Using Alternative Airports

It almost always costs more to fly direct to an established  major city airport, but most cities have cheaper alternatives nearby.

This table shows major cities and some alternative airports you might consider when searching for a cheap flight.

Country City Airport Alternative airports Extra travel time
UK London Heathrow Birmingham,
London City ,
60 mins
60 mins
10 mins
80 mins
100 mins
Glasgow Edinburgh,
90 mins
Aberdeen Inverness 2hrs
Belfast Dublin 2hrs
Manchester Liverpool 60 mins
Edinburgh Glasgow
90 mins
Germany Hamburg (Fuhlsbuttel) Lubeck 40 mins
Berlin Schoenefeld 30 mins
Munich Salzburg (SZG) in Austria
Nurmberg (NUE)
100 mins
Frankfurt-Main Frankfurt-Hahn
Spain Malaga Gibraltar 2 hours
USA Cleveland Akron 40 mins
Morocco Tangier Malaga (Spain) 4-6 hrs

The Malaga/Tangier connection involves a couple of hours drive in a taxi to Algeciras and then a two hour ferry crossing. However, when flights from Major European hub airports to Malaga can be enjoyed for thirty euros, this route to North Africa can make financial sense. It is also quite romantic to sail from one continent to another.

Intercontinental alternative airports.

For visitors from the USA flying to Europe, the relative closeness of all the cities to each other makes it worth considering flying to a neighbouring country rather than your final destination. For example, flights to Amsterdam in the Netherlands can be the equivalent of 300 dollars cheaper than flights to Frankfurt, Germany, and then an onward direct train to Frankfurt can be less than 80 dollars. So a total saving of two hundred and twenty dollars each way can be achieved.

Beware of confusing distance from the city centre with actual travel time. For example, a flight into the freshly renaimed  ‘London Southend International’ might land you a similar distance to the city centre of  as other London airports but the road and rail travel times can very different.

london airports map
Locations of London’s Airports

In the case of Southend an extra 40 minutes can be tagged on to your travel time, (however on the plus side, the airport experience should generally be a bit less frenetic).