We are very lucky here in the UK to have so many airports to choose from when it comes to all our travel and holiday needs. But many holidaymakers have noticed there can be quite a bit of discrepancy when it comes to flight cost. Some have commented on the fact that flights from the big London airports are often much cheaper than those departing from smaller Northern airports, but is this always the case? And what other measures should people take to keep their holiday costs under control?
Is It Cheaper to Fly from a Smaller or Larger Airport?
There’s no easy answer to this question as there are so many ways to assess the situation. The Scotsman recently published a list of UK airports based on the cost of their flights from overall cheapest to most expensive. Heathrow came in at number one (with Liverpool at number ten) and this was put down to the sheer number of flights and therefore flight deals that are available. Consequently, airports with fewer flights departing are going to have more difficulty keeping their prices competitive.
Another survey from 2017 looked at various popular holiday destinations and searched for the cheapest flights for each one. More often than not Gatwick Airport came out as the cheapest, with Manchester and Birmingham also performing well. But when it comes to budgeting for your holiday travel costs, experienced holidaymakers can appreciate there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Looking at Overall Travel Costs
Let’s take a scenario. You live within a reasonable distance of one of the UK’s larger airports, but you do have a smaller airport much closer. You want to find a good deal on your flights or package holiday, but you’re aware that there are other costs involved when getting to and from the airport. So what options are available?
When it comes to flight or holiday costs, the mostly likely outcome is that you will find a better deal if flying from the larger airport due to the supply vs demand reason we mentioned above. But the circumstances and priorities of one traveller are not going to be the same as those of another. For example, if we are talking about a couple, travelling to the airport is not be too much hassle at all and will probably work out fairly good value. So, they could well opt for the cheaper flights and the longer transfer time, be it by car or public transport.
However, if we’re talking a family with two or three children, this changes things slightly. Getting to the larger airport by public transport is going to cost more, and that’s not to mention the additional stress involved. They might think it easier to book an airport hotel for the night before, but then that will push their travel costs up even further. Bearing all this mind, it might be more costs effective to opt for the more expensive flights that leave from their small local airport instead.
What About Airport Parking?
For all scenarios mentioned above, it’s always worth considering the benefits of airport parking. For starters, whether you’re travelling on your own, as a couple, or with children, there’s a case to be made that this is the least stressful option – they’ll be no worrying about getting your baggage on public transport or whether your taxi is going to show up in time or not. But even when taking into account the extra cost, this option could still work out cheaper. Booking ahead means you’ll get access to lower prices, and it’s easy to find extra discounts on cheap Gatwick Airport parking when arranging online as well as lots of savings for smaller airports too.
So how does this fit in with comparing flight costs between different airports? If you think flying from a larger airport is going to be more cost effective for you, and you’re considering driving to the airport too, then it’s important you book your airport parking as early as possible. Those flights are cheaper because there are more available, and therefore more people flying from these terminals. So it follows that there’s probably going to be a higher demand for parking spaces. In order to secure your spot at a better rate, you’re be much better off booking ASAP. And if you think an overnight hotel stay is unavoidable, then Parking at Airports can find you deals on hotel and parking packages that will keep your costs down.
But if you’re choosing to fly from your smaller local airport, you will probably have a bit more leeway when it comes to airport parking. The chances are there won’t be quite the same demand on spaces, so you may also benefit from lower charges. In fact, this could go some way to offsetting the higher flight costs! And of course, you’ll be using less petrol to get there too.
The takeaway from this isn’t that you shouldn’t take flight prices at face value. It’s important to consider ALL costs involved as well as weighing up the convenience of either option. Depending on your circumstances, it may well be cheaper overall to book the more expensive flights from the smaller airport.