Inaugural Day Service: BA Embraer 170 LCY-AMS
A few months ago, British Airways announced the schedule for their new aircraft type from Brazil; the Embraer 170. This type is a new addition to the fleet, and operated by CityFlyer.
First day of operation was said to be 28SEP’09, and on the EDI-LCY-AMS visa versa rotation.
Since the Embraer 170 was a missing type in my log so far, and it would be nice to be on the first BA service with this type to AMS, as well (I think) the first flight leaving LCY with this aircraft type and commercial passengers on board. So I booked myself on a quick return for the Monday, and guaranteed myself the ride.
The outbound flight in the morning was scheduled by the dated RJ-100. Not really my choice of aircraft anymore. But I could not resist, since BA offered the best fare on this time of the day.
Check-in was done from 24 hours before on the website, and I decided to print my boarding passes at the airport. Although, the Embraer check-in was malfunctioning on the website. For some reason it said that I was checked in, but I was not able to change seat or print the boarding pass etc. Maybe the BA systems were not working well yet and couldn’t deal with this type of aircraft…
Anyway, my bus left at 05.26am from near my house, arrived at the airport short before 6.00 am. Departures 3 is were you will find BA’s counters and check-in, so I helped myself by printing the boarding pass from the self service machines.
Also here you go through passport control (only, no security, since the UK is not part of ‘Schengen’), and I found a crowded departure lobby full of arriving passengers from various longhaul flights.
I walked towards the D-gates from were BA is leaving. For those who are not familiar in AMS, here are some pictures:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, departure lounge 3
Small ‘Rijksmuseum’ (free entrance) is located in departure lounge 3 (between E/F gates)
D-gates, sometimes meaning a long walk!
G-BXAS resting the night at gate D29, before my flight to LCY
Boarding was from the most far away gate on the D-concourse; D29. I found my RJ-100 still sleeping in the nightstop, and it was one of the older examples from the fleet. And also a new registration for my logbook.
Security was easy going here, no hassle, no trouble. Time to wait a bit in the seating area. Meanwhile, a delay message came on the speaker, one crewmember was arriving late, so they set a delay of 15 minutes. This crew probably overslept her/himself? In the end it turned out that the delay was just kept at a minimum, so no big deal.
Boarding started from 07.10am.
Flight No.: BA8450 Date: 28SEP09
STD: 0720 ATD: 0727
STA: 0735 ATA: 0726
A/C: Bae Avro RJ-100 Reg No.: G-BXAS
Seat: 04F – Economy Class
Boarding went quick and with a few minutes delay we got pushback and taxiing to runway 18L for takeoff. We used E5 intersection for departure. (runway 24 is used less frequent now for departures, due to noise regulations, exceeding limits at this moment).
With a good load of 5 in business and 67 in economy class, we got airborne in no time.
The Cityjet RJ-85 will also fly to LCY not long after our departure
Airborne from runway 18L, cargo apron South is visible here
I must say, BA disappointed me a bit, since the seatpitch is really small on the RJ-100, of course the wall of the RJ-100 makes it feel even smaller. A sticky chewing gum was on my windowside (yes, it’s not only Ryanair were it happens, but is this the British public?!). Although I was happy with my seat, 04D and F were the only ones available, since it was the first row behind the business class curtain seperation. The seats were moved into eachother a bit, so ‘E’ was half sized and not used.
Not long after takeoff, the service started. A “Smoked Salmon & Soft Cheese on an oat topped square roll” was given to me, together with orange juice and coffee. The bread was a bit dry, but the cheese made it eatable for breakfast.
Breakfast for economy class on the AMS-LCY flight
Final approach for runway 29
For the rest no specials on this flight. Even the approach into City Airport was boring. Mostly grey weather outside, and we used runway 27, so, not overflying the city. After landing we used only 2 minutes for taxiing. Arrival gate was number 5, and it took about 10 minutes to clear immigration. With 5 counters open, still a long queue at this little airport.
Bye bye for G-BXAS. Next flight is on your successor!
Once in the public hall/check-in area of the airport, I proceeded to the counter of BA to get my seat changed to more in the back. This was done by friendly staff. I was able to choose the seat myself from the map. Also, flyers introducing the Embraer 170, as well a lot of balloons, were promoting this new aircraft.
Balloons at the check-in area for BA, to celebrate the Embrear 170 arrival
… more balloons at self service check-in
A few hours to kill now with spotting, but the grey overcast weather in the morning did not result in good quality pictures. So after a few hours I went back to the terminal. And it was my stupid mistake, since at that time the Embraer 170 came in from EDI (the first revenue flight actually), and got a water salute by the fire brigade. I saw it from a distance, but missed it for the camera.
(For those interested, also BA’s second frame is at LCY, registered G-LCYE. It was not in service yet.)
I took a seat in front of the windows (good for spotting) and read a bit, did some internet on my PDA (LCY offers free WiFi), bought some new earl grey tea (my previous box was almost gone, and we really wanted a new box; Mark, it was a good choice by you!), and I made some pictures.
Most traffic seen at LCY were a mix of BA RJ85/100’s, CityJet RJ85’s, VLM/Cityjet F50’s, Swiss RJ100’s and also a Luxair Embraer 135.
Departure lounge at City Airport
Departure lounge at City Airport
Departure lounge at City Airport
My aircraft waiting for the flight to Amsterdam (to be 2nd commercial flight of this machine)
G-LCYD seen from inside the terminal
Finally, boarding of my flight was at 1245pm, gate 21. This is one of the newer gates at LCY, but I don’t like the seating in the gate area. A glimpse on the computer screen showed me the load on this flight: 10 in Business, 30 in Economy. Just about half full, since this new aircraft offers capacity of 76 passengers (Business Class/Economy Class is separated by a curtain which is set on demand).
I asked if I was ok in making some pictures of the new aircraft, and it was gladly accepted.
Since boarding was via the stairs, an announcement said that rows 1 to 9 board via the front entrance, rows 10 until 19 via the rear entrance. During boarding, classical music played through the cabin.
Boarding at gate 21
Strange seating at gate 21… who decided this?!
Flight No.: BA8453 Date: 28SEP09
STD: 1300 ATD: 1300
STA: 1510 ATA: 1503
A/C: Embraer EMB-170 Reg No.: G-LCYD
Seat: 18A – Economy Class
Photo © JetStream Aviation
My first time on this type of aircraft and this frame (of course).
Boarding G-LCYD… the new Embraer 170
Boarding G-LCYD… the new Embraer 170
I had 2 seats for myself now. Windows are a bit high, and strangely positioned compared to the location of the seats, but it seems that all rows have at least a window. The windows are large too.
Seats are blue leather. A tray table is in front, not adjustable. Also the headrest of the seat can not be adjusted. The armrest is available to move up/down. Additionally a hook to put your jacket on, is located on the seats in front. In the overhead, a reading LED light and a personal blower. All seating is 2-2 configuration, wide seats compared to the RJ100, and legroom is fine. Seating is numbered A-B / C-D. So, A and D are window seats. Total 19 rows in this aircraft.
One lavatory in the front, one in the back. They fly with 2 cabin crew, and 2 cockpit crew, my flight was completely served by male crewmembers. The purser had an Indian accent when he made announcements.
Pair of seats on the new Embraer jet
A place to hang the jacket is also arranged
Before startup the captain welcomed us aboard. It was a special day he said, being among the first to fly this new type of aircraft, which was better for our environment and more quiet. He pointed out that especially now, even frequent flyers had to pay good attention to the safety demo, since this aircraft was completely different from others.
After this announcement, the safety demo was given manually, the text is played from an audio tape.
Block-out was exactly on schedule, only a few minutes taxiing to the active runway 27. We took off after a Swiss RJ100 landed from GVA. The distance to get airborne was rather short, so it seems no problems at all to operate such aircraft type out of LCY.
Holding short, for arriving traffic on runway 29
Lining up runway 29; Canary Wharf and O2 Arena visible in a distance
Off we go!
During the climb a few bumps and shakers while penetrating the clouds, but once out of it, a smooth ride all the way to Amsterdam. Cruising altitude was 23,000 feet, as per info from the flightdeck. Just also a small update about the weather in Amsterdam, which was similar to that in London actually.
Service was given by 1 of the crewmembers (the other served the Business Class). 2 drinks offered (I got a coffee and cranberry juice) and a snackbite (pretzels, a cookie etc). It was just fine for this afternoon flight.
In the seat pocket you’ll find …
… and when you look up you’ll find your reading light and blower
Cabin View (inflight)
The aft lavatory
Mealservice (snack) on LCY-AMS
They were able to finish the service just in time, since we already approached closer to Amsterdam. Everything was cleaned up carefully and the cabin checked again. Meanwhile I noticed that our landing runway would be 18R, so meaning about 20 minutes taxi time.
Descending into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (for runway 18R)
and further on approach… overflying ‘Noordzee-kanaal’
The actual landing was a bumpy one, I guess we touched the ground twice.
We vacated the runway via V3, taxied via taxiway V, W5 and C , A , Q , B taxiways to our stand, D2, in front of the observation deck.
To my surprise no water salute, no real specials. I said goodbye to the crew, they offered me to take a picture in the cockpit, which I accepted of course.
On taxiway B, turning in towards our gate
The flightdeck on G-LCYD. Thanks to the crew!
Meanwhile, the cabin was full of BA/Amsterdam and Servisair groundstaff, taking a look in the new aircraft. It seemed that they were more important then the passengers today (at least, for the groundstaff in AMS).
I greeted the crew and went home… a mission completed successfully. Arriving home without a goodie-bag (it’s not EK or SQ, when introducing something new), but with a good feeling about my flights.
On my next visit to London, I take this aircraft again. Service is a bit better then on Cityjet (incl VLM/KLM) and this aircraft type is much more comfortable. All the way BA!
Thanks for reading and your comments. I always appreciate it!
[Edited 2009-09-28 09:58:02]