In a little experiment, I recently flew out of Birmingham (UK) airport instead of the London choices for my itinerary. I’m glad I did, and I’ll likely do it again if it fits with my travel plans.
Parking at Birmingham was very easy and inexpensive relative to its London counterparts. I didn’t pre-book (bad me) and had no problems popping right into the Long Stay lot. There were ample
spots available. It was quite close to the airport itself; I think I could have easily walked had it not been for the lovely English weather. There were protected shuttle spots and the bus arrived quite quickly. It was less than a five minute ride to the terminal and we were deposited quite near the entrance doors.
Once inside, it took me a few minutes to get myself oriented. The departure check-in areas are spread all the way the length of the airport, and there are shops and services interspersed. Of
course, my airline was at the complete opposite end of the terminal. There were no long lines at any of the counters, and I was served quickly. After checking my luggage and sorting my arrangements,
I made my way upstairs to security where there was, again, no long wait. The security process was slower than some, but all the stations were open and there were no significant delays. (And no full body scanners, Fresno!)
Once through security, there were a wide variety of shops and restaurants. The gates were all within close proximity of the main area; my walk was less than 10 minutes. My particular gate was behind a glass wall and the area was not yet open, so I settled myself across the hall where there were chairs and available electrical outlets. The airport claims to offer free internet, but I couldn’t immediately find it and I couldn’t be bothered to go ask about it.
Compared with London’s Heathrow airport, the Birmingham airport was an absolute dream. No parking in another post code, no long lines for anything, no walking 25 minutes to the ridiculous gates used by United Airlines. Bonus for me, Birmingham is 30 minutes closer to my house than London Heathrow or London Gatwick.
If you are travelling by train, Birmingham Airport is connected with the main Birmingham train station by the free AirRail Link train. The short distance takes less than two minutes and deposits you conveniently at both ends.
Birmingham does not have the breadth of available flights as Heathrow or Gatwick, but it does service most major locations. Check out their offerings next time you are dealing with UK travel, especially if you are a member of the Heathrow Haters Club. You might find that Birmingham will meet your needs.