A friend is out in Seville on a year abroad, so what better time to go visit than cold, wet, dark January?! In the UK that is... Sunny Spain beckoned, and as there are relatively few ways of getting directly to Seville from the UK I settled on the tried and tested easyJet.
I didn't intend on writing a trip report, which is why there are very few photographs - however, the events that follow and the videos I have make it worthwhile sharing this experience. Apologies if this is not up to my usual standards, I haven't composed a trip report in a while (and didn't think I would again!).
From: London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) South Terminal
To: Seville San Pablo (SVQ/LEZL)
Dep: 08:05 (08:20 actual)
Arr: 11:50 (13:15 actual)
Aircraft: Airbus A319
I chose easyJet for a number of reasons - firstly, they are one of only two airlines serving Seville direct from the UK (the other being Ryanair). Secondly, they were the cheapest and flew from a reasonable airport (Gatwick, as opposed to Stansted). The flights were also cheap at around £75 all in, including extra legroom seats under their new 'allocated seating' policy.
An undesirable 5:30am alarm awoke me, and half an hour later I found myself in Gatwick's South Terminal. It's not really very nice when you compare it to the North Terminal, but security was pretty quick at this time of the morning. I did however get a pat down after being 'randomly selected.'
A Frankie and Bennys breakfast later, and I found myself boarding todays orange A319, G-EZBC, which would take me on my very interesting trip to Seville! The new boarding process isn't much different to the old one - Speedy Boarding (which I had thanks to my extra legroom seat) went first, and the rest followed. I noticed people still stood and formed a queue as soon as the announcement went... old habits die hard?
Walking out to 'BC.
Still, it was a much more civilised affair and it was VERY nice not to feel rushed. Way to go easyJet!
Once onboard, the crew performed numerous announcements informing us this was a completely full flight and to move out of the aisle to allow others to board. It clearly didn't work as we left late. The Captain introduced himself and stated our flight time would be a short 2 hours and 5 minutes today. A short taxi to the active runway, 26L, followed and in no time we were up into the moderately sunny winter sky!
Gatwick Departure Video
The flight was fairly smooth, and we routed out towards Southampton, across the English Channel towards Jersey, and across the Brest peninsula on our way to Spain. As always, the views were lovely! Definitely my favourite part of flying.
Snowy mountains en route.
No mistaking who is flying us to Seville today...
After around 1 hour and 50 minutes of flying time, we pointed towards the ground once more and headed toward Seville with a very steep descent! This was short lived however, as we soon started performing turns indicative of a hold.
At this point the Captain was back on the blower with an update on the weather. He stated that Spanish ATC (apparently a less than reliable source) had told him that the mist and fog over the airfield would clear by 08:00 GMT... well, it was now 11:30 CET and it was still around! However, we would make an approach anyway.
We left the hold after one turn, and started descending toward Seville. The weather in the surrounding area was surprisingly good - broken cloud at a few thousand feet. Unfortunately, the closer we got to the ground, the worse the weather got...
At a few thousand feet we descended into the low lying cloud and fog, and the visibility was very poor indeed! Still, nothing out of the ordinary... I've had landings like this before!
As we seemed to be getting ever closer to the ground, the engines suddenly kicked in and condensation appeared over the wings as we swiftly pulled up and performed a missed approach. This was my very first missed approach, and as you can understand I was properly excited!
Missed Approach Video
We broke out of the cloud layer again, and levelled out at around 14,000 feet (thanks to a friend and FlightRadar24). The crew performed the usual missed approach announcement, stating it was an entirely normal procedure done for operational reasons etc etc and the Captain would inform us on our progress as soon as possible.
It was around 10 minutes before the Captain finally got round to speaking to us, and quite right too - he said that they had reached decision height and the ground was nowhere to be seen so they were obliged to go around. He also informed us that we had brought some extra fuel, but unfortunately were limited in what we could bring and therefore didn't have enough to hold at Seville until the weather cleared - great! I thought.
This could only mean one thing... yep! A diversion to nearby Malaga Airport. Hurrah! A missed approach AND a diversion in one day?! I was definitely getting my moneys worth...
On our way to Malaga.
We continued at 14,000 feet the all-of 60 miles to Malaga, and proceeded to fly out toward the sea and back in for a landing on runway 31.
Some nice scenery!
Malaga Arrival Video
As soon as we arrived, the cabin crew requested we remain in our seats with our belts fastened until they had more information.
On stand at Malaga.
The crew informed us we would take on some more fuel, and that the easyJet dispatcher had contacted Seville and assured us that the weather would be clear by the time we returned. A number of passengers requested to leave the aircraft at Malaga, however due to the nature of our stop, the Captain denied this. Rightly so!
All in all, the turnaround took around 45 minutes to complete - apparently there was a delay in obtaining the paperwork for the flight to Seville. However, we were soon on our way and back off runway 31 to a hopefully sunnier Seville!
Malaga Departure Video
A mere 30 minutes later, after a cruise at 14,000 feet once more, we were on our way into a much sunnier Seville with very few clouds hanging about! A successful approach later and we had finally arrived, 1 hour and 25 minutes behind schedule!
Seville Arrival Video
Here we are!
We waited for the stairs to arrive, and were eventually off and onto the Spanish tarmac. We were the only arrival at the time, but still Spanish police could only find 1 officer to process all 156 of us! The queue took a while to go down, but eventually we were there!
From: Seville San Pablo (SVQ/LEZL)
To: London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) North Terminal
Dep: 12:25 (12:30 actual)
Arr: 14:10 (13:55 actual)
Aircraft: Airbus A319
The return flight was much less eventful! Check in was full, indicating another high load... not surprising that easyJet want to get more A320s into Gatwick! The boarding process was much the same as at Gatwick, except Speedy Boarding was separated from the normal queue by a barrier, unlike at Gatwick! This made it much more organised.
The ground crew also came around handing us freshly printed boarding passes, even though we already had print at home ones. Not going to complain though, I have quite a collection of proper boarding passes and this has added to it!
Our aircraft landed 6 minutes late, and as soon as it arrived we were let down to a holding point underneath the terminal.
About 10 minutes later we were let out and I was aboard G-EZFF ready to head back to Gatwick.
Seville Departure Video
Leaving behind sunny Spain!
The flight was average, however there was a lot of turbulence over northern Spain and France, enough to force the fasten seatbelt sign on! Just when I needed to pee too...
I also indulged in my first ever 'meal deal' on this flight. I never usually buy on board loco flights, but I required lunch and had 10 Euros that I needed to get rid of. The €7.50 meal deal with Bacon Baguette, crisps and a drink hit the spot! It was actually quite good, and I'd be tempted to have it again...
Soon we were approaching England, and we were warned to expect a rough approach as winds had been gusting between 40-50kts all day. It was a very fun ride, to say the least! Lots of gasping, and someone threw up... not to mention the women in row 8 who had a nose bleed. Never a dull day for the crew...
Gatwick Arrival Video
We touched down 15 minutes early on runway 26L, and taxied in to the North Terminal - not the South Terminal, as stated on our boarding pass. I suppose it makes the trip a bit more interesting!
Passing some Virgins on the way.
A new Virgin!
A few moments to attach the jetbridge, then we were into the North Terminal and through a very empty passport control in no time! That's how it SHOULD be done!
Well, these were your average easyJet flights, spiced up a bit by some poor weather and low fuel! The crew on both legs were pleasant enough, and as I said the flights were cheap so who am I to complain about anything? They did what they said on the tin and for that I am thankful.
I am a very big fan of allocated seating, and am very glad easyJet introduced it... everything is so much more relaxed now. I will definitely be flying easyJet more often as a result!
Thanks for taking the time to read (and watch!) this unexpected trip report.