Date: 13 May 2016.
From: London City Airport.
To: Ronaldsway Airport, Isle of Man.
Flight time: 55 minutes
Seat: 11A, single window seat on the left side of the aircraft.
I just arrived in London from Zürich. It is good to have my full range of motion back after spending ninety minutes cooped up in a horribly cramped Avro RJ85. I rotate both shoulders quickly, just to check they are both still working and step inside the terminal.
I am already holding my boarding pass for the onward connection to the Isle of Man. London City airport has no facilities for transfer passengers. So upon arriving from Zürich I have to head for immigration first. At least they have installed scanners for biometric passports, which certainly speeds up the process.
Once you exit through customs, you will find yourself in the departure hall on the ground floor. The check-in counters are on your left. For departures and security, head one floor up.
London City airport does not have a premium lounge, which sounds like a really good idea on paper. The whole raison d’être of this airport is its proximity to the business district, which allows business people to arrive only shortly before departure.
But unfortunately, things do not always work out the way we want them to. The departure lounge is already crawling with people when I arrive. I do not think I have ever seen anything like it. There is literally standing room only and when I try to get myself something to eat, I realise that none of the places selling food actually have anything left. They have actually run out of food. Of course there are a couple of sit down restaurants, but they are all packed too. And then all of a sudden all flights show up as delayed, including my flight to Douglas, which is now scheduled to leave at 20h35 instead of 19h55. And still more people arrive!
Eventually, the departures resume and the crowds begin to clear. That is when Boots finally manages to get a fresh batch of sandwiches on the shelves. Food, at last!
Boarding is from gate 24, which is the gate the Speedbird flights to New York operate from too. At around 20h30, one of the gate agents informs us that the flight is overbooked and that they are going to have to offload passengers. Unfortunately, nobody volunteers and two poor souls are forced to spend the night at a dreary airport hotel courtesy of British Airways. And then, finally, boarding begins.
Configuration: 1 + 2.
Seat: The cabin is in mint condition and still looks very new. There are fifty seats in total. The seat pitch is good and certainly better than what you get on many of the larger aircraft these days. Without any problem at all I am able to park my legs under the seat in front of me and I do not even need to sit up fully to be able to do so.
There is one cabin crew on this aircraft and she is in full British Airways uniform. She does a really excellent job throughout the flight and manages to serve all passengers and clear up again within the 55 minutes the flight takes.
- Sparkling water.
- A choice of savoury or sweet biscuit.
This service really is just a snack. It is already gone 21h so most passengers will have eaten anyway. Or, like me, they simply could not resist a piece of sweet carrot cake that they are convinced was calling their name…
It is a nice flight. I roll up with my Kindle and feel all nice and cosy until eventually it is time for us to start our descent into the Isle of Man.
By the time we eventually land in Douglas we are one hour behind schedule, it is hardly surprising that we are the evening’s last arrival. As the engines are turned off, I look outside to see that the runway and taxi lights are all gradually be turned off as the airport prepares to shut down for the night.
I disembark the aircraft and take the opportunity to snap a few more pictures of the aircraft from the front. The co-pilot sees me, waves me a big smile before posing for me with a thumbs up.
GETTING INTO TOWN
Departs from: As you exit the terminal, turn right.
Journey time: 20 minutes.
Mode of transport: Taxi.
The last bus into town has already left, and so I take a taxi into town. In Douglas I will be staying at the Claremont Hotel. I am rather looking forward to this stay.