Millions head off on Easter getaway
Friday 08 April 2011
An Easter getaway with a difference began today with millions heading off into a "holidaymaker's heaven" caused by the ultra-late Easter and the royal wedding.
Today saw the beginning of a period which will end with employees only needing to take three working days off to secure an 11-day break.
The UK's biggest airport, Heathrow, said this weekend would be the busiest of the Easter period while British Airways said its top short-haul destinations over Easter were Rome, Venice and Barcelona.
For those staying at home this weekend, temperatures are expected to reach 20C (68F) tomorrow although there could be some rain moving in on Sunday.
The "take-off-three-days-and-get-11" situation has occurred due to the Good Friday start of Easter coming as late as April 22, followed by the bank holiday for the royal wedding on April 29 and the May Day bank holiday on May 2.
Workers need only take off the days of April 26-28 to ensure an unbroken run of 11 days.
Parties and special screenings of the royal wedding are being planned aboard which has boosted holiday sales.
Paul Furner, managing director of travel company TravelRepublic.co.uk, said: "Sales are up by an astonishing 59.3% over the same period last year. The run of bank holidays, and the fact that the royal wedding is being screened and celebrated in lots of places outside the UK, has been too much to resist.
"Equally, we are also seeing strong demand from those wanting to escape the celebrations completely."
During the month of April, a total of 5.7 million people will pass through Heathrow.
The west London airport handled 102,831 passengers yesterday and will see more than 109,000 pass through today.
The Heathrow numbers for tomorrow are more than 106,000, with nearly 111,000 flying on Sunday.
After Rome, Venice and Barcelona, BA's top short-haul destinations this Easter are Prague, Berlin, Istanbul and Amsterdam followed by Jersey, Nice and Madrid.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
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