Travel warning for UK holidaymakers as airports face ‘busiest’ weekend yet with over 11,000 departures

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Over the bank holiday weekend more than 11,000 departures are expected - a huge spike compared to pre-pandemic levels

Holidaymakers are being warned to brace for the “busiest” weekend yet at airports across the UK as thousands are due to jet off for a half term getaway.

Major airports are advising passengers to “allow plenty of time” for journeys as “road and rail networks will also be busy”.

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Manchester Airport is expecting a “busy weekend” but said it is confident it is “well prepared to get passengers on their way” on time.

Passengers departing from Manchester are urged to arrive “at the earliest time recommended” by airlines to help minimise delays.

Meanwhile, East Midlands Airport is expecting just over 8,000 departing passengers on Friday (26 May) and 155,000 passengers up to Sunday 4 June.

The airport said Friday will be one of its “busier days since before the pandemic” but it is not currently anticipating any delays, with 99.9% of its passengers clearing security within 15 minutes.

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Travel warning for UK holidaymakers ahead of ‘busiest’ weekend yet. (Photo: Getty Images) Travel warning for UK holidaymakers ahead of ‘busiest’ weekend yet. (Photo: Getty Images)
Travel warning for UK holidaymakers ahead of ‘busiest’ weekend yet. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Its advice to passengers is to “plan your journey to the airport giving you sufficient time to park” and “turn up when the airline advises you to”.

It added that passengers should “pack hand luggage appropriately to make it as easy as possible to get through security”.

Analysis from aviation analytics company Cirium has revealed that Friday (26 May) will see the highest number of UK departures since 20 December 2019, with over 3,000 on that day alone.

More than 11,356 flights are scheduled to depart from UK airports over the bank holiday weekend - equating to over two million seats. The most popular destinations are understood to include Amsterdam, Alicante, Dublin, Palma and Malaga.

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There will be 6% more departures than on the same dates last year and 291% more compared to 2021, which shows a spike in outbound flights. Scheduled departures across the weekend are also set to reach 86% more than 2019 levels.

Cirium found that across the weekend, Heathrow Airport will see the largest number of arrivals, followed by Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Edinburgh, while easyJet is expected to be the busiest airline followed by British Airways, Ryanair, Jet2 and Loganair.

The spike in departures will coincide with a three-day strike taking place by security guards at Heathrow Airport. The strike begins on Thursday (25 May) as members of the Unite union walkout in a dispute over pay.

The major London airport said it has contingency plans in place to stay open and operating as usual, adding that passengers can expect to have a “smooth” half-term getaway.

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