I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 3 for my 0735 departure at 0530 in an Uber from West London, which, at that time of the morning, was a relatively quick 20-minute journey. As I was reviewing a check-in bag for a feature, I made my way to the manned kiosks (there was no queue) and deposited my bag before heading up to Departures. I was through security by 0550.
Before getting some breakfast, I checked the display screens, which showed that my gate would not be displayed until 0650. I checked again at 0700, this time instructing passengers to “go to gate 29”. This was a five-minute walk from Terminal 3’s Duty Free area, and located off of a long corridor in a separate room. I presented my boarding pass to the attendant and went to join the rest of the passengers. Boarding started at 0710 and I was on board by 0720.
I was sat in 24C, an aisle seat toward the back of the plane. The A320-200 has 177 seats, configured 3-3 in economy and 2-2 in business with the middle seat left free. Upholstered in black leather, the seat was comfortable with visibly raised cushions on the back for extra support. Exit rows in the middle of the plane are seats 12 and 13.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
Sitting at the back is not a good option if you’re on an early morning flight such as this one and want a coffee or tea from the new M&S selection. The short haul buy-on-board policy means that it takes a while for the trolley to get to the back of the plane, so if you know you’ll want to buy food, choose a seat close to the front. Emergency exit seats have more leg room, while seats at the back are closer to the toilets.
We were late pushing back, and at 0730 the captain came on to say that air traffic control had asked them to hold off a few minutes as it was a busy time of the morning. We eventually started moving at 0740 and took off at 0755.
At 0805, I saw the food trolley roll out at the top of the aisle, making its slow journey to the back, eventually reaching us at 0855. I didn’t order anything as I’d had a Croque Monsieur a few hours earlier at the airport and was expecting a heavy lunch in Prague.
At 0900, the captain came back on the tannoy to let us know there were 40 minutes left of flight time. I continued to nap, as I had been doing for most of the flight, and we landed (bumpily) at 1030 local time – Prague is one hour ahead of London. It was a five minute taxi to the stand and about ten minutes until we were able to disembark. At the airport, I passed through the electronic EU passport channel and went straight to the baggage carousel. I waited about 15 minutes for my bag to appear but was able to catch up on emails in this time as Prague airport has free wifi.
A quick and seamless early morning service to the Czech capital, though the speed of the food trolley might have irked some passengers.
SEAT CONFIGURATION 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F)
SEAT PITCH 29.5in/75cm
SEAT WIDTH 17in/43cm
PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from London to Prague started from £258 in April.