Good Advice Tried and Tested

BA Cityflyer Embraer 190 Club Europe

07/03/2014

BACKGROUND

The wholly owned British Airways subsidairy BA Cityflyer operates up to five flights a day to Zurich (ZRH) from London City airport (LCY).

CHECK-IN

I checked online within 24 hours of my flight (BA8765), selecting my seat in Club Europe free of charge. (If you check-in online outside of 24 hours beforehand, you may have to pay. Click here for details). I then printed my boarding pass.

I got to London City airport at 1135 the following day and went straight to the business class check-in desk, where there were no other passengers waiting, to drop off my suitcase. (Two pieces allowed in Club Europe, up to a total weight of 23kg), along with one cabin case (max 22in x 18in x 10in) and a briefcase or laptop/handbag.

I then went upstairs to the security channel above. My boarding pass was scanned and I joined the short line of people waiting at screening – there appeared to be no separate fast-track channel but it only took a few minutes to get through anyway, so wasn't a problem. Laptops, iPads and liquids came out as usual and I was landside a couple of minutes later, without the need for a pat down.

THE LOUNGE

As London City is such as small airport, and such a civilised one at that, with a nice bar/restaurant called the City, a handful of shops, a café and a couple of sandwich bars, BA has no dedicated lounge for business class passengers. There is free wifi for all passengers.

BOARDING

Boarding started on time at 1225 from Gate 21, a couple of minutes' walk away past the City eatery. There was a small waiting area with seating for all and, after about ten minutes, Club Europe passengers (a few of whom were sitting by the fast-track entry point) were called.

Boarding took place from both the front and the back of the small Embraer aircraft, with passengers crossing the tarmac on foot from the terminal building, a short distance away. I took the steps at the front, with a member of crew on board glancing at my boarding pass before gesturing for me to enter the cabin and take my seat in row three.

THE SEAT

I was in aisle seat 3D, a comfortable product upholstered in navy blue leather with grey armrests. There were five rows (out of 25 on the aircraft) separated from economy by a curtain – on the left it began from row one; on the right from row two, which had a huge amount of extra legroom. (Click here for a seat plan.)

The seats were configured 2-2 (A-B, C-D). There were only six other passengers in business, and economy class was pretty empty too on this Friday lunchtime service. The cabin was very clean.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Go for row two if you want lots of extra space to stretch out in. Row one offers quite a bit more legroom as well. Note that the further forward you sit, the sooner you will be served food and drink (a benefit on this short route) and be able to disembark on arrival.

THE FLIGHT

A short safety demo took place before taxiing, and take-off was at 1300. As the plane rose sharply over the city, it banked sharply, making a sweeping turn in the direction it needed to be in. Once cruising, the purser swiftly began the drinks service, handing out menus at the same time.

There was a choice of two mains – smoked chicken breast with griddled leaks, pickled mushrooms and spiced carrot purée, or pork rilettes, cornichons, apple purée and brioche crisps. Food was presented on china plates with metal cutlery, proper glassware and warm French bread. I just had the dessert – a deconstructed fruit crumble (a block of blackcurrant jelly with custard and muesli), which was nicer than I expected – and a Tanqueray gin and Schweppes tonic.

I was impressed by the quality of the catering on such a short service, and the friendly member of crew who offered me a second drink and a plastic cup so I could finish it when the plane was descending. At 1355, the captain came on to announce the flight was due to land ten minutes earlier than scheduled at 1515 local time.

ARRIVAL

Disembarkation was prompt from the front of the plane via an airbridge. Passport control was equally swift, and my priority-tagged case was through within a minute of me waiting for it at the carousel.

VERDICT

London City is always a pleasure to fly out of and BA Cityflyer laid on a perfect short-haul flight with an excellent meal service and efficient, welcoming crew.

FACT FILE

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2 (A-B, C-D)
  • SEAT PITCH 34in/86cm
  • SEAT WIDTH 18-18.5in 45-47cm
  • SEAT RECLINE 6in/15cm
  • CONTACT ba.com
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return Club Europe flight from London City to Zurich in April started from £586.

Jenny Southan