London to Val d'Isère in five hours
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 10.00: the last of the first wave of
flights, which have not yet done a rotation and picked up delays.
Check-in opens at 07.00 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
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. That irritating hour one spends at large
airports, as luggage arrives in dribs and drabs, doesn’t happen here.
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.
Please note that a meal is 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 & jam) is provided in the chalet when you get to Val d'Isère at about 4pm.
Going home, our flight takes off at 13.50 French time and lands at 14.25 UK time. This means the first of our staggered
coaches leaves Val d’Isère at around 08.00, 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.