Glasgow is the Scottish city that jumps on every traveler’s bucket list. If you’re visiting this cultural capital of the UK, there are two international airports to check in. Glasgow Airport is the primary transport hub, whereas Prestwick Airport capitalizes on low flight fares and waiting times.
Today, we’ll compare them to pick the best airport to fly into Glasgow.
Glasgow Airport (GLA)
GLA is the second busiest airport in Scotland, earning the eighth position in the UK according to the number of passengers. It lies at a mere distance of 15 km from the city center. The airport offers an array of transport options, ranging from low-cost public transits to luxury car rentals with easy Glasgow airport parking that you can reserve in advance if you come by car.
The scaling at the airport lets you peek into vintage and vibrant culture, having two terminals and multiple floors. It attracts top-of-the-line global airlines, including Emirates, Air Transat, WestJet, and British Airways.
Getting to/from the Glasgow Airport
Besides renting a car or driving your own vehicle, there are four ways to reach the city center from the airport. The metro makes the most efficient journey. Nonetheless, your heavy luggage might favor a private ride.
- ScotRail is the principal mass rapid transit system, sprawling all over Scotland. You can get aboard a shuttle, and it’ll drop you at the Paisley Gilmour Street railway station.
- McGill’s Bus Service operates line 757 between the airport and the city center. The buses host comfy recliners and leave every 30 minutes. You can buy their weekly tickets for less than £20.
- Airport Express 500 is a slightly overpriced option. But the buses are frequent. Catch a vivid bus from stance 1 to Buchanan Station. Unlike airport shuttles, they run as early as 5 AM.
- Taxis are 24/7 available just outside the main terminal with a short walk from the arrival lounge. Alternatively, you can go for Uber or any other fleet at a negotiable price.
The main terminal is full of world-class facilities. A refreshing spa, lounges with panoramic views, complimentary wifi, shopping centers, and eateries are a few to name. Once you get past the security at ground level, here are some activities to keep you entertained.
- The airport is an ideal spot to shop till you drop. There are WHSmith outlets, offering everything from cosmetics to costumes. And all items are duty-free.
- The selection of food courts, bars, restaurants, and cafes is unlimited. You can taste a variety of Eurasian dishes and fast food here. There is a Starbucks for caffeine lovers as well.
- From the check-in area to the top story, you’ll find toilet facilities with hygienic standards, disability access, and babycare rooms. Also, there are praying spheres and lifts on the first floor.
- If you’re willing to rent a car instead, visit company centers near the domestic arrivals or Car Hire information desk.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK)
PIK is the auxiliary and fifth most used airport in Scotland. In fact, it has the largest land area. It serves the southern part of dominion in the surroundings of the Ayr. You’ll find a single boarding gate and relatively small queues here.
The airport has emerged as a base of budget carriers, such as Ryanair and Loganair. However, it’s over 50 km apart from Glasgow Central Station. But the dedicated railway station gives it a unique status.
Getting to/from the Airport
The economic vibes of Prestwick airport are sacrificed at the altar of a long distance to the city center. Even the fastest method of driving yourself takes 35-40 minutes. Car rentals are also as double as GLA here. Still, you have the following options at your disposal.
- You can plunge on the ScotRail subway ride at a 50% discount. Four trains are hourly scheduled to Glasgow and Ayr. A covered walkway encompasses the space between airport and rail link.
- Stagecoach buses are unchallenged in the west, covering the entire southwest coast. The 50-minute, £10 drive will end at Waterloo Lane. The central station sits 400 meters farther.
- Taxis may save you a bit of time if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind paying a bit extra.
PIK is pretty straightforward to navigate. Its airy and bright terminal is located at the ground level. However, the simplicity doesn’t imply the lack of admirable facilities. The landside and airside areas are lined with eateries.
- McIntyre’s is open prior to the security check. You shouldn’t compromise at sipping signature beverages. Other famous stops to get your fill are Par+Eagle and Elvis Presley Bars.
- April and November are reserved to find and hand over lost properties. You can file and collect your claim during these months.
- Cross the departure lounge for a dose of shopping. This airport also has some great fashion brands, such as Ray-ban and Oakley. Download the Red by Dufry app to win discounts.
- Although the spectator gallery is not at par with Glasgow’s sky lounges, it offers free-of-cost views of planes landing and taking off.
- Rooms for worship and babycare are plenty, so are the lodges and hotels in the vicinity of the airport.
Glasgow Airport is hands down the best airport to fly into Glasgow. The Points Guy Survey 2019 declared it victorious in all of the UK, leaving behind Heathrow and Edinburgh. The main reasons are easy accessibility, cheaper parking, fewer flight delays, and top-rated amenities.
Prestwick, on the other hand, is a landmark. It balances the passenger traffic and suits those traveling to Ayrshire. International flights are also limited to Spanish and Portuguese attractions.
Where Glasgow Airport has direct transfers all over Scotland and England, coming to Glasgow from Prestwick can tease your brain.
Ranking Table (6 = Best, 1 = Worst)
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