Routes to airports ‘most requested’ on AA Route Planner

The most popular destinations requested on the AA’s online route finder service are for airports.

The north terminal at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex tops the list of destinations, followed by Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

It was a demand for the best route to Gatwick that marked the 1.5 billionth request for a business that began 100 years ago with patrolmen providing information to motorists.

The third most requested destination is Bristol followed by Manchester, Southampton and Leeds.

Among leisure destinations, Alton Towers in Staffordshire is the most popular route requested followed by Thorpe Park in Surrey and the O2 Arena at Greenwich in south London.

From 1912, the AA was able to furnish its members with routes by mail, responding to their demand arising from a general lack of directional signposts on the country’s roads.

Until the early 1920s, routes consisted of a set of hand-written cards, each giving instructions for the route between two different points with details of places of interest along the way.

Printing of routes begun in the 1920s, with more than half a million being compiled every year.

The next major advancement came during the 1980s when the Home Routes Service was fully computerised and thousands of printed route sheets were transferred.

In 1999 the online AA Route Planner was launched, and today is averaging 20 million route requests per month.

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