A quick guide to booking UK airport hotels

Love holidaying abroad but hate visiting the airport? You're not alone. There's nothing fun about airport check-ins. Not only is getting to the airport on time a major stress factor, but the process of checking your bags, going through security and all of the waiting around can put a real downer on the start of a trip.

But what if we told you that visiting the airport needn't be an anxiety-inducing experience? More and more passengers are now booking airport hotel rooms to cut down on early morning or late night commutes to the airport and enjoy a stress-free start to their holidays.

What are airport hotels?

Airport hotels offer the convenience factor and are commonly used by business travellers keen to capitalise on every minute of the working day. Additionally, airport hotel stays are also a great way to kick off your holiday and get you in the mood for relaxation!

What classifies a hotel as an 'airport hotel' is its proximity to the airport. Smaller airport accommodation will be located just a short walk or drive away. But with larger airports, you'll often find they have hotels on-site from renowned hospitality chains, both 'airside' and 'landside' - more on that later.

Airport hotels are usually only booked for a night pre or post-flight to 'bookend' a journey. However, some airport accommodation providers also offer day rates to travellers looking to relax for a few hours during flight layovers.

Who can use UK airport hotels?

Business travellers commonly use airport hotels due to their convenient location and facilities like meeting and conference rooms.

But interestingly, as we said in the introduction of this blog post, more leisure travellers are now booking airport hotel stays to make travelling abroad easier. So whether you are heading off on your travels, in the middle of a multi-country trip or want to round off your holiday in style, booking an airport hotel room is the way to go.

Do you know who else uses airport hotels? Plane spotters! Yes, aviation enthusiasts often frequented airport hotels, keen to get as close as possible to the aircraft taking off and landing on the runways. Many luxury airport hotels have runway-view rooms which guarantee the best views.

Benefits of booking UK airport hotels

First and foremost, booking an airport hotel room will ensure that you enjoy a more leisurely journey the day before your flight. There's no doubt that you'll relax in the evening and enjoy a peaceful night's sleep, knowing you've got a quick and easy journey to the terminal the next day. Staying at an airport hotel the night before an early flight can also help you avoid potential traffic congestion, road closures and other unexpected delays that may arise the day of your flight. If you're an anxious traveller or holidaying with young children, staying in an airport hotel room the night before you fly can make the journey far less taxing.

Another benefit of booking an airport hotel room pre-flight is that you might be able to secure a better deal on parking for the duration of your trip. Many airport hotels offer package deals, which can work out much cheaper than paying for long stay airport parking separately.

Of course, not all travellers will require airport accommodation at night time. For example, if you have a flight layover, you may need time to rest during the day or require a base so you can explore the local area. The good news is that many airport hotels offer day rooms so you can relax in a private space between flights. Instead of paying for an overnight stay, you'll likely pay the rate for a morning, afternoon or full-day stay.

Tips for booking a UK airport hotel

Check the hotel's location

Decided you need to book an airport hotel room? Our first tip is to check the location of the hotel. Make sure that it's located within the airport itself or close to the terminal. Ideally, you want to be located as close as possible so you can roll out of bed to check in without needing to book a shuttle or transfer. However, you might find that some airport hotels offer a complimentary shuttle service, which can also help you save money.

Extra tip - If you are booking a hotel located within a major airport, it's essential to check whether it is airside or landside. Keep in mind that if you are staying in an airside hotel, you will already have checked in your luggage, so you will only be able to take your cabin luggage with you. 

Find out how much UK airport hotels charge

Like with any hotel stay, it's a good idea to consider the star rating and price range of available airport accommodation. No matter where you're flying from, the hotels will likely range from budget to luxury, so think about what you'll be using the hotel for and how long you'll be staying.

Some well known budget-friendly airport hotels include Premier Inn, Ibis and Travelodge. However, if you're willing to spend a little more and perhaps want to enjoy a runway view or gym access, take a look at the offerings from the likes of Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott.

Get the best price for your UK airport hotel room

Treat booking your airport hotel room like you would any other accommodation booking and shop around for the best price. If you book an airport hotel room in advance, you'll likely get it cheaper, as they often increase their prices as their rooms start to fill up. However, if you need to book at shorter notice or last-minute (perhaps due to a flight delay), check out Plans Change to see if anyone is reselling an airport hotel room cheaply.

We get a lot of people selling airport hotel rooms on our marketplace because their plans have changed. For example, they may have booked an airport hotel room before a flight and had to cancel their holiday due to illness. Instead of being left out of pocket, they can list it on our website and sell their airport hotel room to someone else.

Extra tip - If you're a business traveller or part of a frequent flyer program, see if you can get a discount or put points towards your airport hotel room stay. If you don't ask, you don't get!

Enquire about the airport hotel's facilities

If you're just looking for somewhere relaxing to spend a few hours or get a good night's sleep before you fly, you might not be too fussed about whether the hotel has a conference room or gym. However, if you are a business traveller, find out whether the airport hotel offers free WiFi in the room price and whether they have meeting rooms you can book (if required.)

For those wanting to get into the holiday spirit early, it's worth knowing that some 'high end' airport hotels have spa facilities, so you can enjoy a dip in the jacuzzi and perhaps even a pampering treatment before you head off on your travels!

Book a UK airport hotel through Plans Change

Whether you're flying from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Bristol, or any other major UK airports or need airport hotel accommodation abroad, Plans Change has it covered. Simply type your airport into our search bar, and we'll show you hotels near airports at the best prices for you to compare and book. You can also use our brand new map feature to view the nearest airport hotels and check out out resale deals for cheap rooms at prices you won't find elsewhere!

If for any reason you can't use your UK airport hotel room, don't forget to sell it on our marketplace to get some of your money back. We're all about taking the stress out of non-refundable hotel bookings and making travel easier.