Photo © David Marshall
Check-in was very smooth, lots of desks open and no queue. Got my boarding card, with my allocated seat, and proceeded to the T1 security area. There was a long queue, not helped by the fact that domestic passengers have to use the staff priority channel - meaning that at least 20 staff jumped the queue before I got through. Once through I had a walk around the shops and got a coffee before proceeding to the gate area where the flight was already boarding.
Only about 30 passengers on this flight so boarding was very quick. The seat was comfortable, the pitch was OK and I was the only one in my row, so lots of elbow room. Following the safety demo from the very friendly cabin crew we were away, and soon after take-off the trolley came around offering the usual LCC fayre - I had a coffee which was perfectly acceptable and a quite reasonable £1.50.
No delays into LGW this evening, so in no time at all we were on the stand at LGW's South terminal, which is a complete dump. After leaving the aircraft domestic passengers have to be given a bar coded piece of paper by a security officer to prove they have arrived from the UK - this just creates long queues on the apron (fortunately it wasn't raining this evening). Arriving and departing passengers then have to fight to get through the one very narrow corridor leading from the gate area to the arrivals area - total chaos and typical BAA!
4 March 2005 LGW/MAN
Photo © Tamás Mihalik - Skyarts Aviation Photography
I was at check-in two hours before departure but despite Groundstar staff actually sitting there they said they were not opening check-in for another 15 minutes. When I pointed out on my confirmation e-mail that check-in was supposed to open two hours before departure the agent shrugged her shoulders and told me to return in 15 minutes. This I did and was checked-in by a miserable, bored looking agent - typical Southerner if you ask me
Security was fairly quick and after a coffee and a sandwich it was time to board. Once on the pier to the domestic gates there was a 20 minute queue (yes, 20 minutes) just to get through the boarding card check - BAA does it again! Once through boarding had already commenced so it was straight on to the aircraft. Load was again rather light - probably 40 or so people, and again I had a row to myself. Interestingly, I was in row 5 on the return and there was definitely 2 inches more legroom than on my previous flight where I was in row 4 - anyone know why that is? Pushback was 10 minutes ahead of schedule and we were airborne right on schedule at 8pm.
Just 40 minutes later we were on the ground at MAN - unfortunately all Jet2 aircraft park at terminal 1, so domestic passengers have to be bussed to terminal 3. This was quite quick though and as I had only hand baggage I was in my car just a few minutes later.
All in all I was impressed with Jet2. Their aircraft were clean and comfortable, the crews were friendly and both flights arrived early. The only disappointment was the poor facilities and service at LGW, but for £76 return I can't really complain.