London Luton (Southeast England)
Kutaisi (Central Georgia)
Scheduled 4h 55m
Georgia, the country not the state. I had to explain that quite a few times in the run up to this trip. For so long Georgia was forgotten about in the west, subsumed into the USSR. Georgia is of course in Asia, making this an ‘intercontinental’ flight aboard one of Europe’s ‘cheapest’ LCCs.
My journey from Blackfriars to Luton Airport was easy enough by train and security formalities were quick. Luton has quite a wide range of shops and restaurants, including Pret which offered me a nice runway view. Having spotted my inbound arrival I wandered around to the gate.
Being a European LCC it goes without saying that a vast queue had formed. Amusingly more passengers seemed to have bought Priority than normal boarding. This meant priority passengers were actually boarding after us “normals” in many cases. Indeed the lead boarding agent had a full on shouting match with a passenger who’d not booked assistance and her colleague who was too slow. It certainly provided entertainment.
As I was sat in a forward row, I entered via the main door.
The crew were neat but but overly friendly. Boarding was quite slow as most of the passengers seemed to be taking their time to unpack and others unwilling to push past.
The aircraft had flown straight in from Georgia, a five hour flight, with only a half hour turn around. Therefore no obvious cabin cleaning had taken place.
The cabin crew’s accents were very thick, which made the English announcements inaudible. I’m not sure where the crew were from, I think Kutaisi is a Wizz Air base, but it only has two aircraft based there.
Leg room was surprisingly good, even at minimum pitch. The seats don’t recline and I found them to be very uncomfortable. I fly about a dozen different airlines a year and am used to minimum pitch and thin seats - which typically I’m fine about, however this model was just uncomfortable.
Each seat had a safety card and magazine/menu.
Inflight Magazine and Menu
After around an hour a buy onboard service commenced. One crew member took orders and served, whilst the other handled payment. This seemed to work fairly well. I went for a €7 meal deal. The cheese sub was fine if unremarkable, overall it was filling and nothing to complain about.
I listened to podcasts and music on my phone. Generally Europe was cloudy but I did manage to catch these mountains.
About an hour before landing some religious pilgrims gathered and started to sing. Overall they were harmless, but it was annoying. My seat mate was Georgian and seemed to speak limited English. He did however deliver my all time best inflight quip, I’d like to see them try that on United
, before impersonating a taser.
Sing a long
Another incomprehensible announcement was made, which I guess was informing us we’d be landing soon. Just after midnight we touched down, before doing a u-turn, taxiing along the runway and parking up. We were the only plane at Kutaisi Airport. Formalities were very swift.
Overall it had been a cheap and efficient way to travel - if a little rough around the edges.
Please see a few photos from Georgia, a fascinating place.
Kutaisi is a small attractive city full of history.
Chiatura is a mining city located deep in Georgia's mountains. It was a Bolshevik stronghold during 1905 (lead by Stalin) and was later rewarded with a Metro system of cable cars, some of which still operate. Following the Soviet collapse there was no water for over ten years, which saw the population dwindle. Believe it or not, this is the main road into town.
Gori (Stalin Museum)
Gori’s Stalin Museum was built during the Soviet times following his death, as Gori was his home town. This was a subtle insult, Lenin had his museum built on Red Square, not an obscure rural town. It’s a time capsule in of itself, with little modification since the 1950s. It contains artefacts which would fascinate anyone interested in Soviet history.
The return flight turned into an adventure when a tyre needed changing. In fairness, Wizz told us it would take 90 minutes and it did. Overall the delay was well handled.
Otherwise all details were the same. So, would you do 5 hours on an LCC?