Over 1.25 million Britons started leaving the United Kingdom on Friday night for the bank holiday weekend and half term and the most popular destination is the Balearics. According to ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, the current strength of the pound is continuing to make foreign travel an attractive option. The most popular destinations remain the Balearics, Canary Islands, Southern Spain and Greece. An increasing number of people are also jetting off further afield to popular long haul destinations such as Florida and the Caribbean. Chosen usually for the guaranteed sunshine, these popular destinations also represent excellent value for money with prices in restaurants and bars frequently being half of what they are at home. Many families will be using the Bank Holiday weekend as a starting point to take their children away during their half-term break. The major airports and ferry terminals are expecting to have one of their busiest weekends of the year as the summer holiday season kicks off. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted alone will be handling nearly 600'000 holidaymakers with other airports equally busy. For example, another 135'000 are expected to leave from Manchester, 53'000 from Birmingham, 43'000 from Luton and 12'000 from Cardiff. Palma's Son San Joan airport was also extremely busy yesterday with passenger figures, 125'000, breaking all previous records for May - with the bulk of the traffic coming from the United Kingdom. Sadly both the airport authorities and tourists were being held ransom by French air traffic controllers in Marseilles - as usual. A number of flights from the UK were arriving early with the airlines trying to ease the effects of restrictions introduced in French air space by Marseilles controllers. French air traffic controllers cause disruptions every summer, as part of industrial action. Yesterday, Marseilles control tower refused to explain why restrictions had been introduced in their airspace. The majority of British and German planes have to fly through French air space to enter Spain and the Balearics. By mid-day yesterday, tourists were having to endure average delays of 30 minutes and Palma airport authority hopes that the French will not mount another summer of industrial action.


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