When you talk to people with young children about the possibility of a family ski holiday one of the things that they worry about is the transfer time from the airport to the ski resort. It was one of the things that I definitely worried about, and one of things I took into consideration when deciding where we should go on our family ski holiday. The consideration didn’t go very well as it happens, as we ended up with a 3hr 40 minute transfer from Greoble to Tignes, but I think that was more about the hubby’s marketing campaign as Tignes was where he wanted to ski, than my choice of a quick transfer from the airport!
As we needed to be up at 5, with a need to leave the house at 5.30, I had laid out all our clothes the day before and packed a very large picnic. The suitcases were all in the car ready to go, and our hand luggage was packed. We were as organised as we could be, and to be fair 5.30 isn’t that early for a house with little people in.
Manchester airport is about an hour from our house so we hit the road. Breakfast picnic in the car for the girls (coco pops cereal bar and an apple juice) and a coffee in hand for us. We reached the airport at 6.20 having called the APH Airport parking service ten minutes beforehand. In a stroke of genius you can arrange for someone to meet you right outside departures and take you car away. This means no long walk with five suitcases, five bags of hand luggage and three tired kids. At £70 for two weeks this service was actually cheaper than onsite parking. •When we got back they even put all our bags back in the car leaving me spare hands to sort the kids out. Highly recommended.
We had paid for speedy security (see previous post) but quickly realised we didn’t need to have done this time. Jet2 has its own check in area in Terminal one at Manchester Airport and you clear security on your own with fellow Jet2 passengers. This was actually very quick.
With our Natwest bank account we are lucky enough to have airport lounge access so we made our way to the Aspire Lounge for some bacon butties and coffee before the fight was called. With free drinks and pastries too this probably saved us £30 in airport costs before we set off.
Our flight with Jet2 took off promptly at 8.30 for the very quick 1hr and 40 minute journey to Grenoble. Colouring books and new pencil crayons; books and 3 iPads made our journey actually enjoyable (I finished my book) and seemingly the Great British Bake Off has replaced Peppa for in flight watching for our 4 year old. She’s growing up! (Flying with Toddlers!)
Landing was no trouble at all, beautiful sunshine greeted us, and a brief concern about the lack of trolleys in the small airport to help pull our 5 cases was resolved by a helpful member of airport staff who helped pull our baggage through security. On the other side of security was Adele from Mark Warner, who took over and helped us with the bags to the coach.
This was the bit I was least looking forward to: a 3.4 hr coach journey with fractious tired children; plus a Mummy who is often coach sick. I actually think I’d blocked this part of the trip. I sat with fear building as one by one the kids said the obligatory ‘are we nearly there yet’ as we were still sat on the tarmac in the car park!
Thankfully the who should sit next to who part of the issue, 3 sets of two seats together and only two parents was resolved when Izzy fell almost immediately asleep. I’m Typing most of this as 2 out of 3 are asleep and hubby is in charge of the 3rd!
The other issue that concerned me about the coach was that it was 3.4 hrs. Thankfully there was a break half way for a toilet stop although that did have the effect of waking up my two sleeping children.
The other slight problem with the coach was the mixed make up of the coach party. There was clearly some adult only Mark Warner guests on the coach, by which I mean not just couples travelling without children but those that actively dislike them. There was a little boy on our coach who wasn’t happy for most of the journey. The eyes rolling and tutting and constant turning round made me feel very sad for the family in front of us. It also made me worry about the moment mine kicked off, I was sure it was to come.
Thankfully they didn’t explode and we managed to maintain enthusiasm until we arrived at the hotel. In part I think this was due to the VERY large picnic I had packed before we left home. A top tip from a friend just a couple of nights before was to take more food in your picnic than you think you can eat. She rightly thought there wouldn’t be much time to get food when we landed in Grenoble, and what there would be, was unlikely to appeal to three tired children. As the flight arrived at lunchtime, and the coach didn’t get to our hotel until 4pm, how right she was! We survived the journey by constantly entertaining the children with more food/i-pad/food/colouring/food! Journey completed we were ready to enjoy our week at Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percee!
Top Tips for Families:
1 Pack as much as you can the night before for an early morning flight it makes the morning less fractious;
2 Pre-book airport car parking, use chauffeur parking if you can;
3 Use speedy security at busy periods;
4 Take a very large picnic to include the long coach transfer;
5 Pack children’s hand luggage full with activities;
NB: We received a discount on the APH car parking service but I have used this service before and paid full price, and would always use. £70 was the full price not the discounted price paid.
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