BACKGROUND This was my return flight (to read a review of the outbound leg, click here) with British Airways from Nice to London Gatwick after a weekend away.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS I arrived at Terminal 1 at Nice Cote d’Azure at 1540. I had checked in online earlier that day using my Apple Passbook app on my phone and downloaded the boarding pass to my device. I pre-selected my Euro Traveller (economy) seat and there was an exit-row window seat available – 10A – which I snapped up.
Security was quiet and there were four lanes open. I scanned my mobile boarding pass before going through the x-ray. This terminal is much smaller airside than T2, which is where Easyjet is based, so I headed straight for the B zone, passing through passport control first. This area was much more peaceful and is where the Salon Riviera lounge is located, up a flight of stairs.
THE LOUNGE I entered the lounge at 1550, just ten minutes after arriving at the airport, and entered using my Priority Pass. There were more people in the lounge than the departures area but I found myself a sofa next to the windows and went to grab a drink. There were nibbles such as olives, bread and biscuits on offer, a coffee machine and two fridges with beers, soft drinks and wine. Glasses of champagne are available upon request.
All the English papers had been taken so I settled in to my book. I tried to log in to any of the three free wifi networks (Nice Airport, Salon and centre d’affaires) but despite showing three bars of signal none got me a connection, highly frustrating. I tried the in-lounge desktop but this was painfully slow so gave up on internet access. The lounge is pretty basic, with decent food and drink and comfortable seating, but not a lot else.
BOARDING There was an in-lounge announcement that the London Gatwick flight would begin boarding at 1620 with a fast track lane set up and all other passengers forming one large, separate queue. I joined this and was in my seat by 1630 as the two members of staff dealt with passengers nice and swiftly.
THE SEAT As I mentioned earlier I had selected seat 10A on this B737-400 aircraft. This was the first of two rows of emergency exit seats (to see a seatplan, click here) meaning I had ample legroom to spread out and a window to look out of (the flight out of Nice is extremely picturesque). The seats are all blue leather and fairly tired looking but certainly comfortable enough for this length flight.
THE FLIGHT We pulled back at 1645 and took off at 1650. I napped for a while and missed the chicken ceasar wrap. I woke in time for the drinks service and ordered a cup of tea and was offered the wrap as the friendly older steward noticed that I had missed it first time round, good service all round. I wasn’t hungry so just opted for the tea, which was Twinings and was nice and hot.
I napped and read for the rest of the flight and the cabin was nice and quiet. We landed at 1835 and were on the stand soon after. Disembarkation was via an airbridge at 1845. Immigration was quite busy so I went through the e-passport lane, which worked well and possibly saved me a few minutes. As I had hand luggage only I was out of the terminal and on the shuttle to the train station at the South Terminal by 1900 (1800 local time).
VERDICT An extremely relaxed service with a great, experienced crew. Nice and Gatwick airports are both a breeze to travel through making these sort of short hops a stress free proposition.