The airline with the best average rating is Twin Jet with 8.2/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 5 minutes.More information
Le Puy-en-Velais is a small city (urban population around 38,000), noteworthy from the tourist point of view, but also the archetype of geographic isolation, far from expressways and of any major city. After a long suspension due to the Covid-19 crisis, Twin Jet resumed the operation of its daily flight to LPY, the airport serving Le Puy-en-Velais. That this airport is served by this only line, operated with an 18-seater aircraft says something about the potential of traffic.
Twin Jet advertised the reopening of this confidential service with a rock bottom promotional fare until June 30: only 69 EUR round trip, covering little more than the airport taxes, when the regular fares are typically between 350 and 550 EUR.
The first two Flight Reporters who took advantage of this fare needed determination, because there was no public transport – this has not changed - and the local hotel was closed due to the sanitary crisis. The promotional fare was about to end when the hotel reopened, making it possible to fly there after work, sleep at the airport and be back at work in Paris the next morning, and two Flight Reporter friends suggested that I join them.
This is a unique case in my flying history of a commercial flight that I took for the sole purpose of boarding that type of aircraft and logging this airport.
Personalize my trip by adding a piece of luggage of 20 kg to a piece of luggage of 20 kg (standard) + 1 of 23 kg (because FB-Gold)? Hmm, was it really necessary for spending a short night in a hotel? In addition, I could bet that the Prefecture of Haute Loire was not going to decree that evening a quarantine applicable from the night of my arrival.
There is a limit to promotional fares: no matter Twin Jet advertises itself as a "Flying Blue partner", this round trip was going to credit zero airmiles and zero XP, perhaps because this fare would gain almost zero euros to Twin Jet, once airport taxes had been deducted.
This is the routing:
AF systematically reminds at STD-29h that online check-in begins at STD-30h (which allows seasoned passengers to choose their seat before all others) with a link to the applicable page, except that it was not applicable for this flight.
Never mind, Twin Jet's website is nearly as good as that of majors airlines, except that it provides a PDF boarding pass to be printed, not a QR code for smartphone use.
Seat 5C, not modifiable? Bummer, this was on the wing and on the wrong side of the aircraft for pictures, due to the sun's direction, but this was not a valid reason for cancelling this trip.
One day, I'll be able to go to ORY by metro (July 2024, according to the latest news), but as of now, public transportation is very inconvenient for me. On the other hand, leaving my car in the airport's car park for less than 24 hours was a valid option, especially when "frequent user" points from a single use before the pandemic have been increased by a bonus awarded by Paris Aéroports to try and fill its empty parking lots. At 13.94 € net cost, it was even nearly the cheapest solution.
On D-day, I parked the Marathonmobile at parking lot 4A, the cheapest then in operation at ORY.
As hinted by its name, it is in front of terminal 4, while my flight was at terminal 1
It is possible to get there with the Orlyval peoplemover which runs on this winding viaduct
But since I had a lot of time, I could as well take some exercise
Going past Terminal 3
Going through Terminal 2 landside, which required showing my BP, now that the access to the terminals is limited to passengers and staff only
Going out of Terminal 2 to continue outside
And arrival in front of this FIDS – the picture is blurry because it took it too quickly. 16 minutes overall from my parking space, vs. 10 minutes announced via the Orlyval : I did not regret this 15-minute walk
The flight to Puy-en-Valais was confirmed
It was not crowded at the check in counters landside
Nor was it at the access to the security check. The Access #1 BP self-scan gates adamantly refused to let me in, depite my statut, which did not matter at all since both lines converged to the same control area. So much for the Skypriority advantage promised by AF!
Let's put it on the excitement of this unusual trip: I forgot to remove from my backpack the bag of "liquids" which I had dutifully prepared and put in the usual outside pocket, and that earned me a detailed review of all my belongings (including the PC which was duly taken out and put in a separate bin), by a staff of utmost courtesy.
The passenger after me was apparently as absent minded as I was and went through the same process.
To top it all, I also won a random explosive check, performed by an equally courteous staff.
It was very empty at Terminal 1 airside :
Two shops, admittedly selling more usefull stuff than the luxury items that you have to zigzag though in too many airports before reaching any boarding gate.
Equally useful facilities, with a mixed-use childcare area
For planespotting, you have to do with the windows
… which are studded with these horrible black dots
Oh yes, but boarding was not gate A17, as I thought I saw when I looked at the FIDS. It was after I had dealt with emails and then started to suspect that there was a problem and that I should go check that one of my friends called me, worrying about my delay in reaching gate A03.
Damn it, of course! boarding was obviously by bus at the ground level!
I may have missed some of the conversation with my friends in exchange for some work in a quiet area, but missed nothing of the lounge: it was closed.
Our aircraft was not very far, but the same obscure rules which allow Paris Aéroport to make passengers walk miles in the terminals oblige them to take a bus for a few hunderd meters on the tarmac.
A short bus trip therefore, which, when you include all the waiting, took a lot longer than if we had done it on foot. It provided a better view of the E-145 Amelia on the way.
Reaching the plane
One of my friends started routinely taking pictures with his smartphone and got a stern "No pictures, stor your phone!" order from the ground staff behind. My compact camera, barely larger than my hand, was much more discreet.
(Taking pictures on the tarmac, or of the tarmac from anywhere, has been forbidden at both ORY and CDG - the main Paris airports- for decades for security reasons. This regulation is IMHO nonsensical, not least because there is no such restriction in the other French airports, not to mention plenty of other countries which know something too about airport terrorism. Ground staff who turn a blind eye to picture taking passengers AND are unlucky enough to be caught by the gendarmes protecting the airport risk stiff fines that they can hardly afford, so I blame the local Préfet for not rescinding this regulation, not them.)
The interior of the cabin – the picture is not very sharp because it was very dark, due to tinted windows.
Refueling was in progress, overwing and not from below as in most other aircraft.
The windows may be tinted, but they are of commendable size
The three very small cylindrical holes at the bottom of the interior window pane betray the pressurization of the cabin: if the outer surface was to break, these holes allow the interior pressure to drop slowly, reducing the risk of catastrophic rupture of the interior glass. They also allow venting out moisture which could accumulate between the two panes.
At 24 cm from the seat to the seat pocket, the seat pitch was decent, without being exceptional
43 cm between armrests is just as good as in an A32x, but without the A32x's 10 cm bonus between the wall and the window armrest, which is integrated here into the wall.
Note that since allseats were both aisle AND window, there was not going to be any armrest warfare
The aisle, at 27 cm width between the armrests, was not designed for crossing each other.
The flight was not full : one of my friends seated in the back invited me to join him where the view would not be impeded by a wing. So I switched to 8C, shortly before a handicapped traveler arrived (walking with crutches, not in wheelchair). He should have been in 4C, except that this seat was already occupied, and was installed in 5C which had vacated a few minutes earlier. It was actually free seating – this was going to be explicit when checking in for the return flight from LPY), hence the impossibility of choosing your seat in advance.
At the bottom of the photo above, the illuminated rectangle was a screen which broadcasted a brief safety demonstration, after a short but very nice welcome report by the captain about the weather forecast on the journey. Better not seat in the rear if you are shortsighted and want to follow it.
The fallback plan is the traditional security card, duly in the seat pocket in from of each seat.
Note that the overwing emergency exits are asymmetrical: two on the right and only one on the left.
Exits are indicated by pictograms above the release handles, and also on the ceiling in the middle of the corridor. No, there is no top escape hatch!
The cabin was rather warm, but each seat has an adjustable ventilation nozzle, which can be adjusted thanks to a cleverly designed cam which swivels the valve if you turn the frame.
This tends to disappear in short and medium-haul aircraft: the seatbacks are (a little) reclinable.
The carpeting was not spotless, but nevertheless reasonably clean
A curious bump in the center of the corridor which I presume was hiding the wing spar
No door between the cockpit and the cabin:
We could see almost all the instrumentation if getting closer
Rather short taxiing, under rather cloudy skies, passing next to two Vueling and Easyjet Europe A320s
Takeoff runway 24: with 14 passengers on board this aircraft certified for 19, a flight barely longer than half of the maximum range, probable wind too, the Beechcraft 1900D used much less than the specified 3470 feet take off distance.
We were already airborne at the level of the buildings of La Poste on the left and TNT on the right
In the background in the center, the Eiffel Tower, and a little to the right, the Montparnasse Tower. There was not enough light for a decently sharp close up.
The evening traffic jam of commuters on the outbound lanes of Expressway A6
On the left in the foreground, the oblique interchange between the A10 and the N20, on the right in the background, the one between the A10 and A6
The A126 interchanges with (from right to left) the N188 and the A10. In the center of the photo, Massy-Palaiseau station, an important railway hub in the southern suburbs.
Behind the Bois de Verrières, Air Base 107, better known as the Vélizy-Villacoublay airfield, the military airport closest to Paris, used by officials and government VIPs whose police escorts save them from the woes of rush hour traffic.
Palaiseau, and the A10 in the foreground
The campus of Ecole Polytechnique, the most prestigious engineering university
On the plateau on the left, the Courtaboeuf business area and, beyond the N118, the new town of Les Ulis. Separated from the latter by the steep south slope of the Yvette valley (few houses have been built there because it faces north), Villebon sur Yvette and Orsay. In the background to the right, the new university campus of the Saclay plateau.
Zoom on Courtaboeuf and Les Ulis. In the foreground on the right, the Grand Dôme de Villebon-sur-Yvette, a multipurpose room belonging to the FFJDA (the national judo and associated sports federation), which also hosts events unrelated to these sports: I have had the opportunity to use the changing rooms when taking part in local foot races.
The former Marcoussis Laboratories
In the foreground, the woods of Petite Folie and the Monthléry Defense Base
The plane then crosses the cloud layer. The tint of the portholes gave a sepia look to the photos.
The rendering is much more natural by correcting the exposure when shooting with a "tungsten lighting" setting.
For the pleasure of the eyes: different effects of clouds and sun through these tinted winded
I was not alone liking them. A future Flight Reporter? She and her brother were traveling in UM; a third child was accompanied by his father who was to make the same express round trip as us, taking advantage of the same promotional fare.
A small opening in the cloud cover revealed Pithiviers,
And on the A19 expressway, the Loiret rest area and the exit towards Beaumont en Gâtinais / Beaune la Rolande.
I have a nagging doubt here: was it still the A19, in this photo taken just after the previous one?
By that time, lunch was already distant history. What did Twin Jet offer us on this self-service flight since there is no cabin crew? The catering is in a mini-galley in the back of the aircraft, for which Twin Jet sacrificd the 19th cabin seat which would have been the middle seat in the last row.
Even without prior training, nothing could be easier than unlocking these standard aviation drawers, and then closing them. There waere madeleines and small bricks of multi-fruit juice.
A box of strawberry and raspberry flavored cereal bars
Which reagrds to hot drinks, there was an ample supply of instant coffee, sugar, infusions …
… and a few cups. Anything missing? Oh, yes, a small detail: hot water!
There was a cooler bag, but it only contained a supply of surgical masks, many more than needed for an aircraft of this size.
View of the cabin from the rear. I did not take off my jacket during the flight, simply because there is no overhead bins or coat hooks to place it (I could however have used one of the unoccupied seats).
Seat 1C was de facto not available: it was used for a supply of sandwiches and more fruit juice.
The packaging of this one was inflated by the drop in pressure at cruising altitude.
Yes, a straw! Return to the mini-galley in order to take a usable brick.
I took a picture of the airstair when I went up the aisle
And the cockpit while cruising
Sun over sea of clouds
Clermont-Ferrand, with CFD in the foreground
The cloud cover was thick again, and the ceiling was very low when we finally could see the terrain.
Bad luck: there was a break in the cloud cover not far east of LPY.
Combladour hamlet, at the northern end of Loudes, the village where LPY is located
To take a tourist trip to Le Puy-en-Velais, a town famous for its cathedral, its statue of the Virgin on a needle of rock, its lacework and the starting point of the most beautiful French sections of the Camino de Santiago… and see nothing more than its airport? I barely dare admitting such a shame!
Very tight turn for a short final
And hard touch down
The buildings streaked with yellow of the Sabarot company, in LPY's business area
Not only as the ceiling low, but it wass raining too (a little). This was not a place for plane spotting anyway, and the airport infrastructure was diminutive.
I was almost last to deplane, because an employee would then come to help the still seated handicapped passenger.
A very friendly welcome by the captain before leaving the aircraft. We were not to see him again the next morning: another crew was going to operate the return flight.
The handicapped passenger deplaning – the rain had reduced to a few drops.
The terminal, seen from the tarmac
No restriction on picture taking here! The three Flight Reporters took time to refine their framing, under the watchful eye of the ground staff, including the local gendarme.
The turboprop, which seemed very bulky to me, compared to the fuselage
The boarding lounge, here on the right, is sized for the 18 seats of the plane serving this airport.
From left to right, the passenger exi, the entrance of the security check and the check-in counter.
The terminal and the control tower, seen from the parking lot.
AF did not fail to advertise hotels in town that probably pay them for it.
In the absence of public transport to the city, and at 45 € per taxi ride, they could not compete with this motel, located a hundred meters from the terminal, on the other side of the small parking lot. (Renting a car would have been cheaper than a return trip by taxi: signs in the parking lot betray the activity of several major car rental players who probably all subcontract to the same local player.)
This hotel which enjoys a quasi-monopoly there offers a fair deal at 51 € per room.
The bedroom is addmitedly purely functional, but it does the job, and there is no risk of road or air traffic noise during the night.
On top of a very friendly welcome by the manager, the one and only menu for dinner offers unbeatable value for money at 14 €, especially if your benchmark is Parisian prices.
All-you-can-eat cheese platter, which I regret not having immortalized, because there was certainly a total of more than a kilo of half a dozen different cheeses, and this dessert that was already waiting for us when thought the dinner was over.
Thanks for reading me!
With a 1 + 1 ceiling diagram, a ceiling height compatible with almost all passengers, a pressurized cabin, and, last not least, a not so high noise level for a biturboprop, the cabin would deserve the maximum score in comfort, if there was some place to store your jacket. The crew deserved top marks for their warm welcome.
If your only entertainment benchmark is an IFE and an in-flight magazine, the score would be zero dot zero. But being able to look literally everywhere, from the galley to the edge of the cockpit, the landscape to the left and to the right through wide windows is priceless.
How about catering ? Coffee was the only item missing for reaching the maximum score – I admit that letting passengers pour coffee hot water from a thermos bottle is a sure recipe for a staining possibly painful catastrophe in case of unexpected turbulence.
Excellent fluidity at ORY, whose accessibility will remain poor as long as Line 14 has not reached it. The promised #1 access was not accessible to me, but that made no difference in service.
Maximum fluidity at LPY and relaxed ground staff: this is the privilege of very small airports. The flip side of the coin is a total lack of public transport, degrading its accessibility.