Love it or Hate it? The 6am Airport Dash

By Lottie Hulme and Phil Clarke |
11th September 2018

The pre-dawn airport rush, a right of passage for any holiday-maker, a rude awakening ensuring you can be on the beach by lunchtime. There are two schools of thought here, and it divides The Handbook’s office. The great debate is on…

Early-bird Lottie:

It hits 11pm, you’re laying in bed staring at the ceiling… and, if you’re me, you’re fully clothed, sombrero on (not sure why), bikini clad and flip-flops at the ready, because in a few hours my, oh my it’s airport time. Now it’s fair to say early flights and airport ventures at silly o’clock are, for some, on par with marmite. You either hate them or you love them.

Me? Give me a 2am plane ride and I’m all over it. I lay, sweating under the covers, tossing and turning, TV on, TV off, scrolling through insta, sleeping with eyes open in a terribly creepy manner, desperately awaiting the shrill ring of my phone alarm…unlike on a Monday morning before work circa 8pm. Then, I leap out of bed, bags packed and waiting by the door, and leap into a planned taxi, my head out of the window yelling “yahoo” as I travel, through the night, to my airport lounge destiny. You may think I’m downright crazy, but first of all? Bar. Second of all, duty free shopping. Need I say more? There’s something terribly exhilarating about having an airport beer, glass of champers, or whatever your tipple at 3/4/5am may be. We feel like rebels, (and tend to act like them to in airports for some bewildering reason). It’s like we’ve been let loose from the confines of the office chair, ready to spread our Euros and our metaphorical wings and get glugging.

What’s more, those who catch an early morning flight are far more likely to reach their destination problem free and spend a whole day there frolicking on the beach. Oh, stop grunting, you can be hungover on the plane. Traffic is better, security is most probably better, and if you’re still tired you can spend your life savings on a Starbucks coffee, or one of those weird squashy neck supports for the plane.

Chilled-out Phil…

Starbucks fuelled dashes and trying to catch up on sleep flying in front of screaming, kicking toddlers? No thank you. Travel: it’s about luxury, it’s about glamour.

While Lottie’s franticly trying to re-book a cab at 4am because he’s not shown up when he said he would, I’m oblivious, gently snoozing in bed. I didn’t have to go to bed at 9pm, I was probably out enjoying dinner and lifting a glass of something delicious to toast escaping work for a week’s holiday.

I’ll sleep through my alarm, just because I can and leisurely wake up in my own time. Then I can pack, properly. The pre-dawn dash is the best way to arrive at your destination without any swimming shorts, a phone charger or shirts. Thankfully I was able to pack in my own time and fully awake.

Have I spent half a month’s wages on a cab to the airport because the trains weren’t running? No, I’ve strolled down to the station and hopped on one of many trains. Are there leaves on the track? Whatever, I’ll get the next one. No stress.

And when I get to the airport, it’s not desolate, with all the shops and cafes shuttered, I can buy my bits, then relax with a large glass of wine. This is travelling.

Oh, and when I arrive at my destination, my room’s ready for check-in because it’s a normal time of day. No sitting by the pool surrounded by luggage for six hours before the previous people have vacated their room and the cleaners have hurriedly made good. I just saunter in, stretch out on the bed and thank my good instincts not to have gotten a six AM flight.

Become An Insider

Want free instant access to secret locations, exclusive parties, the latest openings and much more!

  • * a company email is required to download this file
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.