I was due to fly to Hamburg at 0705 in the morning, so I ordered an Uber to get me to Heathrow terminal 5 for 0530am. I hadn’t checked in online, but at that time in the morning there were only a handful of people lining up at the desks, and there was no one at the electronic check-in counters.

After scanning my passport and inputting my booking reference, my boarding pass was printed for me and I proceeded through security. I was through to departures by 0550.

At 0640 I took the train from the main concourse at gate A to my gate at B46. The last of the priority boarders were queuing when I arrived and I waited until all passengers had gone through before following them. Once on-board, it was a difficult to find space in the overhead compartments for my case, so I had to put it above seat 22 where there was still room.

The A319 aircraft has 123 seats, 83 of which are in economy, configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) with 25 rows on the left and 23 on the right. Upholstered in smart black leather, the seat was 17 inches wide and had a pitch of 29-inches. I was seated in 19F by the window, which I had chosen so I could lean against the window and doze, despite the fact that we would only be in the air for an hour and a half.

Being an early morning commuter route, the flight was quite full though there were still enough seats for my neighbour to move to the aisle seat when the doors closed.

There isn’t much difference between any of the seats. On my flight, we were able to disembark from the back of the plane, so being at the front was no benefit, however seats at the back are nearer the restrooms so best to avoid. Middle seats can be quite cramped, and though I usually choose the aisle, if you’re on a short flight such as this one I’d opt for the window for more privacy.

At 0710 the captain came on the intercom to say that we were running slightly behind schedule due to a bottleneck at the runway. After a short safety demo, we pushed back 35 minutes late at 0740, and took off at 0750.

The drinks trolley came around at 8am and I was served a breakfast pack containing a pain au chocolat and strawberry yoghurt. I asked for an orange juice, and was given two small cartons but no glass. The staff were friendly and attentive.

We started our descent at 0945 local time, and landed at 10am. I disembarked from the back of the plane and boarded a shuttle bus to the main airport terminal. Immigration was quick – there was only a short queue at the electronic customs gate and I was in arrivals by 1015.

Despite the delay, this was a stress-free, friendly and comfortable service.


  • SEAT WIDTH 17in
  • SEAT PITCH 29in
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return midweek flight in December started from £92.