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Luton Airport: Where dreams go to die

Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Photo courtesy of cacophonyx

When I'm flying back into Ireland, I prefer to go with Aer Lingus. It's always more expensive than Ryanair, but I can fly from Gatwick which makes my life an awful lot easier (as well as saving me money and time on the train). It's also just a more pleasant experience in general.

But for my last trip back on Sunday, I had no choice but to fly with Ryanair from Luton Airport. Well, I could have flown with Aer Lingus, but I didn't have a spare £200 lying around. Plus, my lovely dad had said that he'd drive me the two hours up there, which makes it all a lot easier.

We left in true Brady style with hours to spare, getting into Luton around 2.5 hours before my departure. I don't see my dad that often, so we wanted to go and get some breakfast together, seeing as we were so early. We thought it would be safer to park up at the airport, rather than go into the town, assuming that it would be... trying. Turns out that it costs an arm and a leg to park anywhere near the airport. I mean, I wasn't expecting it to be be cheap, but £7.50 for a second over 30 minutes seems pretty dear to me, especially when the terminal is still a five minute walk away. You can park in the medium length car park, but you have to take a bus. A bus! And it's still expensive.

So I didn't get to eat with my dad. Instead, I stood in a queue for Ryanair bag drop for 40 minutes. Considering they have numerous flights out of Luton every day, one would assume that opening more than two desks might be a good idea. After a 40 minute wait, in one queue that snaked out to form two at the end, someone went up to the one labelled 'Knock' and asked if people flying there could just come up, rather than forming a gigantic line as we'd previously been told. Turns out that yes. Yes you can. Cue a murmur of fury from various people dotted throughout the group as they made their way forward, realising that the wait had been in vain.

God, Luton is a hole. It really is just a woeful airport. And apparently the town itself is worse. Just pay the extra and go to Gatwick. Jesus, even Stansted is better.

Though I will say this - they have a Krispy Kreme. One (or three) of these donuts will almost, almost make up for the misery you have to live through.

If you are flying into Luton, then check out www.easybus.co.uk The trains into town can be pretty expensive, and the train station is a shuttle bus away. I booked my bus ticket two days before my arrival, and it wizzed me into Earl's Court for £1. It took the same time as the train would have, for a fraction of the cost.

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