• Val d'Isere Mont Blanc view
YSE Grenoble Airport


In a former life, the YS of YSE had to limit the travel chaos of a major ski tour operator, while the E had to answer the hundreds of complaints each week about it! So when we set up YSE, hassle-free transport was one of our main aims.

On winter Saturdays, the airports, skies and roads are gridlocked, while the pistes are practically empty. On Sundays, travel is a joy, but the slopes are at their busiest. So we chose to fly on Sunday. And with just one flight serving only Val d’Isère, we can guarantee no waiting around for other aircraft or resorts.

We constantly look for ways to make our travel arrangements even more painless. Every year we consider different airports, airlines and schedules. We’ve thought about trains, but the Eurostar is slower and more expensive than our flight, and either gets you to Val d’Isère too early to get into your chalet or too late to sort out equipment.

In the end, we have stuck to the same airline, in spite of their changing their name from Britannia to Thomsonfly and now Thomson Airways.

Our flight takes off at 10am: the last of the first wave of flights, which have not yet done a rotation and picked up delays. Check-in opens at 7am for those who want to beat the queues.

We have also stayed with Gatwick, which for all its faults is the most convenient airport for the majority of our guests.

And we are delighted to be using Grenoble, whence the journey to Val d’Isère is fractionally quicker than from Lyon, and quite a lot quicker than from Geneva. Grenoble is a little airport with a very long runway and an outstanding weather record. But what we really like is the speed with which everything happens. Passengers are off the plane in no time, and bags quickly follow.

We normally reach Val d’Isère just five hours after take-off, with a transfer time of approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. Most of the transfer is on smooth and uncongested motorways and expressways. Ski schools and shops are uncrowded and open until at least 7.30pm.

Meals are not provided on the YSE flights, although drinks and snacks can be purchased on board. On the outbound journey, there is also usually no opportunity to buy food as you pass through Grenoble airport, so unless you have a very big breakfast before you leave home or at Gatwick, you may need to take something with you for the journey. A full tea (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cake, bread and jam) is provided in the chalet when you get to Val d’Isère at about 4pm.

Going home, our flight takes off at 1.50pm French time and lands at 2.25pm UK time. This means the first of our staggered coaches leaves Val d’Isère at around 8am, and the last coach leaves an hour later, so nobody has to queue at check-in for more than a few minutes.

We are rarely delayed, and do not cost into our holidays any food or drink to placate passengers, but please note that we automatically cover each guest for up to £500-worth of extra expenses incurred by us on their behalf should additional travel or accommodation be necessary – see Insurance, YSE Automatic Cover.

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