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4 reasons to love flying out of UK regional airports

From the smaller airports, you can speed up your trip and spend more time in European destinations such as Croatia, Spain, and more.

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In recent years, airlines and travel companies have been busy expanding their range of flights departing from regional airports. And we’re excited to be part of the trend. According to UK Parliament, ‘regional airports’ include any UK airport that is not one of the big five, so HeathrowGatwickStansted, Luton and City, as well as the airports on Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

We have recently launched a number of European escorted tours and holidays that depart from regional airports in the UK, including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Cornwall Newquay, East Midlands, Humberside, Leeds Bradford, Norwich, and Teesside International, meaning it has become much easier, and more seamless, for you to take that dream escape, no matter where you are based in the UK.

Here are some of the top reasons to begin your holiday at a regional airport in the UK:

Save time and avoid delays

Let’s face it, getting to the airport (and through it) can sometimes take longer than the flight itself. A stressful, fussy airport experience can pile the hours onto your trip, which can be a drag when you just want your holiday to start already. So, a regional airport can help you begin your holiday much, much sooner.

By avoiding one of the UK’s major airports, which operate up to 1,300 flights per day, you might spare yourself the stress of flight delays. Some of the UK’s regional airports rank highest for having the shortest flight delays, so you can save yourself some precious time.

Of all UK airports, those ranked with having the shortest delay times include Bristol (six minutes and six seconds), East Midlands International (six minutes), Belfast City (George Best) (four minutes and 54 seconds), Teesside International (four minutes and 48 seconds), and Belfast International (four minutes and 30 seconds), according to 2021 figures.

The surprising range of international destinations

In the past, larger airports like Heathrow or Stansted might have been your best bet if you were hoping to travel somewhere new and far away. But in recent years, regional airports have been able to evolve and become more competitive, offering an impressively wide array of flights to different destinations.

Some of our favourite travel destinations can be reached from regional airports, including Andalusia, Spain’s region of mountain ranges, passionate flamenco, and Moorish architecture, which is accessible from Birmingham, Bristol, and Leeds Bradford. If you’re looking for a getaway with even more sunshine, check out Cyprus, with its beautiful ancient city of Paphos and coastline of unspoilt beaches, which can be reachedf from regional airports Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, and Leeds Bradford.

Of course, you cannot go past Western Norway's almost other-worldly fjord landscapes, which you can reach from a huge range of UK airports including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Humberside, Leeds Bradford, Teesside International. Imagine waking up in your home and eating lunch by a UNESCO-listed fjord. Heavenly.

Save travel money

As we mentioned earlier, the rise in travel has meant that regional airports have been able to become more competitive with their flight offerings, meaning that you can sometimes find that flights are cheaper when departing from regional airports. But one travel aspect to factor in is the journey it takes to get to the airport, and the costs associated.

A few months ago, the UK was hit with the highest train fare increases in nearly a decade, so it pays to farewell the major airports and start your holiday somewhere closer to home.

Avoid the stress of London’s major airports

Heathrow is one of the busiest international airports in the world, according to recent figures from OAG. Additionally, Gatwick is one of Europe’s most frequented airports.

As many of the UK’s smaller airports handle less than 17% of the number of passengers that pass through the busy gates of Heathrow and Gatwick, as they are based in regions with smaller populations, you can rest assured that you are likely to breeze through check-in and those obligatory security checks and overall have a speedier, more efficient, and less stressful travel experience at a regional airport.

Serena is a writer based in London. Born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, she calls the UK home despite only recently acclimatising to the dearth of sunshine. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, South China Morning Post, i-D, Refinery29, Glamour, Vox, Metro, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. She has also published a book of aerial photography: How Women See The World. Throughout her decade-long career, Serena has told the stories of Arctic explorers, human rights activists, award-winning chefs, refugees, and the UK’s last lighthouse keepers.

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