I got to Gatwick North terminal at 1015 via the Gatwick Express for a 1210 departure, but as I’d already checked in on the Easyjet app I went straight through up to security on the second floor. There was a short queue that moved quickly and I was through to Depatures by 1035. The display screen stated that my gate wouldn’t be shown until 1120. While browsing duty free, I got a notification from the Easyjet app telling me to go to gate 107, a ten to fifteen minute walk from the main concourse.
The gate was packed, with a queue already forming at the doors to the stand. I had Speedy boarding, and so was invited to a different queue and allowed to keep my handbag on me without having to stuff it into my cabin case, as passengers without it were doing. There was a large school group on the flight, and it looked like it was going to be extremely full. Boarding started at 1150, and once our boarding passes were checked, we descended a set of stairs and boarded from the tarmac, a short 15-metre walk from the terminal. I was in my seat by 1200.
The A319 has 156 seats with a 29-inch pitch and 17.5-inch width. I was sat in 4A, by the window. This is a great seat if you want to catch some shuteye without being disturbed, and close enough to the front of the plane to easily access the toilets, and to be served quickly with food and drink.
At 1210, the captain appeared at the front of the plane. Speaking into the intercom, he informed us that due to a restriction from air traffic control, we wouldn’t be able to take off for another hour. He kept us updated regularly, and at 1240 said that we would be pushing back shortly. Five minutes later, we starting taxiing but didn’t take off until 1310, an hour after our scheduled departure.
At 1330, crew came around with a trolley serving food and drink. They were pleasant and approachable, and seemed happy to answer all questions that I had about the food. I ordered a chicken ramen pot noodle (£2.80) and read for the duration of the flight. At 1515 local time (Madrid is an hour ahead), the captain came on the tannoy to announce that we would be starting our descent shortly and landing in about 45 minutes.
We landed at 1600, a half hour behind our original time of arrival. We parked quickly, and I was off the flight by 1610 and through security and into baggage reclaim by 1620.
The delay was annoying, but I was perfectly comfortable in my seat and able to sleep while waiting. Otherwise this was a friendly and efficient service – I was impressed by the crew’s attentiveness and at the captain came out of the cockpit to personally address passengers about the delay.