This flight took place during a trip in England and Scotland, and the flight to the U.K. is posted at MSN-CLE-LGW Continental 757 BusinessFirst (by MSNtriathlete Aug 27 2007 in Trip Reports).
31 August 2007
London City Airport is such a unique place. Literally on the water in Docklands, it seems you might end up taking a swim if you take a wrong step from the sidewalk. There are so many unique planes to see, as well, and to see them perform on that short runway is awesome!
Check-in at the BA counter was polite, friendly and efficient. This is an airport that prides itself on efficiency and boasts about being able to check in minutes before the flight for business travellers, and I can see why. Security took about two minutes, with what seemed like all the normal precautions and no rushing or carelessness.
The lounge area at LCY looks like it hasn't been updated since the 1980s. Chairs are packed in, probably due to the explosive growth the airport has seen, and the entire place reeked of Jet-A fuel. Nonetheless, the spotting was awesome! Since the planes lift off right outside the lounge windows when using runway 28, the photo opportunities are fantastic.
Boarding was called about 30 minutes prior to departure. We were all escorted to a gate-area (cramped for all 100 of us) down on ground-level, then boarded the plane from there via airstairs at the front and back of the plane.
The interior plane hadn't been updated since the 1980s, either! Wow, can BA really pack 'em in! This was 6-abreast seating with what seemed like 28" pitch. My partner and I (I'm 6' and broad-shouldered; he's 6'2) were plastered against each other, barely able to move. This felt tighter than the 2-seat side of the ERJ. Fortunately, no one was in the middle seat, so we got to spread out. My only experience on 146/ARJ aircraft prior to this was on Northwest Airlink/Mesaba, where the 66-seat layout is super-roomy even in coach, and United Express/Air Wisconsin, which was all-coach but still 5-abreast. This was far less roomy, but perhaps necessary for profits, given the operating economics of the 146.
Customer service was fantastic. The FA's came to the women with babies nearby and advised them that if they needed baby food warmed up, or a serving of warm milk, to just ring them. Wow, we don't hear that in the U.S.! The safety demo was much more thorough and less candy-coated than when travelling in the U.S. We had a chatty captain, which was wonderful.
We back-taxied on rwy 10-28, then effortlessly took off from that short runway the way the 146 was meant to. Wow! We had a scenic climb-out over London, then over the clouds the rest of the way to Edinburgh.
On this 1hr midday flight, complimentary sandwiches were served...what a surprise! The FAs hustled to get approx 100 sandwiches served, followed by drinks. By the time drinks were handed out in the back of the cabin, we were on the way in to EDI.
A word on seating for those who have never been on a 146/ARJ: If you're in the first couple of rows, you're ahead of the engines and have a good view. From that point until the back of the wing, all you see is engine and a little ground. The overhead bins under the wing are about half the height of the others. Behind the wing, the view is good (although minimally blurred in spots by engine exhaust), and the overhead bins are big again, and for enthusiasts, you get to see the huge flaps and spoilers, so the back of the plane is definitely a safe bet.
Landing in Edinburgh was scenic, with the approach right over the Firth of Forth. Baggage was very quick.
Overall, this was a fun, unique flight with great service. The only thing I can knock are the tiny seats.
Next leg of the trip is EDI-EWR-MSN on CO...