Use Bristol Airport in England, it is terrifically convenient if you are headed to southern England. Avoiding Heathrow’s delays and traffic and an endless ride from to London traffic makes it a pretty little airport. Add that Easy Jet flies direct routes back and forth from Faro, I love it, except for one tiny thing..
The Citizen and I were coming back home after his family reunion in the south of England. Breezed through security where everyone was ever so nice, but now my water bottle, contents dutifully poured out as drinking water and some shoes are always used for terrorists’ evil schemes. I was thirsty and looking for a refill before the long trip back home to Lagos. Didn’t find water fountains anywhere, lately airports have become aware that it would be kind to offer water refill stations after passengers go through security, this one hadn’t gotten the memo.
Then we wind through a maze of duty free to find the nearest bathroom. Stacks of Marlboros, Liquor and Swiss Chocolates scream for attention along with designer everything. The prices don’t seem different from what I’d pay for at home, but for some reason the duty free shops make me feel like I have to buy something, it’s somehow required. They must use the same strategies as casinos use to entice people to pull that one armed bandit as you try and walk out the door.
Successfully evading temptation we find a bathroom, the citizen (my partner in adventure) takes his turn first while I wait with the bags. My turn, the tap water was warm but better than nothing, after washing up I refilled and headed out the door. The citizen jumps up “You didn’t drink that did you?” he shouted anxiously. I was confused by his terror. Seemed there was a little sign I missed saying “Do Not Drink The Water”, or something like that. I went back to check, and yep there it was. Sadly, I poured out my warm water.
Checking the kiosks we found the cheapest bottle of water was 1.50 pounds (but it was charity water). That is 1.80 Euros or 2.50 U.S. Dollars, that’s a lot to pay when there isn’t a water fountain until you get to Portugal. There is an “Aspire Lounge” I could use it as I still have, from the dregs of my old life, my Priority Pass that gets me and a guest into selected airport lounges anywhere in the world. Since the “Aspire” is the only lounge at Bristol Airport, we would have had all the free water and snacks we wanted. I don’t want to “Aspire”, when I “aspired” it came with lots of perks, fabulous if you love making deals and playing by the rules, turned out I just want to fill up my water bottle and sit around the terminal. People should not have to “Aspire” to get a drink of water!
After asking around the citizen found a nice worker who directed him to an out of the way bathroom. It had hot and cold water; it also had the “Do Not Drink The Water” sign. The worker assured him the sign was meaningless, it was good English water, just like we had been drinking our entire visit. Three full bottles of nice cold water and my companion was back just as our gate was announced.
We can bring our snacks through security but no one can bring enough water in those sample shampoo sized bottles. Can you imagine what the security people would do if someone tried? You might just miss that plane. But they may give you a glass of water.
P.S. To be fair, I contacted the P.R. department for Bristol Airport as I was writing this story. Their return e-mail, and I quote follow
“As you would have noticed a number of development/improvement projects has taken place over the winter period at Bristol Airport including refurbishment of toilets in the terminal.
One of these projects is to install two new water drinking fountains (one in the departure lounge and one in the arrivals area) for use by all passengers. Although due to the scale of the other projects including the central walkway. The water fountains will not be available for use until next month.”
From this reply, if you are departing from Bristol Airport and don’t want to buy water, you will have to find the one bathroom in the corner with the hot and cold water taps until sometime in May 2014. Don’t worry; we never even got bit of a tummy ache.