A look inside Cardiff Airport’s new Departures Lounge

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When I was a kid, my mum used to take me to Cardiff Airport to watch the planes take off. My brother and sister and I had never been on a plane before, so watching them shoot down the runway and soar high into the sky was quite an experience for us. Now, at the ripe old age of 26, I’ve been on eight plane journeys in total but despite Cardiff Airport being my closest airport, I’ve still never flown from there.

It’s no secret that Cardiff Airport hasn’t had the best reputation to-date; it’s much smaller than other UK airports and is commonly associated with a lack of flight destinations, expensive fares (the main reason I haven’t flown from here) and poor public transport connections.

However, since being purchased by the Welsh Government just over three years ago, the airport has started working with more airlines and offering an increased number of routes. The airport now works with Flybe, KLM, Ryanair, Vuleing, Aer Lingus and Air Malta to offer 50 direct routes, and over 900 long-haul destinations accessible via seven hubs including Amsterdam , Barcelona and Dublin. 

In addition, on a recent visit to Cardiff Airport to check out the revamped Departure Lounge, I was pleased to learn that the airport is working to reduce its fares and has enjoyed considerable passenger growth over the past year. I managed to get from Cardiff city centre to Cardiff Airport within just 30 minutes by hopping on the Cardiff Airport Express Bus Service, T9. The service runs every 20 minutes, seven days a week, and tickets start from £5.

Going through the security checks at Cardiff Airport was much, much quicker than it has been at any other airport I’ve flown from; it probably took under 10 minutes – and that’s no exaggeration!

The new Departure Lounge has injected life into the terminal at Cardiff Airport, featuring a brand new bar and restaurant – The Beer House – as well as a newly refurbished Caffe Ritazza. 

The Beer House, Cardiff Airport

The Beer House has been launched in connection with SSP, a leading operator of food and beverage brands in  global travel destinations, including hundreds of airports and railway stations. The menu showcases the best of Welsh food produce, while the bar stocks local beers from the likes of Tiny Rebel Brewery and Brains. 

Bar at Cardiff Airport

I was lucky enough to sample some of the delicious food from The Beer House’s menu. Pictured below (from left-right) is the battered calamari, lamb kofta and feta skewers, and barbecue pulled pork buns. We also got to try some seriously more-ish Welsh rarebit and, my personal favourite, king prawn and chorizo skewers (these were obviously very good, as they didn’t last long enough for me to get a decent photo!)

Food at Cardiff Airport

Whereas The Beer House serves main course meals, Caffe Ritazza is the ideal go-to for a freshly brewed coffee and perhaps a light snack. Inspired by Italian cafe culture, the cafe offers a range of sandwiches, paninis, wraps, pastries, crisps and more.

Cafe Ritazza, Cardiff Airport

Cafe Ritazza, Cardiff Airport

We tasted some of the chilled drinks on Caffe Rittazza’s menu, including a strawberry and white chocolate milkshake, a tropical smoothie and an Oreo milkshake. These were so tasty and refreshing; the perfect pick-me-up for when you’re travelling in hot weather.

Smoothies at Cafe Ritazza, Cardiff Airport

I was pleasantly surprised by my visit to Cardiff Airport; it didn’t take me forever to get there, going through security was a breeze, the Departures Lounge is very modern and welcoming and, going by the samples I tasted, the food in The Beer House is top notch. I will definitely give more consideration to flying from Cardiff next time I book a flight, although route availability and cost will still be the ultimate deciding factors for me. 

Have you ever flown from Cardiff Airport? What did you think of it?

I was invited to Cardiff Airport as a guest and my food and drink was provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to review my visit.

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  1. June 9, 2016 / 11:48 am

    I used to watch the plane’s there as a kid too :D.

    I’ve not flew from Cardiff in years – wow, what a transformation!

    • June 12, 2016 / 5:14 pm

      It was quite nostalgic being back there 🙂 It’s looking great there now!

  2. Derek Allinson
    June 13, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    Don’t share your enthusiasm seems like the beer garden has taken preference and staff continued to serve customers who were clearly intoxicated and who were then disruptive on the flight.
    Not an area that is welcoming to families with children.

    • June 25, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at Cardiff Airport; I’m not sure what you mean by beer garden, do you mean The Beer House restaurant/bar? I didn’t see any intoxicated customers during my visit, but I was only there for a couple of hours. I think a lot of passengers like to have a drink when they fly, and some can get a little rowdy, especially when there are sporting games on like the Euros, and I’m sure this problem isn’t unique to Cardiff Airport either.