Normally I avoid the LCCs but as U2
were the only airlines operating LGW
to Shannon, I thought that I would try them when I flew over the Christmas holiday period - at least the flight was only 50 minutes long and it would take twice as long as this to get to LHR
from which Aer Lingus was the only airline operating on the route.
I had visions of cabins full of drunk chavs/chavettes (like on the 'Airline' series), inexperienced and unprofessional cabin crew, chaotic check-in, mad scramble to get on board (ambulances picking up passengers who are crushed in the stampede), and even jokes about having to bring your own oxygen, parachute and goggles! I have to put up my hands and admit that my visions were very wrong.
is perfectly sufficient for short-haul flights. Their aircraft are brand new and clean, their cabin crew friendly and professional, their time-keeping is good (only 30 minute delay in one direction), and (because there was no IFE box under the seat in front) I found that the legroom on their seats was better than that on VS
. I have to say that I was impressed with U2
and would now have no qualms about flying with them again.
Drawbacks? Well I did miss my free meal/drinks but even some legacy carriers have done away with these services. Even so, you can purchase snacks and drinks on board.
Check-in and boarding were the main disadvantages. Check in opens 2 hours, and promptly closes 30 minutes, before scheduled departure time. So no early check in and time for a meal in the airport restaurant, and if you turn up late you are denied boarding. Boarding is normally by groups - Priority Boarding first followed by Group A, then Group B and finally Group C (if you are not bussed to the aircraft or use a gate that does not have a waiting area). The earlier you check in, the higher your group and therefore the better your seat selection. So there is a little scramble to get on board as soon as you can and grab the best available seats.
There were only two toilets abroad their A319s, so if the flight was over 2½ hours queues must probably develop.
In conclusion, I would say that my experiences on U2
were better than four experiences on VS
- the easyJet crew came across as far more professional and more friendly than all
cabin crewmembers that I have encountered.
In fact, I think VS
cabin crew would benefit tremendously from a day's training with U2
[Edited 2006-01-16 10:56:29]
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."