The ultimate domestic no-frills experience
Jet2.com LS906 LGW-MAN
2nd March 2005
Boeing 737-330 G-CELH “Oh My God I Can’t Believe It”
Cheapskate Class Seat 22A
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 2000/2030
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 2100/2115
Photo © Harri Koskinen
Coming out of college on the afternoon of 2nd March I found myself a bit fed up with London and fancied jetting off to the glorious north. At such short notice all the cheap seats on BA and bmi would have been sold so I had to seek an alternative option… there would be no All Day Deli bag for me that night! Once home and out of the rain I had a look on Jet2.com and found a great fare- £76.00 return including taxes! I gave esteemed airnetter MYT332 a call to see if he wanted to meet up. We arranged to rendezvous at MAN and he kindly offered me use of the delightful airbed in his spare room. I went ahead and booked the flights then realised I needed to get a move on – the time was now 1730 and I was scheduled to depart LGW at 2000.
The good people of Thameslink Trains got me to LGW by 1830. I headed over to Jet2 check-in at the South Terminal. The grouchy Groundstar agent behind the desk couldn’t retrieve my booking so she sent me over to the ticket counter. After a few minutes the kafuffle was sorted and I was all set for the voyage north. I grabbed a drink and sandwich from Starbucks then headed through security. I have numerous fond memories of my previous employment in South Terminal’s departure lounge such as thousands of screaming kids demanding Happy Meals from me before boarding their flight to Ibeefa, but thankfully it was rather quiet and calm that evening. I bumped into a mate who works in an airside fashion outlet and by the time we were done talking boarding for my flight had been announced.
Awaiting me at the gate was G-CELH in the smart silver Jet2 livery. Boarding was via steps at the front door of the aircraft, preceded by a quick dash across the ramp in the rain. I took my window seat 22A. The cabin was bright, smart and clean with comfortable grey leather seats which I think date back to the aircraft’s former life at Deutsche Lufthansa as D-ABXD. A much better first impression than I’ve previously had on Ryanair and easyJet though not quite in the same league as BA or bmi. We had to wait quite a while for the de-icer truck to arrive. Eventually pushback was 30 minutes late, though thankfully ice-free!
As with any night time departure the crew announced the lights would be dimmed for takeoff. Jet2 take their light dimming very seriously… literally every light in the cabin was switched off completely so we were plunged into darkness apart from the glow of the fasten seatbelt signs. Certainly an interesting new experience for me! We lined up on runway 08R and climbed steeply following a brisk takeoff roll. The seatbelt sign was switched off but the cabin remained submerged in darkness. The crew, who hid in the rear galley for most of the flight, announced there would be no trolley service so anyone wishing to purchase food or drink should press the call button. Not a problem, though I was rather surprised as they probably earn commission for flogging as many Mars bars as possible.
I wanted to stretch my legs so I walked down to the galley and purchased a can of Kronenbourg for £2.00 which seems a fair price considering what some airlines charge. The lack of illumination and the absence of cabin crew running up and down the aisle with trolleys provided a relaxing atmosphere for the cruise over the midlands.
Once the descent into Manchester commenced the lights were finally switched on so the crew could secure the cabin for landing. It wasn’t long before the lights were off again and we commenced a bumpy approach. Landing was firm and we came to a stop quickly using reverse thrust to slow down. We parked at Terminal 1. A bus was waiting at the aircraft steps to take us to Terminal 3 domestic arrivals. As I was getting off the bus I looked up to the large terminal windows and saw a group of people waving at me… it was none other than MYT332, Trekster and the infamous Singapore_Air! What a hugely successful airnet megameet the evening turned out to be.
Once Singapore_Air had finished grabbing as many airline baggage tags and timetables he could lay his hands on in the terminal we walked over to The Airport Pub. After a few rounds it was time for Dan and Khoa to catch their bus back into Manchester and Alex and I to catch our train into deepest Lancashire. I am pleased to report that upon arrival at the aforementioned county’s market town kebabs were provided and, as always, the airbed was supremely comfortable.
The next day included an exciting trip to a renowned northern celebrity hangout – Yates’s in Preston. Not long after lunch it was time to head to the airport for my flight home. Virgin Voyager “Welsh Dragon” did the honours taking us to Manchester Piccadilly. After a toilet stop on a Railbus we boarded another train for the short ride to the airport.
A charming Menzies Aviation agent checked me in at Terminal 1. She would make a suitable wife, or so I hear. It had only just gone 1600 so we figured there would be time for another quick visit to The Airport Pub. The skies had cleared up and the sun was out so it was mild enough to go out in the garden to enjoy the weather, runway views and of course a few drinks. At 1700 the time had come for me to (galvanize) catch the flight. Once back in the terminal Alex and I said our goodbyes and I went through to the departure lounge.
Jet2.com LS905 MAN-LGW
3rd March 2005
Boeing 737-330 G-CELH “Oh My God I Can’t Believe It”
Cheapskate Class Seat 24A
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1800/1800
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1900/1855
Photo © Gergely Racz
It wasn’t long before scheduled departure time so I walked straight to the gate. Looking out at the apron I saw that I would once again be on G-CELH. Boarding started at 1740, I used the rear stairs. The flight was almost full but the middle seat in my row remained vacant. We pushed back on time and takeoff was non-eventful.
When the seatbelt signs came off the ‘Skyshop’ trolley service started from the front of the cabin. I was seated back in row 24 so I didn’t bother to buy anything as we were descending by the time they got to me. I spent the flight at a place called Vertigo listening to U2’s new album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”. We touched down smoothly on runway 08R ahead of schedule and I was off the aircraft at 1900. I managed to escape the perils of Gatwick South quickly and caught the 1916 train back to London.
All in all I was pleased with Jet2. I had low expectations but they did actually impress me. Great value fare, nice cabin, relatively punctual and adequate service for such a short flight. I don’t always go for the cheapest option but I’d happily fly with Jet2 on this route again as BA and BD are not always within my budget especially when making last minute travel arrangements.
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