I live work and live in Glasgow, but I’m originally from North East Lincolnshire. I visit home quite regularly normally using the trains, with only one stop, this normally takes about 5 – 6 hours, which is quite a long time. This particular weekend it was to be even worse on the return journey as there was some engineering work on the line, this meant numerous changes involving trains and buses. After consultation with my parents I decided to take the train from Glasgow on Wednesday and fly back on Sunday 10th November.
The flight of choice was to be bmibaby flight WW5823 from EMA – GLA. EMA is actually about 2 hours drive away, the local airport (HUY) unfortunately doesn’t offer a GLA flight… or many flights for that matter.
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September 10th 2006
Scheduled / Actual Departure: 19:45 / 21:25
I arrived at EMA at approximately 6:15pm, check in was due to close at 7:00pm, so I had plenty of time to spare, plus I had pre-booked a seat (at additional cost). The line was very long with only one desk open, and due to the new security most people seemed to be checking a bag of some sort.
The check in girl was quite pleasant, I handed her my documentation and waved goodbye to luggage, at this point she informed me the flight was running late, and was now due to leave at around 9:00pm. I wasn’t too bothered about the wait; it has been years since I’d been to EMA, so at least it would give me a little extra time to have a wonder.
I headed for security - no separate domestic/international areas so I joined the long queue to be screened, I was probably in the queue for about 15 minutes, which is quite a long time for a fairly small airport, however, there were only two scanners in operation. Shoes off, bags scanned etc. I find it hard to believe that people are still taking creams etc through security with them despite the airlines notifying passengers, and the numerous posters in the airport and around the security area. The guy behind me had an overnight bag with him, needless to say, the security staff removed most of his grooming products – he seemed surprised.
EMA has a brilliant view of the apron and runway, the departure area is on two levels, make sure you head upstairs if you have time to kill at this airport, it’s not very clearly signposted, so follow the signs for Pizza Hut / Burger King.
I had a wonder around the shops and picked up a magazine, a glanced at the departure screen which was now showing a 21:45 departure. By this time the airport was quieting down, as few flights remained, some passengers were now starting to ask questions, and some getting angry with the ground crew. I really want to interrupt these angry people and give them a good slap, they annoy me. Whilst I can understand the frustration of some passengers, the ground crew are only doing their jobs!
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The flight time moved forward to 21:25, and boarding commenced around 15 minutes prior. EMA doesn’t use air bridges, so I embarked from the rear stairs as I was sat in row 23. The flight was very full indeed.
I found the aircraft to be dirty and run down. The seats were quite scruffy, however they were relatively comfortable.
It wasn’t too long before we were on our way. I have very little to report from the flight itself. A trolley service came round with snacks and drinks to purchase; these were the standard no-frills prices. I didn’t purchase anything.
After what was a very short flight, we were on our approach to GLA. I like landing at GLA because I can see my flat just moments from touch down!
Just before disembarking we were asked to cross our seat belts and leave any rubbish on the aisle seat… I’ve never been asked to do this on a FR or EZ flight before.
After leaving the aircraft I headed to collect my bag…. I have never seen so many people at the baggage reclaim, it was so busy, there were about 5 domestic flights all landing within about 30 minutes of each other.
My bag (fortunately) didn’t take that long to arrive, so I grabbed it and ran, hopped in a taxi and within about 5 minutes I was home.
I now find it very hard to get excited about short-haul flying on no-frills carriers a) I do it so often and b) there isn’t a lot of difference between them. I thought I’d make a note of a few pros and cons that are pertinent to me of the 3 I have used. These are based on my opinions and flights that I have taken and aircraft and airports used.
Use convenient airports
Nice new aircraft
Pretty good network
No allocated seating, but a better arrangement than FR
Often quite expensive
Nice new aircraft (but not as comfortable as EZ)
No allocated seats, even more of a scramble than EZ
Hold baggage charge
Use convenient airports
Allocated seating available (at a price)
Shabby 2nd, 3rd hand aircraft
As you are aware, none of the above offers complimentary food and beverages, or allocated seating as standard.
My preferred airline for domestic travel is BA, I only fly BA when it is the cheapest option. BA allocates seats, you get food and drink, the crew are the best, and the aircraft are comfortable and spacious, unfortunately LHR isn’t the most convenient when I am flying down south.
It would be great if EZ offered an option to allocate a seat, even if it meant paying for it. The bmi Baby model seemed to work, we filled up really quickly. I would quite happily pay a little extra for the piece of mind that I have a window seat, and I’m not stuck between two people.
Any questions, comments or suggestions for improvements, please let me know.