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California to Edinburgh or Glasgow

We are planning this trip and see there are no direct flights from California to Edinburgh. We could take a flight with layovers but not sure we want to do that. We used to do that when we were younger. I was thinking of flying in to London and then either taking the train to Edinburgh or Glasgow (which I know is longer) or taking a commuter flight. I see that British Air is one of the flights that goes so am thinking we could probably check a large bag? Does anyone have any recommendations on the best way to get there? Thanks.

Posted by
2769 posts

If you're taking a big bag, you should fly from London to Edinburgh rather than trying to lug it up the steps on the train.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Sharon,

Have you considered flying in to Glasgow? GLA and EDI are only about 45 miles apart, so if you can fly directly to GLA from California, you'd get to Edinburgh a lot faster than if you had to lay over at LHR,

If you do end up flying in to EDI by way of Heathrow or Gatwick, BA allows you one large bag (53 kg, if memory serves me correctly), which you can book all the way through to Scotland. If you lay over in London until the next day or later, you'd have to re-book your bag, which costs more on the commuter flight.

Hope that helps.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
1395 posts

I understand what you're saying about lugging a big bag onto the train. We did that in May, and it wasn't pleasant. It appears there is not a direct flight from California to either Glasgow or Edinburgh, so we'll have to decide what works best. Thank you both so much!

Posted by
5011 posts

You will need to connect at least once (twice if you're a glutton for punishment). The first questoin to ask yourself is, would you rather connect before crossing the atlantic, or after? To me, it makes sense to make your transatlantic flight as long as possible (allows a better chance for sleeping). As a fellow-west coaster, I always try for a long nonstop from home to someplace in Europe, as close to my actual destination as possible. "California" is a big place, but if I were you, I would look for a long nonstop from SFO or LAX to someplace within striking distance of Scotland. That means probably London (LHR) but also consider Dublin and Amsterdam. Aer Lingus (the national airline of Ireland) flys to Dublin nonstop from SFO and (I think) from LAX also. From Dublin it's a short, easy hop to Edinburgh (or Glasgow if that's your actual destination). Amsterdam has oodles of flights so would be another reasonable option.

Posted by
6515 posts

Fly to LHR and connect to a flight to Edinburgh.
Iadked a British friend Fly or take train. He was amazed we would even consider the lengthy train ride.
Enter both flight numbers into Heathrow Connect and it will give you exact directions from one flight to the the other. Very clear and easy.

Posted by
120 posts

I have flown to Scotland from California several times and I want to agree with others that you should fly. I also want to suggest that you'll probably want all your flights on one ticket. You do not want one ticket from California to London (or another connection airport) and then a second ticket from there to Scotland, unless you're willing to take the risk of a missed connection and having to purchase a new, last minute ticket out of pocket.

I live near a small airport so it takes me 3 flights to get anywhere in Europe. On my most recent trip to Scotland I had layovers in Phoenix and London before my arrival in Edinburgh. Due to mechanical issues in Phoenix we left very late and I missed my connecting flight in London. Fortunately the whole trip was booked with American/British Airways and by the time I got to London I had already been rebooked on the next flight to Edinburgh. All I had to do was pick up my new boarding pass and go on with my day. Simple and painless. I just wanted to share my experience as a reminder to take this into account when you book.

Posted by
1395 posts

Thank you, Allie. That was a good reminder. One year we took our grandchildren to a family reunion in Sweden. I booked round trip to Heathrow and then got a separate ticket Heathrow to Sweden and back to Heathrow. The flight from Sweden was late leaving and we had to run for the flight at Heathrow, otherwise we would have been in the situation you described. Never again. I had forgotten about that until you mentioned it - thanks!

Posted by
1878 posts

From SFO the nonstop flights are pretty limited. Paris, London, Frankfurt, probably Amsterdam and Brussels. You almost always have to change planes. Even for mainstream destinations like Italy and Spain. Scotland is way more off the beaten path than Italy or Spain.

Posted by
15948 posts

I'd look at flying SFO to Edinburgh on Aer Lingus. Changing planes in Dublin will be less stressful than mammoth Heathrow. Cheaper than BA as well.

Posted by
2090 posts

From SFO the nonstop flights are pretty limited. Paris, London,
Frankfurt, probably Amsterdam and Brussels.

And Copenhagen, which is a great airport for transfer in my opinion.

Posted by
5011 posts

From SFO the nonstop flights are pretty limited. Paris, London, Frankfurt, probably Amsterdam and Brussels.

Dublin. Dublin is the closest city to Scotland that you can connect through. It's also an easy airport and literally right on the way.

Aer Lingus flys from SFO to Dublin nonstop (and also nonstop from LAX to Dublin). From Dublin, they have frequent connections direct to Edinburgh, short, quick, simple, convenient. This could not be easier. If I lived anywhere near SFO or LAX that's how I would get to Scotland (I live in Seattle, which in this case is geographically equivalent to San Francisco or Los Angeles, and that's my preferred way of getting to Edinburgh...personally I really like Aer Lingus).

Departing from the west coast, the absolute last thing I want to do is have to stop somewhere in the eastern US to change planes before crossing the atlantic. Takes one long flight and turns it into two long flights.

Posted by
33 posts

It's been a while since I've looked at Aer Lingus, for this same flight (California to Scotland), but considering the short distance from Dublin to Glasgow or Edinburgh, I'm sure I recall that the plane's aren't the nice, large ones you'd be flying over the ocean in. With that in mind, be sure to check the baggage rules for the small hopper flights like this.

Posted by
560 posts

Last year we flew from SFO to Glasgow on Lufthansa -- SFO to Frankfurt; Frankfurt to Glasgow. I like the schedule for the flight from SFO, as it gives us time to get there from Sacramento on the day of the flight. Might have been a little out of the way, but it worked fine for us. We checked our bags (even though they would have fit in carry on) because we had hiking poles in them.