Airport Experiences [Questions & Reviews]


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Rate your experience using Bristol Airport

  • Poor

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  • Good

    Votes: 4 25.0%
  • Excellent

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    16

Aviador

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Are you a frequent flyer travelling through Bristol International Airport? Tell us what you think about Bristol Airport and the services it provides.

Have you had problems with luggage, delays or cancellations at Bristol? Tell us about your experiences good or bad.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Re: Bristol - Passengers & Frequent Flyers

I've been flying from Bristol for about thity years and have seen it grow from a very small operation of fewer than 300,000 passengers a year to the current 6.3 million.

Flying from the airport used to be like what I fondly believe Croydon was like before WW II. There was an open verandah next to the apron where meeters and greeters, and spotters (though there were precious few aircraft to spot), could shout to those walking out to an aircraft or walking to the terminal from an inbound.

The place was friendly and not a little amateurish in approach. Most passengers loved the informality and the only complaints were the dearth of flights and destinations on offer.

Come forward thirty years and we find an extremely busy regional airport with many of the destinations that could only be dreamed of in the 1970s. The complaints are now mainly that the airport has outgrown itself and is a mini Gatwick.

It is in desperate need of expansion to handle all its passengers in reasonable comfort but the local authority planning councillors have made little attempt to disguise their hostility towards this aim.

The Australian owners, Macquarie (they run the airport in a complicated system of companies and sub companies), have poured in tens of millions of pounds to bring the airport to its present impressive state, or it would be impressive if they had been less successful in attracting passengers.

Macquarie are also prepared to pour in tens of millions more if allowed to by the planners. They view expanded infrastructure as adding value to their investment. What they are not so keen on is spending money on such things as collecting litter, providing sufficient security staff and departure lounge seats for passengers when the space could more profitably be used for retail outlets.

If you use the airport quite regularly as I do (always for leisure these days so I pay my own fare) you can find ways of escaping the worst of the crowds once through security, and this is now easier since the airside has been extended significantly.

I'm prepared to put up with a bit of queuing and standing up, and jostling to get near the front of the low cost queues for the convenience of an airport with an impressive array of destinations just twenty minutes down the road.

I'm not sure I would be quite so sanguine if I lived, say, an hour and a half away.

If, a big if, the airport can expand in the way it says it wants to then in four or five years we should have a very pleasant experience again. It used to be until annual passengers figures reached around 4 million.

Bristolians will always rue the 1950s city council's decision to elect for Lulsgate when Whitchurch (the famous wartime landplane link with the rest of the world) grew too small. They could have become tenants at Filton for a peppercorn rent but declined.

Always assuming the various owners of Filton down the years (from the Bristol Aeroplance Company to Bae) would have worked harmoniously with the airport operator Bristol would now have an airport probably of BHX size.

Filton has a longer runway, a much larger site, better weather, the M4/M5 intersection (the West Country's own Spaghetti Junction) barely two miles away and connected to Filton via the dual-carriageway A 38, a branch railway line running through the site and a main railway line not half a mile away.

In the 1990s Bae tried to turn Filton into a city airport but a planning enquiry eventually nailed even that modest proposal. Since then part of the site is being sold off and thousands more homes have been built in the vicinity, not to mention the Cribbs Causeway regional shopping and entertainment complex just to the north of the west end of the field.

Bristol is stuck with Lulsgate and must make the best of it, planning councillors permitting!
 

Rick@TLS

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Apr 15, 2009
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Connecting at BRS with EZY

Hello Everybody,

I'm an Italian living in Toulouse, France, working @ Marketing Dept in Airbus; this is my 1st post in this Forum and I hope to participate with some interesting stuff in the future.

I am writing because I need an info from you guys, especially from those who work for / spot at BRS (if any), where I actually have never been so far.

I am trying to get the cheapest combination to come back home from here (TLS) to my place near Venice, Italy and except from some promotions Lufthansa does sometimes I cannot even think about spending less than 200 Euros RT but trying to self-hub and flying low cost.

One possibility, at least outbound, is taking EZY from TLS to BRS and then from BRS to VCE but the "connecting" time in BRS is... just 25 mins! Flight 6140 from TLS arrives at 5:30p while flight 6173 to VCE leaves at 5:55p.

I know it could sound impossible, and that's the reason why I'm gonna ask you, as per your knowledge, if:

a) the rotations are done with the same a/c (main thing to know in case of any delay of the first flight);

b) BRS apt layout allows a speedy transit from arrivals to departures (considering immigration);

c) as per your experience those flights are on time or normally the first is late and the second is on-time or vice-versa;

d) how much before does EZY close the gate at BRS;

e) do they wait a little bit more knowing that a pax is at the airport, given that I'd of course check-in online and have just carry-on baggage.

d) everything else you deem it could help me knowing such kind of self connection is feasible or not.

Consider that I won't fly this itinerary on a regular basis, but it could be just the last possibility in case I couldn't find anything else.

I thank you all in advance for helping me out with this matter, and I promise to accept any "FORGET IT!" as answer, if well explained! ;)

Anything I can tell you to be of any help to you all also with other subjects, please do not hesitate to ask!

Looking forward to hearing form you!

Greetz

Riccardo
 
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TheLocalYokel

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

Rick,

BRS is my local airport and I have used it a lot down the years, with easyJet being the carrier used most in recent years.

25 mins is impossible.

It might take that long (probably will) to get from the inbound Toulouse aircraft through immigration and into the arrivals hall, especially if your aircraft parks at a remote stand that needs coaching. 1730 is a busy time at BRS with a number of arrivals around that time so the immigration queue can be long, depending on number of staff.

As easyJet has no inter-lining facility, once in the arrivals you would have to go to departures (that's the easy bit - no pun- because the two are adjacent and in the same building and you could walk in less than a minute).

If you have no hold baggage and have an online check-in you can go upstairs to security (can take up to 15 mins at busy times although there is a fast-track that costs £5) and into the departure lounge area.

Whether not the inbound from Toulouse is the same aircraft that operates the outbound to Venice I don't know but it is of little material difference because a late arrival from TLS with a corresponding late departure to VCE still gives you the same impossibly short time to switch flights.

Your only chance would be if the same aircraft is NOT used and the inbound from TLS is on time and the outbound to VCE very late and you have an online check-in (which you say you would have), you can head for the VCE departure gate and hope to join the queue waiting for the delayed departure.

easyJet say that for those who have checked in online it is still necessary to be at the boarding gate at least 25 mins prior to the sched departure. In reality at BRS they don't usually call people forward for flights from the general departure lounge until they are ready to board - there are no individual lounges or seating areas for specific flights. However, the length of time before flight departs and passengers being called forward varies tremendously, depending whether the aircraft is at a remote stand 'in the country' or whether it is walkable.

However, relying on an on time inbound coupled with a delayed outbound is such a high risk that I would not contemplate it as the chance of it happening is very small.

I've just checked the Bristol Airport apron website and today's TLS arrived on stand at 1718 (12 early) and it's not on a remote stand. Today the inbound from TLS is to operate the VCE. However, there is also an inbound from Prague sched for 1730 that will doubtless operate the 1755 outbound to Milan, so it doesn't always follow the TLS will operate the VCE.

Sadly, I say forget it in the strongest possible terms.
 

Rick@TLS

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Apr 15, 2009
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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

Hello Yokel,

I didn't have time to thank you but I'm doing it now! Precious information that actually led me not to try this risky adventure... in any case, since EZY some days has a second daily flight with different times according to the day (and the week apparently), I booked for the 5th of June TLS-BRS leaving at 13.40 and giving me all the time to catch the flight to VCE!

I think I'll make a brief Trip Report in an Italian forum and I'll send you the link. Anyways, if you had any suggestion on what to see/do at BRS Airport in those couple of hours I'll appreciate. For sure, you being around let me know!

Greets,

Rick
 

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

Hi Rick

Your welcome to copy and paste your trip report and post it here in the Passenger & Frequent Flyer forum.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

I'm glad it was of some help, Rick.

I hadn't realised there was a second TLS flight on some days. Having looked it appears to operate every other Friday - most odd!

Bristol Airport is not a big airport - its 6 million passengers per year are more than the terminal was designed to handle. Plans are afoot to double the size but that's another story.

When you arrive you will enter the terminal building on the ground floor, go down some stairs to immigration/baggage reclaim, although I don't think the later will apply to you, and emerge landside still on the ground floor. This is because the terminal building is cleverly built into the side of a hill.

Most of the eating/drinking and other retail outlets are airside although there are a few landside.

There is now nowhere to view the aprons or runway from landside in the terminal. If you want to watch aircraft you will need to go airside where you will find it is possible to view the eastern apron and runway beyond quite easily. You will need to reach the mezzanine floor in the departure areas to do this.

If you fancy stretching your legs before going airside, turn right when you leave the terminal and then walk about half a mile to the main road (A 38) that passes the eastern boundary of the field. Turn right when you reach the main road and follow the road for about a quarter of a mile where you will come to a vantage point overlooking the aprons and runway. Be careful when walking along the road. It is busy with no pavement but if you keep to the very wide hard and grass verges you should be well away from the traffic.

Bristol Airport is situated in the countryside so there is not much to do beyond the airport boundaries if you don't want to watch aeroplanes.

There is a pub though within easy reach. Walk to the A 38 but this time turn left, go down the hill under the footbridge for a quarter of a mile and you will find it on your left.

Have a good trip and I shall look out for your trip report.
 

Rick@TLS

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

Thanks Jokel for all the information regarding the layout and co. at BRS! I'll let you know how I'll manage it during my transit!

Hi Humberside, to tell you the thruth I've been looking for transiting in LGW but normally fares both from TLS and to VCE are the double of those to BRS. Of course schedules would be slightly better, but at that stage I'd fly LH. Regarding XL I've thought the same thing, but there are 2 main drawbacks I see: 1- It flies eastbound on thursday morning and that means 2 working days lost which I hardly can afford often. 2- They sell the package flight+hotel 3 nights at 499Eur in summertime and I guess it would be fully booked since the flight stops in Bordeaux as well and anyway I don't know how convenient would it be when hotel pro-rata is taken out.. even if it was the half (250 Eur), which I don't believe it to be, it'd remain hardly competitive to the best LH fares and schedules..or to some strange combination like this one via BRS (that I'm paying 43 + 26 Eur one way - the return is with Ryanair to Carcassonne).

Anyway I'll try to contact them and let you know when and if i'll catch that flight.

Thanks again guys!

Rick
 

TheLocalYokel

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

Rick,

That's very interesting that fares from Bristol are lower than those from Gatwick.

One of the complaints down the years is that when full-service operators have routes from Bristol it is still often cheaper for passengers to go to Heathrow by road or rail (only about 90 minutes away) and fly from there.

I've spoken to local people who don't fly the Continental route from Bristol to Newark because they find it less expensive to go to Heathrow by road or rail and fly to a New York area airport from there, not necessarily using Continental though.

The same applied to the short-lived Lufthansa route from Bristol to Frankfurt. A number of people complained on a major aviation message board that the Bristol fares were prohibitively expensive on occasions leading them to fly from another airport - often Heathrow and still with Lufthansa. Letters to the local press carried similar sentiments.

Perhaps the low-cost operators look at things differently.

Anyway, have a good trip and I hope you enjoy your brief transit through the West Country.
 

Rick@TLS

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Re: Connecting at BRS with EZY

TheLocalYokel said:
...

I've spoken to local people who don't fly the Continental route from Bristol to Newark because they find it less expensive to go to Heathrow by road or rail and fly to a New York area airport from there, not necessarily using Continental though.
Interesting, although strange to hear since normally long-haul fares from LHR are often more expensive than those applied from other departing points in EU probably due to the higher P2P attractivity of London as a market and Heathrow's easy accessibility to the city center... Probably the same logic does not apply as far as other UK airports are concerned!


TheLocalYokel said:
Anyway, have a good trip and I hope you enjoy your brief transit through the West Country.
Thanks, and as said I'll try to post my trip report!

Greetz.
 

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Re: Bristol - Passengers & Frequent Flyers

[textarea]Firm says Bristol family's car ruined by bird droppings

A car firm has refused to fix the roof of a brand new vehicle belonging to a Bristol family, because they claim the damage was caused by bird droppings.

Kevin and Sheila Mattock, of Oakfield Road, Kingswood, bought the new black Renault Modus from City Motors, in April last year.

The couple look after their £13,000 car by keeping it in a secure garage overnight, having regular services, and cleaning the car on a fortnightly basis.

But in September this year, just 16 months after purchasing the car, Mr Mattock, 47, noticed damage to the roof paint that had exposed the grey primer underneath.

He contacted City Motors to arrange for the damage to be fixed, as he assumed it would be covered by his three-year warranty.

But City Motors claimed that the damage had been caused by "bird deposits" and was therefore not covered by the warranty.

Mr Mattock, a heavy goods mechanic, sought second and third opinions from other repair specialists. Both wrote to the dad-of-two confirming that the paint damage was not caused by bird droppings.

He is now facing having to fork out for the £450 + VAT bill to fix the roof himself.

Mr Mattock told the Evening Post: "I was shocked when the body shop said the damage was caused by bird deposits. I would have thought that bird deposits might leave discolouration or dull patches, but not to take the paint off. Renault are not prepared to do anything about it, but also haven't given me a report explaining what has caused it."

When Mr and Mrs Mattock purchased their first ever brand new car, they paid extra to have the paint work "supaguarded", an extra protector. Since Mr Mattock first noticed the damage in September, it has got continually worse.

He said: "This is the first car we've ever bought from new. There are now thumb nail spots all over an area of about 2ft by 1ft, exposing the grey primer. We look after this car. It is washed once a fortnight, and my wife only uses it to go to work and the shops. Apart from that it is kept in the garage.

"I'm angry and upset. They were quite happy to take my money off me, but when you walk out of the door, that's it. It has caused several arguments at home as well. If you went on holiday for a fortnight and parked your car at Bristol Airport, would you expect to come back to find the paint work removed due to bird droppings?"

Pauline Reynolds, from Woodland & Bayliss Ltd, car and commercial accident repair specialists, in Yate, wrote to Mr Mattock: "On inspection of the paint work, in our opinion the marks are nothing to do with bird deposits."

Andy Alcock, a business development manager from Supaguard Ltd, based in Glasgow, also wrote: "Following my visit and inspection of your vehicle, I write to confirm that in my opinion the flaking paint on the roof of your vehicle has not been caused by birdlime."

John Fairman, marketing manager for City Motors, told the Evening Post: "An engineer from Renault UK has inspected the vehicle and has said the damage isn't caused by the warranty. We can't as a dealer overrule that. Mr Mattock should get in contact with Renault UK customer services helpline."

Source[/textarea]

This is an unusual one. I don't think the airport should be held accountable for the damage to this persons car. It's unfortunate and unlucky that they got their car damaged in this way but it could have just as easily happened parked outside their home.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Re: Bristol - Passengers & Frequent Flyers

It certainly is an unusual occurrence but an even more unusual report, which is not untypical of the standards of journalism these days in the Bristol Evening Post, and it is not alone.

It looks as though the sub editors have been busy and taken out a chunk of the original report.

The airport is only mentioned as a throwaway remark.
 

TheLocalYokel

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[textarea]Bristol Airport Website Fails Disability Travel Accessibility Review

Published on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 10:18
Written by Roberto Castiglioni

After reviewing disability travel accessibility of London Heathrow and Belfast Airport, Reduced Mobility Rights reviewed the Bristol Airport Website which fails to meet the evaluation criteria.

We are currently in the process of reviewing disability travel accessibility of all airports in the United Kingdom. Disabled passengers and their carers need careful planning of their journey through airports to ensure having all necessary information on hand. The most user-friendly, accessible, accurate, and complete information is, the easier the travel experience will be. In this day and age, airport websites are the first stop for information gathering, which makes them a target for review.

Bristol Airport owners are the global investment group Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 1 (50%) and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) (49%). 5,747,604 transited via Bristol Airport in 2010.

We examine the "Special Needs" page of Bristol Airport using the following criteria: accessibility from the website home page, quality of immediately available content, quality of downloadable content, quality of contact information within the "Special Needs" page. Below is the link to reviewed page. This assessment is accurate to 21 September 2011. Screen shots of the pages below were taken on 21 September 2011.

Accessibility from the airport's website home page:

Good: the assistance page can be easily accessed from the sub navigation menu available in the “at the airport” section.

Quality of immediately available content:

Fails: only general information, mostly irrelevant to the needs of disabled passengers and their carers, is available on the page. The page is missing the airport Quality Standards rules, a requirement under EU regulation 1107/2006. The page also provides inaccurate information about disabled travellers accompanied by carers. Unlike stated on this page, it is a requirement under EU regulation 1107/2006 that “where a disabled person or person with reduced mobility is assisted by an accompanying person, this person must, if requested, be allowed to provide the necessary assistance in the airport and with embarking and disembarking”.

Quality of downloadable content:

Fails: no available content to download.

Quality of contact information within the "Special Needs" page:

Fails: no contact information available on the assistance page. However, there is a clue to use the standard queries phone number on the “contact us” page.

Failing three out of four evaluation criteria is serious reason for the airport managing company to change the website page and make corrections in line with EU 1107/2006 standards; Meeting the requirement of disabled passengers to easily access all critical information relevant to their travel plans must also be a priority to the Bristol Airport managing body.[/textarea]
http://www.reducedmobility.eu/The-News/ ... eview.html

I had no idea there were EU standards for airport website disability travel accessibility.

It will be interesting to see how other airport websites compare when they are assessed.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Website Disability Travel Accessibility Review

Re the previous post, the results for other airports so far assessed are as follows:

Gatwick the first U.K. airport website to meet the disability travel Gold Standard in full.

'Belfast' doesn't say which one but was assessed as extremely good.

Heathrow assessed as good with room for improvement.

So thus far Bristol is the only airport website to fail.
 

Aviador

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It's Bristol airports turn for a slating this time.

Nowhere else is less welcoming

ON arriving back at Bristol Airport at 4am on Saturday morning we were first subjected to a 800-yard march, from the farthest reaches of the apron to immigration.

This brand new terminal building does not have a single airbridge, which is standard in even the most primitive countries. At passport control we all had our new E-passports ready to use the express machines to speed the process up only to find that (despite costing many £000s) they are only on for a few hours per day. Instead we had to walk around the snaking barriers, which added another couple of hundred yards, to get to the manned desks.

Read more: http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/welcomin ... story.html
You just can't please some people. Previously the same person will have complained about an "800 yard march" in the rain, now they're complaining even though the airport has a brand new covered walkway.

For anybody wishing to read more of this kind of dribble, click on the link above. The rest of the article reads more of the same. The queues, the waiting times, baggage reclaim delays, taxi rank waiting times blah blah blah.

The person couldn't wait to get home to write-up something bad to send to the local press at the first opportunity ...which of course drool over the sight of these kind of letters. :rolleyes:
 

TheLocalYokel

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The western walkway is 450 metres long so to say he had to walk 800 yards is a laughable exaggeration.

Even if he did have to walk around the snake in the immigration hall it certainly would not have added another 200 yards to his walk unless he decided to walk back and forth four or five times.

The man's obviously an idiot. He says his aircraft landed at 4am and was the only one to land 'for some time' yet according to him the taxi office was jammed full of people and he had to wait 50 minutes for his luggage from the belt.

No doubt further gross exaggerations.

Every airport has these people. Someone complained about Birmingham Airport and thought it was a dreadful place merely because there was no drinking fountain in the terminal building.
 

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Every airport has them for sure.

He has to realise that at 4'o'clock in the morning the airport will be operating on reduced staffing levels which reflect the amount of flights operating at that time, so there maybe longer queues through passport control. The waiting time for baggage might be a little longer, but airports aren't going to pay for the same level of staffing as they do through the daytime.
 

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I've added a "rate your experience" poll to the thread so people can rate their overall experience using Bristol airport.

It is important that people be honest but it would be interesting to hear from people who have strong opinions good or bad in a constructive manor of course.
 

alphagolf

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Aviador said:
I've added a "rate your experience" poll to the thread so people can rate their overall experience using Bristol airport.

It is important that people be honest but it would be interesting to hear from people who have strong opinions good or bad in a constructive manor of course.
Flying from Bristol to Edinburgh in August! Flight is during the Friday morning rush, so will be interesting on how the various processes handle this busy period, ie. Check-in, Security, Restaurants and Bars, and on our return, UK Border control and Baggage Reclaim.

Will vote on our return!

alphagolf
 

TheLocalYokel

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Last used BRS at the end of April to/from Isle of Man with Flybe.

I did a trip report then where I commented on the airport.

I've been using the airport for over 30 years and have had few bad experiences. I used to moan about retail space encroaching on areas previously used for passenger seating in the departure areas. I am aware of the balance between the need to find ancillary income and the passenger experience, and there was a time when I believed the airport had leant too far towards the retail outlets.

I believe it's now more in balance.

Apart from drop-off car park charges, trolley charges and payment for fast track security, the main moan about the airport seems to concern the western walkway.

It's built at first-floor level and extends from the main terminal to the far end of the western apron, a distance of over 400 metres. It was built as general permitted development which means the airport was extremely limited in the facilities it could include. With the full expansion planning permissions subsequently approved the walkway could now be improved.

My wife and I have used the full length of the walkway in the past to access and exit aircraft and find it not to be a problem. Indeed, after an hour or two sat on an aircraft it's good to stretch the legs. It's entirely protected from the weather, being an enclosed, glass-sided passageway.

I've given the airport a 'good' rating. This is based on my most recent flights over the past year. An airport would have to be exceptional for me to mark it as excellent and I can't think of one I have used that would merit such a score but it's always a subjective opinion.
 
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