Anyway, if you're still reading after all that, onwards with the report:
Back in January, my Mum being organised as she is started planning a holiday for summer. Originally I wasn't going to go away with my family this year after last year (nothing bad just I'd rather do my own thing) however I was lured in with the prospect of Oman, having flown there before from RUH a few years ago, I looked forward to returning as it is possibly my favourite middle eastern country. However, being the height of summer and Ramadam (by the way, Ramadam Kareem to any Islamic a.netters) it was decided this should be saved for another time of year perhaps. So we attempted to use my Dad's many BA miles to fly to San Francisco instead, the only way my Mum was going to do this flight would be in Club, no club seats left without a hefty price alongside them... So we opted for somewhere closer to home and somewhere my Dad could get to from RUH. We opted for Nice and I announced I would go for one last holiday and possibly a relax (in hindsight 2 weeks extra pay from work and a free house would've been more of a holiday!!).
Flights were pretty expensive with BA and AF so when looking at Jet2 we found they offered the best value for money (even compared with U2) and tickets (plus the generous 2x 22kg baggage allowance added on, since there's no way I could take 2 weeks worth of clothes, toiletries, straighteners etc in anything less) were booked!
Usually we hire a taxi to drive us to the airport at around £90 return and with slightly dubious driving, after a near miss accident in the return last time with our local taxi firm we decided we would drive ourselves to the airport and use Manchester's Meet&Greet service. It's basically a more organised valet parking service. This and the cost of diesel to get there/back cost less than the £90.
So at 4am on Saturday morning we set off with me driving slightly more economically to eek out the fuel (I'm a cheap student, if we had my way we'd have gone on the train). We arrived at MAN T1 meet & greet at 4:45 and joined a long queue. This wasn't quite the efficiency we anticipated as each car had to drive up to the barrier, press the help button, wait for the operator to pick up and read out the reference number, surname etc before being assigned a lane to park in. By the time we got in it was 5am taking about 3 minutes per car. Dropped off the keys in the new glorified looking portacabin and made our merry way to the terminal.
Check In/At the Airport
LS use the ground floor check in desks at Terminal 1, many years ago I used these to check in for LH who have since moved upstairs. It appears LS use all these desks now but it makes for an incredibly efficient check in. You join a single queue which appears large but very quickly moves thanks to the friendly Jet2 staff pointing people to a free check in desk as soon as possible. It makes the process quick and very friendly. Security was a similar affaire, quite a long queue but only took about 20 minutes to get through thanks to all the lanes being open and helpful staff directing people in the right directions. I was soon airside and ready to pass through the duty free maze that is Terminal 1, stopping to take a departure board selfie along the way
I grabbed a coffee from a Cafe Ritazza (my new favourite coffee outlet present at most large railway stations in the UK) and made my way through to Upper Crust for something to eat and get a good seat by the only window in Terminal 1 (or so it seems).
At 0730 Gate 8 was announced for LS833 and arriving at the gate, the expected 737-300 was there. Another plus for LS is their interesting fleet! G-CELD I believe, originally delivered to British Midland in 1987 named "Jet2 Alicante".
Photo © Marvin Meinel
Aircraft: Boeing 737-33A
Departure Gate: 8
Departure Time: 0805 (BST)
Arrival Time: 1125 (BST +1)
Duration: 1hr 55min
Remarks: 2nd ever flight on a 737-300, 9th 737 flight
Boarding was very efficient, started at 0735 and was strictly by row numbers only (14-26 first then the rest). Friendly staff took everyone's boarding pass (all home printed I believe), scanned it and gave you a recipt style one back with seat number, name etc printed. Quite what this purpose serves I do not know as surely just ripping the A4 pass in half where is says to rip in half would be easier? Anyway I was soon making my way down the jetway (yes Ryanair... Much nicer/quicker if you use these) where I was greeted by friendly cabin crew.
The older man behind me decided to have a grumble/rant as the lockers above Rows 3/4 were reserved for Row 1 (bulkhead) since the lockers above their seats were full of duty free, crew bags, collapsible tray tables and emergency equipment. Despite the crew explaining this politely to him he continued to grumble for much if the journey about how he'd never fly Jet2 again because he couldn't put his bag in the locker and had to "trudge halfway down the plane to find a free one" (when actually it was just 2 rows behind where he put it).
Good information given by the flight deck, routed over the midlands (I flew over Crewe, recognised the railway station so Hi Marshall if you read this) and then down to Southampton and petty much directly south from there! Boarding music played (I think it was recent pop songs, I couldn't really tell) and a good safety demo given by the crew! Prompt departure from 23L and off we went!
Legroom was good, I'm tall (6ft 1) and I didn't get a decent photo but it was perfectly fine. The seats were the slimline ones and look a bit cheap but perfectly comfortable. One good thing with LS for me is the lack of window shades and lack of recline on the seats, you don't need to recline on these flights so I was very happy!
The interior showed its age with the PSUs and lockers but overall LS have done a good job refurbishing these old planes!
The flight was uneventful but perfectly fine, no turbulence or weather so a clear flight all the way, the crew were quick to start selling duty free/snacks and made a few sales by the looks of it but they seemed happy and pleasant. Arrival into Nice was a fantastic approach, I think hand flown and a prompt taxi to the gate with jet bridge.
Overall I felt for a low cost carrier this was a fantastic fight, I feel friendlier staff/crew on this than many of the legacy carriers (achem BA) I've flown on over the years, just goes to show you don't always need to pay for the frills and pleasure of flying via LHR... I will certainly choose LS again and look forward to the return!
Thanks for reading, if any of you use twitter be sure to follow me: itsjamierawr if you're a #avgeek I'm bound to follow back (be warned I tweet about trains and a lot of other crap too but it might interest you).