Travel column with Katie Butler: A weekend in Spain, but was it worth the airport disruption?

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As I write this week, I am fresh off the plane from Alicante.

Katie Butler writes: I managed to get away with friends to celebrate a ‘hen do’. It was a short break for three nights and so of course we were nervous as to whether the airport would be kind to us.

Thursday afternoon at 2pm I arrived at Leeds Bradford Airport to check-in for our flight to Spain (no Passenger Locater Form to fill in if fully-vaccinated).

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Our airport taxi had already warned us that he had dropped off a couple of times that morning and the queues were outside the terminal building.

airport: Be prepared to queue. Photo: Getty Imagesairport: Be prepared to queue. Photo: Getty Images
airport: Be prepared to queue. Photo: Getty Images

We were relieved to find barely any queues and we went straight into the terminal building where there were lots of Jet2 staff checking our documents and then sending us on to check-in.

In only 10 minutes we were checked-in and skipping our way to the next hurdle – getting through security!

On approach to the security lane I could see that the queues were much longer than I have usually experienced.

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I did not purchase FastTrack as I wanted to see for myself how long it would take to get through.

The queue was moving pretty fast and the staff were extremely organised.

We had made sure we had our hand baggage in check with liquids in the required plastic bag and all under 100ml.

It was slightly over an hour in the queue for security but nevertheless we were sat in The Cabin Bar having a cocktail in one hour 20 minutes from getting dropped off at the terminal, meaning we had well over an hour for a couple of drinks and a snack.

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It does seem we were one of the luckier ones. On speaking with a few of our customers who have departed over the last week it does look apparent that early morning departures can be a different story, although not all the time. It certainly seems to be more pot luck than a specific pattern.

On landing in Alicante we were off the plane within only a few minutes, passport control taking only five minutes and baggage collection just 10 minutes.

After collecting luggage we were then directed to the relevant queue (vaccinated or unvaccinated).

As we are all fully-vaccinated it was easy-peasy and we just walked through with Covid Passports at the ready. We were not selected at random to have these checked.

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If we had travelled with a negative test then there is a separate line to join and everyone in that queue is required to produce their Passenger Locater Forms.

Returning home just three days later with no queues at check-in and straight through security in Alicante. They are certainly doing something right in Spain! We had plenty of time to browse through duty-free and grab some tapas.

Arrival at Leeds Bradford was also a pleasant surprise – 20 minutes at passport control and baggage already on the carousel for us to collect!

So yes, it was definitely worth it, although I do feel we were lucky and certainly had a better airport experience than some have encountered over the last few weeks.

Airports in the UK are recruiting staff each week, it can only get better!