London Gatwick Airport
Often considered London's second airport, Gatwick has grown rapidly over the past couple of decades, and now handles large numbers of charter flights, and is a hub of operations for many leading holiday airlines, including EasyJet, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.
Located in West Sussex, Gatwick is just 29.5 miles south of central London, and holds the distinction of having the busiest single-use runway in the world, which handles more than 50 flights an hour on average.
Since 1966, when passenger numbers topped one million for the first time, the airport has grown steadily and substantially, and 2011 saw 33.7milion people fly from Gatwick, although this is down on the all-time record of 35million which was achieved in 2007.
Gatwick Airport has two terminals, known as north and south, and the airport's operators have taken great efforts to ensure that all public areas are accessible for passengers no matter what their level of mobility.
Spanish holiday destinations Malaga, Alicante and Palma, along with Faro, Portugal and Orlando International in America, all feature in the 10 busiest routes operated from Gatwick Airport.
Getting there when you fly from Gatwick is easy, as the airport has a spur leading directly into it off the M23 London to Brighton motorway, which is just nine miles south of its intersection with the M25. In addition, the Gatwick Express train service runs every 15 minutes, with an average journey time of half an hour from London Victoria. The airport is in the lucky position of also being served by other train operators, so those who do not want to pay a premium to travel by the fastest services can still reach Gatwick Airport in between 40 minutes and one hour from central London by using alternative operators Southern or First Capital Connect.
The two terminals are well equipped to cater for families travelling through them, with baby changing and feeding facilities available, along with play and video games areas for older children. Leisure travellers flying with Virgin Holidays can use the airport's only lounge which is not solely intended for business passengers.
Travellers coming to the airport from further afield can take advantage of an array of hotels at all price brackets nearby to break their journey, many of which will offer competitive long-term parking rates, which can also include a free transfer to the airport terminals.
By summer 2013, Gatwick will be handling the world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, indicating that, while it is already seen as a leading departure point from the UK for holidays around the world, the airport's owners have no intention of letting that proud position slip.
If you intend to fly from Gatwick, ask Co-op Travel about any aspect of the airport's facilities you'd like to know more about.