BA Cityflyer Avro RJ100 Euro Traveller04/10/2012
BACKGROUND Flights between London City airport and Edinburgh are operated by BA Cityflyer, a fully owned subsidiary of the British flag carrier. BA Cityflyer also serves Nice, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, Zurich, and Glasgow out of LCY.
BA Cityflyer is in the process of phasing out its Avro RJ85 and RJ100 planes and replacing them with Embraer E-Jet aircraft. Since this trip was taken, new Embraer aircraft have been introduced on the London City-Edinburgh and London City-Amsterdam routes, but the Avro RJ100 is still available on some flights. (See online news September 4.)
CHECK-IN I checked in online earlier in the day for the 1910 BA Cityflyer flight from Edinburgh to London City and selected seat 12A, but as I couldn’t print my boarding pass at the time, I printed it at one of the self-service kiosks by check-in desks 42-44. There was only one person ahead of me at bag-drop and I quickly checked my luggage in and took the lift up to departures on level one. I turned left and joined the queue for security – the whole procedure took about ten minutes to complete and I was airside by 1800.
BOARDING The flight was departing from Gate 14, a six-minute walk away, and boarding began at 1840. Passengers ascended steps at the rear of the plane and I was in my seat by 1900. Once everyone was settled (the plane was almost full), the captain informed us that journey time would be just over one hour.
THE SEAT Seats on the Avro RJ100 are upholstered in navy blue leather and are configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F). I was in 12A, a window seat just behind the wing
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Seats are much the same on this small aircraft and for such a short flight, where you sit doesn’t make a lot of difference, although if you are picky, those in seats in the last row are nearest the exit at the back so will not have to walk far as boarding starts from the rear of the aircraft. Middle seats B and E are to be avoided as you have no direct access to the aisle or view out of the window. Seats in row nine also have limited storage space overhead. Those sitting nearer the front of the plane will benefit from being served food and drink first. It’s also worth noting that seats under the wing suffer more than others from noise from the engines.
THE FLIGHT We took off at 1912, and at 1940 the drinks service began. I had a Gordon’s gin and tonic that was presented with a packet of mini pretzels. I hadn’t booked a vegetarian meal as it was such a short flight and I hadn’t really thought about it, but to my surprise, when I mentioned it to a member of the cabin crew, they had a spare one available. I was very impressed by this as it so rarely happens that airlines carry extra special meals. It was also quite appetising – a tomato, spinach and cheese pasta bake with a small brown roll.
ARRIVAL We landed smoothly at 2015 but there were “insufficient ground staff” on hand to greet us, so there was a short delay while we waited for them. Disembarkation took place after a 20-minute wait, which was a little frustrating. After a short walk to baggage reclaim, I saw that a suitcase had got stuck on the conveyor belt and all the other luggage was piling up behind it. However, someone quickly sorted the problem and within a few minutes I had my bag and was heading for the exit. There was no immigration or passport check at London City airport as this is a domestic UK service and ID was checked before boarding.
VERDICT A good short-haul flight except for the delay upon landing. The fact that there was a spare vegetarian meal on board was a bonus for me, so top marks for service.
PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight with British Airways to Edinburgh started from £109 in December.