At this point my flight was called and I proceeded through door B to gate 62. When making the announcements the airline name is pronounced “fly bee” rather than “fly B E” which is how I usually pronounce it. Anyway,
We finally boarded at 13:10. The aircraft was on a remote stand so we had to be bussed a short distance across the apron, past an MYT A320 and LH
A319 where I found to my relief that my aircraft was indeed a Q400 and was even one of the new ones (G-JEDM).
On boarding the cabin was immaculately clean and you could tell the aircraft was new as the overhead bins were pure white with no marks on them and the leather seats didn’t have a single mark on them. Leg room on the Q400 was typical of a low cost carrier – there wasn’t loads of room but on a one hour flights this wasn’t a problem. The big difference from the larger jets I am used to flying was the seat width was much less, although on this journey seat 9C
wasn’t occupied so it didn’t really matter.
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Photo © Shaun Grist
Row 9 is just behind the engines so you can see the blades rotating which makes for a more interesting view than on the typical jet. Once boarded the flight attendant welcomed us on board “the UK’s premier low-cost regional airline”. Following this the captain came over the intercom to give us the details of the flight – it will take hour, we will be routing over Derby, then Manchester and up the west coast to Glasgow where the weather is clear etc. He also apologised for the delay and gave the reason:
“As a company we have been having a few problems today. Earlier today one of our aircraft went technical – this one actually …” which always send murmurs down the cabin. Plus, he continued “Birmingham is very busy today as Concorde is here and people are just spending their time gorping at it instead of getting their work done…” In the spirit of the week very few people seemed to mind (certainly not me).
Boarding was very fast and at 13:20 we pushed back and the engines were started. The safety demonstration was typical and uneventful and we taxied to the threshold of runway 33. A short pause at the threshold as another BE
Q400 landed and we were off. I though the propellers were going some when we were taxiing but as we started rolling they really picked up and I was amazed by the acceleration of the aircraft down the runway as it threw me back in my seat. We rotated just after passing the old terminal where Concorde was parked to the delight of the people on the other side of the aircraft and we were up.
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Photo © Toby Willis
The climb wasn’t particularly fast (as I’d expect in a turboprop) but soon enough the cabin crew were released for service. The first 5 or so rows of the aircraft seemed to have been reserved for flybe’s “passport to freedom” customers (their FFP) although there were only about 4 people sat in this area so it seems like a waste of space to me, particularly as FlyBe. is now supposed to be a LCC. They were served first with complimentary drinks and then the rest of us had the opportunity to buy drinks and snacks, although I didn’t partake in this opportunity. It didn’t take long for the two reasonably attractive FAs to work the cabin and they were finished just after the seat belt sign was switched off.
At this point the novelty of watching the engines had worn off and my neck was sore having been looking out of the window constantly for the last 20 minutes. As we reached our cruising altitude of 26,000 feet were still quite noisy I thought – which got me wondering that if the Q400 was one of the quietest turboprops what must something like the ATP be like?
I decided at this point to peruse the in-flight magazine “uncovered”. Apart from an article on Ibiza the magazine was deveoted to information on FlyBe. destinations and therefore didn’t occupy me for too long. At this point I decided to use the room of the unoccupied seat next to me to stretch my legs and I just relaxed until we began our decent into GLA
. During the flight the flight attendants came round a few times to collect any litter and also offered to opportunity to buy gifts. The first officer also updated us on our progress just before decent and informed us that the weather in GLA
was clear but a little breezy.
As we began to descend the flight attendants made one final litter collection as the engines were cut back and the ground began getting closer. Passing over Celtic park the sky was clear and there wasn’t much turbulence from the breeze the first officer talked about. Just before landing we banked left, with some wonderful scenery in the distance before descending onto runway 05. In the corner of my eye I caught the gear being deployed and a minute later we were on the ground. Landing was very smooth as the engines once again groaned out to slow us down. Landing was at 14:15, just 30 minutes late so we had made up a little bit of time. We quickly arrived on stand 15 and as the engines cut there was a mass releasing of seat belts (as usual before the sign was switched off). As I was in no rush I just sat back until the masses had gone then leisurely disembarked through the front exit. A short walk up some stairs into the terminal and that was journey over – it just remained to collect my bag which was there before I was!
Overall I can’t fault FlyBe. – the price of the ticket was fantastic, the aircraft was clean and modern, there was a slight delay but even this was good given G-BOAC’s BHX
visit. My impressions of the Q400 were generally good although I much prefer my usual A320s for comfort.
Has anyone else got any experiences of FlyBe? Also if you have any questions or I have left anything out let me know. Thanks for reading