Fri, November 18th, 2011 - By

The Pros and Cons of Alternative Airports


You know the routine. You’re flying out of Edinburgh, but you can travel at a more reasonable times and save £100 if you fly out of Glasgow instead. Or maybe it’s a train ride required to a different airport, but then a direct flight all the way to your sandy beachside resort, instead of an ugly connection in Heathrow. Alternative airports, as they’re called, can be a blessing or can be a mirage, depending on the situation. (Sometimes I wonder who decides what is defined as an alternative airport, because if it takes hours to get there, that’s not much of an alternative.)

I’d like to briefly talk about the pros and cons of alternative airports, to help you decide if that extra jaunt is worth it or not.

Pros of Alternative Airports

  • Often the alternative airport it offers a lot more flights (bigger airport) or direct flights. This is why sometimes there is a saving. There can also be differences in landing taxes, etc. or perhaps there’s just a special promotion at the airport. But the bonus of more flights or direct flights is that you’ve got more options if there are problems. Always useful.
  • Sometimes, money talks. That’s the whole point of picking the alternative airport – you can get a big bargain. And if £200 means the difference between having a holiday or sitting at home with takeaway, then get yourself to that alternative airport.

Cons of Alternative Airports

  • You know that saying, sometimes the medicine is worse than the cure? I often feel this way about alternative airports, especially when you’re doing a long drive (traffic!) or a train (possible delays) in order to avoid a bad flight connection. In some cases you’re just trading one pain for another.
  • Often an alternative airport means VERY early start times (e.g. 3AM out of bed), or getting home really late (like, er, 3AM). Especially if you’ve got to be at an airport by a certain time so you have to try to avoid traffic, etc. I’m not a fan of super early starts or late late arrivals – plus this can mean if you’re reliant on public transport, you miss your ride and need a taxi, or have to spend more cash on a hotel for the night.

Do alternative airports work for you? I think every situation is different – it’s all about what you’re giving up and what you get in return.

Photo by dionhinchcliffe

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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