Flights of fan­tasy un­der the spot­light

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

LO­CA­TION, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion. The mantra used by smoothtalk­ing real es­tate agents should also be a maxim for the smart trav­eller. Cen­trally lo­cated ho­tels, restau­rants, cruise ter­mi­nals, rail­way sta­tions and airports can make for a seam­less hol­i­day ex­pe­ri­ence, sav­ing time and money. But it’s not al­ways easy sep­a­rat­ing fact from fic­tion, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to air­port clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

Flight com­par­i­son site Skyscan­ner has found that many airports take the name of their clos­est city de­spite be­ing more than 100km away.

The site names our own Melbourne (Avalon) air­port — more than 55km from the Vic­to­rian cap­i­tal’s CBD — in its list of the world’s most mis­lead­ingly named airports. But it’s by no means the worst.

Also sin­gled out are Frank­furt (Hahn) air­port, which is 110km from the Ger­man city; Mu­nich West (112km from cen­tral Mu­nich) and Paris-Va­try (Dis­ney), a whopping 150km from Paris and 112km from the home of Mickey Mouse and his co­horts.

Trav­ellers to Tokyo’s Narita air­port, mean­while, must pit their wits against heavy traf­fic for a good 60km be­fore they reach the Ja­panese cap­i­tal.

With in­creas­ing num­bers by­pass­ing travel agents — who can of­fer valu­able in­sights into the pit­falls or oth­er­wise of cer­tain hol­i­day de­ci­sions — and mak­ing their book­ings on­line, re­sults can be hit and miss.

And in many cases it’s the bud­get trav­eller who is caught out. Skyscan­ner cites low-cost car­ri­ers’ fre­quent use of ‘‘sec­ondary’’, more iso­lated airports due to their lower op­er­at­ing costs, which can ramp up the ini­tial ‘‘bud­get’’ price with costly ground trans­fers.

The so­lu­tion? If book­ing on­line, do your re­search — find out ex­actly where you’ll be land­ing and fac­tor in ad­di­tional trans­port costs, and trans­fer time, ac­cord­ingly. Fail to do so and that too-good-to-be-true dis­count Paris flight may turn out to be just that.

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