27 July 2018, 00:15
Over 50s are prepared to spend more with alternative airlines, all for regional airports.
- Half of Saga members said they prefer to fly from regional airports.
- Over half of respondents would change airline in order to fly from their preferred regional airport.
- Doncaster, Exeter and Newcastle ranked top three UK airports
- Saga now offer a wider selection of regional departures than any other traditional tour operator
As the debate around expansion at Heathrow continues to divide travellers and politicians alike, new research by Saga reveals that half (49%) of Saga members would rather shun the major UK airports, preferring instead for the ease and convenience of flying from regional airports.
A similar proportion said that they would be willing to pay more (48%) or choose an alternative airline (53%) in order to fly from their preferred regional airport.
The survey of more than 9,500 travellers revealed that those who would opt for a regional departure do so because they live closer to the airport (89%) and because local airports are generally less busy (72%) in comparison to larger international airports.
Travellers cited their biggest bugbears about airports as queues for check-in, security and baggage reclaim and the cost of food and parking. Regional airports scored much better on these elements than any of the London airports.
Respondents were asked to rate the services provided by UK airports, everything from the length of the queues to the helpfulness of staff and the cleanliness and comfort of the airport. Doncaster Sheffield airport achieved the highest scores in every category apart from the range of food and shops available. Exeter and Newcastle airports also scored well, coming in the top three for many of the categories, including staff helpfulness and the availability of flight information.
London airports did not fare so well in the survey, with Gatwick, Luton and Heathrow rated the lowest for the cost of both food and parking .
The poll revealed that just 16% of Saga members said they preferred not to fly from regional airports, roughly half of these said this was because larger airports offered a wider variety of flight destinations (51%), better transport links (49%) or had better facilities (45%) in comparison to smaller regional airports.
In order to meet the demands of today’s Saga customer, Saga now offer a wider selection of regional departures than any other traditional tour operator.
Maria Whiteman, Managing Director of Saga Holidays commented: “It is clear that people love the convenience of travelling from their closest airport and the benefits of regional airports do not stop there. People find they queue less at smaller airports, the staff are more helpful and flight information displayed more clearly. We are pleased to offer such a wide range of regional departures to our customers so that they can choose their favourite airport to fly from.”
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1Populus interviewed 9,553 adults, all aged 50+ online between 22nd and 28th May 2018. Data was weighted to be nationally representative. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information www.populus.co.uk
Saga specialises in the provision of products and services for life after 50. The Saga brand is one of the most recognised and trusted brands in the UK and is known for its high level of customer service and its high quality, award-winning products and services including cruises and holidays, insurance, personal finance and publishing. Visit saga.co.uk
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