UK’s regional airports triumph

When it comes to price, popularity and pick of destinations, it doesn’t always pay to fly from the UK’s capital, according to research from Cheapflights – a flight search and travel deals website. And as Brits seek out their next holiday bargain, falling fares mean passengers are increasingly looking at flying from their local airport.

It’s logical to assume that holidaymakers will get the best bang for their buck flying from London, where capacity and choice are greatest. However, our fare crunching shows that flying from a local airport will often only cost a few pounds extra, which will be more than offset when you factor in the cost of travel to reach London and potentially even a pre-flight hotel stay. Furthermore, there are some regional routes, for example Belfast to Las Vegas, Edinburgh to Kuala Lumpur and Birmingham to Hong Kong, when the fares are actually lower than the London prices.

Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.

Cheapflights’ data shows that short-haul holiday hotspots, such as Malaga, can be reached from eight of the UK’s 13 key regional cities, for a price difference of less than £30 versus the London fare. While New York is a destination where the price difference for flying from a regional hub, rather than from London, is so minimal that regional holidaymakers are better off using their local airport. Scottish passengers, for example, can avoid the hassle and expense of schlepping down to London and depart from Edinburgh for just £28 more.

On some routes, it can even work out cheaper to fly from a smaller, regional airport versus London. Flights to Hong Kong, for example, tend to be significantly cheaper from Birmingham, where average return fares, at £534, are £74 lower than London’s average return fare of £609.

Eager to point out that there’s more than just a financial gain to consider when departing from a local airport, Shelton concludes that “using a regional airport, where the sheer volume of human traffic is lower, can provide passengers with a far less stressful experience than that risked by holidaymakers passing through the big London hubs.”

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