Dublin-London City-Dublin routeBack to Forum
Anonymous2 Apr 2015
Booking and check in
Dublin – London City is a route I hadn’t flown for some time, however as it was close to a number of relatives we planned to visit it was far more convenient than either LGW or LHR. The route is served by FlyBe, BA, & Cityjet.
Cityjet’s schedule suited us best, so decided to give them a try. Their website is easy to navigate, and we made our booking. This being my first Cityjet booking (since 2000), I needed to add all my (and that of Mrs.J.) personal details into the site. I was pleased to note that the basic fares include one checked bag. I was less pleased to find that when I tried to select our seats and check –in online that the system could not find my booking.
I took two emails and several days before I received a generic response telling me that these operations could only be carried out 30 hours pre-flight. My queries as to whether I could purchase fast track security and lounge access remained unanswered, as did my subsequent letter. Not the best example of customer service.
Through the Dublin Airport website, I arranged (4 days) car parking close to Terminal 1, lounge access and fast track security for a very reasonable 73Euro.
The day before departure, I checked in online and printed boarding passes. I was pleased to note that the boarding passes included the instruction to use the self service bag drop at the airport.
We arrived at 7.00am for the 09.30am departure, and sought the self service bag drop…..there didn’t seem to be any such facility, so we went to the check-in desks…..which were closed.
Cityjet do not open their desks until 07.40am, which meant kicking our heels for over half an hour. With the many urgings to departing passengers to arrive early at the airport, it is a little strange to encounter a policy which encourages the opposite.
When the desks opened we were dealt with by a very pleasant agent (Sky Handling Partner is Cityjets’ handling agent) who was very surprised to see the instruction on our passes to use the self service bag drop, which is non existent in Dublin Airport.
We then proceeded to security, and using Fast track, we were airside within a couple of minutes.
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.
The food on offer consisted of:
• Fresh fruit
• Brown bread
There is a full bar service, with stern warnings that alcoholic beverages are limited to two per guest!
Restrooms are in the lounge, beside the entrance.
Because of the unexpected delay in checking in, we had about an hour in the lounge before our flight. Considering the light breakfast on offer, and the relaxing atmosphere, it is well worth the entrance fee.
Our flight was boarding from gate 213, 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 (to take account of the narrower body at the rear). There is good pitch and legroom, but the seats are very narrow, and it is difficult to avoid hip and shoulder contact with those in adjoining seats.
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 cake bar. The coffee was strong and better than that served in many cafes. It was an unexpected and most welcome touch.
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. Within a few minutes, bags were on the belt, and it is another short walk to the exit. London Bus services are directly outside, and the Docklands Light Railway to the right of the airport entrance.
We were being met at the airport, and within less than 10 minutes of landing, we were on our way. In this regard, London City Airport is unbeatable.
London City Airport Check in and security
I was anxious to secure more comfortable seats for our return flight, and 30 hours pre-flight, I visited Cityjet’s website, and selected 16A & 16B. This is close to the rear of the aircraft and is one of three pairs of seats in the 2-3 configured section. I also 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 6pm 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 sadly lacking in Dublin Airport.
The security area is quite small compared to other London airports, and was very busy. However due to efficient management, passengers were quickly dealt with. Staff were very vigilant about enforcing the “no mobile phone” policy, but were very tactful in doing so. After a very short time we were airside, and having had such a positive experience, we were totally unprepared for what we next encountered……
The departures area was very crowded. I 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. It took a while, but we eventually managed to find two spare seats. The area was uncomfortably warm, and it was at least half an hour before the air conditioning began to cool the departures area.
Our flight was scheduled for boarding @ 7.00pm, and as this time approached we saw that it joined the list of delayed flights, with a revised departure time of 8pm.
Quite amazingly, it was not until 7.30pm that the Airport apologised for the overcrowding, which was as a result of many delayed flights that day. No mention was made of the cause of these delays. Given that London City airport attracts a high level of professionals as passengers, surely they deserve to be kept informed a little better?
Both my wife and I felt that London City Airport failed to manage the situation: at the very least asking passengers to remain landside (where there was much less congestion) until nearer their departure time would have gone some way to alleviating the overcrowding. And why not inform passengers earlier that there was a significant level of flight delays? As we learned on our flight, this was due to the discovery of a large WW2 unexploded bomb in South East London. Were we too immature to be told of this?
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 and explained the reason for the delayed departure. I remain baffled as to why this information was withheld from us at the airport.
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.
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, but in all fairness it would be wrong to be over critical on foot of one bad experience.
I have mixed views about Cityjet: the seats are very narrow, and the lack of shoulder and hip room is a pity. Yet the seat pitch and leg room exceed many other A320 & B737 configurations. Cabin service is excellent.
However, the late opening of check in desks and lack of the promised bag drop facility in Dublin Airport is disappointing. Of even more concern is the failure of Cityjet to reply to my letter and emails. This cavalier attitude to customer care is unforgivable in a competitive environment.
Would I fly into London City Airport again? Most definitely.
Would I fly Cityjet again? I’m not sure…maybe BA & Flybe deserve a chance.2 Apr 2015
Thanks for a most comprehensive check of both LCY and Cityjet.
LCY was originally planned as a niche business travel airport and when it opened (a few years before Canary Wharf) the fares were high (only full fare tickets were sold) and demand was limited.
Indeed most LCY passengers came from mainland Europe rather than from the London area. The former appreciated LCY’s ease of access to the City and, of course, they gained with the one hour time difference.
But it’s changed a lot since then and congestion is a problem at busy times.
There’s not much time left if you want to sample Flybe on this route.
Although Flybe will axe its LCY-DUB route at the end of May it is cutting flight frequency (from four flights to one flight) around mid-April.2 Apr 2015
BA E190s re such better aircraft to fly. Wider seats, 1 inch wider than most A320 seats, excellent legroom. Hot breakfast on morning departures. Never been fan of the BAE146 due to the narrow seats.
The E190 / E170 is one of the main reasons why BA are now number 1 airline at city.3 Apr 2015
Seating on the BAe146 need not be narrow. In its early days the seating was 2-3 but then the airlines, as has happened so often with other aircraft, changed it to 3-3.
But Swiss still keeps the 2-3 configuration.
Yes the BAe146 doesn’t have much passenger appeal today but it must be remembered it was designed many years ago for airports with short or tricky runways.
It was the first jet aircraft granted permission to use LCY some 25 years ago. Until then all the flights were by noisy (for the passeners) and sluggish four-engined DH-7s.
The BAe146 is the aircraft which made LCY the success it is today.3 Apr 2015
I sent a detailed email to Cityjet outlining my concerns, and received the following relpy:
Dear Mr. Jordan,
Thank you for contacting Cityjet.
We acknowledge receipt of your mail.
We would like to express our gratitude for the time you devoted to give us your feedback. Your experience and statements will be taken into consideration in order to improve our service offer.
Please accept our apologies for the difficulties you encountered which should in no way reflect the level of service we aim to offer our passengers.
Your remark has been send to our management.
Be assured that we are constantly monitoring the quality of our service so that same incidents are avoided.
Please accept our sincere apologies caused on this occasion and be sure we understand your disappointment.
Needless to say this generic response is wholly inadequate, and I await the outcome of my request to escalate same.
If this is Cityjets’ customer service best efforts, it leaves a lot to be desired.4 Apr 2015
Today I received a follow up response from Cityjet Chairman, Mr.Pat Byrne. He freely acknowledged the shortcomings I identified and outlined what steps are being taken to prevent recurrences. He also acknowledged that my earlier communications should have had a response much sooner.
He also offered a free companion ticket next time Mrs.J & I are travelling to LCY.
Full marks to Pat Byrne for a proactive and very satisfactory outcome.17 Apr 2015
Those BAe 146s are going to remain with CityJet for some time to come.
It cannot find a suitable replacement in the near future and the lower cost of fuel means there isn’t the same need to retire them.
Link to the news story today on aerotelegraph.com In German language.21 Apr 2015
Thanks Pat for the review.
I avoid CityJet for much of the reasons you outline.
The BA experience in this route, especially for BAEC Silver/Gold is vastly superior given you you get fast track in DUB, extra bag, lounge access and in Dub T1, an airbridge departure in the 300 gates .
I also remember when EI abandoned this route over 10 year ago (they used AVRO jets also) even though every flight i made on the route was jammed full. I think they were copying MoLeary in seeking to only have 1 type of short haul craft for maintenance efficiencies. T’was one in the eye for the business traveller.
Rgds SxP21 Apr 2015