“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
That used to be one of the questions I asked myself frequently, on my way to finding some new experience to arrange. It became a bit redundant when the pandemic arrived, with so many new but unwelcome experiences suddenly thrust on us.
The first time I went for a pre-flight PCR test is not something I will forget quickly, nor is the £80 it cost me.
The flip side has been the removal of so many avenues for arranging positive new experiences.
I have bucked the trend this month (December 2021) however.
A few weeks ago I noticed Loganair had started a new service between Dundee and Belfast City airports. I had never used Dundee Airport before.
It has had a mixed history, and as far as I can remember it only ever offered a few flights to and from London. It is a 35-45 minute drive from my home, which is about the same as my fastest travel time to Edinburgh. Edinburgh has a huge range of destinations, and many more flights just to the London airports.
I decided to give Loganair’s innovation a bit of support.
Overall it was a good decision. The terminal at Dundee is tiny, but for two flights a day using 40-50 seat ATR 42 planes, that is fine. One big positive is being able to park about 100m from the terminal. I paid £11.20 for 28 hours, and I suspect that is a fraction of what I would have paid in Edinburgh*
One negative was that the airport’s “system” had failed when I arrived to check in, meaning the staff had to do it all manually. That was painfully slow. Had the flight been busy, it would have been seriously delayed.
On the other hand, it was great to be in my car about 10 minutes after arrival on the flight back.
Loganair’s flight takes about 40 minutes – not much more the than the climb up to cruising altitude, a quick look around, and then descent.
At the other end, I know Belfast City quite well by now. It is very convenient for the city centre and I used the Translink 600 bus. £2.60 each way, and it takes 10 minutes outside of the rush hours.
The cost of my Loganair ticket was £165 return, which included a checked in bag (15kg) and a small piece of hand luggage. I suspect I could have found a slightly cheaper deal flying from Edinburgh because easyJet and Aer Lingus compete on the route, plus I would have had a choice of flight times.
The next time I take a trip to Northern Ireland I will certainly consider the Dundee Airport option again.
[* I very rarely drive to Edinburgh Airport on account of the high parking charges and traffic congestion en route.]
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021