Residents Under Flight Path Can't Afford Holidays

People living near Heathrow Airport are no longer able to use it

Yam Bun from Hanworth says 'We really don’t go on holiday'
Yam Bun from Hanworth says 'We really don’t go on holiday'

Hounslow Borough residents have revealed they haven’t gone on holiday in years despite living just a few miles from Heathrow Airport. They said they couldn’t afford to go away as the cost of living crisis bites, while others said they had been put off by airport chaos and Covid.

Travellers have been plagued by delays, staffing issues and cancellations across London airports this summer. Massive increases in living costs have also hit budgets, with energy bills predicted to reach £5,300 a year by April.

The cost of flights has even skyrocketed, with tickets up an average of 30 per cent in the first week of August for the most popular 36 routes compared to before the pandemic. The data from travel agency Kayak reveals a flight from London to Athens cost 258 per cent more, Bloomberg reported, while it cost 105 per cent more to go to Faro and 87 per cent for Alicante.

Some residents living close to Heathrow told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they had not been on holiday or even day trips at home as bills are going “through the sky”. Others were desperate to get away but have struggled due to airport chaos and Covid.

Sam Sears, aged 26 from Feltham, said, “I was actually planning to go on holiday this year but some things like the whole airport stuff have been kind of a put-off really… you don’t want to be stuck as well if you can’t get home so it’s a bit of a put-off at the moment for sure.”

He said: “Costs are going up for everything so that’s definitely taken into account but with the holidays and stuff I don’t know, I think it depends on person to person – like if you’re going to spend over £1,000 on your holiday, then it’s going to be a bit of a tighter squeeze, but if you’re going to go to Benidorm or something then it’s cheaper so I think there’s a lot of different things to think about.”

Sam Sears, 26, in Feltham
Sam Sears, 26, in Feltham

Paul Gregory, 86, said his direct debit for gas and electricity had gone up three-and-a-half times what it was and that he couldn’t afford a holiday. He said: “I haven’t been on a holiday, a paid-for holiday, for years. All I’ve done is stay with family when they’re going somewhere… one lives in Southbourne, which is a walking distance from the beach. What’s the point of going any further?”

One mum, who wished to remain anonymous, said her family had not been away this summer as they couldn’t afford it. She said: “We haven’t even been to Birmingham because the fuel prices have gone up, we can’t afford it.” She said there is a “massive difference” between her family’s lifestyle three years ago and now.

She said: “The cost of living has gone up so we don’t book any holidays… everything has gone up from last winter. If you go to Primark the clothes prices, everything, has gone up so we have to curtail our budget so we can’t spend more on holidays.”

Cath Atkinson said she is going to Spain in October for the first time since Covid, but had previously been put off from holidays because of airport chaos. She said: “It’s all the faffing about isn’t it, can you be bothered… the queues at the airport, the cancellations, it’s just not worth it.”

37-year-old Yam Bun from Hanworth also said he had not been away. He said, “We really don’t go on holiday… normally when we go away, we go back to our home country and it is kind of helpful with going to the airport.”

Others said they were desperate to get away as they haven’t been abroad since Covid. Sara Seymour, 73, who used to work in engineering for British Airways, said: “I was going to go away this year but I had to leave it until next year. I’ve had all my jabs and all but it’s just too complicated with all this going on so I’m just leaving it for another year.”

Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter

August 26, 2022