Airlines serving Edinburgh include Aer Arann, Aer Lingus, British Airways, British Midland, United, easyJet, flybe, KLM, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Air France, and Jet2.
A few transatlantic flights come through Edinburgh (United has service from Newark Liberty, near New York City). Except for these flights, you'll probably have to fly into Glasgow, 50 miles away. Ryanair and easyJet have sparked a major price war on the Anglo-Scottish routes. They offer unbeatable, no-frills airfares on routes connecting Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow International, Prestwick Airport (30 miles south of Glasgow), and London's major airports.
Edinburgh Airport, 7 miles west of the city center, offers only a few transatlantic flights, including seasonal service to and from Chicago by United Airlines. It does, however, have air connections throughout the United Kingdom—London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and City), Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Humberside, Jersey, Kirkwall (Orkney), Inverness, Leeds–Bradford, Manchester, Norwich, Sumburgh (Shetlands), Southampton, Wick, and Belfast (in Northern Ireland)—as well as with a number of European cities, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Cork, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Zurich. Flights bound for Edinburgh depart virtually every hour from London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
Glasgow Airport, 50 miles west of Edinburgh, serves as the major point of entry into Scotland for transatlantic flights. Prestwick Airport, 30 miles southwest of Glasgow, after some years of eclipse by Glasgow Airport, has grown in importance, not least because of the activities of Ryanair.
Edinburgh Airport (Glasgow Rd., Ingliston, EH12 9DN. 0844/481–8989. www.edinburghairport.com.)
Glasgow Airport (Caledonia Way, Paisley, PA3 2SW. 0844/481–5555. www.glasgowairport.com.)
Prestwick Airport (A79, Prestwick, KA9 2PL. 0871/223–0700. www.gpia.co.uk.)
There are no rail links to the city center, even though the airport sits between two main lines. By bus or car you can usually make it to Edinburgh in a half hour, unless you hit the morning (7:30 to 9) or evening (4 to 6) rush hours. Lothian Buses runs between Edinburgh Airport and the city center every 15 minutes daily from 9 to 5 and roughly every hour during off-peak hours. The trip takes about 40 minutes, or up to an hour during peak traffic times. A single-fare ticket costs £1.50. Lothian Buses runs an Airlink express service to Waverley Station via Haymarket that takes 25 minutes. Buses run every 10 minutes, and single-fare tickets cost £3.50. A new tram service to the airport, slated to debut in 2014, costs £4.50.
You can arrange for a chauffeur-driven limousine to meet your flight at Edinburgh Airport through Transvercia Chaffeur Drive, Little's Chauffeur Drive, or W L Sleigh Ltd., for about £50.
Taxis are readily available outside the terminal. The trip takes 20 to 30 minutes to the city center, 15 minutes longer during rush hour. The fare is roughly £22. Note that airport taxis picking up fares from the terminal are any color, not the typical black cabs.
Little's Chauffeur Drive (1282 Paisley Rd. W, Paisley, G52 1DB. 0141/883–2111. www.littles.co.uk.)
Transvercia Chaffeur Drive (6/19 Pilrig Heights, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 5BF. 0131/555–0459. www.transvercia.co.uk.)
W L Sleigh Ltd. (11A W. Craigs Ave., off Turnhouse Rd., Edinburgh, EH12 0BD. 0131/339–9607. www.sleigh.co.uk.)
Scottish Citylink buses leave Glasgow Airport and travel to Glasgow's Buchanan Street (journey time is 25 minutes), where you can transfer to an Edinburgh bus (leaving every 20 minutes). The trip to Edinburgh takes around two hours and costs £13.20 one-way. A far more pleasant option is to take a 20-minute cab ride from Glasgow Airport to Glasgow's Queen Street train station (about £20) and then take the train to Waverley Station in Edinburgh. Trains depart about every 30 minutes; the trip takes 50 minutes and costs £13 to £20. Another, less expensive alternative—best for those with little luggage—is to take the bus from Glasgow Airport to Glasgow's Buchanan bus station, walk five minutes to the Queen Street train station, and catch the train to Edinburgh. Taxis from Glasgow Airport to downtown Edinburgh take about 70 minutes and cost around £100.
Scottish Citylink (0871/2663333. www.citylink.co.uk.)