With the countdown to Christmas well and truly on, airports up and down the land are bracing themselves for one of their busiest times of year. And for many people, the prospect of queues and crowds is all too much, turning the festive season into a yuletide hell. But follow these simple steps and you’ll be yo-ho-ho-ing all the way to the plane…
A good idea is to sidestep major hubs like Heathrow and Gatwick and fly out of a smaller airport instead. You won’t find the world and his wife passing through so-called ‘regional’ airports. The result? Shorter check-in, immigration and security queues. Plus, you’ll be quids in when it comes to things like airport parking and hotels – smaller airports don’t normally charge as much as the big boys.
Setting your alarm for stupid o’clock in the morning to catch a crack-of-dawn flight brings benefits. Likewise a red-eye flight is worth it. Reason being, most people opt for mid-morning and early-evening flights. Travel outside of these times and you can look forward to deserted departure lounges. Plus, book yourself into an airport hotel and dragging your carcass out of bed in the wee hours isn’t quite so painful.
In much the same way as shops and department stores, airports get crazy busy in the run-up to Chrimbo. The big exodus tends to take place the weekend just before Christmas so it’s a good idea to think about heading out either before or after this point. Another option is to plump for an unpopular flying day when most people will be at home – so Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are both good bets.
Lots of airlines let you check in online so you can bypass the airport queues. But if you’re not that organised, don’t worry. Choose an airport with self-service check-in pods and express bag drops. For some reason the travelling public seem to be nervous of using these newfangled facilities, preferring to do it the old-fashioned way. But they’re very similar to supermarket self-service tills and just as easy to use.
Sort out your airport parking well in advance of your trip. It goes without saying that carpark spaces are few and far between over the festive period so companies can, and often do, charge a premium. So do yourself a favour and organise everything nice and early to avoid disappointment and a hefty price tag. The same goes for any other extras like VIP lounges and airport hotels.
When it comes to flying, you’ve told us you want more options....
Holiday season is upon us, which means one sure thing. Social media...
Walt Disney World in Florida is the number-one choice if you’re looking...
Author: Christian Torres
Published: November 25, 2011
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
Shop Finder Ask a question? Contact us
We're part of TUI Group - one of the world's leading travel companies. And all of our holidays are designed to help you Discover Your Smile.
Registered address: Wigmore House, Wigmore Lane, Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, LU2 9TN
More from TUI
Terms & conditions
Ways to Pay
Google Play Store
App Store for Ios
Holiday Budget Calculator
TUI Credit Card
Travel After Brexit
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCOtravel and Facebook.com/FCOtravel
More information is available by checking /destinations/info/travel-aware
Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.travelhealthpro.org.uk
The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website.