As one of the owners of Flypark I decided to take my own advice and instead of driving to Stansted airport on the day of departure and booked a hotel with parking at the airport the following morning.
Our flight from Stansted to Perpignan was due to depart mid -morning meaning we needed to arrive at check in around 9.30 on a Monday morning. A large proportion of our trip includes driving south on the A1 and then onto to the A14/M11 all of which are notorious for delays through a combination of accidents, motorway repairs and just sheer volume of traffic.
Monday morning is without doubt the worse time you can choose as commuters return to London and the south-east following the week-end break and the roads resemble a slow moving car park. The drive normally takes around 2 hours but at this time of the day this could easily extend to 3 or 4 hours, meaning to be sure of catching our flight a 5.30 am start and getting up around 4.30 am.
Whether it’s just me, if I have to be away this early no matter what time I go to bed I just cannot get off to sleep and have a broken night’s sleep no doubt because subconsciously I am worried I will oversleep despite testing the alarm. My friend who drove every Monday to London for years says he always suffered from this and eventually started using the train because he was so tired when he got there.
Any way the nearly new Premier Inn was selected and we set off Sunday afternoon about 5.00 and arrived at 6.45, booked in and drop off our cases in a very comfortable room and went for a drink followed by a nice meal and retired about 10.30.
Got up the following morning having decided to have breakfast at the airport and set off for the long stay. When you drive up to the barrier your registration number is read and you are given a ticket with the registration on it.
Parked up the car and made a mental note of the zone 9 (long stay is massive and this is critical) and caught the bus waiting and was delivered to the airport in less than 10 minutes. Upon our return we waited at the long stay stop which seemed like ages but in all probability just over 10 minutes.
Our only problem occurred when we got to the barrier, the electronic system asked me to pay £119 to cover the parking, I contacted someone through the speaker and told them I had booked a Stansted hotel and parking package through Flypark and they then asked for the booking reference which I gave them and the barrier lifted.
There is no doubt whatsoever that booking a airport hotel and parking deal is the best way to arrive at the airport refreshed and ready to enjoy the holiday rather than stressed and tired. The main downside to this is the extra cost of between £25 and £30 depending upon the time of year and the extra you spend on drinks and a meal which in our case was £50. Clearly, the latter is a personal preference and you can quite easily have a meal at home and set off much later.
In our case it became part of the holiday and if I was travelling out of an airport nearer a main city such as Manchester, Glasgow or Edinburgh for example, I would travel down in the morning and take in the sites.