Good Advice Tried and Tested

British Airways E170 UK Domestic


BACKGROUND BA Cityflyer launched flights from London City to Aberdeen in September (see online news April 25), adding to existing services from Heathrow to the Granite City. It is the only carrier to serve Aberdeen from LCY.

Ex-Bmi also currently fly between Heathrow and Aberdeen (now with BA flight codes), although new owners the International Airlines Group will have to give up these slots as part of its purchase of the carrier from Lufthansa which could lead to greater competition on the route.

BOARDING I arrived at London City by DLR at 0750 for my 0850 departure to Aberdeen, operated by BA Cityflyer. I had checked in online the day before and had my boarding pass printed off, so I headed straight upstairs for security. This was only a day trip so I had no luggage apart from a small leather satchel. There was no queue for the automated boarding pass readers and this worked perfectly from my crumpled print out. The queue for security was slightly longer but staff were friendly and efficient, and I was through in ten minutes with no hold ups.

I made my way through the busy departures area and grabbed a coffee from Cafe Nero before taking a seat under a screen to read the paper. The area was busy but generally relaxed, with lots of your typically suited and booted business travellers milling around. There is a good selection of shops and cafes airside and even a free shoe shining service. I checked for wifi and found Lcy_free_wifi. This requires you to log in by giving away some details but was quick once I was online.

Gate 23 showed on the screen at 0830 so I made my way over. Boarding had not commenced yet so I took a seat in the waiting area until 0845 when boarding started. The front ten rows were asked to board from the front stairs and the rest from the rear. I noticed that I had not needed to show any form of ID since I arrived at the airport.

THE SEAT The E170 was configured 2-2, with blue leather seats with a seat pitch of 31” throughout (to see a seat plan click here). I was in seat 8A, a window seat, and I had no one sitting next to me. The flight was fairly empty, to the point where every passenger could have just about had a pair to themselves.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Where all the seats are the same on an aircraft this small, and there is no emergency exit row, the best thing to do is to try and get as far forward as possible. This makes disembarking, being served food and drinks and access to the toilet all that much swifter.

THE FLIGHT Pull back was at 0900 and we took off at 0910. The captain made a short announcement about the weather (drizzly) and the flight time (one hour and five minutes). It was warm on board so I stored my jacket in the overhead locker with my satchel.

Breakfast was served at 0920 and came on a small cardboard tray. There was a small full English breakfast (one sausage, half a tomato, a hash brown, beans and a slice of bacon) served with a pre packed white bread roll, small orange juice and tea and coffee, which followed just behind. I enjoyed the breakfast and the trays were taken at 0935. I continued reading the paper until we landed at 1015.  

ARRIVAL I exited via the front stairs on to the tarmac and walked in to the terminal at Aberdeen. It was only a short walk to arrivals and with no border to pass I was out and on my way in to the town by 1020.

VERDICT A nice time of the day to fly and with the short waiting times through the airport this is a stress free experience. The flight itself is extremely swift and once you’ve finished breakfast there is time enough to read the paper before touching down, an excellent shuttle service.

PRICE Internet rates for a return UK Domestic flight from London City to Aberdeen in January ranged between £169.15 and £578.15 depending on flexibility.


Scott Carey