CHECK-IN I arrived at London Luton at 0520 for my 0640 flight to Faro. As I was putting a bag in the hold, I couldn’t check in online so made my way to desks 50-51, which were set aside for Faro and two other European destinations. There was one queue for the two desks, which was about 20-strong, and it took 15 minutes to clear. I proceeded to security which was reasonably busy but well organised – I was airside by 0545.
BOARDING After a quick bite to eat, I saw on a screen in the departure lounge that my flight had been called. I took the five-minute walk to Gate 17, situated at the bottom of a flight of steps, and a queue was snaking back up the stairs when I got there. (I hadn’t booked priority boarding, but if I had, I don’t know how I would have got past the crowds of people on the stairs to take advantage of it.) The queue moved quickly and I was in my seat by 0620 – you could board the plane from the front or back. We started taxiing at 0640 and were airborne at 0650, ten minutes behind schedule.
THE SEAT The one-class aircraft had 25 rows configured 3-3 (ABC-DEF) - for the seat plan click here. I took seat 15E – the flight was about half full and some people took advantage by lifting up the armrests between seats and stretching out for a snooze. The seat was upholstered in grey fabric with an orange pattern and grey plastic armrests, and reclined via a button in the armrest. There was a magazine rack and a fold-down table in the seat in front. Considering this was a no-frills offering, I thought the legroom was pretty reasonable.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Row 12 was an emergency exit row and seats DEF had the most legroom. There is no 12A, so 13A is also a good seat to plump for. There are galleys at either end of the aircraft and the drinks service begins simultaneously from the front and back, so people in the middle have to wait the longest.
THE FLIGHT Drinks and snacks were served 15 minutes after take-off, with a list of what was on offer in the “Bistro and Boutique” magazine in the rack in front. The selection included a ham and cheese melt (£3), a bag of cashew nuts (£1.50), a Kenco coffee (£2) and a can of Stella Artois lager (£3.50). The short flight zipped by and we landed at 0925, ten minutes ahead of schedule.
ARRIVAL We were quickly off the aircraft but then faced a lengthy immigration queue at Faro which took 15 minutes to get through (according to a board on display, the average is 10 minutes). My bag was waiting for me on the other side.
VERDICT A decent and reliable budget offering that was perfectly fine for a short-haul flight.
PRICE A return flight from Luton to Faro in September started from £86 online (speedy boarding costs a further £14).