Advantages Cool, Clean, Plenty of seats in departures, Ideal size.
Disadvantages Cramped Car Park can be like a Maze!
|Is it worth visiting?|
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Costa Blanca landing strip
No matter how many times I fly to Spain, my first impression of Alicante airport is always "I didn't expect it to be this warm" as inevitably disembarking from the aircraft involves walking accross the tarmac to the arrivals hall and I start to peel off the layers that have protected me from the in-flight air-con on the way from the UK!The arrivals hall at Alicante is fairly simple with about 6 luggage belts, loos, plenty of trolleys and an bureau de change. Baggage arrival time seems on a par with most tourist airports to me.
About a dozen car rental desks are located along the corridor that you pass through from the arrivals hall to the main part of the airport. Car's can be hired on spec, however it is always much cheaper to research prices on-line prior to your trip and book in advance, even if it's just 48 hours before.Queues can take a long time for car rental, so my top tip is that if only one of you is driving then that person should go and sort out the car while the other(s) collect their luggage for them.
If you are on a package holiday or property inspection visit, you will usually find your tour rep or guide waiting for you immediately outside the exit to the arrivals hall. Tour buses are then usually parked in special slots immediately outside the airport.Normal Buses and Taxi's can also be caught immediately outside the airport.
I usually hire a car, and have done so through many different companies at Alicante and so far they have ALL had the vehicles on-site, so it's simply over the road into the car park to collect the car and away you go. The car park is a bit compact and when combined with driving an unfamiliar car in a new place, this first part of your onward journey can be a bit nerve wracking, however on the plus side, it will make the rest of your stay seem like plain sailing!When departing from Alicante airport, the Check-in hall usually offers a nice cool retreat from the heat of the spanish sun. There is just the one terminal with about 30 check-in desks however they are all in a straight row so not too difficult to find the right one - unlike say gatwick which has lots of different "zones". There are also several displays with flight info including check-in desk and gate details.
If travelling independantly on a summer charter flight, inevitably you will find a massive queue of package holiday makers waiting to check in before you, who arrived en-masse by coach 3 hours before departure. However, if you are using a scheduled(including budget) airline, it's usually not so bad. I also find that often a single queue seems to form for 2 or 3 desks, so it although looks long, it moves quite quickly. I invariably find that I have to move out of the way of someone with a supersized mop cleaning the floor every time I queue to check-in!Also in the check-in hall are some "last minute ticket" outlets, although I've never used one so can't comment on their prices.
Once you have checked-in then it's up the escalator or lift upstairs, where there's a paper shop (with international papers) and a cafe, just before the entrance to the departure lounge.If you are a smoker, there is also a tabocconist here, which I have ALWAYS found to be cheaper than the "Duty Free" shop inside departures. It's only small, with a hatch-like opening, but it is one of those with the brown sign as found throughout Spain. However, I think it opens as per other tabacs, so is closed for siesta/sundays etc, so dont rely on it being open!
Inside departures, the number of shops has grown over recent years, although in all honesty I consider these as being something to pass the time rather than to shop in, as prices are typically about 25-50% higher than local supermarket prices. There is a fairly large "duty free" gift shop (although obviously it's not when travelling between Spain/UK), a music shop, a small selection of clothes and jewellery outlets, childrens shop (possibly Disney?), another newsagents and a shop selling typical spanish foods and drinks.For food and drink there is a self service cafe, a Haagen Daaz (mmmmmmm!!) concession, Burger King and an 'english style' pub which also serves meals and snacks. Be aware that if you have a night-time (or very early morning) flight that everything except maybe the cafe is closed by 11pm.
There is plenty of seating in the departure lounge, which is situated lengthways along the building, with panoramic views over the runway!When boarding your flight, all the gates are within the same hall, so no worries about a 20 minute dash from the bar to the plane! Planes are usually accessed direct from the building for departure.
Personally, I have experienced only one delay of more the 30 minutes in 10 years of using Alicante. This was for just 2 hours and was due to additional baggage checks just 3 days after the 9/11 attrocity, so understandable.In comparrison to UK airports, I would say that in terms of size and layout it's falls between East Midlands and Birmingham
With cheap flights available from all over Europe including most UK regional airports and within an hours transfer of some diverse parts of the Costa Blanca, its an airport that suitable for all sorts of travellers.
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