Millions head abroad as summer getaway begins
27 July 2015 09:32
Thousands of families are jetting off on holiday this weekend
The great summer getaway has begun, with more than two million Britons expected to head off on holidays abroad this weekend.
Travel association Abta estimates that 2.1 million holidaymakers will be travelling overseas now that all schools have broken up.
Heathrow is expecting its busiest day on Friday, when it is thought that a record-breaking 129,647 holidaymakers will depart during the course of the day.
Over the weekend, more than 500,000 passengers will travel through the airport's doors, officials say.
To cope with the influx of travellers, the airport is laying on extra staff.
Additional volunteers and passenger ambassadors will be on hand at terminals to offer advice on everything from check-ins and which gate to go to, through to which restaurant to eat at and how to entertain youngsters while waiting for a flight.
Spain is still the top destination for British travellers, while other eurozone countries such as Cyprus, Greece and France are proving popular because the pound is at an eight-year high against the euro.
Many travel companies are reporting an increase in late bookings to Greece after it finally secured a financial bailout, according to Abta.
The organisation's chief executive, Mark Tanzer, says that as hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers head off on their summer break, many customers are taking advantage of some "exceptional deals".
Florida remains the number one long-haul destination for families, Abta says.
But anyone travelling this weekend should make sure they have all their important travel documents with them, including travel insurance.
Transport network congested
Other airports across south-east England are also set for a busy weekend, with around 310,000 passengers flying out of Gatwick and 160,000 departing from Stansted.
In the North, Manchester Airport expects 342,000 holidaymakers to pass through the airport, a 3.3% rise on this time last year. In Scotland, 100,000 travellers will depart across the weekend.
As well as airports, roads and ports are likely to be congested.
The RAC estimates 2.3 million holidaymakers will take to the roads on Saturday alone.