Research and analysis carried out by the company showed that out of 20 million searches and more than 200 different routes, it doesn’t always pay to fly from London.
Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights, said: “It’s logical to assume that holidaymakers will get the best bang for their buck flying from London, where capacity and choice are greatest. However, our fare crunching shows that flying from a local airport will often only cost a few pounds extra, which will be more than offset when you factor in the cost of travel to reach London and potentially even a pre-flight hotel stay. Furthermore, there are some regional routes, for example Belfast to Las Vegas, Edinburgh to Kuala Lumpur and Birmingham to Hong Kong, when the fares are actually lower than the London prices.”
The company’s data shows that short-haul holiday hotspots such as Malaga can be reached from eight of the UK’s 13 key regional cities (over 60 per cent) for a price difference of less than £30 versus the London fare. It will cost passengers, on average, just £5.89 more to reach Malaga from Liverpool than from London, for example, and only £10.86 extra to depart from Leeds-Bradford versus the capital.
Midlanders in search of a bargain should consider Alicante or Tenerife, where flights departing from Birmingham are only £20 and £24 more than if they were to travel down to London.
On many popular long-haul routes, it can work out cheaper to depart from a smaller, regional airport versus London. Flights to Las Vegas, for example, are, on average, £209 cheaper, at £675 return, from Belfast and £151 lower, at just £733 return, from Manchester than from London (£885 return).
The research also shows a year on year jump in demand for flights from all UK airports with Belfast (206 per cent up), Edinburgh (160 per cent up) and Newcastle (149 per cent up) leading the way. Lowest average airfares from every regional city have come down, year on year yet, average fares for London departures have gone up.
Cardiff, which recently announced plans to build a new airport terminal in response to increased passenger numbers, saw an uplift in flight searches of 108 per cent, year on year, and an overall reduction in fares of £64.
“There’s more than just the financial gain to consider,” continues Shelton. “Using a regional airport, where the sheer volume of human traffic is lower, can provide passengers with a far less stressful experience than that risked by holidaymakers passing through the big London hubs. That’s especially important to remember at peak travel times, like the start of major school holidays when those hubs can be absolutely packed.”