Wow flying from Leeds Bradford Airport in the school holidays is hell. Parents with prams block aisles, bodies sprawl across multiple seats and the queues are a mile long. There’s a queue for check in, a queue for security, another queue for the bar, and even a long queue for WHSmith. Let’s just say that departing from this airport in the summer holidays is on a par with having a wisdom tooth extracted!
If you are flying from Leeds Bradford Airport during holiday season and want to not just survive the experience, but enjoy it, then this post is for you!
Stress free flying from Leeds Bradford Airport
Meet and Greet car parking
The best way to get your trip off to a great start is to book Meet and Greet car parking. This means you arrive refreshed and without having to wait around for transfer buses. Likewise, if you are returning late at night, the last thing you want is to be delaying your sleep hanging about.
We booked with Simple Meet and Greet through Holiday Extras, rang them ten minutes beforehand and were met on arrival by a very happy chappy. All that was left for us to do was to saunter into the terminal and check in for our flight.
As you head into the terminal the first thing that strikes you is the unmistakable length of the queue for security. Buy a fast track ticket for £4 each and bypass that queue snaking half a mile around the terminal. BBC News is reporting that most Brits aged between 40 and 60 have not walked for more than ten minutes in the last month. The solution is simply to send them to LBA where that habit will soon be reversed, as they wind back and forth. Just the sight of the screaming toddlers, whining kids and stressed out adults has my blood pressure rising.
That £4 ticket, purchased from Travelex, allows us to bypass the queue, trying not to be too smug. We get priority at the scanning deck too and in less than a minute are unpacking our bags ready for scanning. In less than five minutes we are in the terminal. I’m estimating that it would have been a minimum of 30 – 45 minutes to make it through the non fast track. Jason and I pump fists feeling quite happy with our £8 hack.
Leeds Bradford Airport lounge hack
We turn the corner however and before you know it, my blood pressure is on the rise again. Families slowly meander through the shop, blocking entire aisles, oblivious to those wishing to overtake. Kids bump ankles on scooters and trunkies and the stress level is palpable. The bars are packed to overspill and there’s barely room to sit on the floor, never mind on an actual seat.
We make a direct beeline for the Yorkshire Premiere Lounge. This lounge costs £21 per adult for a three hour visit. It is certainly not the best lounge I’ve visited but we are visiting for FREE. We have two complimentary lounge passes with our Gold AMEX and are putting them to use to escape the bank holiday mayhem outside.
The Yorkshire Premiere Lounge is spacious but very busy when we arrive. We manage to find a table and settle in. Here’s my candid overview of the pros and cons for you to decide whether it is worth paying the entry fee.
Drinks are self-service and the selection is reasonable, especially the wines. There’s jacket potatoes, scones, sweet cakes, biscuits and crisps but little in the way of hot savoury snacks.
There’s no screens to monitor. Instead a tannoy system announces the departure of flights. Call me old-fashioned but I like this. I simply don’t want to have to keep jumping up and down to check the latest flight updates.
Lastly, the staff are on the ball and quick to refresh empty bottles and dishes.
The lounge has no toilets, and to pay a visit, you have to plunge into the depths of despair circumnavigating dawdling pram pushers and groups of oblivious teens.
A greater selection of savoury foods and even some salad to accompany the jacket potatoes would be nice. Having said that, the caramel shortcake reminds me of my aunt’s cooking as a child and brings back glowing memories.
If I was to be a little finicky I would recommend spreading fridges a little more around the room to avoid the congregation of groups, although it is not as bad as other lounges I’ve visited.
I did overhear one couple proclaim that they would not pay to come back, and whilst I’m not sure you will ever drink or eat enough to justify the entry fee, I think £21 is worth paying to avoid the pre flight stress of this airport in summer. The lounge isn’t going to win any culinary awards, but it nevertheless offers refuge from the bedlam beyond and I don’t recall seeing one child in the business half of the lounge. Bonus!
Three airport hacks
So there you have it, thee airport hacks to help you if you are flying from Leeds Bradford Airport. Although the airport was chaotic when we visited, by using these hacks, we had a stress free visit and were en route to Dubrovnik in no time.
Your top tips
What are your top tips for making your airport visits stress free? I would love to know.