Distance is the key deterrent for making family visits, with almost half of people polled by Southend airport saying it prevents them from seeing their relatives.

More than half (54%) would see more of their family if travel was made easier and cheaper.

The airport commissioned the study to find out about family travel attitudes in London plus the new destinations of Dublin, Manchester and Glasgow flown by Stobart Air on behalf of Flybe.

All 1,000 respondents lived in a different city to their direct family. A quarter had not seen their grandfather for more than a year – marginally less for grandmothers (22%).

Meanwhile, 15% of respondents had not visited their grandfather for more than two years.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Southend airport owner Stobart Aviation, said: “It’s a modern reality but nevertheless a heartbreaker that some grandchildren are just not seeing enough of their grandparents.

“Many respondents claim they live too far away. Perhaps it’s also because we spend so much of our lives online that we tend to chat on social media instead. But nothing beats being there especially as Christmas gallops towards us.

“The research also highlights that if travel is made easier and cheaper, then more of us would be reunited with our families.

“We’re passionate about reconnecting people, making it easier for anyone seeking a better way to get home. We’ve launched three new routes.

“People just need to know the options and how little it can cost to fly, particularly if the alternative is a long drive or an arduous train journey to see your family.”