Traveling in the UK and Ireland is fairly close. There are seas separating the islands and ferries that connect. When I was first planning my crazy eight or infinity itinerary as I call it, I planned on flying in to Glasgow and recovering from jet lag and doing small local things before venturing to Dublin for 4 days. I first thought that it would be a lot of fun to do a ferry trip between the two, and started research on how to do this. I then learned I would have to travel by Scotrail or bus to a ferry terminal at Cairnryan, Scotland to Belfast. Problem was my loop went from Glasgow to Dublin. This meant two trains and a ferry, eats up most of day. Now, I love trains, and find them to be very efficient in the UK, unless there is a rail strike like I got to have fun with last year. For about two weeks I planned a route with trains and ferries. I like ferries, they can be fun, arriving in a port can be very romantic. Then I remembered a conversation I had with a Glaswegian last year in a cafe and traveling. I mentioned on the next trip I wanted to do islands and hop countries. He said to try looking at some of the cheap air flights between the countries. Often they are cheaper and less hassle, even taking in check in times.
Aha, save money for other things, and time. Hmmm. Then there is the which airlines, since many of us in the states haven’t heard of the local airlines. What can you do? Go to the airport sites and see which airlines are there. For example, Ryanair who is a competitor of Aer Lingus in Ireland. They fly out of GLA, but do not go to all destinations you may want in Ireland. The larger companies like Virgin of course are in many airports, but may not fly direct or connecting flights. I found a real reasonable flight on what I would call a match stick plane around $50.00. When I added up travel time and fees with ferry and train, bus, I found it to be comparable and saving of time. But there’s a catch.
You need to watch the baggage restrictions on the smaller planes. Before you book, check out the luggage restrictions for all flights you are taking. You are not in the US. This can add to your flight costs. Check their luggage restriction pages. Sometimes flight with bigger airline is the same and don’t charge extra baggage fees.
After looking over baggage fees and restrictions, I opted for Aer Lingus because I had traveled with them before and they treated me well and I did not lose luggage. More on that in another post. Don’t laugh, don’t get caught at airport paying extra fees. Cuts into food budget.
Example: Glasgow Airport has a great page with all airlines and where they service. Armed with this and on online booking like JustFly or other Euro planner, you can then compare pricing.
Smaller Airlines in UK