✅ Trip Verified
| My first impression arriving by car at Prestwick Airport was good: no drop-off or pick-up fees and 10 seconds to get into the terminal. I suppose that the lack of queues and emptiness of the adjacent car parks must be due to the lack of flights rather than their charges. The surprisingly large terminal suggests that the airport was designed for about 10 times the number of passengers it now handles. There are very few shops, no clothes shops or branches of Boots or M&S, but if like me you’ve already packed your case to within a whisker of Ryanair’s 10kg carry-on limit that is not a great problem. There are several places for eating and drinking, including an excellent Ritazzo coffee outlet, currency exchange offices and 2 branches of WH Smith. I was through security (body scanned and frisked!) in less than 10 min and there were even free plastic bags provided for liquids (many airports charge £1 for one of these sophisticated devices). Once through the inevitable duty-free shop and into the departure lounge there were plenty of seats for everybody. As usual Ryanair called passengers to the gate even before the incoming flight arrived, and the uninitiated formed an orderly queue while I sat comfortably reading my newspaper for another 15 min. With only 8 gates and all aircraft parked beside the terminal the walk to the plane was pleasingly short. The only modern amenity that Prestwick lacks is the airbridge which does mean exposure to the elements for 50 yards or so. However having taken Ryanair (and EasyJet) flights from many different airports I’ve found that even where airbridges are available these low-cost airlines seldom use them. In fact their passengers are often punished by having to take a bus (standing room only) to the aircraft which lies parked on some far-distant apron. Once on the plane we were up and away in no time – no waiting in a long queue, in fact our pilot didn’t even pause for a moment at the end of the runway before taking off. Arrival at Prestwick on the return leg was equally quick and hassle-free. Now that Ryanair insists on putting free carry-on baggage in the hold, you have to wait for your case at the carousel, which can be quite a nightmare and take ages at busy airports. But at Prestwick when you’re on one of only half a dozen flights during the whole day your bags are off-loaded immediately and they can have no risk of getting lost. I was through Immigration, Baggage Claim and Customs, and waiting for my train home at the airport railway station in about 15 min total. Even arriving at 10.50pm there were still regular trains to Glasgow and Ayr, and with half-price rail travel by showing a Ryanair boarding pass I paid only £1.25. So Prestwick Airport may not be a great place for shopping or entertainment and doesn’t have the buzz of a busy international hub, but for simple, hassle-free travel it’s first class. What a pity there aren’t more destinations available. The flights that do operate seem always to be full so there would appear to be no shortage of passengers wanting to use it.