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Expensive flights - crazy to fly through Belfast?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland in July with an itinerary starting in Ayr and ending in Edinburgh. Our dates are pretty inflexible. Unfortunately, we obviously shouldn't have procrastinated about purchasing our airline tickets as the price from Portland, Oregon to either Glasgow or Edinburgh has gone up substantially since I last checked.

Searching for fares, Belfast keeps popping up as a "close location" (and $300 per ticket less expensive) option. Is it crazy to fly to Belfast and then plan on taking a train/bus/ferry to Scotland, adding time but potentially saving money? $600 is not a make or break amount for us, but it would lead to some accommodations upgrades. :)


Posted by
5678 posts

It depends on how you value the time. If you fly into Glasgow, you'll be in Edinburgh within 2.5 hours. It's 6 pounds to take the bus to the railway station. I am not sure it would take you much longer to get to Ayr. And, you should compare the prices of the ferry, taxi's bus etc.

Someone else may know the best way to get from the airport to the ferry, but I didn't spot a direct bus, so it might be a taxi, or a bus to city centre followed by a walk or a taxi. The ferry goes to Cairnryan. It's close to 2.5 hours on the Ferry. The cost that I saw was from 22 to 30 pounds. It may go down if you buy in advance, but make sure you leave time for late arrival...The bus ride from Cairnryan is 2 hours 45 minutes up to over 3 hours. These buses do not run every hour. I didn't see a price, but I bet it's not too bad Check City Link. You can probably take a taxi to the railway station, but I think you may have to go up to Glasgow and back down to Ayr. So, I think it takes you a minimum of 8 hours. I'd love to see other estimates. :)

If it were me, I would fly to Glasgow. But I'm not the one paying and you may decide that the journey is part of the vacation and you love and adore ferries. I think it's the bus ride at the other end that might put me off.


Posted by
2081 posts


since this is your first trip, think of the $$ and time you may waste? as a learning experience. It may not make you happy, but you will learn from it and when you return, hopefully will do things differently.

just an for your info (fyi) and for what its worth (fwiw), i use Amsterdam (AMS) as my hub since they offer direct flights there. Its about 10 hours from Portland (PDX) and you end up in AMS around 0830 local time. I usually hop on a puddle jumper to somewhere else from there.

since you already bought your tickets, it wont help you but if you choose to go back it may. Some people dont want to spend 10 hours on a plane, but on my first trip over there i went the "cheap" route and it cost me an addition 6 hours in wasted time and 2 extra stops in airports. you will have to weigh the cost/benefit for you.

try using and or for the local puddle jumpers. you can also look at the regional airlines websites too. Just so you know, some of those regional/puddle jumpers dont allow your larger baggage inside and will make you check it in and may charge you for it.

good luck in your trip.

happy trails.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much for all the thoughtful replies! We decided time was more valuable than money in this instance and booked to Edinburgh instead of Belfast. So excited for our trip! Thanks again!