This Airport Guide describes what arriving passengers can expect to encounter after landing at Northern Ireland’s George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD).
NOTE: This Airport Guide draws on my own experience of using BHD as an arriving passenger on 08 June 2022. For the most part, it reflects conditions as they existed at that point in time. Operating hours, facility information and other details may change at any moment and without prior notice.
The information set out here covers the arrivals process at George Best Belfast City Airport (IATA code: BHD) – the smaller of two airports serving the capital of Northern Ireland.
- Step 0: Enjoy the view as you land
- Step 1: Disembark from the plane
- Step 2: Border control (not for intra-UK/intra-CTA arrivals)
- Step 3: Baggage reclaim
- Step 4: Exit the arrivals zone
- Step 5: Take public transport from the airport
STEP 0: ENJOY THE VIEW AS YOU LAND
STEP 1: DISEMBARK FROM THE PLANE
With the sole exception of Gate 4, BHD’s aircraft docking stations are not equipped with aerobridges. Passengers whose flights arrive at Gates 1-3 or 5-10 must disembark using mobile stairs.
Cross the apron and enter the terminal building. Follow the yellow signs marked “Arrivals” and/or “Baggage Reclaim” as you make your way along the corridor.
STEP 2: BORDER CONTROL
Travellers arriving in Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK or the Common Travel Area (CTA) are, in principle, not subject to immigration controls. As regards my own experience (landing at BHD on 08 June 2022), I’d flown in from London and simply walked straight through to baggage reclaim after disembarking from my aircraft.
There are physical border control desks set up within the arrivals area, so one expects that travellers from outside the UK or CTA will undergo routine inspection procedures (including passport and visa checks). That said, given that the vast majority of flights arriving at BHD serve domestic UK routes, most passengers will not experience immigration formalities of any sort.
STEP 3: BAGGAGE RECLAIM
BHD is a small regional airport and has a small baggage reclaim area to match. With just two numbered luggage belts (so far as I could tell), you’re not likely to have much difficulty locating the one assigned to your flight.
After retrieving your checked baggage – or if you’ve only got hand luggage in tow – it’s time to…
STEP 4: EXIT THE ARRIVALS ZONE
But before you do, make certain that you’ve left nothing behind.
Once you’ve passed through these doors…
…there’s no going back.
The one-way doors from baggage reclaim (seen on the left side of the picture below) lead out into BHD’s main entry hall. This is a public area accessible to passengers and non-passengers alike.
Click here to learn more about the facilities available in this non-restricted part of the terminal.
You’ll find a tourist information kiosk near the arrivals doors (visible on the right side of the picture above). There are also auto rental desks close by for those who need to hire a car.
Now that you’ve got everything sorted, it’s time to head out into the wider world beyond.
STEP 5: TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT FROM THE AIRPORT
There is a Value Cabs booking office right inside the terminal building if you’d like to pre-arrange taxi transport.
Alternatively, head straight out of the main entrance and walk to the roofed roadside shelter marked with a huge “Taxis” sign.
The following table of estimated fares was posted near the taxi rank (image taken on 08 June 2022); needless to say, prices may change anytime without prior notice. Note that airport pick-ups attract an extra charge of £2.50, which is included in the approximate fares listed here.
In my case, the historic Titanic Belfast area was my first stop of the day. Acting on the advice I was given by the tourist information desk, I simply hailed a cab to reach Titanic Belfast from the airport, and then from there went on a long but easy walk into the city centre. (If memory serves, the final metre read-out came in at just under the £10 estimated fare quoted above.)
After exiting through the main doors (or the side door further down the building), turn left and follow the roofed passageway that leads to the airport bus stop.
Translink operate a special route – service number 600 – that connects BHD to central Belfast. Timetables are available here; if that specific link fails you can navigate to Translink’s “Find a Timetable” page (select the radial button marked “Bus”) and type 600 in the search box to generate the latest schedule.
Tickets can be purchased from the machine set up at the bus shelter.
Returning to the airport at the end of my Belfast visit (on 08 June 2022), I simply boarded a 600 service from its other terminus: the Europa Buscentre in central Belfast.
The nearest railway stop to BHD is Sydenham Station.
Although described as being “within walking distance” of the airport, Sydenham Station isn’t directly connected to the terminal and a Google Maps estimate puts the walk at around 15 minutes – which, I should point out, is entirely in the unprotected outdoors. I might add that BHD’s own transport page includes the following cautionary note (boldface added for emphasis):
A footbridge is present at Sydenham train station which passengers must cross either going to or coming from the airport. Therefore, we would advise passengers against this transport option if they have reduced mobility or experience difficulty when using steps.
Probably best to leave the trains as a last resort. 🙂
Safe and happy travels, everyone.