Hello everyone ! I am back with my first series of FR in English (a very short series of only 2 FRs actually)
For this trip, I needed to get to Sheffield, England from my home airport of Marseille. However, arriving at Doncaster Sheffield Airport was a bit of a challenge, as it's quite poorly served. I could have considered a transfer in Dublin with Aer Lingus, however their website does not seem to offer France to UK trips, for some reasons.
So for the first time in my short frequent flyer life I could use my BA Avios to get there. I considered flying to Leeds, however the friend I was meeting in Sheffield informed me that it could be difficult to get from Leeds Airport to Sheffield as there are no bus links between the two. The last option was to fly to Manchester via LHR.
Here is the very simple routing, note that I did not report the LHR-MAN flight as it was during dark hours and the LHR-MRS flight for the same reasons. However the service was exactly the same inbound and outbound so it's still a good sample of the BA short haul international and domestic offering.
London Heathrow - Manchester Airport / BA1402 / A320-200 No FR
Manchester Airport - London Heathrow / BA1375 / A319-100 This FR
London Heathrow - Marseille-Provence / BA370 / A320-200 No FR
I left Sheffield with the direct train service to Manchester Airport via Manchester Picadilly, which takes approximately one hour.
British Airways operated from Terminal 3, which isn't very convenient from the airport's train station, as it is quite eccentric. Therefore passengers need to walk to Terminal 1 first, and then outside again to T3 entrance. I got lost and landed in T1 checkin area where I anxiously noticed my flight wasn't displayed on the screens before realisaing I had taken the wront elevator…
Anyways on the way you can have a nice view on the tarmac and planes parked alongside Terminal 2
A Qatar Airways 787-8 waiting its flight back to Doha
When I finally reached BA's check in area in T3, it stricked me as a gloomy and confined place, which could actually define the entire terminal, landside and airside.
Check in kiosks are provided, and I managed (after two attempts, the first machine didn't seem as it wanted to collaborate) to get my two boearding passes to Marseille. I tried to changed my seats but I had been assigned the only window seats left.
A sample of the flights leaving from this terminal. Ryanair and FlyBe seem to share the most flights here, so no wonder the terminal isn't the best I've seen.
The check-in area with the kiosks on the right. At least the area isn't too busy.
I then went backwards to security (which near the entrance door… very weirdly shaped terminal) which was quite busy, with only two lanes available. I must have waited around 15 minutes in this very small area.
Out of security, you need to know your gate already, as there are two different gate areas, but of course my gate wasn't displayed yet, so I just followed the signs to what I supposed was the commercial section of the terminal.
A FlyBe E175 on the way :
The usual Emirates A380 that you can spot at nearly any international airport these days
The main shopping area proved to be crowded and as unpleasant as the rest of the building, and I decided to spend my last pounds on chocolate and water a WHSmith. Very little view on the tarmac from there.
Gate was announced and of course it was at the other end of the terminal so I had to go back to where I were.
I snapped my plane as it just stopped at the gate. This A319 was delivered to BA in september 2000. It's as old as the one who flew me from MRS to LHR. I'm not luck on this trip.
As I arrived at the gate, the crew was there waiting to board. I took my seat in front of the window as the passengers from the inbound flight disembarked.
Suddenly a wild Superjumbo appears. I'm lucky to spot this new livery, as it was just out a few weeks ago. You can clearly see the size difference as it passes behing the Ryanair 737-800 and the FlyBe Dash.
A much less interesting Air France A321 arrives from Charles de Gaulle.
And a Norwegian Air Shuttle 737-800 awaits its passengers at T1.
Boarding is announced, three lanes are used : Card holders of all sorts, back rows and the rest.
As the ground agent scanned my BP, the light turned red. No chances of upgrade on this domestic flight however… It took the lady a couple minutes to sort out all sorts of stuff on her computer and then she gave me my BP back, and kindly asked me to board my the rear of the plane.
I was neutrally welcomed aboard and reached my seat in one of the last rows of the cabin. The area would remain empty, and I had the row to myself. I had a worldwide fleet flight attendant behind me that started to chat with her colleague on duty. She was flying to Atlanta. The crew on this flight were to do a round trip to Dusseldorf after this flight.
This old aircraft provided plenty of legroom
The new seats are comfortable
We were welcomed by the captain who announced a short flight and on time arrival
Take off !
MAN in the horizon
Service began promptly. As usual a basket is proposed with several choices : this time was salted crisps, tea biscuits or spicy thai mix. I went for the latter, and a Sprite.
The screen is always nice to have
The three magazines
The captain announced our descent on LHR, without any holding pattern, which is probably a first for me
Nice views on London, especially LCY and the City, and Tower Bridge
A last message from the cockpit, of course we were 20 minutes early and nobody was waiting for us at the gate so we had to wait from a few minutes to get the jetty in place.
I managed to capture this Qatar A380 on its way to DOH
My seat when leaving the plane
Manchester - MAN
London - LHR
To conclude on this short domestic flight
The seat is still comfortable The crew was polite but not as much as on my previous flights, just doing their job Catering is fine for a 30 minute flight even if the pack of snack is tiny
MAN Terminal 3 is boring at best, and can be unpleasant in crowded areas such as the waiting lounge and the security lane. I heard the masterplan will see T1 being demolished but T3 would remain untouched however...
Thank you for reading !
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