Tried & Tested

British Airways Avro RJ 100 Euro Traveller

1 Jul 2005 by business traveller

First impressions The 1925 flight is a great option for anyone who wants to get a full day of business in London before leaving for Frankfurt. BA offers three flights every weekday on the London City-Frankfurt route, leaving at 0800, 1430 and 1925. It is in direct competition with Lufthansa, which also offers three weekday flights, leaving London City at 0915, 1325 and 1845.

I checked in online at www.ba.com about three hours before scheduled departure because I wanted to book a seat near the front, and was pleased to get the seat I wanted in the front row of economy class behind five rows of business class. I printed out my boarding card at the same time so all that was left to do at London City was check in my trolley bag because it didn't comply with BA's cabin luggage limit of 6kg (or 55x40x20cm).

On my arrival at London City, 50 minutes before scheduled departure, the information screens warned of a half-hour delay, which then increased to 90 minutes. I was told by check-in staff that it was a knock-on from earlier problems at Frankfurt and I was given a £5 voucher to spend in any airport restaurant or café. This was a nice gesture from BA as it is not legally bound to offer compensation for delays of less than two hours. However, it didn't appease some passengers, who were facing a scheduled arrival at Frankfurt of 2325 instead of 2155.

I spent my voucher at the Meridien Line restaurant, landside overlooking check-in. My blackened Cajun chicken was tasty but overpriced at over £10. Service was fast, but although the food was brought out within 10 minutes, it took me 10 minutes to get a table.

Boarding We were called to the gate 15 minutes before take-off, where newspapers were offered. The gate area was cramped once all the passengers had arrived.

The seat The dark blue leather seats were comfortable and with sufficient legroom. The flight was operated by an Avro RJ 100 aircraft with seats arranged in a configuration of 3-3.

The flight We were seated quickly because the plane was only a third full, with just one passenger in business class, and we took off at the new scheduled time of 2055. Take-off was slightly unnerving with a series of loud engine revs as we gained altitude (unlike at other airports, aircraft leaving London City gain altitude in stages).

The cabin crew came out promptly with a choice of snack packs containing either a vegetarian or meat sandwich and a piece of cake, which most people refused, having eaten in the airport. Then came the drinks trolley from which I ordered two drinks – water and a glass of wine – from a cheery attendant.

Arrival We made up 20 minutes in the air and arrived at 2305, although we had to wait five minutes for an air-bridge, during which time the captain apologised for the delay. Frankfurt Airport seemed empty and it took under 10 minutes to get to the baggage hall, where I was relieved to see my bag already going around the belt.

Verdict The delay was just bad luck – the service was otherwise good.

Prices Lead-in fares are from £108 for an economy return.

Ginny McGrath

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