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Anonymous28 Aug 2012
As I am a fan of small planes, I deliberately chose to fly to Jersey from Oxford on the Manx2 Jetstream 31. Manx2 fly daily from Oxford to Isle of Man and Jersey.
Oxford airport is not your typical airport! Being mainly a business jet & pilot training airport, the terminal itself was actually a business jet terminal which had the feel of a hotel reception area. I arrived about 50 minutes before departure and checkin was very simple. Security is nearby and leads into a lounge rather like a business class lounge. Beware, there is no cafe after security. Free tea & coffee is available but otherwise there is only a vending machine.
An aside on Oxford airport. The airport is part of a large industrial estate and the airport area is full of buildings. Finding the terminal building can be difficult as it is a small one among many. The airport cafe is in a separate building. One good thing about the airport is the public transport connection. During weekdays, buses (number 2B) run to the airport from Oxford city centre (Magdalan Street) every 15 minutes (every hour at weekends).
Flight was on time and boarding was done in 2 groups. Note there is nowhere to store bags over your seat so your cabin bag has to be put in a storage area at the back. Seating is free on the Jetstream 31 and I took the aisle seat at the back. There are 6 rows of seats in 2-1 layout. I find the window seats cramped due to the curvature of the fuselage which is why I prefer the aisle. The alternative seat I could have chosen would have been the aisle seat in the front row.
There is no cockpit door and whilst there is a curtain divider, the pilots rarely bother to draw it so sitting in the front row gives a full view of the cockpit and the instruments which is great if you like to watch what is going on. In particular, you can follow the aircraft’s map to see where you are and where it is heading. Seat pitch is not brilliant but I have had worse and for a short flight it’s not an issue.
Manx2 do not bother with cabin crew on this flight so safety briefing is conducted by the co-pilot who I found difficult to hear sitting at the back. Flight was full which augurs well for the continuation of the service though being a Saturday flight in August, one would expect it to be full.
One word of advice if you haven’t travelled in a Jetstream 31 before. Take a set of earplugs. It isnt so much the engine noise that is a problem, it is the fact that at full power, the engines create an annoying resonance. This flight’s resonance was particularly annoying as it was high pitched but bizzarely, if you moved your head one inch, it dissipated. Very odd example of wave interferometry!
Landing was on time and was into a very strong headwind which made for a bumpy landing. I think the co-pilot actually made an apology for the landing which was appreciated though again I couldn’t hear him. Baggage reclaim was trouble free and I then proceeded to catch the airport bus for my onward connection.
Would be happy to fly again but would take a set of ear plugs next time.28 Aug 2012