sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1576 posts, RR: 30 Posted (3 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7380 times:
Hi all & welcome to my next story!
I live in a suburban town in the vicinity of Antwerp, Belgium’s 2nd largest city. Antwerp is located app 40 km’s from Brussels, the capital. Like any itself respecting city, Antwerp has it’s own (little) airport. Besides being used for business flights and leisure flights, it also has 2 international scheduled services to London City (up to 5 daily) and Manchester (up to 2 daily), operated by CityJet on Fokker 50 aircraft. Pricing starts from € 69 all incl one way to LCY and € 59 all incl one way to MAN, so pretty good value if you ask me. In surplus, ANR airport is easily reachable by public transport from my home and it has short checkin times (25 mins beforehand are enough!). Having never flown from this airport before I built a trip which would take me from Antwerp to Brussels, not by highway, but on a detour by the ‘high way’.
The first leg was quickly decided: ANR-MAN on CityJet’s F50. A little search got me to FlyBE and I decided to book MAN-SOU on FlyBE’s E195 and SOU-BRU on FlyBE’s Q400/8. In all: 2 new carriers, 3 new aiports, 3 new aircraft types and as a consequence 3 new reg’s! If everything work’s out, I should be back in Brussels around 1pm, allowing me to go to work in the afternoon.
So let’s see how it all went:
I got up at 5.40am to catch the 6.09am bus to ANR. It was still dark and after a 15 min ride I found myself in front of the terminal building of ANR airport. Not much to see actually, it was still dark so that did not help either.
Apron views are not possible outside but I managed to squeeze my camera in between a fence
The check-in area seen from outside
A view on the main hall and the exit from arrivals & bagage claim
As I had checked in online the day before I immediately went through security and border control, which was a breeze. The FIDS draw my attention with the word ‘delay’ on it, lucky for me it was the 7am flight to LCY which was affected… I got myself a seat in the holding area next to the window and with a view on the apron.
A view on the apron with 2 F’50’s on stand
10 mins before the scheduled departure time the gate agents turned up and boarding commenced right away. As I walked up to the aircraft on the way I counted 4 CityJet F50’s on stand.
Our plane, bound for MAN
Boarding was completed in minutes, very impressive.
Flight: AF5240 (operated by CityJet)
Reg: OO-VLI (named ‘City of Eindhoven’)
STD-STA (flighttime): 07h20-07h55 (1h35)
The load appeared OK, some 60% and mainly business travellers. Once in my seat, I found it to be very narrow. Lucky for me, I had 2 seats for myself so extra room to stretch out. One annoying thing was the low positioning of the windows, I had to bend over for a proper look and the proximity of the seat in front made my head toch it. So not very comfortable.And the person in front reclining his seat did not make things easier… Next time I choose the bulkhead 3c/d, they looked better to look outside.
Initial view from seat 4a
After a welcome from the cockpit and the engines were switched on and the giant propeller blades started to make revs. At 7.20am we taxied out to runway 29 for takeoff.
We taxied half on the taxiway and entered the runway in it’s half and backtracked all the way to the departing point.
Liftoff with apron view
‘Antwerpse ring’ motorway
We climbed quickly into and above the murkiness. That was one bad thing about today, the weather was not good…
Ski slopes above Belgium
After a while, the attendants came round with food and drink which is complimentary on CityJet, I chose a smoked turkey sandwich and 2 cups of lemon tea. After that I popped in my custom made earplugs (I always do when I fly) and had a look at the inflight magazine which was too business orientated for my liking. After 1h20 of flying the pilot announced ‘landing in 10 minutes’ and the cabin was prepared for arrival into MAN.
Weather clearing up a bit
Landing gear popping out
On short finals
Welcome to MAN!
We landed on runway 23R and quickly vacated the taxiway. After a long taxi we came to a halt on a stand at terminal 3.
Arriving on stand
After deboarding and some steps to the terminal building I found myself inside terminal 3.
One last shot, our F50 going back to ANR in a while
Next mission: on to the next flight without any further due! So off I went, following the transfer signs. I had to be in terminal 3 again so I expected a smooth and fast transfer since I already arrived at terminal 3. Boy, was I wrong! I will not bother you with the details but the experience was quite a hassle. And since I had a transfer time of only 55 mins I got quite nervous in the end! So just in time I arrived at gate 147, a packed area looking a bit like a dungeon with lots of other gates and lots of other passengers. Where am I, is this a modern airport?
Anyway, the flight was called for boarding 2 mins after my arrival there so my timing appeared perfect
I walked outside to the ‘scheduled’ E195 but to my surprise there was a Q400/8 on stand.
The not-so-expected-but-nevertheless-welcome Q400/8.
Hmm, hopefully not twice the Q400/8 then today. I was the first to board and asked the jolly attendant about the equipment change. She indeed said the flight was to be operated by the E195 but a last minute operational issue made for a change. Well nothing to do about that… Since the door was open I asked for a cockpit photo after the flight. The pilot overhearing our conversation kindly invited me in and told me that I could stay there until boarding was complete. Great! After the photo was taken and some chit chat I thanked them for their time and went to my seat. Seat comfort was very good, legroom was nice and the overall cramped feeling I had in the F50 was not present here. Well done FlyBE & Q400. The load was about 50%.
The captain came on with some info about flight time and expectew weather conditions and at about 5 mins after SDT, the engines spooled into life and we left our parking position on the way for runway 23L.
Pushing back giving me a view on a company E195, well maybe some other time then?
Nice surprise, City Airlines to GOT
Haven't seen this one before either, AirSouthwest Q300/8 to ?
The 2 FlyBE types waiting in for takeoff
Finally our turn
We rocketed off into the skies, the takeoff was really powerful. I never experienced that on a prop before.
Prop in action while climbing out of MAN
After a while we were above the clouds and as expected the weather was not the best: an all white blanket was spread out underneath us. The crew sprung into action for the BOB service while I just sat back and enjoyed the flight. After about 35 mins we started our descent towards SOU airport. It took a while before we broke through the clouds again and when we did I could see we were coming in from over sea and over Southampton's harbour.
Descending into SOU
After touchdown on runway 02 , we turned on the runway at about halfway and taxied into our stand.
They are waiting for us!
While walking to the terminal, another E195 came in associated with a lot of noise!
Arrival into SOU was painless, as wel as the transfer to the departures area again. What a contrast to my bad experience in MAN. It took me under 10 mins to get back to the departure area. SOU is a really small airport, mainly used by FlyBE. It is very relaxed and I liked it a lot. About 20 mins after my arrival at the gate, boarding was called for the flight to BRU. And guess what: we were directed to an E195 which made me very excited.
...and all other passengers boarding via the front stairs of course...
I took my seat in 29D and was positively surprised about the overall comfort: wide enough slimline seats, good legroom and clean. That's how we like it don't we? Load factor was about 40%, so not very good but normally this service is performed by the Q400/8 so that would give a better load factor.
View outside, FlyBE all around
The captain did his welcome speech and we pushed back on schedule.
Pushing back, the Cobus has to wait of course
Going the wrong direction?
Apparently not, turning around on the threshold of runway 02
THAT is the right direction!
After a short takeoff roll we lifted into the overcast skies above SOU
Climbing out of SOU
Here again, skies were pitch white all the way into BRU
Mind the winglet
After about 40 mins and a series of twists & turns we came on finals for BRU
And touchdown on time on 25L
Terminal B in the far distance
We taxied past the old satellite terminal to a remote stand
Nice looking ATR
Coming to a halt next to this nice neighbour
We disembarked through the front door, me getting off last I asked for a quick snap of the cockpit which was kindly granted by the captain again. Many thanks for that and a great end of this half day of flying.
AlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7229 times:
Good to read your story and hear of you passing through my local airport of MAN. Its a shame you didn't find your time there a pleasurable one. My journeys either start or end there so I can't comment on the transfer procedures.
Interesting to note your flight from ANR with CityJet. The F50 is missing from my log so i might take some ideas from this.
In fact my next flight is with flyBe on the MAN-SOU route. The flight is scheduled to operate with a Dash-8 so lets see?
Glad you enjoyed the E-195. A nice aircraft in my books and I like the cabin colours flyBe use here.
BrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7122 times:
Cool little daytrip with a nice report.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): Having never flown from this airport before I built a trip which would take me from Antwerp
I did the exact same thing at the end of August (report on this forum). ANR left me with the impression of a small, basic, slightly outdated yet efficient airport. It is however seriously constrained by its short runway and its urban location. I used the CityJet F50 service to LCY and found the aircraft reasonably comfortable, and the inflight service very good (granted, those low windows aren't exactly the most convenient).
I've flown on FlyBe's Q400's a couple of times and I think they do a good job connecting the UK's secondary airports with (often) cheap fares.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): I should be back in Brussels around 1pm, allowing me to go to work in the afternoon
Now that's ambitious. Did you manage to go to work in the afternoon ?
MH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1669 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7011 times:
Nice TR, Nils !!! Just too bad the weather sucked both in Belgium and the UK: no views till just before touchdown
You could check your registrations on both your cockpit-photos: if you enlarge them on your PC, you might well see them: on the F50 it shows on the auto-pilot panel of the cockpit and the E195 is just behind the yoke: G-FBED
Good to read you've enjoyed the F50: not many around Europe anymore, eversince KLM cityhopper withdrew them - I think Cityjet is the only one in Western-Europe now, operating passenger flights...
The E195 is a great aircraft !!! At KLM cityhopper, both the crew-, operational-staff and, above all, the passengers really do like the aircraft You should try them once from AMS too...
Thanks a lot for sharing; the route was similar to the one I took in 1973, although that was on board OO-SCA from Deurne to Zaventem with an airtime of 12 minutes and flying at 2000 feet
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4207 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7002 times:
nice report. VLM (Cityjet) is nice, agree on the comfort of F50's. The windows are positioned too low indeed, but for the short hops not a real problem. I wonder, do you have no pictures of the catering on this ANR-MAN flight? And, you say you choosed a turkey sandwich. Was there a choice actually, because that would be new to me.
Congrats to fly all 3 types that day at least, about the registration of your Q400 flight: why not zoom in on your original image to get a view on the registration, you should be able to read it off in that way.
ANR is not featured often in tripreports, this is maybe even the first time. I never used the airport myself, although it's so close to my country and I'm in Antwerp pretty regularly myself. Oh well, I've RTM also with a good amount of Cityjet/VLM/AF-KL flights
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
Quoting Carfield (Reply 8): Does Cityjet maintain the old VLM service using real cup and glasses for drinks?
Nope, they use paper cups.
Quoting Carfield (Reply 8): Does it still offer those nice chocolates after the snack service?
To my delight: YES
Quoting Carfield (Reply 8): Also is it difficult to reach Antwerp Airport from Brussels Airport or central station?
No that's not too difficult: at BRU you take the train to 'Brussels Centraal' station, change train to Antwerp, get off at 'Antwerp-Berchem' station and take bus 14 which drops you off right before the 'departures' door at ANR! It'll cost you about € 8 and app 1h30 of time (without delays).
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3037 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5633 times:
Thank you so much for this trip report! I just spent the last day and a half looking for a trip away in April, and just ended up booking a flight LCY-ANR-LCY. Cityjet looks good! Lucky you managed to get both your E-jet and Q400 on your FlyBe flights.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5295 times:
Thanks for this nice report about your quick morning trip. I flew VLM when it was still VLM and not CityJet and was very positively impressed by the service. Hope they will still keep some of the good service.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): aving never flown from this airport before I built a trip which would take me from Antwerp to Brussels, not by highway, but on a detour by the ‘high way’.
Well, flying domestically in Belgium is a bit difficult so I guess you have to resort to detours via another country .
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): I should be back in Brussels around 1pm, allowing me to go to work in the afternoon.
Hey, I like this idea! I have done some quick trips before going to the office, but never on this extent.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): I had to be in terminal 3 again so I expected a smooth and fast transfer since I already arrived at terminal 3. Boy, was I wrong! I will not bother you with the details but the experience was quite a hassle.
Welcome to the UK - airport transfers there are rarely smooth, mainly thanks to the local regulations having everyone on intl to domestic connections having to be rescreened.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): I walked outside to the ‘scheduled’ E195 but to my surprise there was a Q400/8 on stand.
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): Pushing back giving me a view on a company E195, well maybe some other time then?
Hey, that's nice! Good thing that it worked out in the end and you got both types. I've yet to fly the E195 with any carrier, so maybe I should do something about that next...
Quoting sultanils (Thread starter): It took a while before we broke through the clouds again and when we did I could see we were coming in from over sea and over Southampton's harbour.
The approach into 02 at SOU is very nice on a clear day. I posted a bunch of photos about such a case in a TR last September coming in from Guernsey.
Quoting MH017 (Reply 3): Good to read you've enjoyed the F50: not many around Europe anymore, eversince KLM cityhopper withdrew them - I think Cityjet is the only one in Western-Europe now, operating passenger flights...
Depends on your definition (geographical or political ) of "Western Europe" - JZ and BT still have sizable fleets of the type!
Well actually yes it is. CityJet has 3 flights scheduled to LCY before 10h00 (at 7h00, 7h50 and 9h35) and 1 flight to MAN (7h20). So that makes 4. The first return from LCY (the 7h00 flight) arrives at 10h35 so that explains why I counted 4 F50's on the apron.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 12): I posted a bunch of photos about such a case in a TR last September coming in from Guernsey
I indeed saw those, so that's how it looks like on a nice day
DanTaylor2006 From UK - England, joined Feb 2006, 494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5096 times:
A very enjoyable read I really liked your photos too. Almost inspires me to try having a brief visit to the cockpit on my next flights this weekend!
Glad you got (and liked) the BE E95! The E jets are my favourite regional aircraft, hands down. Even with a (relatively) low cost airline like Flybe, the seat pitch is excellent! I'm looking forward to my next trip in one on Friday, with BA!
The F50 has always intrigued me (and I must one day travel on one) but the windows don't sound too good, I have problems enough (being tall) with 737s.