About Luton Airport – Famous For a TV Ad

Written by Kate Goldstone

Do you remember the infamous Luton Airport TV ads for Campari?

If you were around in the mid to late 1970s, you won’t be able to hear the phrase ‘Luton airport’ without hearing British model Lorraine Chase’s voice, a proper blast from the past.

Chase starred in a series of funny TV ads for the alcoholic drink Campari, together with actor Jeremy Clyde. The ads were shot in exotic locations and featured  the model having drinks with a classy gent. When he asked her, in finest romantic style, whether she’d been “truly wafted here from paradise”, she replied, in a strong Cockney accent, “Nah, Luton airport”. The famous line became so popular it was the subject of a 1979 chart hit by the band Cats UK.

Here’s one of the TV ads, captured on video.

Star of a Monty Python sketch

The airport is no stranger to fame, having also been featured by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the hilarious Piranha Brothers sketch, starring as the home of an improbable giant hedgehog called Spiny Norman. All very silly indeed. But there’s more.

Reality TV hits home

Between 2005 and 2008 the airport starred in a reality TV series following the site’s staff in their daily lives. The programme shadowed the airport’s duty managers and operations people during a major redevelopment, bringing the inner workings of one of Britain’s most popular airports to the front rooms of millions of fascinated viewers.

London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport

Busy, busy, busy…

In August 2013 London Luton Airport outperformed every other UK airport, enjoying its busiest ever month, with a whopping 11.8% increase in passengers compared to the same period in 2012, a sure-fire winner when the UK airport overall average passenger increase was just 4.4%. During 2013 9.7 million people passed through its doors, making London Luton airport the sixth busiest in Britain. 96% of passengers take scheduled flights, 4% take charter flights, 89% of people take international flights from Luton and 11% fly domestic.

Close to the M1, convenient for central London

The airport sits just under two miles from Luton in Bedfordshire, 35 miles from central London and just a couple of miles from M1 Junction 10a. It’s London’s fourth biggest airport, after Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and joins London City and Southend to make up the big six international airports serving the London area.

Luton Airport Control Tower

Luton Airport Control Tower

More than 100 cool places at your fingertips

London Luton hosts flights from EasyJet, Wizz Air, Monarch, EL AL, Atlasjet, Blue Air, TAROM, Thomson Airways and Ryanair and mostly serves Europe, with a handful of charter and scheduled flights to North Africa and Asia and onward connections to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Beijing and Bangkok via Tel Aviv. In total the airport services more than a hundred popular destinations.

Top 10 Luton airport destinations

Luton airport employs more than 600 people directly and 8,000 indirectly, so is vital for the economic health for the region.   Luton’s top ten destinations are Budapest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Warsaw, Glasgow, Bucharest, Geneva, Edinburgh, Paris and Palma, with Budapest in the top position.

London Luton airport history

Like many of Britain’s airports, Luton began life during the Second World War. The site was first used for flights in 1938, a base for Royal Air Force fighter planes. After the war ownership reverted to the Council, still home to commercial flights and the home of the famous Percival Aircraft factory until the early ’60s.

Luton Airport Departures

Luton Airport Departures

In a trend set by McAlpine Aviation in the mid 1960s, a handful of executive jet operators and international maintenance companies are still based there. In 1972 Luton was Britain’s most profitable airport, an accolade that came to an end in 1974 when the package holiday firm Clarksons, complete with their own airline Court Line, went bust.

Luton’s new name, London Luton Airport, came about in 1990. And in 1997 an £80 million extension improved the single runway beyond recognition. Wizz Air, Eastern Europe’s biggest low cost airline, celebrated its 10th Birthday at the airport in May 2014, having grown considerably since 2004 and now flying to 13 countries from London Luton.

What about London Luton Airport parking facilities?

All this is fascinating stuff, of course, but our real focus is airport parking, airport hotels and the facilities available. So what’s on offer at Luton?

You’ll find short, mid and long term parking at Luton airport, and you can turn up an hour early at no extra charge when you pre-book on the internet. There’s also an official Meet and Greet service plus arrangements for Priority Set Down, Drop off and Pick Up and Disabled Parking. The facilities are open 24/7 and airport parking charges start from just over £3 per day.

For full details about parking at Luton, follow this link to the airport’s official website.

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