Amid concerns that London Heathrow and Gatwick are running at full capacity and the long delays and flight cancellations caused by health screening at UK’s busiest airports, bmi regional reported that travellers increasingly prefer regional airports at this time.
On Sunday, Heathrow reported delays on up to 25% of outgoing flights and 18% of incoming flights, following bad weather, an online report said.
bmi regional CEO Cathal O’Connell said: ‘The chaotic scenes we have witnessed at London Heathrow over the past couple of days rarely happen at other airports. Heathrow and Gatwick are working at capacity and travelling to and from them is often stressful and time consuming.’
According to the British regional airline, travellers are now beginning to realise the benefits of flying from regional airports, such as less stressful journey times to the airport, fewer crowds and quicker check-in, convenient and cheaper car parking and less luggage time.
Cathal O’Connell adds: ‘Flying from regional airports will really cut down on parking charges – and the parking is much closer to the airport so saves time. Bristol is amongst the cheapest in the UK for on-site seven-day parking offering rates from just £29. At Birmingham Airport, you can literally walk to the long term car park in ten minutes – less time than it takes to get to the short term car park in Heathrow.
Smaller airports tend to be easier to travel to either by road or public transport, meaning shorter and more pleasant journeys. Increasingly we’re seeing consumers opt for the regional option, citing less stressful check-in processes, more pleasant journey times to the airport and cheaper parking closer to the airport as some of the main reasons.’
According to a survey by Which?, business parking at Heathrow costs up to £88.70, compared to just £19.84 at Manchester Airport. Additionally, average baggage carousel waiting times are listed as 29 minutes 29 seconds at Heathrow, almost double the 16 minutes and 15 seconds at Manchester.
While regional airports generally have fewer security delays, Heathrow currently advises passengers to allow three hours at the airport for long-haul flights, two hours for European flights and 90 minutes for domestic flights. Waiting times and security checks are often much shorter at regional airports.