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michaelg90222
Topic Author
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:54 pm

Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:38 pm

Hello fellow ANutters!

So, recently I got a nice bonus from my place of work   When I told my fiancé, she asked me, whilst looking at me expectantly, “what are you going to buy with your money?”

Well obviously, a ticket on Volotea’s inaugural scheduled UK flight of course   

(FYI 90% of the bonus went into the wedding fund – I’m not that selfish    )

The flight was scheduled to fly from PMI to SOU as flight number V7 3934 and also gives me the chance to fly the very rare Boeing 717. Well... very rare here in Europe at least.

At a price of just £23 I snapped up a ticket instantly! Then realised oh crap... I have to actually get to PMI. Oh crap... that’s near Magaluf. Oh crap... it’s a bank holiday weekend and the start of the school holidays!  Wow!

Hoping that all of the Magaluf partygoers would look no further than Ryanair for their travel arrangements, I booked a flight out of LGW on Monarch Airlines, and a room at the Gatwick Central Travelodge and I was good to go!

My morning started at 04:30 when my alarm when off – I like to set my alarm very early as I find it impossible to get out of bed straight away. Inadvertently, I turned the alarm off, instead of setting it to snooze..... A while later, I awoke from my sleep and suddenly remembered where I was and sat bolt upright    It was light outside. Oh my god! I’ve missed my flight! I looked at my phone – which told me the time was 0535    That was a close call.

I hurried onto the shuttle bus to the South Terminal where I went straight through to security, which was much more pleasant than my last security experience at LBA. Although having a prostate exam using a rusty nail would also have been more pleasant....   

Thank goodness I checked in online

As mentioned earlier, it was the bank holiday weekend and the start of the school holidays, so LGW was uncomfortably busy this morning.

Nevertheless – I managed to find a spot to sit and watch the movements outside.

https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7362/27472641095_438342ab67_k.jpg
LCCs and leisure carriers in attendence – including this grubby U2 A320

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Thomson Dreamliner just arrived from Orlando

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The only Enter Air aircraft that I’ve ever spotted... seen at LPA, TLS and now LGW   

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G-VGAL. Also just arrived from Orlando

Soon, our gate was announced and I made my way over to gate 92 which is a bus gate, meaning I still haven’t boarded an aircraft via a jetbridge in 2016!

As the agent scanned my boarding pass, a red light appeared. Sorry sir, you have been moved to seat 3D    Urgh – I paid extra money to pick my window seat! At least I’m still in the extra legroom seats I suppose....

We embarked on our long drive over to the remote stands on the other side of the North Terminal – which meant having to listen to the usual snide passenger comments such as “where are we driving to, bloody Heathrow?” and “I don’t see why they can’t have just parked the plane closer to the terminal. This is such poor service”   

Airline: Monarch Airlines
Flight Number: ZB220
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Registration: G-ZBAG
Delivered to Monarch in 2013. Delivered new to Royal Jordanian in June 2006
Seat: 5F changed to 3D

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Oh dear. I accidentally span the thing round on the top of the camera and took a black and white photo. Really brings out the orange in that woman’s suitcase though!  https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7404/26865127273_c63ed14242_k.jpg
People boarding via the rear door as well

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Should be a clear day! Pity I won’t be able to see out   

I settled into my seat and took in my surroundings.

Being the bank holiday and the start of the school holidays, our A321 was full to the brim this morning, with many excited children running round. I thought it would be best not to take a cabin shot with so many protective parents on board. But here is a token leg room shot:

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Very roomy  Excuse the pink folder its... errr.... not mine

I was very impressed with the state of the aircraft. G-ZBAG was absolutely spotless this morning, both on the outside and in the cabin. It was as if she had just rolled out of the factory at Hamburg!

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Sneaky cockpit shot   

As we were parked at the remote stands, we had a short taxi to the end of runway 08R, and after a short queue, we took off towards the east.

Once we were airborne I perused the on board menu, just out of interest. All of a sudden, I came over all hungry and I made a decision to order the English breakfast, which was £6. I pressed the call button and was greeted with a very cheerful flight attendant who took my order.

I reached for my wallet and she chirped “oh no that’s ok, I’ll come back and you can pay later. I’ll go and prepare your meal now sir”

Okay   

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Food options

The hot food was cooked on order and took about 10 minutes to arrive.

After a short while, the flight attendant returned.

“Here you go sir”

I was handed a napkin and cutlery.

"Thank you"  

On closer inspection, I found that hiding underneath these items was a small tray of food

https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7592/26863301634_29a7d62cf9_k.jpg
....Well that isn’t very much

I thought to myself “I could probably count those baked beans”. So I did. And there were 29 of them!   

I must admit the sausage was lovely, and the half a rasher of bacon was also very nice, if a bit thin, but the tiny portion of scrambled egg was bland and tasteless. There were 6 tiny button mushrooms which tasted ok and the beans were also average and a bit overdone.

All in all, this wasn’t very impressive, and the free breakfast offered on BA CityFlyer out of LCY was much better and much more substantial.

There was nothing left to do now, but sit back and relax   The children sat in the first row were in the queue for the toilet, when the captain appeared for a toilet break. “Do you want to have a quick 5 second peek in the cockpit?”

He held the door open for the kids to peer in, and then said to the parents “if you stay seated when we get to the gate I’ll let them go in if you want”

I thought this was very good from the man in charge!   

After this I paid a visit to the toilet myself (but no one gave me a peek inside the cockpit    ), where the tap didn’t work so I had to wipe the soap off my hands with toilet roll, which was quite disgusting and made my hands feel funny   

I returned to my seat and decided to have a flick through the in flight magazine, which had some nice articles on Monarch holiday destinations including Rome, Lisbon, Majorca and Dubrovnik.

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A very interesting interview with Julie Philpott, the head of Monarch’s Boeing 737 MAX introduction

Soon our descent was announced and we made a rather bumpy approach into PMI, with a fairly hefty touch down onto 24L.

It looked like a very interesting approach over the island from the limited view I had from my aisle seat. I’m also pretty sure that I got a glimpse of a derelict DC-8 parked on the right hand side of the runway  Wow!

As I was sat at the front, I was one of the first people off the aircraft for a change. I walked past the family in row one where the mum was saying “if you sit still nicely, the pilot will show you round the cockpit”. I was sat nicely for the whole flight, but I don’t get an offer to look round the cockpit    I did consider hanging around, but thought I had better get up the jetbridge and out of the way as an angry mob of holidaymakers were gathering in the aisle.

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Best picture I could get. G-ZBAG peering out from behind the jetbridge

I also realised that the FA never asked me to pay for my breakfast. Oh well, It’s not as if it was worth the £6.

https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7554/26864957283_9df214f410_k.jpg
I was surprised to see this Romanian F100!

After clearing security, I caught the bus over to Can Pastilla (on the advice of debonair) for some lunch. Where I decided that ice cream was the best option.

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On bus number 21

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The harbour and beach area

After an ice cream, a short walk along the front, and a large amount of will power to not indulge in a massive paella, it was time to head back to the airport.

I’m not a fan of these kinds of holiday destinations, and even though the weather was pleasant, the beaches were packed, and there were idiots everywhere. The mountains that could be seen from the plane looked like a much better option for a holiday destination, but each to their own!

I made my way back to PMI to find many many tanned Germans.

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The Air Berlin check in area   

I made my way through security, which was surprisingly swift given how busy the check-in hall was, and then went to have an explore.

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I didn’t realise that China Eastern fly to PMI....      

As I was very early (as per usual), I managed to explore the whole airport, which was very busy. Thankfully, the A gates were much quieter.

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After finding a snack and a drink, I went to find my gate and settled down next to the window to watch the movements, and pray that a Volotea A319 wouldn’t appear instead of the expected 717   

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7578/27373043152_cbfd7b341a_k.jpg
Southampto. That sounds promising   

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A brand new Eurowings A320, only 11 days old at the time   

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A little Saab from Switzerland

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Air Nostrum Bombardier CRJ-200 still in Sol Linhas Aereas colours

After watching countless AB flights take off, I spied a pretty Boeing 717 lumbering along the taxiway.

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https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7678/27372927192_dd2a326963_k.jpg

Aircraft: Boeing 717
Flight Number: V73934
Registration: EI-FGI
Delivered to Volotea in 2014. Delivered new to Midwest Airlines in 2003
Seat: 3A

Boarding was soon announced, and I made my way over to the check in desk. It was at this point that I realised how empty the gate area was, with only a handful of people waiting. I handed my boarding pass to the agent and again it beeped red. Oh great, have I been moved again?!   

The agent said “I’m very sorry sir; I’m not sure why that’s happened. Have a nice flight”

Consider it done!   

I walked down the stairs to board yet another bus.

Once the bus was fully loaded I counted 21 passengers on today’s flight. A quick calculation gives a load factor of 16.8% - my emptiest ever flight!

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A good view of the T tail as the bus pulled up

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Boarding

With the very light load, boarding was completed in hardly any time at all.

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My seat – again I had paid a little bit extra for the extra legroom. Also note the broken window shade which kept falling down. I had to wedge it up with a bit of paper to stop it from falling down

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Good legroom – helped also by the lack of seat back pocket – even if it did feel very LCC

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Hellooooooo. Anybody there?!

The cabin looked very smart with a nice colour scheme and a good variety of headrest covers.

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No safety card today

Everything was going really well at this point, so I thought I had better put things back to normal by having an embarrassing moment.

In going to take a picture of the forward cabin, I inadvertently took a picture of the flight attendant as she stepped into the aisle. She then stomped over and very indiscreetly ordered me to delete the picture.

  

Sorry  

A while later, while the flight attendants were busy at the rear of the cabin I managed to take a less embarrassing picture

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Looking forward without an FA in the way

Soon, the engines rumbled to life and we began our taxi to the runway.

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Ryanair in special Boeing livery

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The mother of our 717 – a stored MD-80 in the distance

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Waiting for an Air Europa 737 to depart

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A Canadian registered Smartwings 737 on lease from Sunwing. Some nice split scimitars as well

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Turning onto the active runway

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Goodbye PMI. Thank you for your hospitality   

319 320 321 332 346 717 73G 738 744 763 788 E190 F70 RJ85 MD11 SB20 DH8D AT72
AA AZ BA BE BY CJ D8 FR IB KL KM LA LX MD SA SR T3 U2 V7 WA XZ ZB 2L 4Z
 
michaelg90222
Topic Author
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:54 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:57 pm

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Flying over Can Pastilla, my lunch location

Soon the seatbelt signs were turned off and the FAs jumped into action. The pilot then welcomed us on board and told us our route for today. He also introduced his first officer and all of the FAs by nane, telling where they are from which was nice – a mixture of Spanish, French and Dutch crew today.

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The seat back table with a circle cut out of it – handy for someone who is of a portly stature

The captain then came on the speaker again to tell us that we were crossing the Spanish coast close to the city of Tarragona, apparently the hometown of our first officer  https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7337/26864319703_f1806bfd70_k.jpg
Crossing the Spanish coast over the city of Tarragona

The flight attendants then commenced their snack run. I thought that as I had sampled the cuisine on Monarch earlier, I should probably try what Volotea has to offer.

The problem was that no menus were distributed prior to service commencing, so I had to make a split second decision as the trolley passed by. I could see crisps, nuts, chocolate and croissants, but I didn’t fancy anything on view. And I had recently made the decision to get a Chinese on my way home which probably had an impact on my decision not to make a purchase as well   

With the plane so empty, it took the FAs barely 30 seconds to run the trolley up the aisle and back again.

As usual, I found myself with nothing left to do but relax gaze out of the window.

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A whole row to myself

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The Pyrenees trying to peek through the cloud

I then decided to stretch my legs and visit the toilet. I was going to bring my camera to take some cabin shots from the rear, but the FA who told me off was sat at the back reading her book, so I decided that it would be best to leave the camera at my seat out of harms way.

The toilet was very beige, but very clean.

Also, it has been well documented on this site that the MD-80s/717s are much louder at the back of the cabin, so I went to investigate. It was indeed much louder at the rear of the aircraft, so I took a seat for a few minutes to take in the sound before walking back to my allocated seat   

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Some decent cloud cover had built up by the time I had got back to my seat   

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The cabin was spotless apart from this gap between the over head panel and the side wall, which was very grubby

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Looking back towards the wing

As we neared the channel Islands, the cloud began to clear.

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Crossing over a French headland

Soon, the seatbelt signs were turned on and we began our descent into SOU. We crossed over the western tip of the Isle of Wight on our descent – giving excellent views of Alum Bay and The Needles:

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A nice reminder of holidays as a child   

This was my first approach to Southampton from the south, which gave some new views, and was much more interesting than coming in from the north.

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Descending over Lymington

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Southampton harbour with a few cruise ships in attendence

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The River Itchen and Northam train depot

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Landing with a large thump onto the runway

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With no parallel taxiway at the north end of the runway, we had to backtrack

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An Eastern Airways Saab 2000 parked on the ramp, reminding me of my last flight   

We parked up on the stand on the corner of the apron, which I will now call Michael’s stand, as it’s still the only stand I have ever arrived or departed from at SOU   

I very much enjoyed this flight on Volotea although I think that this was aided by the fact that the flight was so empty. I really liked how on both flights, the pilots gave updates on what could be seen out of the window – it has been many years since I have experienced this on board a plane.

It is interesting to note that if all of the passengers paid £23 for this flight as I did, then Volotea made just £483 from the 21 passengers on this flight. It would have been interesting to see how full the return flight was, which presumably would have been more popular. And who would want to buy a one way PMI-SOU or a PMI-SOU-PMI ticket anyway?! I’m sure all of the traffic will be flowing the other way.

I was disappointed at how low key this inaugural flight was. I was hoping for water cannon salutes and celebrations akin to some of the inaugural flights documented on ANet. However, after stumbling upon this tweet a few days later:

http://twitter.com/volotea/status/738325152786698240

I get the feeling that I booked on the positioning flight rather than the true inaugural flight   

Oh well, at least I got to log the Boeing 717   

I will close this report with two life lessons that I have learnt on this excursion:
1) If you expect to be saluted by water cannons, you will instead be presented with 29 baked beans.
2) Never point a camera at unsuspecting cabin crew, you will face much wrath!   

Thank you for reading

Michael   
319 320 321 332 346 717 73G 738 744 763 788 E190 F70 RJ85 MD11 SB20 DH8D AT72
AA AZ BA BE BY CJ D8 FR IB KL KM LA LX MD SA SR T3 U2 V7 WA XZ ZB 2L 4Z
 
User avatar
inflightVideo
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:33 am

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:31 pm

Interesting report, thank you! I remember Volotea sending their weekly 717s into Humberside (HUY) last summer. Always meant to book one as my last 717 flight was over 15 years ago now, on AirTran's first one a few weeks after delivery.

Thanks for sharing!
 
debonair
Posts: 4081
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:11 pm

Nice TR!

Quoting michaelg90222 (Thread starter):
Sorry sir, you have been moved to seat 3D    Urgh – I paid extra money to pick my window seat!

Would kindly ask for explanation and full refund of the fee. Problem, most families arriving late, typically without pre-selected seats, and the airline is moving other passengers (without even asking!) to accommodate them together. It's a no-go!

Quoting michaelg90222 (Thread starter):
I’m also pretty sure that I got a glimpse of a derelict DC-8 parked on the right hand side of the runway

Nope, ex Spantax Coronado CV990!
 
michaelg90222
Topic Author
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:54 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:33 pm

Hi InFlightVideo,

Quoting inflightVideo (Reply 2):
Interesting report, thank you!

No problem  
Quoting inflightVideo (Reply 2):
Always meant to book one as my last 717 flight was over 15 years ago now, on AirTran's first one a few weeks after delivery.

As Volotea are getting their A319s in I would snap up a 717 flight sooner rather than later. If all of their flights are as cheap as mine was then you should be on to a winner!

Hi Debonair,

Quoting debonair (Reply 3):
Nice TR!

Thank you  
Quoting debonair (Reply 3):
Would kindly ask for explanation and full refund of the fee. Problem, most families arriving late, typically without pre-selected seats, and the airline is moving other passengers (without even asking!) to accommodate them together. It's a no-go!

I fully plan to ask them for a full refund! Its not my problem some family arrived late and I wanted my window seat   

Quoting debonair (Reply 3):
ex Spantax Coronado CV990!

Ooooh that's interesting, even more surprising than a DC-8! Like I said, I only got a passing view from my aisle seat as we were on finals.

Thank you both for your comments  

Michael
319 320 321 332 346 717 73G 738 744 763 788 E190 F70 RJ85 MD11 SB20 DH8D AT72
AA AZ BA BE BY CJ D8 FR IB KL KM LA LX MD SA SR T3 U2 V7 WA XZ ZB 2L 4Z
 
jetwet1
Posts: 3288
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:15 pm

Quoting michaelg90222 (Reply 1):
A nice reminder of holidays as a child

I just had a massive flashback looking at that picture, for a couple of summers I would take my boat (and whichever woman I was dating at the time) there for the weekend, we would moor up in the bay and spend a couple of days of piece and quiet, in many ways they were the best days of my life, a whole different time to now.

Do you live in Southampton ?
 
ben123planes
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:53 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:37 pm

Hey,

Nice report  

As I've mentioned before - I work at Southampton and I actually met this flight (I may have asked to...). I saw a guy with a camera walking off it and wondered if he was an avgeek - maybe it was you...

After you all got off I snuck up and got a quick photo from the flightdeck.

You were originally supposed to get a water cannon salute - I even brought my camera airside in expectation. Unfortunately your original stand had a tech aircraft on it, and your stand was in the wrong position to receive one, the Captain was pretty annoyed at that.

Ben
 
User avatar
eurowings
Posts: 574
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:40 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:33 pm

Great report, enjoyed it!

SOU-PMI yields some surprises, 717s and Q400s!
"Freddie Laker may be at peace with his Maker, but he is persona non grata with IATA."- HRH Duke of Edinburgh
 
jeffrey1970
Posts: 1484
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 1:41 am

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:09 am

Quoting inflightVideo (Reply 2):
) If you expect to be saluted by water cannons, you will instead be presented with 29 baked beans.

Is that what they call the 29 bean salute LOL? I have heard many people say that the 717 has a very powerful take-off. Did you find that to be true?
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
michaelg90222
Topic Author
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:54 pm

RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:30 am

Hi Jetwet1,

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 5):
I just had a massive flashback looking at that picture, for a couple of summers I would take my boat (and whichever woman I was dating at the time) there for the weekend, we would moor up in the bay and spend a couple of days of piece and quiet, in many ways they were the best days of my life, a whole different time to now.

That sounds perfect! I should really revisit the Isle of Wight, haven't been there for years.

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 5):
Do you live in Southampton

I live in Basingstoke. even though SOU is my local airport, I've only recently begun to make use of it for some reason! Having said that, all of my booked flights from now on are out of LHR.

Hi Ben,

Quoting ben123planes (Reply 6):
Nice report

Thank you  
Quoting ben123planes (Reply 6):
I work at Southampton and I actually met this flight

I did wonder if you were knocking about   

Quoting ben123planes (Reply 6):
I saw a guy with a camera walking off it and wondered if he was an avgeek - maybe it was you...

I think there was a high priority that it was me    No one else on board had a camera that I saw, and no one seemed that interested in the occasion either.

Quoting ben123planes (Reply 6):
You were originally supposed to get a water cannon salute

  

Quoting ben123planes (Reply 6):
Unfortunately your original stand had a tech aircraft on it, and your stand was in the wrong position to receive one, the Captain was pretty annoyed at that.

I bet he was!

Hi eurowings,

Quoting eurowings (Reply 7):
Great report, enjoyed it!

Thank you  
Quoting eurowings (Reply 7):
SOU-PMI yields some surprises, 717s and Q400s!

Indeed! A very nice selection!

Hi Jeffrey,

Quoting jeffrey1970 (Reply 8):
Is that what they call the 29 bean salute LOL?

   a montage of funny images in my head now!

Quoting jeffrey1970 (Reply 8):
I have heard many people say that the 717 has a very powerful take-off. Did you find that to be true?

It was very powerful, although I attributed that partly to the very light load.

Thank you all for your comments!

Michael
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jeffrey1970
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RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:00 pm

Quoting michaelg90222 (Reply 9):
It was very powerful, although I attributed that partly to the very light load.

I read an interview one time where a pilot said that those planes can fly as fast as some fighter jets, and they are just as agile.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
michaelg90222
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RE: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:33 am

Quoting jeffrey1970 (Reply 10):
I read an interview one time where a pilot said that those planes can fly as fast as some fighter jets, and they are just as agile.

Very interesting   the take-off was indeed powerful, although I'm fairly sure we didn't break the sound barrier   
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sudenmorsian
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Re: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:47 pm

Nice trip report. :)

I've always loved Volotea's paint scheme, and the interior looks nice as well.
HPN · NYC
 
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Dublinspotter
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Re: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:19 pm

Hey

Loved the pictures! Great post, I have to admit I am envious of your travels on a B717!!! 8-)

Although I have a question regarding Southampton Airport: Is it easily connected and priced for getting into the centre or South West of England? Odd question I know but would appreciate the help!

Cheers buddy and look forward to the next post!
Chris
Dublinspotter
 
michaelg90222
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Re: Volotea's First Scheduled UK Flight (and Some ZB)

Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:08 pm

Apologies for the delay in replying - I was away on holiday. And I come back to this new website :shock:

Hi Sudenmorsian,

sudenmorsian wrote:
Nice trip report.


Thankyou :D

sudenmorsian wrote:
I've always loved Volotea's paint scheme, and the interior looks nice as well.


They have somehow managed to make a nice atmosphere from beige and brown :P

Hi Chris,

Dublinspotter wrote:
Great post, I have to admit I am envious of your travels on a B717!!!


Thank you :) You'll have to book a trip on one before they all go to delta 8-)

Dublinspotter wrote:
I have a question regarding Southampton Airport: Is it easily connected and priced for getting into the centre or South West of England?


SOU is very well connected. Southampton Airport Parkway railway station is just across the road from the terminal with regular direct trains into Southampton, London Waterloo, Bournemouth, Salisbury, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham and even Manchester if you fancy a long trip on a cramped Cross Country Voyager train :?

I'm not sure about the prices - I can only tell you that it costs me £9 to get to Basingstoke, which is 1/3 of the way into London. Tickets booked in advance are usually much cheaper than on the day for longer trips.

I hope this helps!

Dublinspotter wrote:
Cheers buddy and look forward to the next post!


No problem! And thank you both for your comments :)

Michael
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