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Glasgow International Airport, located seven miles from Glasgow city centre, is Scotland’s west coast gateway to its scenic beauties and historic towns. It’s the eighth busiest of the UK’s airports and the country’s premier international air hub. The M8 motorway runs south of the complex, giving easy access to the city and Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and buses run to the city. The fastest trip is by hire car, particularly if touring Scotland is on the holiday agenda.
Who to Book With
Car hire companies at Glasgow International Airport include international firms Avis, National, Alamo, Hertz, Budget and Europcar. All of the car rental suppliers have offices on the first floor, close to the car park link bridge. Further car hire desks are found in the Domestic Baggage Reclaim hall.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- Your driver’s licence
- The credit card which was used to make the reservation
- Your passport or a utility bill to confirm your ID
- Confirmation of booking
The UK drives on the left and most hire cars use manual transmission. If you prefer automatic, you should specify this at reservation. In the Scottish Highlands and on the islands, road signage is mostly dual-language (English and Scottish Gaelic), but signs on remote rural roads may only use Gaelic. Speed limits are clearly marked, with 70mph the rule on motorways and dual carriageways, 60mph on major rural roads and 30mph on town and city roads. Other speed limits are clearly marked. Road conditions are good, local drivers are courteous and city parking is normally by pay-and-display or metered roadside parking. A warning triangle is required to be carried in the car, seatbelts must be worn by driver and all passengers, and most petrol stations accept credit cards.
For a fast getaway from the airport, pre-booked self-drive is the answer, with the journey to Glasgow taking around 20 minutes in normal traffic conditions. Trains run directly from Paisley Gilmour Street Station, a mile away. First 500's Affordable Glasgow Shuttle offers luxury buses 24 hours, with the trip to the city taking up to 40 minutes. Taxis are available but cost around £20 to central Glasgow.
Paisley Gilmour Street Station, located a mile from Glasgow International Airport, is accessible within minutes by local bus number 66 or taxi. The line runs to Glasgow Central Station as well as to Clyde and Ayr. From Glasgow Central, ScotRail trains run to Edinburgh and northern destinations. Glasgow’s subway system encircles the city centre and inner suburbs, with around a £1.40 flat fare or unlimited daily travel at around £3.80.
Several licensed taxi companies are based at Glasgow International Airport, offering a 24-hour service at local set rates or agreed rates for long journeys. Pick-up points are in both car parks, and urban fares are set by Glasgow’s transport authority.
Glasgow International Airport to Glasgow city centre is about £20
Glasgow International Airport to Edinburgh is about £100
Glasgow International Airport to St Andrews is about £140
Glasgow International Airport to Loch Lomond is about £40
A direct link to the city centre is provided by the First 500 Glasgow Shuttle, which is operated by FirstGroup. Services run every 10 minutes 24 hours. The trip takes around 35 minutes, dependent on time of day, and the wheelchair-accessible buses feature free Wi-Fi internet access. Tickets can be bought from the driver, costing £5 one way. FirstGroup 747 AirLink buses head to the city center via Refrew, Partick and Charing Cross districts, and McGill’s 66 buses run to Paisley Gilmour Street Railway Station for rail access to Glasgow. Select Glasgow hotels provide airport shuttles.
Glasgow International Airport’s passenger facilities are split between an extended terminal building, an add-on international departures lounge and a satellite building dedicated to check-in desks for charter airline Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus. The entire construction holds three piers: the international West Pier, the Central Pier serving domestic flights and the low-cost carrier East Pier, hosting flights to Ireland and the Scottish islands. Total annual passenger throughput is three million.
There are long- and short-stay car parks on the complex, with disabled persons’ parking bays located closest to the terminal. Short-stay car parks are within walking distance, and a 10-minute stay drop-off/pick-up point is found opposite the terminal entrance. Long-stay car parks are a five-minute journey from the terminal by courtesy coach, and a meet-and-greet valet parking service can be booked. Car parking charges range from around £3 per day to around £40 for two weeks’ long stay.
Complimentary Wi-Fi internet access is available across the terminal and in the airport lounges.
Information desks are found adjacent to Books Co on the first-floor main concourse and in the main check-in area.
Service Centre: +44 141 842 7607
Call Centre: +44 844 481 5555
Access for disabled travellers includes dedicated parking zones with wheelchair access to the terminal, two seating areas with low-level flight information screens, a help phone and seats with arm rests. Unisex accessible washroom facilities are provided and help points are found in the car parks, the reserved seating areas and the check-in hall. Hearing aid-adapted payphones and clear signage assist visually- or aurally-impaired passengers.
Restaurants and Bars
A good choice of bars, coffee shops and restaurants is offered, set in all areas of the terminal. Starbucks and Café Nero are found before the security gates, and the Italian restaurant Frankie and Benny’s is open before security between 07:00 and 22:00. For a good breakfast, try the Drum and Monkey Pub in the Departures lounge, and world-famous Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips can be found before the security gates.
Sky Lounge Business Wing
Money and ATMs
Travelex currency exchange facilities are found in the International Arrivals hall and the Domestic Arrivals hall on the ground floor, with ATMs located before and after security. On the first floor, Amex and Travelex are located on the main concourse and in the International Departures area.
Shopping options are found both before and after security, and include a wide range of duty-free goodies in the International Departures lounge. For upscale fashion, Brands by Collezione stocks famous name goods from Boss, Diesel, Ted Baker and more at 15 per cent discounts over high street prices. Boots’ selection of beauty aids and pharmaceutical items, Lacoste’s fashions and a Dorothy Perkins branch are found after security.