Planes, Planes and Planes. Three regional airports serving Brittany

Travel in Brittany is a totally different experience. Roads are well maintained with easy direct routes and no tolls. Traffic is not an issue and driving can be a pleasure. But beware, don’t relax on your speed awareness. It is SO easy to slip over the speed limit to acquire a penalty or two ….like I did last month.

However, I’d like to share the experience of our local airports and flights. We are only 30 minutes from Brest Airport and 2.5 hours from Rennes and Dinard Airports. These three local airports are to Heathrow and Gatwick what the friendly corner shop is to an impersonal oversized, over-rated superstore. They are friendly faced and not “in-your-face” and as passengers you are treated as individuals.

I measure these airports simply, on their customer services, their facilities and appearance. It’s my rough guide. When I describe Brest Airport as being slightly bigger than Rennes, which is in turn slightly bigger than Dinard Airport, I am comparing simply what I see as a passenger, nothing technical or statistical.

Its difficult to say this without a smile, but……. “Brest is small and perfectly formed”.…. Still after two and a half years living in Brittany, the childish puns using the name of this local city have yet to stop.

Brest Airport’s modern, chic terminal building is spacious and bright, spotlessly clean and never crowded with a feel of calm and efficiency. Just a few small discrete shops, coffee-shop, car hire etc and parking is quite close to the main terminal building.

I can describe Rennes Airport as “just a little smaller but also perfectly formed” with one shop and one coffee shop therefore, fewer opportunities to spend money but also smart, calm, spacious and efficient. Plenty of parking is available immediately outside the terminal building with quick access.

Dinard Airport is my personal favourite. If an airport can be cute, this is it. I drove to Dinard Airport for the first time the other week. There are no visible signs of airport to be seen from the road and no apparent overhead traffic for clues. A small road sign casually directed me down little more than a country lane, at the end of which the “even smaller, cute and perfectly formed” Dinard Airport could be found.

That was it. Simple. What you see is what you get. Like a large, well equipped coach station. The building has a dual purpose in/ out door, a car hire kiosk, toilets, refreshments and not much else. Staff and the passengers chat and look like they all know each other. Just like the other two airports you enter the building from the car park and leave the building on the opposite side to reach your plane and vice versa. No queues, corridors, tunnels or escalators.

At Dinard the smiley lady at the only check-in desk guided me to Gate 2 (a door next to her) at which point I’m sure she dashed behind the screen to the other side to become the boarding-pass lady. Dinard Airport is not chic, but the usual security checks took place with no time wasting; car parking is reasonably priced and all was friendly and efficient.

My flight left Dinard five minutes early and arrived at East Midlands Airport nearly 30 minutes early. Impressive! quaintly tidy and the scene reminded me of children playing a well organised game of let’s pretend.

Claire Gregory

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