BACKGROUND BA Cityflyer launched flights from London City to Aberdeen in September (see online news April 25), adding to existing services from Heathrow to the Granite City. It is the only carrier to serve Aberdeen from LCY.
Ex-Bmi also currently fly between Heathrow and Aberdeen (now with BA flight codes), although new owners the International Airlines Group will have to give up these slots as part of its purchase of the carrier from Lufthansa which could lead to greater competition on the route.
BOARDING I arrived at Aberdeen airport at 1630 for my 1730 departure back to London City (to read the outbound review, click here) operated by BA Cityflyer. I had checked in online the day before and had my boarding pass printed, so I headed straight through the small terminal for security. This was only a day trip so I had no luggage apart from a small leather satchel. I showed my boarding pass to the one member of staff and headed round the corner for security. The queue was short so I unloaded my items in to a tray and was asked to remove my shoes. I was airside by 1640.
I had a quick look at the extensive whisky collection in Duty Free but resisted the temptation and headed straight ahead for the BA lounge.
THE LOUNGE British Airways Executive Club members, or BA passengers with fully flexible tickets for travel in the UK, can use the Terraces Lounge at Aberdeen.
The lounge is small but well equipped with plenty of comfortable seating, free wifi and various food and drink options. I took a seat near the windows with colleagues and went to grab a bowl of olives, a couple of sandwiches and a whisky (when in Rome). There were beers in the fridge, wine and lots of premium spirits, as well as juice and soft drinks. Sandwiches were prawn mayo, cheese and pickle and chicken and stuffing. There were also scones, biscuits and lots of crisps to pick from.
I logged in to the wifi (password: Singapore) but it was being unreliable so I picked up a magazine and waited for boarding to start. There were TV screens showing news and a bank of computers against the back wall for people to work. The lounge emptied out drastically when the Heathrow flight was called and I left soon after at 1715, once the screen showed gate 3 for our flight. This was just a short walk down one set of stairs from the lounge.
THE SEAT The E170 was configured 2-2 with blue leather seats with a seat pitch of 31” throughout. I was in my seat – 1A – by 1720 via the front stairway and the doors shut soon after I had stored my bag and jacket in the packed overhead locker.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Where all the seats are the same on an aircraft this small, and there is no emergency exit row, the best thing to do is to try and get as far forward as possible so I would always opt for 1A if it’s available. This makes disembarking, being served food and drinks and access to the toilet all that much swifter.
THE FLIGHT Pull back was at 1730 and we took off at 1740. It was warm on board again.
A drinks service came round at 1800 and I asked for a scotch, I was offered two types and went for the Glenlivet 12 yr and had a glass of water too. A sweet or savoury snack was also offered of either a cereal bar or some cheese and oregano savouries. I had a bag of these with my drink. I settled in to the flight and read a magazine. We were informed that we were being held in the air at 1855 and we finally landed at 1915, making the flight an hour and forty five minutes, three quarters of an hour longer than the flight out.
ARRIVAL I exited via the front stairs on to the tarmac and walked in to the terminal. I had to walk up one set of stairs and then down another before I was back out and on my way to the DLR at 1930.
VERDICT The timing of the flights make a full day’s work tricky as the latest return is quite early, at 1730. Fortunately the two airports are centrally located and are quick to pass through, making the journey stress free. Also, I could have done without the lengthy delay coming in, but there is little BA could do about this.
PRICE Internet rates for a return UK Domestic flight from London City to Aberdeen in January ranged between £169.15 and £578.15 depending on flexibility.