I love flying from London City! It is such a fantastically convenient airport to get to (especially as I used to live in East London), you can arrive only 15 minutes before departure, security is extremely quick, and of course it is located on the DLR. There is no lounge at City, but it is very much set up for business travellers, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time there anyway.
In March I was flying from London to Edinburgh for the day. I had booked a hand baggage only fare, a mistake in hindsight as this prevented me from stocking up at my favourite whisky store, Cadenheads! The outbound flight was on an Embraer 170, operated by BA City Flyer. I love the Embraers from LCY. Just two seats either side, pretty comfortable service, and I always like the fake offs from City, especially in the westerly direction.
Boarding at City always involves a short walk (I’ve never had to have a bus anyway!) out to the plane. Rather than pulling up and needing to be able up ushed back, the planes turn around as they pull up, letting them pull straight out without needing a push back.
It is only a brief flight up to Edinburgh, around an hour. Just enough time for a quick breakfast service. It was a surprisingly decent attempt at a Full English for effectively an all economy cabin and very little time to serve a full plane. Sausage, bacon, something rose,bling scrambled egg and some mushrooms, with a decent cup of coffee.
The crew were very efficient and sufficiently friendly.
After a nice but very cold day in Edinburgh, we got back to the airport, straight through security with no bags, and in to the British Airways Lounge. This was my first time here, and I was very impressed actually. BA operate quite a lot of flights a day from Edinburgh to the three London airports, but that is it. The lounge and plenty of seating, some decent wines, beers and spirits, and a selection of sandwiches and snacks in the evening.
I had received an email a couple of days before telling me the return flight would be operated by WDL Aviation on behalf of BA. What this meant was a change from the scheduled Embraer 170 to a BAe 146-200. This was my first time on one, the original aircraft of London City AirPort (The 146 is known for its special characteristics of a steep take off and approach angles and short take off run, and for being unusually quiet – for many years it was the only plane certified for LCY). For those note familiar, it is a small single aisle plane, with three seats either side (but thankfully only 2 used, otherwise it would have been extremely cramped). The distinguishing feature is the wings and four engines.
WDL is a leasing company out of Germany. I wouldn’t say the crew were friendly, but they were efficient. There was no food service, just a bag of nuts or crisps, but there was a full drinks service. But I must say I don’t think I will be queueing up to fly on a BAe146 again! The plane was at least 20 years old I’d have guessed, and showed it in terms of the interior fit and finish. The seats were narrow, but the legroom was just acceptable for me to fit in.
The landing at Heathrow was coming in from the east, passing over Dartford Bridge, Tilbury docks and touching down just over an hour after take off. The flight was rather turbulent, and the landing quite hard. But less than five minutes after touching down I was waiting on the DLR platform for a train.
All in all a nice day, although I think BA operated a better service themselves on a much more comfortable plane. Bathe real surprise was the lounge at Edinburgh for domestic only flights. For the price, I don’t see why anyone would fly EasyJet or other budget airlines from London to Edinburgh.