The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 29 minutes.More information
I am delighted to welcome you to this new Flight-Report. As lockdown restrictions in the UK have eased, I decided to catch up with my friend - Adam - and travel together to Scotland, which used to be his home for a few years. Make sure to check out his instagram @polskitraveller and YouTube account for great travel content. I will also post one of his previous YouTube videos from COVID Aberdeen below, at the end of this report.
The flight was initially booked as an Aberdeen there-and-back, however, BA's flexible rebooking options, which I consider one of the best in Europe, allowed me to swap the return for INV-LHR, which was more convenient and also cheaper! In this first report, I'll cover my transfer from Bristol to Heathrow Airport, the experience at LHR T5, the flight BA1316 to Aberdeen and I will also post a few pictures from Aberdeen itself.
Flight number BA1316
Route London Heathrow T5 - Aberdeen
Flight date 14th May 2021 1810-1945 (actual 1826-1928)
Scheduled flight time 1:35 (actual 1:02)
Aircraft model Airbus A321neo
Aircraft registration G-NEOW
Seating configuration CY220
Aircraft age (at the time of flight) 1.6 years
Seat number 12A
Departure gate A06 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate walking gate in ABZ
Load factor (approx.) 75%
Flight price 60 GBP (one way, basic fare)
And here is my boarding pass for this flight, printed at one of the check in counters at LHR T5.
My journey started, as usual, in Bristol, from where I took a coach directly to London Heathrow. This time, it was a Megabus and the one way ticket was 15 GBP. The journey was about 2 hours and I was dropped off at Central Bus Station (T2&3), from where I had to transfer to T5.
The bus was quite full for COVID times, yet only 50% of the seats may be reserved.
As the weather was pretty good (not raining :p), I decided to take a little walk around the Central Bus Station, but it turned out I didn't get too far… because there is nowhere to go haha The area is fenced off so that passengers don't run away ;-)
The last picture: Whenever I am at the Central Bus Station, I find this sign so ironical - one the biggest airports in Europe asks the drivers to switch off the engines, pretending they care about air quality…
Transfers between Heathrow terminals are free of charge and you have the choice between the Tube and Heathrow Express. I chose the latter, because it was the only chance for me to try it out - normally I find it way too expensive (22 GBP Heathrow to Paddington one way!).
The train station was new, clean and easy to navigate around.
My train was very empty. And yes, it is nice and new but I still wouldn't be willing to pay 22 GBP… Anyway, the journey to T5 was about 5 mins, very comfortable and convenient. From the station I took the escalator up, straight into the terminal.
Whilst Heathrow is one of my favourite airports in Europe and T5 is my favourite terminal here, I must admit, I always get lost when getting from the terminal to the tube/trains and vice versa. And I am quite a perceptive person so there must be something wrong with the marking. From Heathrow Express platform I went to arrival levels to take some pictures and catch some fresh air (without a mask) before I entered the building.
I like the design of both the exterior and the interior of T5 a lot!
On my way to the departure level, I went past the Galleries Arrivals lounge, which, hopefully I will be able to use one day :)
The departure hall was totally empty, as there were a stunning 5 more flights this evening: Aberdeen, Hong Kong, Madrid, Tokyo and Abuja. I took a stroll there and back and then went to one of the check in counter to get a printed boarding pass. Unfortunately, when travelling in Economy, you can only use the self check-in and bag drop machines (no chance to do it at a "normal" check in counter). However, as it was very empty, I went to the "Special Assistance" counter and an agent there printed the pass for me - I much prefer the passes printed at the counter than those from self-machines, they're much more firm and look better on my wall ;-)
I must say, the check in agent was probably the best I've ever come across - he provided a professional, courteous and importantly, personalised service - definitely exceeded my expectations!
This is exactly how empty it was. Only a few passengers queuing in zone F presumably for a check in to Hong Kong.
I also spotted the new British Airways advertisement - "You make us fly" - on the screens around the hall. It was made especially for the return of international travel to/from the UK on the 17th of May (3 days after my flight). All the other screens around the terminal were saying "Welcome back", which was actually really nice.
"We all have something that makes us fly. For us, it's you."
Security check was so empty, that I had a problem which lane to choose - there was no one in any of them haha. Thankfully, a security agent lady helped me to make the decision and invited my to her lane. As you might imagine, the airside was not busy either. And most of restaurants were closed, except for Pret A Manger - until 17th of May you couldn't eat indoors in a restaurant. However, my friend Adam, was flying Club Europe domestic a few days earlier and said the Galleries Lounge is open and provides a very good food and drink table service.
Many (but not all) shops at T5 were open, including the World Duty Free and some of the expensive brands. WHSmith was also open obviously.
This World Duty Free is definitely a heaven for any fragrance geek. I had a try of Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano XI - the scent is incredible!
Here's the departure board for you… a very sad view. Tel Aviv was cancelled, for an obvious reason :(
As I had quite a few more minutes before boarding, I kept waling around the terminal. I haven't been to T5 departures for more than a year, so I had to remind myself of what the terminal looks like haha. But, as always, the experience was very pleasant. Everything was well organised, of high standard, modern and clean - something you would expect from an airport like that (if you read my previous report, you'll know that international arrivals are much worse organised… and everyone is crammed in one small space).
Our boarding started pretty much on time, and it soon turned out it would be quite a busy flight to ABZ. Lots of people gathered around the gate area but it was nice to see that most of them adhered to social distancing.
We'll board at gate A6, in the Northern part of T5A, where I usually depart from.
My luggage - ready for a BA flight :-)
Our aircraft, G-NEOW A321neo waiting at gate A6 after an early afternoon arrival from Manchester.
Due to COVID, British Airways, like many other airlines, currently boards the aircraft back-to-front in small 10-row groups, regardless of your status/cabin you fly in. I was seated in row 12, so I was in the last group to board the aircraft. I was actually the next to last passenger to board this time.
Like I said, "Welcome back. You make us fly" is all around the terminal.
As I boarded, I obviously caught our bird in the camera - both the entrance and the fuselage.
A 1.5-year-old G-NEOW is ready for Aberdeen!
Now we come to the best part of today's journey - the flight itself. Spoiler, it was a super nice flight, from A to Z. Already at the entrance I was warmly welcomed by our today's Inflight Manager, Mr Paul Nurse, who apart from being very courteous, also had a huge smile on his face (behind the mask of course). I went past the Club Europe cabin and proceeded to my seat 12A just in front of the wing. One of the cabin crew members was also handing out disinfectant tissues in the aisle.
Passing seat 1C in Club Europe cabin. You can tell, the cabin looks very fresh.
And that's my row of seats, 12ABC. For those of you, who are not familiar with British Airways A321neo cabins - rows 1 to 14 have better "Pinnacle" seats (picture above) and rows 15-37 have another type of seat from Recaro, shown later in the report. I was lucky to have a seat in the "better" part of the cabin.
Now a short digression: In the basic fare (hand luggage only) with BA, you're not normally allowed to book seats, they're being automatically assigned at check in. However, for some reason (I assume because I am a Blue Executive Club Member) I was allowed to choose my seat at check in. My friend, who is not a BA Executive Club Member was not able to choose his seat. This trick only seems to work on domestic flights. During check in, I took the last seat in the "better zone" - I don't know why but most of the seats here were blocked and majority of passengers got crammed at the back. I had 3 seats for myself on the other hand :-)
Here's the COVID set from BA. It changed comparing to my last flight with them.
And the legroom in row 12 - although it's the same in rows 1-14. I think it's pretty decent, bearing in mind I'm 1.87m tall.
Cabin views before departure. It's quite sad to see no magazines in the literature pockets in the seats :(
And one more look at the seats. They are one of the most comfortable seats used in European short haul aircrafts, in my opinion. Despite being slimline, they have quite a good padding, comfortable and sturdy moveable headrests, coat hooks, good size tray tables, a seat pocket and a separate literature compartment, a coat hook, a nice recline and most importantly, great design!
Whilst we were getting ready for takeoff, the captain welcomed us on board and announced a flight time of 1 hour and 5 minutes. The crew also carried out manual safety demo. We had quite a long taxi to runway 27L but thanks to that we passed multiple aircrafts of airlines that I rarely see - e.g. Japan Airlines, Blue Air, Vistara and many more.
I flew on the G-NEOP parked next to us in January 2020 from WAW to LHR, it was a very turbulent flight… :p
It took us around 35 seconds to take off and we had a very smooth westerly departure this evening, just 15 mins behind the schedule.
Once in the air, the Inflight manager welcomed us all once again: "We have been looking forward to welcoming you back on board, joining us in the skies and connecting you to friends and family" - I think that was very sweet!
After passing through multiple layer of clouds, we finally reached the blue skies and soon after the service began. There was not much time to spare on this short flight.
The view of the front of the cabin, before the curtain to Club Europe was closed. As you can see, many seats were empty in the front, whilst the back was totally packed with passengers.
Some sun getting through the windows to brighten up the day! It was very cloudy on the ground in London. By the way, that's my favourite photo of the whole journey haha. I absolutely LOVE the embossed BA logo on the headrests.
The coat hook, always proves useful! Passengers seated in front of me somehow managed to get a paper version of the magazine (maybe from the lounge?). Normally, because of COVID, it's only available online, when you log in to the BA WiFi.
Speaking of the WiFi, it was available throughout the flight. For free, you can observe the flight progress, read the High Life magazine and purchase BA tickets. If you want to browse other websites or send messages, you need to pay a bit extra. But I think, it's quite a decent offering anyway for such a short flight.
Before the flight, you can also download magazines and newspapers for free from the Pressreader app. Additionally, the aircraft features power outlets throughout the cabin (universal power outlet + USB port at the front, and only USB ports at the back). So all in all, I think it's a very good inflight entertainment offering for a domestic UK flight.
The food and drink service started not long after takeoff. In Euro Traveller (Economy) passengers were served a small 250ml bottle of still water and a Kellog's blueberry grain bar, 20 mins later into the flight (photo later) - that's a complimentary free service (a novelty on BA short haul). Additionally, you can pre-purchase other food and drink items before the flight:
Buy before you fly SPEEDBIRD CAFE.
I believe, I am one of the first people on the Internet to review the new paid Economy catering from BA, which I'm proud and happy about haha :-) It seems like the era of Buy on Board is about to be gone, it's smoothly changing into Buy BEFORE you Board! Your meal won't be packed onto the aircraft if you don't purchase it at least 24 hours before the flight.
And, obviously it has its advantages and disadvantages - on the one hand, they save a lot of weight in the aircraft and don't throw away food plus you don't have to wait ages before you're served on busy flights. On the other hand, you need to know "in advance" whether you'll be hungry… which probably means BA won't make as much revenue on these sales. Especially that the Speedbird Cafe offering is very well hidden on the website - I spoke to the crew and I was the first passenger ever that ordered something on their flight!
Here's what I ordered. I'd say the prices are reasonable, bearing in mind that we're in the UK. Maybe the afternoon tea was a little expensive.
If you're curious how everything tasted… it was delicious! Things were of a very good quality, taste and quantity. And the crew made my meal even nicer - all three crew members working in the Euro Traveller cabin that evening - Emily, India and Hamid were super nice. They even approached me with my surname when serving the meal (like in Club!). I ended up having a short chat with them and also wrote them "thank you messages" on Ba.com after the flight.
The food comes in cardboard boxes, neatly packed.
First of all, the sandwich: grilled chicken with crunchy celery, bacon and mayo in a brioche bun. Quite frankly, it was the best sandwich I've ever eaten on an airplane. Kudos to British Airways and Tom Kerridge who designed the sandwiches for them. And obviously, as always, I find the little details, like BA logo on the box, very important.
A few minutes later, Emily emerged from the Club Europe curtain with a tray and my tea on it. I couldn't believe my eyes, she served me the tea in a real china mug! (Just to remind us all, I was flying in Economy). I told her, I feel honoured and really appreciate that. It made my journey even more enjoyable.
Together with the tea, I had the scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam (not the other way round!), to make a perfect afternoon set. It was all very tasty, and again of good quality. The only thing I was missing was a little plate for the scone - I ended up eating it on a napkin which was fair enough.
An afternoon tea with that view… I'm not asking for anything else.
The last to come was this little sweet grain bar from Kellogg's, as a part of the free service. And whilst it was very tasty, and probably sufficient in terms of quantity for such a short flight - I found the way in which they served it quite strange. They were served from a huge bag/sack which looked a bit unprofessional. But that's really the only flaw in the service if I had to pick on something…
Anyway, too much talking about the food, let's check out the rest of the cabin! British Airways now uses the Airbus Space Flex configuration in most of their short haul aircrafts, including this one, meaning that the Economy lavatories are at the back wall of the aircraft and the rear galley is half the old size. This means that the toilets are tiny but I must admit I am slowly getting used to that… On the other hand, they were very clean and smelled alright :p
I like the LED light above the sink <3
I next went through the rear cabin in a search to find a row of the "less comfortable", Recaro seats to make a little review for you. Believe me or not there was only one free row, which was row 26 - it is in front of the exit row and has only 4 seats (2-2) but does not feature extra legroom (ideal for a little review).
Here you can see how busy the rear of the cabin was.
These seats are the Recaro SL3510 seats, same ones as Easyjet or TAP Air Portugal use across their fleets - with the only differences being the colours (obviously!) and that BA installed fast charging USB ports underneath the seats and coat hooks above the tray tables. Otherwise, I must say, these seats are not comfortable at all :( The tray table is small, there is no recline, no headrest, no padding, there is only one seat pocket. Although - the legroom is slightly better than in TAP Portugal (which I tried a month earlier). Thankfully, I was one of the few passengers that were lucky enough to be seated in the Pinnacle seats at the front.
Row 26 duo seats. A great choice for a couple but no direct access to a window.
The legroom. Again, I'm 1.87m tall.
And the minute tray table which wouldn't even fit a 13" MacBook.
Shortly after my tour to the back of the cabin, we started our descent into Aberdeen. I quickly sneaked to Club Europe to return my lovely porcelain mug and then returned to my seat to prepare myself for a picturesque landing (well, I hoped it would be picturesque).
I just thought, I will show you the gift I got from one of my friends who works for BA - the first class amenity kit :-)
As we started our cloud surfing, the cabin crew started final cabin preparations for landing, and sent me last few smiles. What I like about BA (as opposed to TAP for example) is that they only switch on the fasten seatbelt sign about 15 mins before landing (comparing to 30 mins in TAP).
It was a bit cloudy but I still managed to get a pic of a fragment of the coast.
And… we landed in ABZ a few minutes ahead of schedule.
I usually prefer when we dock to a jet bridge gate but ABZ does not have any. But this time I didn't actually mind at all, as I could take a few pics of the fuselage. BA carried our disembarkation through front doors only in a front-to-back manner, calling passengers in groups of 4 rows. It was nice to see how everyone followed the guidance. But an even nicer thing to see was how the Inflight manager helped a family with a child and carried their trolley down the stairs to the tarmac - very commendable.
As I was disembarking, I managed to take one last photo of the front of the cabin - once again, neat, clean and fresh, like it should be!
The beauty caught in my camera ;) It's so hard to capture it whole on one picture! A321neo is so long haha
From the tarmac we went straight into the terminal and straight into the arrivals hall. No additional checks whatsoever, and because I didn't have any checked in luggage, I proceeded directly to the exit, where my friend Adam was waiting for me (by the way, he flew in the morning from London City to Dundee with Loganair so he got to Aberdeen a bit before me). ABZ airport was very quiet at that time, as we were the only arriving flight, and also our airplane won't depart until the following morning (the crew has a short layover in Aberdeen).
I feel like I wrote a really long report about a really short flight. But really it was an amazing flight, I don't know if I stressed it enough. It was probably one of my best BA flights ever just after the one in September in Club. I enjoyed writing every single sentence of the report, I hope you enjoyed reading it too! Please feel free to leave any comments below. I'm also leaving my friend's Adam video from COVID Aberdeen (from an earlier trip). See you in the report of my flight back from INV to LHR on a 20.5-year-old British Airways A319 - it should be out some time soon.
A few of my favourite pictures from Aberdeen :)
Marischal College - the city centre of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen - "a granite city", all grey, it's absolutely unique!
Spring in Aberdeen.
Fittie fishing village.
The University of Aberdeen.
The Dunnottar castle nearby.
Little Madeira? ;-)
And finally… delicious fish and chips for take away. Make sure you also try the "Deep fried Mars bar" in the same place!
You might called me biased for giving very high marks to British Airways again, but to be honest - this domestic's flight fully deserved it!
CABIN was fresh, modern and very clean from head to toe, sleek and elegant - but not overly decorated. The seat that I picked - the Pinnacle seat - was very comfortable with decent legroom, great padding, adjustable headrest, good size tray table and many more useful features! Lavatories, although small, were modern and clean. Of course if I were unlucky and got the seat in the rear of the cabin, BA would probably get fewer points in this category.
CABIN CREW was honestly one of the best I've ever had. Helpful, smiley, courteous and chatty. They also provided me with a personalised service in Economy class, which is highly appreciated.
ENTERTAINMENT was ok. Although I miss the overhead TVs in BA's fleet, I think that the WiFi, High Life magazine, Pressreader access and universal power outlets are absolutely sufficient for a 1-hour domestic flight.
MEAL was exciting, because it was my first try of the new Speedbird cafe. It didn't let me down. All items were of very good quality, quantity and had an amazing taste. Plus obviously I am very happy that BA brought back free snacks and water in Euro Traveller.