This Airport Guide describes what departing passengers can expect to see and do in the landside (public) areas of George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD).
NOTE: This Airport Guide draws on my own experience of using BHD as a departing passenger on 08 June 2022. For the most part, it reflects conditions as they existed at that point in time. Operating hours, facility information, security screening procedures and other details may change at any moment and without prior notice.
Here, we’ll talk about the landside (public) area of George Best Belfast City Airport (IATA code: BHD) – the smaller of two airports serving the capital of Northern Ireland. For our purposes, “landside” encompasses all of the terminal’s publicly accessible areas before departures security (as opposed to “airside”, which can be accessed only by ticketed passengers).
To learn more about the terminal’s airside area (i.e., the secure, passengers-only zone from the security checkpoint and beyond), please read my separate report documenting what you can expect to see in that part of the building.
- Outside the terminal
- Inside the terminal
OUTSIDE THE TERMINAL
As originally built, BHD’s access road ran right alongside the terminal façade. It has since been repositioned slightly further away, but an isolated remnant of the former road – complete with fading lane markers – still runs adjacent to the building.
As you leave the terminal through the main entrance, you’ll come across a signboard that gives directions to BHD’s various transport facilities.
Right next to the glass-walled entrance is a smoking area and a trolley park. Heading off in the opposite direction is a covered walkway that leads to the bus stop and parking facilities.
INSIDE THE TERMINAL
Unlike at larger airports, BHD’s cavernous main hall is used by both departing and arriving passengers. There is no security at the door and non-passengers may freely access this area.
The check-in counters are located at one end of the main hall. The entrance to departures security is in the middle, against the back wall. At the other end, you’ll find a pair of one-way doors used by arriving passengers.
The main hall continues a little further past that point (but with a narrower profile) until it ends at a side entrance.
With the terminal’s main entrance behind you, turn left and walk all the way to the end of the main hall in order to reach the airline counters.
Check-in procedures and facilities will vary depending on the airline. Let’s use EasyJet as an example. (Note: These pictures were taken on 08 June 2022; changes may have been introduced since that date.)
EasyJet directs its passengers to check in online before going to the airport, so it only maintains two desks at BHD: a bag drop counter and a special assistance booth.
As a budget carrier, EasyJet imposes strict size limits on cabin bags. These limits operate alongside the general restrictions on dangerous goods that are enforced by all airlines. (For detailed, up-to-date guidance on baggage policies, please refer to your airline’s official website – this link will take you to the relevant page for EasyJet in particular.)
Airlines employ various methods for determining whether hand luggage is rule-compliant. In the case of EasyJet, any cabin bag that’s meant to go into an overhead bin must completely fit into the receptacle shown above – handles and wheels included – otherwise the owner may be asked to have it checked for hold storage and pay the requisite fees.
Dining and shopping
You have only two options for dining/shopping in the landside zone of BHD: (1) a Caffè Nero at the centre of the main hall, and (2) a WHSmith just left of the entrance to departures security.
Near the arrivals doors, you’ll find a quiet/prayer room and a tourist information desk. The car rental booths are off to the right of that, arranged in a row against the front windows of the terminal building.
A few additional amenities are located at the very tip of the main hall (past the car rental booths). Here you’ll find the toilets and a couple of payment machines for the airport car parks.
Ready to pass through departures security? CLICK HERE to read my separate Airport Guide documenting BHD’s airside zone.
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