New Automated Systems at Bristol Airport – Helpful or a Hinderance?

Travellers starting their journey from Bristol Airport recently will have noticed the trend at the airport to automate every part of your experience. We note the systems and services that are full or part-automated and give our views.

To ensure you get to Bristol Airport on time, relaxed and refreshed and ready to start your holiday consider a stress-free airport transfer with Travelbillity.

Bristol Airport: Automated Entry Doors

Like virtually every shopping mall, large office building or significant public building, Bristol Airports doors to enter the airport are fully automated. There are two doors, one marked for “Arrivals” and one for “Departures”. As the “Arrivals” door is nearest the drop-off carpark, the majority of people arriving at the airport use this door rather than the door the other end of the building designated for those departing. Travellers having processed through customs, naturally use this door as well. So although the doors are fully automated, this can be a stress point at the start of your holiday as you play “excuse me” and “bang the suitcases”. Smokers taking their last cigarette before entering the building and the desperate smokers just off a long plane flight create quite a crowd at this door as well, adding to the obstacle course.

Our advice: Start your holiday the way you mean to go on – taking it easy. Take the extra few minutes to walk down to the “departures” door and then back through the airport.

Bristol Airport: Automated Entry to Security

If you have checked-in from home and have your boarding pass on your phone or printed out, or you checked-in at the desk – as long as you have your boarding pass to hand as you approach security, it is easy to get through this automated system. Simply place the code to be scanned face down on the scanner and the gates open. If you do not have your boarding pass to hand, it is best to stand back and get the paperwork in order before approaching the barrier.

Our Advice: If you have your boarding pass to hand make your way up the escalator and through the barriers. If not to hand, why not sit in one of the coffee shops on the ground floor whilst you find it? You are starting a relaxing holiday after all. Remember, you do not need your passport to get into or through security.

Bristol Airport: Security

In years gone by trying to get through Bristol Airports security could be fairly stressful. Often, you could hear horror stories of taking over 90-minutes to get through. With the fairly new conveyor belt system, x-ray machines and body scanners the team at Bristol Airport have really sorted this issue out and, in the main, you will wait about 10 to 15 minutes to clear security.

To make this process easier for yourself, whilst in the queue think about what you need to put on the conveyor (in a plastic box/tray).

  • You should remove all metal items from your pockets
  • Liquids – less than 100ml and all liquids (this includes toiletries, perfumes, cosmetics and food) in a resealable clear see-through plastic bag (sometimes available at security for £1)
  • Remove the items you forgot you were wearing – belt, hats, sunglasses, watch etc.
  • All electrical items (laptops, phones, gaming machines, tablets, reading tablets) need to come out of your luggage and into a tray. The best practice is to also take out the leads, as a 3-pin plug at the wrong angle can look like a sharp instrument on the x-ray screen.

Once your bag has been through the x-ray machine it will take one of two paths. One leads back to you and the other to the Security Officer. This can be for two reasons. One, the x-ray operator has spotted something untoward in your case. This is where you remember you left a deodorant in the case! The second reason it goes to the Security Officer is for an “explosives wipe”. This is where the Security Officer uses a small piece of cloth to wipe areas around your case and then puts that cloth in a machine to test for traces of any explosives. The whole process takes about 30-seconds. Why was your bag chosen? Although not known officially, we have it on good authority that the bags are selected at random.

Our Advice – remember to keep those plastic bags as you will need them for the journey home. If a member of the security staff asks you to do something, like taking off your shoes, there isn’t a need to question the request – they are trying to keep the line moving and know what may set-off additional security.

Bristol Airport: Automated Bar

Hooray, you are through security and your holiday can begin! Security leads to the “Duty-Free” section and then into the main airport. There are a few shops on the ground floor, however, the bars and restaurants are on the upper floor.

If you haven’t been to Bristol Airport for a while, the first thing that may surprise you is that the queue at the bar is not the normal 8-deep of people trying to get a beverage. This is because the main bar has been automated. Find a seat at a table and a quick scan of the code on your table allows you to order and pay for your drinks, that will then be delivered to you. No need to queue at the bar. Not ready to start the holiday drinking? Check out other ways on how to pass the time at Bristol Airport.

Our Advice: This system is so efficient that often the serving staff are stood waiting for orders to come in. If the bar is fairly empty, you can still order drinks the “old fashioned” way at the bar itself and this is much quicker (although you will have to carry your own drinks).

Bristol Airport: Automated Burger King

There is any number of restaurants and food outlets where you can order food. The main “fast food” outlet, Burger King, is at the end of the airport. There are eight screens for you to make your order, pay and receive your collection number. Unfortunately, there is normally 1 or 2 not working or “locked out” and this can mean a queue forms to start your order. The serving counter is in two sections. If there is a member of staff on the left-hand side you may be quicker ordering there as this is the non-automated order point.

Our Advice: Listen out for the order number being called. Regardless of the number you are given the staff only call out the last two digits. So your order number “99943” becomes “43”

Bristol Airport: Automated Transfers

Although not technically automated the airport transfer service to Bristol Airport from Travelbillity may feel like it. Our professional driver will arrive when requested, load your bags into the vehicle for you, take you directly to the Bristol Airport (using their experience in getting around the traffic that can build-up at times) and get you to the start of your holiday, or business flight, with the time to spare. Stress-free arrival at the airport.

Vehicle Fleet Travelbillity

To find out more about our services for airport transfers to Bristol Airport from Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Cheddar, Portishead, Clevedon, Nailsea and all surrounding areas please telephone our friendly team on 01934 51 55 11