My working week was over and I had to fly back home from London Southend Airport to my country. Unfortunately due to a sudden closure of the airport at night, I was unable to reach my usual flight from EasyJet to Amsterdam, so I decided to take Flybe's flight to Groningen, which is operated by Stobart Air and it was absolutely necessary to reach home by today (Friday, 31st August) as I will depart to Bangkok via Moscow the day after. (Upcoming reviews of KLM & Aeroflot are bound to happen!)
Check-in & Security Control
As my work made me finish at the airport itself, it was just a short walk of five minutes to the terminal to check-in and drop off my luggage for my flight (BE6032) bound for Groningen. The check-in itself was fairly quiet with only a very few persons checking in for their flights, so it did not take more than a few minutes to be handled. The lady behind the desk was not rude, but could have been more customer orientated. With all my luggage checked in, I was heading down to the security check for screening. As most flights are departing like a hour before our flight, it was already very quiet at security and it did not take more than a few minutes to pass it.
While passing security and check-in, I had about a hour to 80 minutes spare time for my own till boarding actually started. London Southend Airport is a very small airport, so do not expect much after security, but a few shops and a few bars. I decided to head down to Giraffe bar to grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich as I did not have any breakfast till that time. The terminal itself was very quiet as most flights were departed already like I said before, so there was plenty of seats available to sit down. It offers free wifi too, which is quite consistent and fast too!
Airplane arrived on time and after a quick crew change and refueling, the aircraft was ready to board. The ground staff that handled us was very nice and greeted us in a very friendly way, however it did take a time before we were allowed to actually enter the plane. Once inside the plane, boarding was done quickly and we were pushed back from our stand within a few minutes. The payload of today's flight was very low as I guess we were with a total of just twenty passengers.
I was lucky enough to be seated in front of the cabin at Seat 1A free of charge, which offered plenty of legroom. The cabin itself was much cleaner and nicer than my previous experience with Stobart on their flight to Antwerp. Cabin attendants were nice and welcomed us on board, however it was hard to understand the Captain's announcements.
Departure, Cruise & Arrival
With a small delay of about 7 minutes, we were off to RWY 05 for an easterly departure straight to our destination. The flight itself was very smooth as there was no turbulence at all, so I did manage to get some sleep before we were into approach to Groningen, which was going to be another straight-in approach with an on-time arrival.
Landing was smooth with a quick ride to our parking stand. Engines were shut and deboarding started immediately with a short walk to the terminal (which was quite pleasant).
Border Control & Baggage Claim
As we had a very low payload, border control was literally just a straight walk to the border police to pass it within seconds. Luggage was dropped on belt like five minutes after we started to deboard, so I guess those small things are a huge advantage for smaller airfields. It did not take more than ten minutes from deboarding to be able to catch my bus to Assen's trainstation and to head home!
Southend - SEN
Groningen - GRQ
Even though this flight was not really favourable for me as I need to travel quite a distance from Groningen to reach my home, I was pleasantly surprised by the service Flybe/Stobart Air was offering on this flight compared to my previous experience to Antwerp. I highly would recommend you to take this flight if you are required to travel to Groningen once in your life.
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