Getting to the Airport - Holiday Survival Kit
For 99 % of customers going on holiday it is a stress free experience, however when it does go wrong the financial and emotional fallout can be considerable.
Travelling By Car: How to avoid the avoidable.
Having operated an airport car parking company for over 10 years I have seen probably everything that can go wrong. I must stress this only happens to a minority and the one common factor is not having enough time to put it right.
Before you set off Car Maintenance
The average family holiday must spend around £2000 on their holiday and yet they happily set off for the car park having not serviced the car, checked the condition of their tyres, wipers or the battery and wonder why they break down. Viewed against the cost of the holiday, the cost of the above has to be worthwhile.
Membership of a breakdown service such as the AA or RAC is also strongly recommended. Being stranded on the top of Saddleworth Moor in the middle of winter on your way to Manchester airport is not the best way to start your holiday.
Planning the Journey
Examine your tickets and ensure you have the correct departure and check in times. All times are written in a 24- hour clock format. On occasions, for example 06.30 has been taken for 6.30 in the evening. Result one unhappy family.Due to new security measures 3 hours for medium and long haul flights are becoming the norm.
Also nearly all airlines have a close off time of usually 30 to 40 minutes before departure on long to mid haul flights. Once this deadline is passed late arrivals will not be admitted. Internal flights and to Dublin and Jersey etc have much shorter close off times.
Always add on at least an hour for your journey to overcome any vehicle mishap and if you will be traveling through rush hour, add at least another hour. Traditionally Monday and Friday traffic is also heavier with long stay commuters returning or coming from home for the weekend.
Major motorways connect to the following airports.
- Manchester Airport- M60/M56
- Gatwick Airport – M25/M23
- Heathrow Airport-M25/M4
- Luton Airport – M1 from West A1 from the East
- Stansted Airport- M11
- Cardiff Airport- M4 Connection thereafter A roads
- Birmingham Airport - M42
- East Midlands Airport – M42 or M1
- Liverpool Airport- M62 Connection thereafter A roads
- Newcastle Airport- A1 Connection thereafter A696
- Glasgow- M8
- Edinburgh Airport- M8 / A8
- Prestwick Airport- A77
If you are parking at any of the following :
Manchester airport, Gatwick airport, Heathrow Airport, Stansted Airport, Luton Airport, Glasgow Airport and Birmingham Airport in particular, traffic between the hours of 07.00 to 09.30 in the morning and 1600 to 18.30 in the evening can be very slow moving. It must always be remembered that your connection from the airport car park will also have to travel in these conditions.
There is no point putting yourself under unneccesary stress by driving against the clock. It is far better for your health and your pocket to arrive at the airport one hour early, rather than two hours late completely uptight and stressed. All airports now have a great selection of shops and places to have a drink. I rather be sipping a cool lager than sitting on the M25 pulling my hair out.
Directions and Map
We receive telephone calls virtually every single day, which start with the immortal words “We forgot the map! where are you? We are at Gatwick Airport now.
The reason why off airport car parks are cheaper than parking on airport is because they are off airport. Please make sure you take your directions with you or if you forget, please ring well before you reach the airport.
The vagaries of the weather are well known in this country and a check on the anticipated weather conditions is always worthwhile.
Route and Road works
The AA and RAC will provide route maps and details of anticipated road works.
Unless you know the area well a route planners are excellent.
By David Cook