Fly from Farnborough Airport? Isn’t that a tiny place just for private jets in the middle of nowhere? Yes, it’s small, but it’s only 33 minutes from London Waterloo by train, 32 minutes from Guildford, 56 minutes from Oxford, and about two hours from Birmingham and Brighton. Above all, a family of four can now fly from here at half term for less than if they were going with easyJet or BA – and in a lot more comfort.
Flights are £730pp return. These can be bought on their own or as part of a package with Butler & Lloyd, including taxes and one piece of luggage each, on-board refreshments, free parking at the airport, complimentary drinks and children’s entertainment in the lounge.
Flying with easyJet, on the other hand, means negotiating a jam-packed airport for the 08.15 flight from Gatwick-Geneva, queues through passport/security; 15-minutes’ walk with children through the airport to the gate (a shocker at 5am or 6am), having to pay extra for seats together, and no food or drinks included. You’re also subject to delays due to travelling on the busiest day of the season (February 11). The price for this is £758.46pp today (including luggage and seats together).
The BA equivalent is not a lot better, with early morning 08.55 flights to Geneva and today’s price of £899pp (including baggage and seats together).
So here are the advantages of flying from Farnborough:
1. You can park outside, for free.
2. There are no queues for check-in. Ever. There’s even a fast-track customer entrance to the airport.
3. The sleek and modern terminal is for just 80 passengers. So it is never crowded and you’ll always find somewhere to sit. The flight has just 49 seats (or about 12 families of 4) on it.
4. The lounge has been designed to create a smart yet homely atmosphere, complete with oak furniture and velvet fabrics.
5. The Apron Café serves a variety of soups, wraps and baguettes.
6. The airport is very bespoke and private – you won’t find groups of drunken lads or lasses on stag or hen weekends.
7. There’s free wifi in the terminal as well as on the ramp area.
8. There are great views of the airfield – complete with private jets – from the gallery seating area.
9. It’s a two-minute walk from the lounge to the plane.
10. The airline-themed Aviator hotel is a five-minute walk away. Ideal if you want to stay the night conveniently close before catching your flight.
Butler & Lloyd (01252 411749) has chartered their own private flights from Farnborough to Geneva – at February half-term and during the Easter school holidays. At half term (February 11-18), accommodation is in Courmayeur. They also have holidays to Val Thorens on March 25 to April 1, and April 1-8.
At half term the holiday to Courmayeur costs £2,635pp and includes half-board accommodation, children’s ski school and kindergarten, return flights between Farnborough and Geneva and private luxury coach transfers. The resort transfer is around 90 minutes.