Business Class…. On a European Airline…. For a domestic European Service….
I know you are probably thinking "WHY!?!?"
Well let me explain a little first!
So on August 5th 2014, I started my "Frequent Flyer" journey, I was 17 years old. I paid £88 for a day trip spotting at Edinburgh, Scotland and flew up on G-GBTA, a Boeing 737-400 of British Airways from London Gatwick. I never looked back since. I did do a report on that- it can be found here: https://flight-report.com/en/report/10182/british-airways-ba2936-london-lgw-edinburgh-edi
Five years on, G-GBTA has now found another life as G-JMCB, a cargo hauler for West Atlantic.
I have carried on flying and touring. Visiting 20 countries and 45 cities between them, flying on over 30 airlines, flown 190 flights- reaching my 100th, 150th and 200th flight milestones! I even got to visit some of 25 aviation museums in Europe & the USA. Plus getting a four day trip to the Maho Beach in February 2019- Not too bad for a 22 year old working in retail!
So yeah- to celebrate the five year mark- I decided to fly back to Edinburgh and have a few days there to celebrate the anniversary. I chose to fly the trip in Business Class as it was a special occasion (say what you will about BA Club Europe). I wanted to try fly on a LHR or LGW flight, but the fares for a return had ended up at £450-£600 by the time I tried to book, so that was out the question- but a LCY flight (minus lounge access at LCY being the only snag), was a mere £200… Given I don't pay for window seats on BA now (I'm Finnair Plus Silver/OneWorld Ruby) it was my only shot! And I regret nothing as I know a departure from LCY provides better views (in my opinion) of London than LHR or LGW!
BA Cityflyer Club Europe! BA8714 (LCY-EDI) G-LCYT
So getting to London City was something I knew would be a pain from Christchurch (Dorset, England). So I got driven to London Heathrow by my dad and then after a morning of spotting at LHR, I then grabbed the tube across London from Hatton Cross to the London City Airport station on the DLR. It was a long but efficient journey, and for roughly £6, that was great value for the time and distance I was taking!
With three hours to spare- I used the time to catch up on a spotting session at London City, sighting the likes of Alitalia, KLM Cityhopper, Aer Lingus and multiple BA Cityflyer jets.
Eventually- the Embraer E-190 G-LCYT arrived in from Mykonos, Greece and parked up. The crew changed to a EDI based crew who were flying the aircraft back to Edinburgh, allowing them to enjoy a few (well earned) days off.
As with most European airlines, BA Cityflyer has the same seats across the whole cabin, with business class flyers having the same seating for almost double the fare, all though BA E-190's have better legroom and seat width than the Airbus A320 family, despite the lack of middle seat being blocked off.
I do find it slightly annoying that European airlines don't offer a dedicated cabin and seating for business class passengers like their US or Australian counter parts, but I understand enough that its about the cost and efficiency side of the business. This method allows them to increase and decrease business seats allowing for cost reduction- something that they wouldn't have the flexibility on if they had 3 dedicated rows and couldn't adjust.
We had a short taxi to the runway, we turned off onto a side taxiway to allow a Blue Island (operating for Flybe) to depart for Jersey.
But then it was our turn and we departed on time! Climbing out over central London!
We began the 1 hour flight up the country to the Scottish capital city, the cabin crew (or in this case a lone stewardess) began the service for this short flight. Starting with a hot towel to freshen up and then the meal came. The options were a prawn dish or a chicken salad- I went with the chicken salad, which came with a salmon and rice side and a chocolate pudding.
The meal option was nice. Though I passed on the boiled eggs (personal taste, nothing was wrong with them).
I chose to have a read of the in-flight magazine which was one of wearing one of twelve BA100 front cover designs- this one choosing to have artwork of the AT&T DH-16 that operated the first commercial airline service from London (Hounslow Heath) to Paris (LeBourget) in August 1919, which is where BA is getting its Centenary roots from.
Unfortunately, the flight had to come to an end. I finished my last drinks, packed away the BA magazines, got my camera out, and began snapping and filming for the arrival into Edinburgh, still showing signs of day light, despite being gone 9pm at night.
Arriving effectively on schedule, we landed at Edinburgh Airport.
Some cloud cover was present indicating the rain that had been pouring onto the city earlier in the day, but thankfully I had missed that.
I visited the flight deck to get some pictures, I am a fan of the Embraer E-jet flight deck, I love its modern design and the "Trident/Concorde" inspired yoke, setting it apart from the usual designs seen on the Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier aircraft.
Didn't have long in the flight deck, but I do enjoy the visits I am allowed when the crew are happy to permit one. So I left quite happy and ready to begin my Anniversary trip to Edinburgh!
All in all a decent flight, EDI Airport had added some new stores, gates and restaurants in the eleven months since my last visit, but the connections were still good and offered choices (taxi, bus or tram- taking the middle option with an open return).
Bonus : Click here display hide
Museum of Flight- East Fortune, Scotland
One of my main "targets" as I had the time on this trip- was to visit the Museum of Flight just outside of Edinburgh at East Fortune. Many aircraft were to be found at this museum and it has one of the biggest aircraft collections outside the London area.
Some highlights for me included the following- but do visit yourselves and see the rest of their iconic collection!
British Airways BAC-Sud Aviation Concorde G-BOAA "Scotland's Concorde"
British Airways BAC 1-11 (G-AVMO) "Lothian Region"
British Overseas Air Corporation (BOAC) Boeing 707-436 (G-APFJ)
Dan Air London DeHavilland Comet 4c (G-BDIX) "Last Airworthy Airliner Comet"
Royal Air Force "RAF" Avro Vulcan B.2 XM597 "Falkland's Black Buck Veteran"
London - LCY
Edinburgh - EDI
British Airways- I can't fault the experience I had on the service and meal provided. Yeah the cabin is a bit underwhelming compared to other domestic products world wide, but each market has a different requirement. Crew were amazing and friendly, the E-190 is still my favourite means of BA Domestic/European flights following the 767's retirement.
London City- Bit more of a pain to get to and from now, but still worth the long journey, especially if some spotting can be done if all runs smoothly! Hopefully a small BA Lounge would be opened up in the coming years if LCY expands their terminal building. Easy access for travel in London and the airport still has a good selection of cafes/restaurants as well as airlines services in Europe. Fantastic London views on take off!
Edinburgh- The place had changed a lot since my last visit 11 months earlier, but still the same familiar grounds! Good links to central Edinburgh, especially for getting to my Prince's Street hotel.
Museum of Flight- Definitely worth the visit if you ever end up in Edinburgh or the South-East region of Scotland. Entry is £12.50p an adult, with cheaper prices available for concessions with relevant I.D. Probably one of the best aircraft collections in the UK.
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