Palmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1051 posts, RR: 16 Posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7267 times:
Nearly 21 years ago and I was still in high school on the other side of the world. In July 1990, I was madly studying for half year exams in Australia, and at the same time, an ATR42 came off the production line in far away France, and was shortly after delivered to an airline on the other side of the Atlantic - Inter Canadian. Born as C-GITI, the delivery of the ATR42 to Inter Canadian was significant because they were the first airline in Canada to operate the ATR42. Plying the skies above Canada for a number of years doing short hops in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, as well as Ontario, it left the fleet 7 years later to begin a new career by returning to Europe to fly with Cimber Air in Denmark.
Fast foward to June 2011, and I would find myself on this 21 year old aircraft for a short hop down and across to London City (LCY) from the Isle of Man (IOM). Of course, it was no longer operating in the smart blues, reds and greys of Inter Canadian, but now looking a lot worse for wear in green and white colours of Aer Arann (RE). Aer Arann acquired the aircraft in 2009. Prior to Aer Arann, and after Cimber, it had flown with Air Wales - a carrier I remember seeing at LCY before its collapse in 2006.
Some planes have a lot of history and have seen a lot of territory. This little ATR had certainly been around and it was to operate RE807 to LCY on the last Sunday in June 2011.
TRAVELLING FROM MANCHESTER
The story actually begins in Manchester, where I had spent the weekend visiting a good friend and A.net regular. Unfortunately I managed to start coming down with a cold so the timing was not great. Still, it was a great weekend, and I managed to spy the new VS 333 rotating out of MAN on its way to MCO on the Saturday.
And this stubby Airbus 310 from Canada
Travelling from London to Manchester can be undertaken via a number of means, and my usual mode these days happens to be rail. I know this sounds shocking and perhaps not something to confess to in an aviation trip report, but the train services between London and Manchester are now so regular and fast, and cost effective, they have been an increasingly attractive option for me over the past few years. I was however, a big supporter of the VLM F50 flights that used to operate between MAN and LCY - and was sad when these all ceased.
This weekend, I could have just flown back into LHR from MAN on the regular BA shuttle service, or BMI for that matter but where is the fun in that? Also, LCY is the closest airport from my home and I did not relish the thought of schlepping all the way home from LHR on a Sunday night.
Although a slight detour, I decided to route myself via the Isle of Man (IOM). I would fly MAN - IOM on Flybe and then connect with the Aer Arann flight down to LCY.
There’s not much to be said about the Flybe flight. It was a Dash 8 - 400 (G-JECZ) and it lasted 25 minutes. The flight was packed, with a number of Flybe crew deadheading to IOM. The flight was my first on Flybe, and I did not really have enough time to form a proper view of the experience. On the plus side, it was a Dash 8, so that was naturally good (from my perspective). The word “OK” came to mind although I can’t say I was overly enamoured with the unusually loud pop music blasting out of the Flybe “radio” on boarding. Trying too hard to be trendy perhaps? Either that or I am getting too old.
Boarding the “trendy” Dash 8 at a very sunny MAN
The same aircraft after arriving at IOM
Sunday 26 June 2011
Isle of Man (IOM) - London City (LCY)
“Fair Lady”/ “Bebhinn”
Arriving into the Isle of Man was hassle free, as it tends to be with most smaller regional airports. I wandered outside to see if there were views to be had, but the wind was a little chilly so I decided to head back into the compact departures area to see whether I could check in at Aer Arann.
The desk was deserted so I figured I’d have to wait a bit. I had nearly 2 hours in total on the ground, so there was no rush.
An empty Aer Arann check in area at IOM
Some signs of life soon after, so I proceeded to get rid of my bag. I had used Aer Arann’s OLCI the night before but was unable to print my boarding pass. I hoped I could get a boarding pass when I dropped my bag off.
After the three people in front of me had their boarding passes, it was my turn. A very nice lady took my ID and I explained about the boarding pass situation. She was fine and printed out one for me, although she went to great pains to warn me that some airlines, namely Ryanair, would charge me £40 for the privilege. I then explained to her in great pains that I never fly Ryanair in any case. Wishing me a nice flight, she handed over the boarding pass and I was on my way upstairs to departures.
The airport here, also known as Ronaldsway, has been in use since 1928, with passenger services starting in 1933. In 1998, work commenced to extend the airport and improve the facilities available to passengers. In March 2000 the new extension was opened, providing a new landside catering outlet, arrivals area, baggage hall and departure lounge. The existing part of the airport was refurbished during this time to provide improved check-in facilities and offices, linked to the extension with a new airport entrance. During the extension and renovation period the iconic, “Three Legs of Man” sculpture adorning the airport's façade was also refurbished. I managed to have a quick look at the sculpture before checking in.
From here, Aer Arann provides two services - one to Dublin and the other to London City. In fact, Aer Arann currently provides the only airlink between the Isle of Man and London City. If I remember correctly, VLM historically also operated the route. Flybe operate flights to London too but these all go to Gatwick.
The security was practically empty of passengers, and staff there were very relaxed and friendly. I was through to the “other side” in in next to no time and decided to head to the Executive Lounge, which is located airside, just as you pass through security.
The lounge was empty
The lovely lady, who in no way resembled a lounge dragon, welcomed me into the lounge and immediately struck up conversation. She told me it had been a very quiet day, and to be frank, I think she was pleased just to chat with someone. Showing me where everything was, I then plonked myself down to relax a bit, and try and deal with the cold symptoms, which were getting progressively worse.
However, not before snapping a picture of my aircraft which was conveniently parked right in front of the lounge.
“Fair Lady” had arrived 40 minutes previously from London City and was patiently waiting for another trip south. Taking one look at her, I wondered whether the aircraft should have been renamed “Old Lady”? She clearly looked like she’d seen a few airports in her time.
The only other ramp action while I was in the lounge was the departure of Flybe Dash 8 to Liverpool and the arrival of a fellow Dash 8 from parts unknown..
The Lounge at IOM (there is only one), was like the rest of the airport - compact. However, there was a nice assortment of snacks and drinks available and numerous comfy seats available. In the meantime, I had another chat to the “lounge lady” which helped to pass the time. During the time I was there, 2 other people joined me, so we had a total complement of 3 passengers in the lounge.
I wandered out of the lounge and over to the gate area to see what was going on outside the lounge. The waiting area was surprisingly spacious, although it was quite busy - with a couple of other Flybe flights due to operate. Another angle of EI-EHH, showing her more “worn” side...!
A boarding call was made for RE807 and a handful of passengers meandered toward the gate, including me. I was the third person down the steps and onto the ramp. Getting up close and personal with EI-EHH, I headed for the main passenger door and boarded.
I was greeted at the door by a middle aged lady, who reminded me instantly of Patsy from “Ab Fab” right down to her hair style. She was very friendly and pointed me in the direction of 9A, which was only a few rows forward of the aft door.
Dark blue cloth seats greeted me - ala Wideroe. Leg room was sufficient and thankfully, my window was not covered in sludge or some other type of grime (as the Flybe Dash 8 I had just arrived on had). Not only that, the soothing sounds of Clannad were playing on the aircraft as we boarded. Now this was much more relaxing than the rubbish playing on Flybe and as I am a huge fan of Clannad, it was great to hear them. First time I’ve ever heard Clannad as pre-boarding music! Thumbs up for Aer Arann.
All passengers had boarded by the time I snapped this pic
We had a load of approximately 50% and the seat next to me was vacant - well the whole row was. Good for me, not good for Aer Arann. Two passengers sat behind me in 10A and B, and it seemed like the flight attendant knew them well. In fact, from the nature of the conversation, the lady in 10A could have been an off duty Aer Arann flight attendant. I don’t know why I got that feeling.
A mostly empty forward cabin
A quick peek at seats 9C and 9D
Our flight attendant closed the door and we were soon ready for push back. Safety demonstration began as the aircraft started reversing. It was done manually with an automated voiceover. I paid particular attention to the life jacket instructions, given the first part of the route we would be taking over the Irish Sea.
A welcome message from the first officer was drowned out by the sound of the propellers, which had both now been fired up as we were disconnected from the tug. ATRs can reverse out of the gate themselves without the need for a tug, but sadly not today on Aer Arann.
Ready to start taxiing
Heading for our departure runway, which today was runway 26
Lining up on runway 26
Take off was gentle - we just seemed to float into the air and gradually gain height
Banking left out over the Irish Sea to start our journey south
Everything was lovely and green. The airport is visible in the distance from this shot
The further south we travelled, the better the weather got. Once above the low clouds, it was bright and clear.
Ding. Seatbelt sign was off and cabin service soon commenced. Our cheery flight attendant started from the rear of the aircraft and I was soon offered a drink and either a shortbread or chocolate. Having an extreme sweet tooth, I opted for chocolate, and this then appeared on my tray table.
Quite generous really to get a full sized Kit Kat. Thanks Aer Arann. All served with a smile.
Aer Arann seem to have a dual ATR42/72 emergency safety card.
And from the reverse - “beware of propellers”: Yes indeed!
There was no inflight magazine in my seat pocket or the one next to me, so I assumed that Aer Arann don’t publish one. Perhaps more regular flyers of RE can confirm?
The views outside were quite impressive as we chugged south. The vibration was quite noticeable - certainly compared to the Dash 8 cabins of Wideroe!
The classic legroom shot. The amount of leg room was sufficient for a flight of this length.
Some puffy clouds about 25 minutes into the flight
I love cloud watching from this angle
Some interesting formations today above the skies of England and Wales
Now back over the English mainland. A lovely day down here.
I knew it would not be long before we started getting closer to our destination when was passed over what could have been Coventry. It looks like the airport there - which is to the far right.
Not long after and we flew right over Luton Airport. Some orangey planes down there!
I always cross my fingers whenever flying into LCY that we approach from the west. If this happens, the approach takes you right over London, and the views are amazing. It’s not the prevailing direction so it happens rarely (for me in any case). We started making a series of turns as we got closer to London and at this time, I could feel the descent starting.
A perfect day for flying in the South East of the UK this evening
We started heading out east and north of London, which indicated a possible arrival from the east, which dashed my hopes of an arrival over the London itself.
Commencing a gradual right turn north east of London
The Thames comes into view on the left hand side
However instead of heading back directly toward LCY, we seemed to keep making gradual right turns
This continued until I recognised that we were flying over South London
That only meant one thing - arrival was to be from the west. Yay! Sure enough, we started flying over the densely populated parts of central London.
Looking west and down at the old Battersea Power Station. They still have not managed to decide what to do with it, nearly two decades after plans were first drawn up to transform the site
A bit of a glare from the early evening sun, but down there is Hyde Park, the Mall and Buckingham Palace
And now correcting slightly before heading straight into LCY. The final descent into LCY is always fun.
The Olympic site, which in just over 12 months, will host the 2012 Olympic Games. All eyes on London.
The distinctive East London landscape with its mix of old and new, industrial and residential
Passing the ExCel, where several Olympic events will be held next year
Close to our touch down point
Passing the Newham Borough Council building on the other side of the dock from LCY just before we landed
Welcome to London, where it was still a warm 28C after 7pm.
Backtracking and heading toward our stand, at the eastern end of the ramp
Pulling around onto the stand
Props about to be shut down - there’s the Blue Islands ATR42 which operates flights to Jersey, and behind it looked to be a Titan Airways RJ/146. I later heard that BA Cityflyer had an EM190 that had gone tech, and were leasing the Titan aircraft for some BA services.
Soon after, the props were shut down and the passenger door was popped open. Not being in a particular hurry, I waited for the other passengers to out before collecting my things, and getting one last look at the cabin. A friendly thank you and good bye from Patsy and I was out onto the ramp.
One last look at the Old Lady - looking pretty good in the evening sunshine. Still going strong after nearly 21 years.
My first flight with Aer Arann was a positive experience, even though the aircraft was ancient. I actually enjoy flying on older aircraft, particularly prop aircraft. Maybe I am getting old(er) but I now crave these kinds of regional flights that allow you walk out on the ramp, to smell the smells and get a feel for the size of the aircraft you’re about to fly on.
From a customer service standpoint, I could not fault Aer Arann - check in was pleasant and stress free. The flight itself was on time and our flight attendant was great. These days my expectations are so low when it comes to onboard catering in short flights in Europe so being offered a free snack was a pleasant surprise. Of course the aircraft was not full, so it was a comfortable ride - however financially this could not have been good for the airline’s balance sheet.
I really hope these flights continue - nobody else is currently flying into LCY from the Isle of Man!
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave any comments.
I was confused by the presence of the easyJet check-in desks - I had no idea that they had a service to LPL until I looked it up, no doubt cashing in on the sad demise of Euromanx back in 2008. I was actually booked to fly Euromanx LPL-IOM on the day they declared bankruptcy, so ended up taking the ferry instead!
Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter): Looking west and down at the old Battersea Power Station. They still have not managed to decide what to do with it, nearly two decades after plans were first drawn up to transform the site
I grew up in Battersea and have watched with interest the different plans for its use over the years (I'm old enough to remember when it was still actually a power station, in fact it closed down the same year I left school)! I think the most exciting was when they planned to turn it into a giant amusement park, although sadly that was not to be. I understand that the go-ahead has now been given to turn it into "homes" which no doubt will be overpriced and the size of a matchbox!
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
dalce From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1581 posts, RR: 7 Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6604 times:
Somehow this lady caught me. Don't you have that sometimes?
She might not be the prettiest around, the color of the hair is not what you usually prefer.
Her figure might not be the most perfect, but somehow she's making an appearance.
Strangely enough this sort of happened when reading this little report of your latest regional adventure.
This old little ATR somehow made an appearance!
Thanks for sharing!
flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,AB6. Next flights AMS-ZRH-AMS on
WOW! Last time I flew with the '90 build sistership "CAPTAIN" EI-CPT, Unfortunately, the cabin was in a more desolate shape- sometimes having different seat cushions... At least your a/c seemed well maintained from the inside!
Palmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1051 posts, RR: 16 Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6549 times:
Hi all - thanks for your comments.
Quote: Nice trip report, makes me want to fly the ATR another time
Thankfully there are still lots of ATR operators around, although the -42 seems to be less common these days. My plan is to try and get on a CSA or LOT - 42 next.
Hi aflyingkiwi. Thanks for your comments.
Quote: Aer Arann seem to offer a pretty nice service. Good to see that you got some nice views of London as well, reminds me of my trip to LHR where I got some fantastic views.
Yes, I recall your trip to LHR and it was great that you had some nice views coming into London. I especially love coming into London on a clear night - the lights just shimmer and twinkle down below. It's a great sight.
BAViscount/Andy - good morning! and thank you for your comments. Nice to hear from you.
Quote: Another excellent report from you! Nice to see pics of IOM - I've only flown from there once (to BHD) but thought it was a nice, relaxed airport.
I had visions of the weather being rainy and blustery - seems to be quite an exposed place so I was lucky to have some nice dry views on departure, and when I was on the ground there. I did like the airport - it has a very retro feel to it as well.
Quote: I was confused by the presence of the easyJet check-in desks - I had no idea that they had a service to LPL until I looked it up, no doubt cashing in on the sad demise of Euromanx back in 2008. I was actually booked to fly Euromanx LPL-IOM on the day they declared bankruptcy, so ended up taking the ferry instead!
There was an EZY 319 on the ground when we arrived - getting ready to go to LPL. Seems like a lot of capacity for a short route (which is also flown by Flybe). Shame you did not get to fly with Euromanx to LPL - I remember seeing them at LCY as well.
Interesting info about Battersea. I think it will be a miracle before the site is ever developed and as you say, it will end up in the hands in greedy developers with lots of overpriced but small flats all on top of each other. We're such cynics aren't we?
Quote: What lovely clear pics! Congrats on some terrific photography.She may be old and tired but can still turn heads!
Best from Dave
Hi Dave. Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the pics. Good to see the Old Lady has an admirer! You'll soon all be able to enjoy the delights of ATRs when Virgin Australia starts getting them. I hear the first few might be based in Brisbane!
Quote: Her figure might not be the most perfect, but somehow she's making an appearance.
Strangely enough this sort of happened when reading this little report of your latest regional adventure.
This old little ATR somehow made an appearance!
Good morning - ah another admirer of the Old Lady. Yes, she did a fine job of bringing me safely down to LCY. Glad you liked this latest regional adventure!
Quote: AFAIK RE was publishing an inflight magazine, called 'express it'. Maybe it was axed as cost cutting?
Thanks for your comments. Interesting! I tried looking at a few seat pockets and could not find any magazines, but it was the end of the month, so they may have not bothered to replace them over the month if other passengers took them, until the new month.
Quote: ....sometimes having different seat cushions... At least your a/c seemed well maintained from the inside!
Wow, that would have looked strange. At least all the seat cushions in EHH were the same colour!
parton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 524 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6483 times:
Thanks for another great story! I flew the ATR42 for the first time last Thursday and I like them very much. Beautiful aircraft and comfy seating. The only bad thing is the noise. A lot more noisier than comparable A/C such as Fokker and Dash 8.
Palmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1051 posts, RR: 16 Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6329 times:
Quote: Sadly it wasn´t the real Patsy!?
No - unfortunately not. That would have made for an interesting flight, as I've always wanted to meet Joanna Lumley!
Quote: What do you think about Aer Arann´s new colours? I like it especially the green engines
To be honest, I preferred the colours on the ATR72s when they were delivered new - with all the circles. Quite different and unique. The green colours look like they are an interim scheme for some reason (at least from my perspective)!
Quote: The only bad thing is the noise. A lot more noisier than comparable A/C such as Fokker and Dash 8.
Yes, I noticed this as well, although my ATR did not have all the latest advancements of the more recent models, and I know ATR has done a lot to bring noise levels down inside the cabin.
SPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6187 times:
very intersting TR and top quality pictures. Thanks for sharing!
ATR42 are the best looking present day turboprops in my book. Unfortunately had no luck to fly on the subtype. Always happened to end up on AT7s. I enjoyed those rides anyways. When good weather, cruisung at low speed and altitude is an awsome experience. Nice to hear so was the case during your recent flight to LCY.
As for RE, it seems to be a very nice, little carrier. Surprising to see they offer snacks on this route. I wonder if there are complimentary meals on the flights they operate on behalf of EI?
Palmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1051 posts, RR: 16 Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5890 times:
Hi there SPLTA
Quote: When good weather, cruisung at low speed and altitude is an awsome experience. Nice to hear so was the case during your recent flight to LCY.
Yes! Exactly how I felt on this flight. It was nice to be not so high up and it helped having nice weather.
Quote: ATR42 are the best looking present day turboprops in my book. Unfortunately had no luck to fly on the subtype. Always happened to end up on AT7s.
Me too. I have only been on one other ATR42 and that was an Aerocaribbean flight in Cuba last year!
Thanks for your comments.
Quote: So did euroManx (see above link). I never flew the ATR42 though, this route is always flown by this aircraft or is the -72 also seen?
Ah yes, I was forgetting about EuroManx. I do remember seeing their Dash 8 - 200s at LCY from time to time before they went out of business. When Aer Arran first started flying the route to LCY, I remember seeing the ATR72 being used but not sure whether all LCY flights are now done by the ATR42.
Quote: Good service for this small route!
Yes - exactly my thoughts.
Your trip report was excellent ! Thanks for the link.
Quote: Absolutely stunning photography !!! May I ask what camera-equipment you use(d) ?
Really enjoyed reading (and watching these fantastic pictures) this TR; the ATR isn't the best looking 'lady', but, certainly judging from your pictures, has some nice wing-engine 'body-shape'...
Hi there. Thanks very much for the comments. I use a combination of cameras - I have a Sony point and shoot for more discreet photos! and then I use a Canon 550D for many of the interior and window shots, with a 10 - 20mm Sigma lens. I love that lens - it's probably my favourite one at the moment!
I do like the shape of the ATR42 overall - ever since I saw my first one in 1986 which was in the colours of Air Queensland (now long gone). Thanks again. P/jet
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4785 times:
Great stuff - very nice to fly with a bird that has a long and varied history - it just makes a huge difference to flying something like a 738 with FR or 319 with U2 that is new and has spent its entire life with the carrier.
Aer Arann is a nice little regional airline, I've enjoyed my few flights with them a lot and of course having a soft spot for turboprops I like them.
As others have already done I must also compliment you on your photography - some extremely impressive shots in there!
Interesting to see what will come out of the FlyBE Nordic franchise business...