Regional Airports v London
It’s fair to say that the majority of holidays that include international flights depart from London. But assuming it is possible, using a Regional airport can be cheaper and certainly more convenient.
- Cheaper – Regional airports can be cheaper given the cost of travelling to/from London + car parking + potential hotels.
- Convenience – you can’t put a price on that!
Travel Companies have to base their advertised pricing on something specific and London Heathrow is the obvious UK hub from which to do it. It has the greatest number of flights in/out and therefore the greatest flexibility.
But there is no reason why you can’t fly from other UK airports such as Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow assuming it can be done.
The advantages of doing so are obvious; sheer convenience.
Aren’t departures from Regional airports more expensive? Generally speaking yes because there are fewer flights and therefore fewer seats.
But any increase in cost can easily be offset by the cost of travelling to London, which may or may not involve an overnight hotel prior to departure or on the way back.
The one thing you cannot put a price on is convenience. The last thing you need is to arrive back into UK early evening, have to negotiate the immigration queue before a long drive.
Frequent travellers will at some point in their lives experienced delays, lost or delayed luggage or even cancelled flights. The key to any successful travel arrangements is to keep them as simple as possible (de-risking) and that includes using as few airports as possible. The more you have, the more can go wrong!
Whether to use a Regional airport departure or not therefore also very much depends on how the flight schedule looks (including the time gap between flights).
If we use Kathmandu (KTM) as an example. There are no direct flights from the UK to KTM, so 1 stop is usual. The main 3 stopovers are Delhi, Doha and Dubai. If you use a Regional airport, you will need to link into one of those at some point. Whether your Regional airport can do that is something you need to look into, or it may well route through Heathrow anyway.
To use some examples (correct at the time of going to press):
Flights to Kathmandu
- London Heathrow – 1 stop (Delhi, Doha, Dubai) – Kathmandu
- Manchester – Dubai – Kathmandu
- Glasgow – Manchester – Dubai – Kathmandu
It all comes down to a case by case basis taking into account the Regional airport, the final destination, where you live, the cost and the actual flight schedule as to whether it’s worth it. At the very least, it is worth asking the question.