sn26567
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:16 am

BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:12 pm

I had heard so many good things about VLM Airlines and London City Airport that I also wanted to try the airline on Brussels-London and back, especially since I got such a good fare (EUR 121 return, vs. EUR 360 on Eurostar first class, the other business option I got from my company).

On 11 October I was thus ready at Brussels Airport to fly to London City for the first time in my life.

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Photo © JPC van Heijst



Date: 11 October 2006
Flight: VG 157
Aeroplane: Fokker 50 OO-VLR "City of Brussels"
Seat: 09A
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 17:05/17:10
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 17:05/18:05


Boarding at gate B17 started a few minutes before the scheduled departure time. The load factor was about 60%, which meant that I had to share my row with a business-lady (by the way most travellers were there for business). Announcement were made in Dutch, English and French (in that order). The crew was almost entirely female (only the captain was male; the copilot and the two stewardesses were women). Departure was slightly delayed for air traffic reasons.

After take-off from 25R, it did not take long to be at the cruising altitude and a meal was served: a choice of sandwiches and a chocolate muffin. I took only the muffin, as I has a business cocktail and dinner later that night. A 33 cl Stella Artois can helped wash it down (that is 8 cl more than on SN!). And finally a Leonidas chocolat, as good as the Neuhaus brand served on SN.

Landing was as impressive as I expected: a sharp descent into the docks and a smooth landing on a short runway, meaning strong braking.

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Photo © Stefan Welsch


As there are no taxiways, the plane hurried back to the terminal at an impressive high speed.

Once in the terminal I had the only disappointment: baggage took ages to arrive. We were only 6 passengers waiting for their bags, but it took some 15 minutes.

The trip to the city was also fast: the Docklands Light Railways automatic train (no driver) takes you to Canning Town in 5-6 minutes, and from there I took a tube to Green Park station (for Piccadilly) on the Jubilee Line. Duration of the whole city trip: 32 minutes.

Date: 12 October 2006
Flight: VG 156
Aeroplane: Fokker 50 OO-VLR "City of Brussels"
Seat: 06A
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 14:30/14:35
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 16:30/16:45


I was at Green Park Station at 13:05, barely 1 hr 25 min before the departue of my flight. But it was early enough: check-in deadline at LCY is only 15 minutes before departure. I took the underground and the Docklands Railway in the reverse direction. The trip again lasted 32 minutes.

I checked in at 13:40 and had a lot of time to enjoy the sights of the runway along the banks of the Thames, inclusing the landing of the incoming VLM flight. The airport is small, but very fast and convenient, and well stocked with all kinds of restaurants, bars and shops.

Boarding started late: there was a lot of activity at that time, and the fact that there is no taxiway slows down the operations. The plane proceeded to the end of the runway (as fast as with the incoming flight), made a turn around and got ready for departure, and then it went again on the side, apparently to let another plane land.

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Photo © A J Best


Finally we took off with a 15 minutes delay.

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Photo © John Clarke



The plane was appropriately named "City of Brussels" for a flight to Brussels. The crew was again consisting of a male pilot, and three women in the other jobs (copilot and stewardesses). Announcement in English, French and Dutch (in that order).

The load factor was less than 50% and this time I had a free seat next to me, in the first row of economy. The five first rows were reserved for one single passenger in business class!

After a sharply ascending path, we soon reached our cruising altitude and various snacks were served. I opted for fresh fruit and coffee. A selection of Leonidas chocolates were presented.

Whether was beautiful and I had magnificents views all the way until the Belgian coast, where the clouds started to dominate the landscape.

Landing on 25L was 15 minutes late.

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Photo © Wim Callaert - Brussels Aviation Photography
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Photo © Luc Verkuringen


Afer a long way from Pier B to the terminal building, I arrived at the luggage carrousel at the same time as my suitcase. No waiting this time!

All in all, a good experience which I am ready to renew. Good job, VLM!
_________________
André
ex Sabena #26567
ex-Sabena #26567
 
FLIEGER67
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:44 am

Hello, Andre,
thanx for your informations.
LCY is also on my to do list for my next London visit.
Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
MH017
Posts: 1473
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:17 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:09 pm

Andre,

Have heard excellent reports of VLM myself, although I've never flown on them...guess, KLM cityhopper really feels the 'pain' ever since VLM has started on the AMS-LCY route as well; (remember, VLM pressed KLC out of the RTM-LCY market ?)

Thanks for sharing: enjoyed reading your TR !!!
don't throw away tomorrow !
 
ba757gla
Posts: 716
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:00 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:50 pm

great trip report , LCY is an unique airport!
 
sn26567
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:16 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:07 pm

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
KLM Cityhopper really feels the pain ever since VLM has started on the AMS-LCY route as well; (remember, VLM pressed KLC out of the RTM-LCY market ?)

It seems that with their additional flights on AMS-LCY VLM will press KLC out of that route as well. On the other hand, VLM had a monopoly on LUX-LCY and now must endure competition from Luxair.
ex-Sabena #26567
 
MH017
Posts: 1473
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:17 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:13 am

Quoting Sn26567 (Reply 4):
It seems that with their additional flights on AMS-LCY VLM will press KLC out of that route as well

Don't agree on that one, as KLC will have lots of transit passengers, not like on the RTM flights, whereas most VG pax are 'locals'...
don't throw away tomorrow !
 
StarGoldLHR
Posts: 1346
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:29 am

RE: BRU-LCY-BRU On VLM Airlines (11-12 Oct 06)

Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:31 pm

LCY is both my local and favourite airport.
I live in Canary Wharf and fly over my flat most flights !

It's still reminds me of a toy I had as a child... a Fisher Price Airport  Smile
So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY

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