British Airways B737-500 Euro Traveller04/10/2012
First impressions I arrived at Gatwick’s North Terminal at 1220 for my 1330 departure on flight BA7953 to Toulouse. BA serves the route three times daily (the other option being a twice-daily service with Easyjet, also from Gatwick). Having checked in online and because I was travelling with hand luggage only, I went straight through to security. In economy, the hand-luggage limit is one piece with a maximum size 56 x 45 x 25cm, plus one laptop case, handbag or briefcase. (The checked-luggage limit is 23kg.)
The security checks passed quickly (laptops out, but I was spared the random shoe checking), and I was airside by 1230. I started looking around the duty-free shops, and then noticed a sign inviting passengers to register for the Iris recognition programme. As I had some time to spare, I decided to take the opportunity to register for the scheme, which has sparked endless debate on the businesstraveller.com forum (click here to view the latest posts).
The applications office is located down the spiral walkway towards Gates 59-63, and when I arrived, there was around half a dozen people waiting in front of me. The process is pretty quick, with users simply looking into a retinal scanning machine, then having their photo taken. I’ll be sure to add my comments to the forum when I have the opportunity to use the scheme.
By now it was 1255 and my flight had been called – coincidentally, to Gate 59 – so I proceeded to the lounge to await boarding. This commenced at around 1315, and the flight took off at around 1340.
The flight I was sat in seat 6C on this B737-500 aircraft, which as far as I could see was completely full. Economy class is configured 3-3, and business class has a total of 15 seats, configured 2-3. Economy class passengers were offered a choice of hot and cold drinks, plus a snack (I got a bag of mixed nuts, the man next to me received a cookie). The interior of the plane was by no means new, but everything worked as it should, and on such a short flight (1 hour 45 minutes) that’s all that really matters.
Arrival We touched down at 1610 (catching a glimpse of the brand-new Qantas A380 which was being delivered to the carrier from the city’s Airbus factory the next day), and were disembarked and through immigration within ten minutes.
Verdict Perfectly adequate for a short trip like this, although the interior of the plane looks like it could do with a makeover.
Price Return fares with BA for economy class flights including a Saturday-night stay in October from London to Toulouse started from £108 online.