CityJet Avro RJ85

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  MarcusGB 23 Jan 2017
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  • Anonymous

    Booking & Check in

    Dublin – London City is a route we hadn’t flown for some time, however as it was close to relatives we planned to visit it was far more convenient than either LGW or LHR.

    Cityjet’s schedule served our needs, and we made our booking on-line. The website is quite easy to navigate, and making the booking was simplicity itself. On foot of a number of issues which had arisen on our last Cityjet flight, we were offered a complimentary return flight, which equates to 50% discount. This is service recovery at it’s best, and to the airline’s credit, when I made contact to arrange the discount, it was a pleasure to deal with their team.

    On line check in is available 30 hours before departure, and I selected seats, checked in online and printed boarding passes. The three rearmost rows of Cityjet’s Avro fleet are configured 2-3: the pairs of seats are ideal for couples travelling together. There is the added bonus of extra elbow room too.

    We arrived at Dublin Airport @ 06.30am for the 08.40am departure. This is earlier than normally required for Cityjet, but as there were a large number of flights departing for the Euro matches, I decided to err on the side of caution and allow plenty of time.

    This proved to be a good idea as there were large numbers of fans waiting to clear security. Cityjet had a number of check-in desks, and a dedicated bag drop desk, which we approached. We were greeted by a very friendly agent, who processed our luggage swiftly. Noticing that we had printed on-line check-in boarding passes, she mentioned that the airport systems sometimes could not read the barcodes, and printed new boarding passes to avoid any delays going through the airport. What a nice gesture, and an example of excellent customer service.

    I had booked Fast Track security (5.95euro each), which was money well spent: we were airside within a couple of minutes. Dublin Airport security staff were very friendly and efficient.

    Lounge (Dublin)

    The Dublin Airport Authority lounge is very close to the Fast Track security lane, which is convenient.

    This lounge is the result of the former BMI Diamond Club and original DAA lounges being merged. It is a very large area, with lots of natural light. However, the views are very restricted. There is a range of Irish, European and USA newspapers, with a small range of magazines. There are many seats, and a business centre for those needing to work. There is complimentary wi-fi for all lounge guests.

    There is a limited range of food on offer:

    • Fresh fruit
    • Cereals
    • Pastries
    • Scones
    • Biscuits

    There is a full bar service.

    Restrooms are in the lounge, beside the entrance.

    The DAA lounge is open to all passengers who do not have access on foot of FFP programmes for 20euro. As the airport was very busy airside with football fans (albeit very well behaved and in great spirits) having a quiet spot to relax was very welcome indeed.

    Boarding

    Our flight was boarding from gate 211, formerly known as “A” Pier, and is a few minutes walk from the lounge.

    The aircraft was parked close to the gate, and boarded via stairs through front and rear doors.

    CityJet operate a fleet of Avro RJ 85 Jets (formerly known as BAE 146). The cabin was impressive with navy leather seats and dark blue carpets. Cabin crew were at both doors, and welcomed passengers on board.

    The aircraft is configured 3-3 with the exception of rows 1 &2 (business class) and the rearmost rows which are 2-3 (to take account of the narrower body at the rear). There is good pitch and legroom, but the seats are quite narrow. For this reason, we felt the pair of rear seats the best choice.

    Because the wings are attached to the top of the fuselage, the bins above rows 6-9 are shallower than others. Depending on the size of cabin bags, this is something to be aware of.

    After announcements for route information, safety, we were airborne quickly, and settled into our seats.

    There is a complimentary tea/coffee service with juice/water and a cereal bar. The coffee was strong and better than that served in many cafes, and the cereal bar of good quality too.

    We landed in London City Airport on time. There is a very short taxi to arrivals, and using both doors, passengers deplaned quickly. The baggage hall is literally a few feet from the aircraft. Surprisingly it took almost 15 minutes for bags to reach the belt. From there, it is a very short walk to the exit which leads directly to the Docklands Light Railway.

    London City Airport Check in and security

    Visiting Cityjet’s website 30 hours pre-flight, I was delighted to find seats 16A & 16C available. I selected these seats, and printed our boarding passes, which came with a barcode (for use at bag drop off and to access security).

    We arrived at London City at 5.30pm for our 7.30pm flight. This time there was an internet bag drop off facility. Staff are close by to assist, and it was a very efficient system: place bag on the machine, scan barcode, affix the printed label on the case, and put it on the belt. Swift, painless and efficient.

    The security area is quite small compared to other London airports, and was very busy. During our last visit, we experienced a number of problems, and as a goodwill gesture, LCY management offered us fast track security. Kerry Anderson met us and guided us through security, which took only a few minutes.

    However we were totally unprepared for what we next encountered……an exact replication of our last experience at LCY: A very crowded departure area. I initially put this down to it being a busy period, but as time progressed it became apparent that the crowding was due to a large number of delayed flights; just like our last visit.

    Despite being escorted by Kerry, it took some time to find two spare seats. Once seated, we were offered complimentary tea/coffee, which we gratefully accepted.

    The area was uncomfortably warm, and it was at least half an hour before the air conditioning began to cool the departures area.

    There is a limited selection of places to eat airside, and each had lengthy queues. We settled for a chicken salad (in a plastic box), bacon roll (in a plastic bag) and two bottled drinks….this average fare cost almost £20: a premium price for average food.

    Our flight was scheduled for departure @ 7.25pm, and as this time approached we saw that it joined the list of delayed flights, with a revised departure time of 7.45pm.

    Flight information screens indicated that our flight was ready for boarding, and we joined a number of other passengers and proceeded towards our gate. This resulted in a queue snaking down a flight of stairs leading to a room beside the runway where we were corralled for a further 15 minutes while the aircraft was being prepared.

    The aircraft was identical to that used on the outbound flight. Once boarding began, it was swiftly completed due to both front and rear doors being used. There was ample storage space overhead, despite the flight being almost completely full. Once boarding was complete, the Captain welcomed passengers, apologised for the delayed departure.

    There was a safety briefing from the cabin crew, and after a short taxi, we were airborne.

    In flight service

    As well as tea/coffee and water/juice, there was a choice of Red or White wine with a savoury or sweet snack. I opted for a red wine, which was quite pleasant. The cabin crew were friendly and efficient at serving and clearing rubbish. Our landing was smooth, and we parked beside the old “A” Pier.

    Baggage was swiftly delivered, and we were landside with minimal delay. Interestingly, Dublin Airport T1 now has automated passport control machines which read new biometric passports. My wife’s worked perfectly, mine did not, and I needed to present myself to an official who checked my passport. A fellow passenger remarked to us that these machines fail intermittently, possibly the new technology needs some time to bed it.

    Conclusion

    London City Airport has a great arrivals experience, with excellent transport connections to Central London: from aircraft to DLR is barely a couple of minutes walk. I was less impressed with the departure experience, which on two separate occasions was underwhelming.

    Cityjet’s product is excellent. Checked baggage is complimentary, and the inflight service is very good indeed. Ground staff were equally impressive.

    Review courtesy of Seatplans.com. Original review by user PatJordan can be found here


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    Hi Pat.
    A very thorough review, and less rigid than some that are written, you narrated us through your observations and experience well, and it was a pleasure to read.

    I was using LCY weekly for 3 years, as i was a week in Amsterdam, and a week in London, based in North London, so it was the most viable for me. This was before CityJet was sold off by AF. These are old aircraft, some approaching 27 years old, and they desperately need to renew their fleet. Alex has reminded us of Canadair CRJ 900’s and Sukhoi Superjets are planned in the coming years.

    Since being sold off, their routes have diminished and BA have the greatest number of Aircraft and routes and, expanding all the time. So there has been a demise of their presence at LCY. Comparing them to a new Embraer on the route.
    Cityjet should enforce the carry on baggage, as it’s more the businessmen thinking they have the right to bring 3 bags and jam it in the overhead space. They travel in Economy these days, so like it or not, they have Economy allowances!

    Yes, rows 15A/C are better but 16A the best, as no seat in front of you, and good for single travellers also. Arriving and departing LCY you can use the back steps for easy on and off.

    Fully agree re the Airports space, it is mayhem now and gone are the off peak times where it is quieter. Too many shops and poorly used, overpriced restaurants, that could easily add 1/3 rd to the waiting area just by getting rid of one.
    I used them a month ago out and it was mayhem, over 300 people queueing for BA check ins and machines! Security was back to the top of the escalator and was 35 minutes to get through. this at 1pm!
    Apparently they have just opened more seating in the gate area.
    The Airport is now impossible to turn up and check-in with less than 1 hour, and with gates ready 30 minutes before, you safely need 90 minutes. They desperately need a taxiway as planes still have to land or take off using the one live runway, wasting time and fuel.

    Cityjet have lost many routes to BA, when they used to have the majority of services, and continue to decline with the oldest Aircraft there.They were sold off by AF / KLM some years ago, and rumour was of leased aircraft Canadian CRjJs and Sukhoi Superjets, but these are bring kept back for private or group hire!

    Pity KLM as yet, do not fly their Embraers for this route, feeding their Transit passengers for KLM flights, they would brighten up the airport and services. The airport is way beyond passenger comfort and capacity and priority has been given to commercial / shops, not passengers. Same as the new owners had to drop increasing car park charges and drop off pick up fees.

    It is a pleasure to arrive into, to collect bags and be out in under 30 minutes, and the new E-Passport gates for EU passports help flow.

    But add the weather that disrupts the Airport so often i tend to use LHR out and LCY back. Cityjet have lost many customers to other Airlines on routes they say were not profitable, taken over by others with new jets, and suddenly highly profitable!

    i cannot see a future for Cityjet at LCY.


    JohnHarper
    Participant

    Excellent as ever thank you Pat.

    I’ve only used LCY a few times and always in the middle of the day. It has been busy and crowded enough at those times, I dread to think what it’s like in peak hours. Something needs to give.


    ontherunhome
    Participant

    Having been a loyal BA customer for years, I decided with the constant cuts and BOB, to look around for flights in future. I needed a flight to Paris, from London. I prefer Orly, as it is more compact and quicker to access where i wanted in Paris (13th) via Orlybus.

    Looking at flights Cityjet jumped out, flying from City to Orly, at a time convenient to me, 18.10 on a Friday. It was £30 cheaper than BA, and free drinks and snacks, and a checked in bag if desired.

    Used public transport to City, and arrived about one hour before scheduled departure. Went straight to security which was using 3 out of 4 available lanes. it was quick and painless. Staff were good humoured. One of my bags was taken out, as i had half a bottle of water in it. They offered for me to drink it, however I said no, so the binned it for me. The bag was not re screened. It was quick unlike at LHR where they punish you for having to have a bag taken out, with a long wait.

    Gate was announced 30 minutes before departure,on the screens, at 17.40, gate 6. Was pleasantly surprised by upgrade to LCY, though still work in progress. Gates were nice and new, though access to plane was via a tired stairway and holding area.

    Arrived at gate 17.45 no plane, 5 minutes later i saw a cityjet Avro land, and a few minutes later it arrived on gate, de planned and by scheduled departure time we we just waiting for clearance to depart. Ten minutes later we were airborne.

    These are old planes,though the cabin was clean, and well presented. The flight was 60% full, I had a window seat 11A. It was tight against the sidewall, fortunately I had 2 empty seats next to me so quiet comfortable. Cabin temperature was warm, and pleasant on a cold night. Only negative was reading lights were poorly positioned and not very effective. View from window was the underwing and engines, noise was not an issue.

    On board service started 10 mins after departure. The crew of 2 pushed the cart from front to back, offering drinks and snacks. I asked what the offer was, and the steward replied, soft drinks, tea, coffee, wine, beer or even Gin and tonic if i wanted. I went for a beer, a 250ml Heineken. Offered a snack for which i chose the sweet option , a ginger biscuit. When the trolley came back, i was given a second can without even asking.

    Arrived in Paris about 20 minutes ahead of schedule despite late departure. So early we had to move parking positions. As we left the plane, flight crew came out to thank us as we deplaned. Then bussed to terminal, and a quick exit to the Hilton Orly, which is very good value at weekends.

    I cannot complain about anything. I will use Cityjet again. BA will loose some customers, they are not getting me automatically now, and as i set company travel policy, they will lose other staff flights too.

    I hope Cityjet capitalise on the constant BA devaluation, and hope new aircraft appear soon, to make the experience even better. Well done Cityjet.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    ontherunhome – Thanks for the report and glad it worked out for you.

    As noted on other threads, Cityjet will be replacing its RJ85s (BAe146s) with the Russian Sukhoi Superjet. But the latter still needs certification for LCY.


    Martin36
    Participant

    Interesting read! I can only hope that Cityjet consider taking over the LCY to Madrid route which BA have axed.


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    KLM will be arriving at LCY once a day in February, and twice a day in March with brand new Embraer 190 aircraft. It is highly likely these number of flights will increase with the already demand of flights, using Cityjet, that will transfer over to KLM.

    Most are leisure passengers flying out on KLM on medium or long haul flights.
    Travelling 2 weekly, these Avrojet Aircraft remain dirty inside, last flight had food pastry crumbs all over my seat, dirty filthy windows that need to be scraped on the inside clean.

    The new KLM flights will show them up, and their flights are priced at ridiculous rates next to KLM, some £189 one way, when KLM advertise £82 return! It is not difficult to see that KLM will be successful as they have codeshare bookings on Cityjet that will stop, so already a sale and demand.
    Be quite refreshing to see the KLM Blue arrive at LCY, and a celebration is being hosted in London just before the new flights.
    Cityjet announce in their magazine they are setting up a new “Hub in Southend”!
    Clearly they are and have been pushed put of LCY, and let’s face it, their aircraft are not befitting that of other Airlines, and visibly the ages of them shows.

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