Belfast, United Kingdom
54° 34' N 5° 56' W
Jul 21, 2009 14:42
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Text written in: English

Departure from Belfast

The usual sort of pre-holiday impatience set in this morning as I looked outside at the pouring rain.  In truth it felt more like March than July, definitely time to move on to foreign climes.  Everything checked and re-checked before the taxi arrived at 1300hrs to take us to the City Airport.

I have previously expanded upon the history of both George Best Belfast City Airport, most recently in 2007 when we departed for India.  Suffice to say it has an interesting past, having served as a Royal Naval Air Station, Royal Air Force base, and used as a landing ground/flying boat station by Harland & Wolff/Short.  I also believe that Lockheed assembled USAAF fighters here around 1943/44.  A most interesting history indeed.

The only real change from two years ago involves additional security arrangements following the attack on Glasgow Airport on the 30th June 2007.  We previously missed this attack (by one day) but were caught up in the chaos at Heathrow on the 29th, following attacks in London.  Anyway today you can no longer drop off passengers outside the terminal building.  Passengers must be deposited in a car park area about 200 yards from the door.  On a positive note the terrorist security threat has been reduced recently from “severe” to “substantial” for the first time since July 2005. 

It is not however the threat of terrorism I fear, rather the haphazard detection of swine flu by medically untrained airline/airport staff!  It will be interesting to see what measures await us in London, Cape Town and Jamestown.

We are all now checked in, through departures and ready for our flight to London Heathrow.  We had to use self check-in machines but we have all the correct boarding passes for this flight and our connection in London.  Luggage (hopefully) safely  checked through to Cape Town.  We have gone upstairs to the City Airport Food Court area, which is now for departure passengers only (access only available after security).  In previous years you could walk up from the foyer area and view planes taking off.  I suppose if you want to do this now, it is just as easy to drive next door to IKEA and eat in their restaurant, which overlooks the end of the runway.  The food in IKEA is also easier to pay with free drinks if you have an IKEA card.

Anyway we are having a relaxing start to our travels to South Africa.

Photos / videos of "Departure from Belfast":

Ailsa Burnett in the restaurant area at Belfast City Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Aircraft at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland. Aircraft at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland. Erin Burnett in the small children's play area, Belfast City Airport. Ruth Burnett in the restaurant area at Belfast City Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ruth Burnett in the restaurant area at Belfast City Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Aircraft at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland. Duncan Burnett in the restaurant area at Belfast City Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland.