Eastern Airways, Economy Class – Saab 2000: Isle of Man to London City

Folie1

Date: 15 May 2016.
From: Isle of Man.
To: London City Airport.
Departure: 11:25.
Arrival: 12:30.
Flight time: 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Seat: 10A, emergency exit seat on the left side of the aircraft.

GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Transport:
Bus line 12.
Journey time: 29 minutes.
Departs from: Regent Street stop, on the promenade opposite The Claremont Hotel.
Arrives: Terminal building, Ronaldsway airport.
Cost: GBP2.70.

My flight to London will be leaving at 11h25 this morning. I take the bus from the promenade at 09h25, which gets me to the airport at 09h54. The bus is fairly empty and I am the only passenger to alight at the airport. From here the bus continues to Port Erin.

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CHECK-IN
Location:
Ground floor. Turn right as you enter the terminal building.
Facilities: Check-in available only at the counters. There are no self-service check-in machines and according to the app, you cannot use an electronic boarding pass either.
Counters: There are dedicated counters for all carriers currently operating into the airport. British Airways has two counters. Both counters are staffed, which seems a bit OTT, especially given that the flight is operated by a Saab 2000 with only 50 seat and, according to the check-in agent, the flight is only half full anyway.

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LOUNGE
Location:
First floor, right behind security.
Type of Lounge:
Contractor lounge.

There is a lounge here that is available to British Airways Executive Club card holders, but the lounge does not open on Sunday mornings. So instead, I grab myself a cappuccino from Costas and settle down by the window to look at the activity – or lack thereof – on the ramp.

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The building is deserted when I arrive. It is just me and two very bored Costas barristas. Gradually though, the remaining passengers start trickling in.

BOARDING
Boarding is rather a peculiar affair. There is a seating area by gate 4, from where our flight will apparently be boarding. The gate attendant checks my documents and I am good to go – one floor down into a big room. Once all passengers for the flight arrive, all 28 of us, the door through which we entered is closed and the outside door is opened.

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CABIN
I am sitting on 10A this morning, which is the emergency exit single seat on the left-hand side of the aircraft.

The guy seated in front of me obviously thinks he is hot stuff, and keeps trying to chat up the young eastern European flight attendant. He is putting on some cockney geezer show to impress right now. But to be honest, I just think he is an idiot and I doubt if the young lady knows what a cockney geezer is anyway… She is definitely not buying it.

SERVICE
The young lady is friendly enough I guess, but she is not exactly what I would describe as exuberant and seems somewhat robotic. However, in her favour I must say that she is very conscientious in the way she goes about the security briefing and prepares the cabin for departure.

It is certainly a lovely day for flying today. The wind has calmed down and the clouds are gradually breaking up. After take-off we do a very wide left-hand turn to point us in the general direction of Old Blighty.

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THE MEAL
Meal:

  • Salty crisps, sweet biscuits or popcorn.
  • Still water.

Once again, service on board is just a small snack. Even so, I think it is quite impressive that you should have three choices in Economy Class (okay, yes I know it’s only popcorn).

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ARRIVAL
London’s City airport is located in the middle of the city, hence the name. To give the people living around the airport at least some respite from the noise, the airport closes on Saturday lunchtime and remains closed until noon on Sunday. Today we are running slightly ahead of schedule and as a result, the airport has not even opened for business again by the time we reach London. So we head out over the North Sea and do one holding circle before eventually coming back to approach the airport in a westerly direction.

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And then from there I am off to London for a Grand Thali and a bit of retail therapy.

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