From – London City, EGLC
To – Cork, EICK
Flight Number – WX311
Aircraft – EI
Flight Time – 1H03
It was an unusual crisp, bright and sunny day in London. Thirty thousand feet or so above me, the skies were filled with a great number of overlapping contrails mostly created by Eastbound overnight Transatlantic flights as they crept across the skies of Southern England to their destinations. Much closer to me a steady stream of aircraft floated down over central London on their approach to Heathrow.
My journey from central London to London City took around 40 minutes on the underground’s Northern Line and the DLR. I arrived at 07:35, an hour and ten minutes prior to the departure time of my flight across to Cork. I was greeted with a rather crowded terminal, this being a weekday this did not come as a surprise at all. Having checked in online the day before and not having any hold luggage I headed straight to security where I was met by an unsurprisingly long but fast moving queue.
Once airside I was delighted to find there was fast, unlimited free wifi which helped to pass the next 40 minutes or so. Unfortunately there was a lack of seating available bar that in food areas, however not wanting to purchase anything I had to make do with spending the time leaning against a wall. Looking outside the window, one thing that struck me was how close the aircraft were to the terminal. Outside a steady stream of regional aircraft came and went, including a couple of Luxair Q400s, a Helvetic Embraer, Swiss RJ100, Skywork Dornier, Flybe Q400s and of course plenty of BA
Embraers and Cityjet RJ85s.
A check of FR24 confirmed the aircraft today would be 18 year old RJ85 EI
-WXA, an aircraft that started its life with Mesaba and flew in the US until heading to Marana where it would remain in storage until 2008 when it headed to Norwich and underwent the transformation into Inis Oirr. Upon glancing outside the aircraft was nowhere to be seen. Although the fact that we began boarding virtually on time convinced me that we were to be bussed out to our aircraft however just as I made my way downstairs to the holding area I caught a glimpse of our Avro pivoting around in true LCY
style as it made its slightly late arrival from Cork before a stream of people filed across the apron. Convinced I would be spending a while in the warm comfort of the little room I proceeded to browse the internet whilst the aircraft was turned around I was pleasantly surprised when boarding was announced no later than ten minutes or so after I took my seat.
After a short queue to have my boarding pass scanned, I made my way out of the holding room and into the crisp seven degree air for the short walk to the rear steps of the trusty Avro. Here I was given a warm welcome by one of the two cabin crew for today’s flight and made my way to seat 14A. The ground staff appeared to have done a fantastic job of cleaning the aircraft in the short time it spent lacking passengers, everything seemed to be in immaculate condition. The seats themselves were more than comfortable enough for today’s short hop over to Ireland. Amongst other things the seat pockets contained Cityjet’s magazine, a rather boring read aimed at business people and the slightly more interesting Air France magazine.
Unsurprisingly, today’s flight was not full at all (I’d say the load was around 20%) and thus the doors were shut not too long after boarding. Soon after the captain performed a very informative welcome speech detailing us on the reason for the flight’s delay and a detailed description of our route. This morning we would be taking off into the west towards the City before making an almost immediate turn north up to Welyn Garden City before heading anti-clockwise along the M25, past Heathrow and then out towards the Bristol channel passing North of Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea before heading straight out over the Irish Sea towards Cork. The safety demonstration was conducted and the engines spooled to life as a company RJ85 pivoted on our port side. I was a little surprised at the lack of engine noise on this quad jet, but then again, I guess you don’t earn the name ‘whisperjet’ for nothing.
We made a gentle push away from our stand and queued at hold C behind a BA
Cityflyer Embraer 175. A short while later the regional jet couple headed down the runway to the holding area. Here we waiting for a good few minutes whilst a BE
Q400 and Sun Air D328 made their arrival and the Embraer headed off into the clear blue sky. Before I knew it it was our turn to head off westwards. Our four engines roared into life with the brakes applied before their sudden release which saw us catapulting down the runway in perhaps the most powerful (and most enjoyable) airliner take-off I have ever experienced. Our light load meant we were in the sky in no time at all and before I knew it I was enjoying views of central London before the city drifted away behind us.
For a while it seemed like our steep climb was put on hold over North London before continuing at a much shallower rate up to 30 000 feet. Suburbia passed beneath us only to be interrupted by the faint outlines of Heathrow, Northolt and slightly later on, Brize Norton. As we headed west clouds increasingly blocked our view of the terrain and remained to do so until we were on finals for Cork’s runway 35.
Service on this morning’s flight consisted of a round of tea, coffee, water and juice and a cereal bar of our choice from a basket. Whilst it would’ve been nice to have something a little more substantial on the flight, I can’t really complain! It is certainly better that the offerings on the other London-Cork flights operated by EI
Before I knew it we were gently floating down towards Cork, after a session of cloud surfing we made our way down through the thick clouds and the green fields surrounding the airport came into view. We came back to earth with a gentle bump at 10:11, one minute behind schedule. Not too bad considering the 23 minute late departure of our flight. After a short taxi we arrived at the gate and made a short walk to the clean, modern and pleasant terminal.
I don’t really have any complaints about Cityjet, the service was adequate for such a short flight, the cabin crew were friendly, the captain’s speech was informative. The only negative was the lack of any substantial food such as a sandwich, however I can’t complain at all about this. The aircraft was immaculate and looked well looked after. The seats were comfortable and rather spacious. I’d give the flight 9/10.
Somewhere between Korea and the UK.