'Prosecco at any time of day': People share their favourite airport rituals

In recent weeks, long queues at Manchester Airport have threatened the holidays of last-minute Larrys and caused some travellers to arrive more than 12 hours before their flight was due to take off.

As well as potentially causing some people to miss their flight, check-in and security queues also threaten one of the best parts about flying: our little airport rituals.

Going to the airport, for me at least, is a treat in and of itself. 

Getting to wander around duty free with a Boots meal deal and a brand new book in tow, all while excited butterflies are flying around in my belly? You truly can’t beat it.

It’s all part of the fun of going on holiday, and it’s those Pavlovian airport traditions that get you all the more excited for your overseas adventure. 

Whether it’s brunch and a glass of prosecco, a meal deal and a new book, or simply marching straight to your gate with a rucksack of snacks and magazines, everyone’s airport ritual varies slightly. 

We asked people about the airport traditions that get them the most excited for a holiday:

Breakfast at Wetherspoons

Laura, 36, Sussex

‘My husband is a foodie and absolute food snob,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk.

‘He would never eat at a Wetherspoon on a normal day. 

‘However, when we go on holiday we always book morning flights so we have more time at the destination. 

‘This always requires an early morning breakfast at Wetherspoon. 

‘It is the only time he will ever eat in one, but when he’s at the airport it is acceptable – it’s now become part of the routine.  

‘He even said to me the other day about our holiday to Malta in June, “We can get to the airport, have our Wetherspoon breakfast”. 

‘I said, “You hate Wetherspoons!” 

‘And he replied, “But we are going on holiday! That’s what we do at the airport!”

‘I think for a few holidays, it was the only option, so now it has just stuck.’

Camping out with a book

Sofie, Leicestershire

‘I like to arrive to the airport three hours early,’ says Sofie.

‘When I get there, I always eat a big meal before boarding to avoid travel sickness – something hot and carb-heavy.

‘I’m usually too nervous to spend too much time wondering around and shopping.

‘Instead, I like to set up camp with a book near a screen so I can stare nervously and wait for flight updates.’

Duty free window shopping

Emma, 23, Scotland

‘I’ll always head to the airport with enough time – usually an hour plus – leftover so that I have enough time to have a nosey,’ Emma tells us.

‘I’m a total duty free window shopper, always spray the perfume and always try on the sunglasses. 

‘Best bit is, I’ve never actually bought a pair.

‘If I’m going away for a week or more, I’ll always go into the WH Smith and buy a book to read at the pool or beach.

‘Then before the flight always go for something to eat and a drink (usually Wetherspoons of course).

‘I don’t know exactly why I do it but I always feel like the less stressful your airport experience is, the better – it’s just part of the holiday experience.’

Wagamama and ample time to spare

Tamzin, 22, Leeds

‘I have to arrive three to four hours before my flight and I absolutely have to have a meal at Wagamama,’ says Tamzin.

‘It’s become a ritual at this point.

‘The reason I arrive that early is because I get very anxious about the long security lines.

‘I’m also a nervous flyer and Wagamama is my favourite restaurant, so I find it really helps to calm me down.

‘Plus they make a very good breakfast!’

A glass of prosecco – no matter what time

Kerrie, 31, Nottinghamshire

‘I’ve had this tradition since 2009,’ says Kerrie.

‘I make sure I have my airport outfit ready the night before, which is usually something I buy especially for the occasion.

‘We arrive with plenty of time and usually park at the airport to keep the stress levels down. 

‘Dropping off the cases and checking in, I feel is the most stressful part so I usually begin to relax when this is over and we are going through security.

‘I love to have a look for a new perfume in the duty free shops because this fragrance will then remind me of this holiday.

‘We usually pick a pub or Frankie and Benny’s although I know this isn’t really a thing in most airports anymore. 

‘I am always really excited at this point and will have prosecco to toast the holiday we are going on and it feels more like a celebration – plus, I’m not a beer drinker.

‘We always go back and pick up any duty free after we’ve eaten and then grab a bottle of water for the flight.’

Time for creativity

Sonya, 29, London

‘I get to the airport 90 minutes early,’ says Sonya.

‘I don’t tend to drink caffeine drinks so it’s the herbal or mint teas for me before a flight.

‘I take my own tea bag, ask for hot water to make the tea and grab a snack from Pret or Pure.

‘I always have to buy chewing gum because I always forget – it’s now become my own ritual.

‘I also make it a ritual every time I’m at the airport to stop and buy some plane snacks like dried fruit or nuts.

‘Also, taking photos during my layover or flight delay gives me time to work on my photography skills while capturing beautifully unique moments or make note of any ideas which may pop into my mind.’

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