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Posted in: Travel Agent News
Published on: 20th July 2023
Summer holiday season is well and truly in full swing with the big summer getaway just a matter of days away.
Teesside Airport has seen a catalogue of holiday flights take off in 2023 – including trips to Antalya, Bulgaria, Corfu, Alicante, Faro, and Majorca to name a few.
And fresh on the back of its nomination for a British Travel Award, an experienced North East travel agent has now told how Teesside is proving a very popular choice both inside and outside our region.
Kath McDonald has been a mainstay of the region’s travel industry for the past 34 years.
The Seaham mum-of-two now works at Hays Travel and said the revamp of Teesside Airport had helped bolster significant interest. She explained how more flights and a better environment were reaping rewards when it came to holidaymakers picking their airport of choice.
Kath said: “People from further down are willing to travel up, and people from the Teesside region wanting to use their local airport. I’m getting that a lot in Middlesbrough and Darlington – they ask for Teesside first.
“Anything south of the Tyne is also getting really good interest because it’s straight down the A19.”
She added the TUI Antalya flight introduced this summer has also proved a big hit.
Kath said: “Everyone wants Lara Beach – the Antalya flight is just such a winner. I know the times coming back aren’t ideal, but it’s either come home in the morning, or go back with Newcastle on the night.
“The whole airport feels like a private lounge. It doesn’t feel massive – you get straight through, and customers are really loving the fact you don’t have to take their liquids out with the new machines.”
“They are straight through security and straight in. There’s a well-stocked Duty Free and a lovely little restaurant with nice independent shops, rather than the big chains.”
Teesside was the first airport in the country to be ready for new flight rules with scanners installed late last year to bring an end to the 100ml liquid limit and ensure you no longer have to remove liquids and electronics from your hand luggage.
It has also recently been named one of the most punctual airports in the UK after £3million of terminal building investments were completed.
Kath has always loved holidays and has spent her early career selling Teletext holidays before spells at independent travel agents.
She then joined Hays Travel and now works out of her home of 20 years in Seaham.
“At the minute, there are free child places on the Antalya flight from Teesside which isn’t happening at Newcastle. Again, it’s a big draw.
“I put a deal on the other day and I was shocked at the price difference for the same holiday at another local airport.
“We’ve always sold Balkan but the Ryanair Med flights have been brilliant as we can package them.”
As of Thursday (20 July), Balkan flights to Bulgaria go to twice weekly.
And if people are looking for something further afield, they can get worldwide from Teesside to over 160 destinations with KLM’s thrice-daily flights to Amsterdam Schiphol.
Flights are also now on sale for summer 2024 which include TUI’s new service to Dalaman, Turkey.
Kath added: “With KLM connections, people go via Amsterdam to New York. People are starting to realise they don’t have to go to Newcastle, and they can use Teesside to get away.
“They are loving how you can get straight through and it’s an easier option.
“The parking prices are also still reasonable.”
Parking from July 29 to August 5 costs just £50 at Teesside compared with £79.99 at Newcastle Airport and £80 at Leeds Bradford.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s great to hear from Kath just how far we’ve come in attracting more people to use our fantastic airport. We’ve secured new holiday routes and we continue to speak to carriers about bringing more of the flights the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool want.
“The backing of local travel agents through the help of people like Kath really is cherished, and it’s a great endorsement of all the work we’re doing to attract more passengers to Teesside.
“It’s also heartening to hear we’re giving Newcastle pause for thought with our facilities and what we have to offer. With Dalaman in 2024, the future is bright in getting even more holiday destinations up on our departure boards.”
To vote for Teesside Airport in the British Travel Awards, go to: https://www.teessideinternational.com/vote/
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