passing through a regional airport – 5.6 are passing through a London ‘gateway’.

Time to Relax:

Holidaymakers who arrive at a regional airport after a quick and stress-free journey, then wait in shorter queues within the terminal building, often feel more relaxed and excited about their impending holiday – and, with the additional time and money saved, have more time to enjoy the shops, food and drink offerings within the airport.

Not only does this ‘relaxation time’ help holidaymakers get into the mood for their time away, it also helps the airports build their returning consumer base, and develop their offerings further.

Maria Whiteman continued “Whilst many Saga holidays customers have VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, many tell us that their holiday really begins when they reach the airport, so the sooner they can get there the better. We also have also had an overwhelmingly positive response from customers who were able to travel from their local airport, who told us that it genuinely improved their holiday experience. With many regional airports now offering services to rival many gateway airports it really does add to the overall holiday experience for our customers.”


By flying through their closest regional airport, holidaymakers have the world on their door-step, the ability to save money – which can be used to enhance their holiday or save for another trip abroad – and enjoy their holiday experience from start to finish by breezing through the terminals and security.

It is unsurprising then that between 2016 and 2017, regional airports saw a 7.1% increase in the number of passengers choosing to fly via their local airport, which goes some way to explain the 2.8% increase in the number of flights from regional airports.

See SAGA Holidays from Bournemouth Airport