La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Virgin Atlantic avec 8.2/10.
La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 14 minutes.More information
I really find myself surprised I didn't do a report on this back when it happened, but better to be late than never?
March 2017 saw a new British Airline enter London Heathrow for the first time since the demise of BMI British Midland in 2012. After Virgin Atlantic's short lived attempt of offering domestic London Heathrow to UK services between March 2013 and October 2015- BA held a somewhat monopoly on domestic services out of the main London Airport. Whilst domestic services during this time from London Gatwick, Luton and Stansted were offered by easyJet and Ryanair (on and off) a new airline service on trunk domestic routes was required.
Virgin Atlantic offered a short lived LHR based UK Domestic operation from 2013-2015 out of LHR which quickly folded. The only main domestic competition British Airways faced was from easyJet out of London Gatwick, London Luton and London Stansted.
By early 2017 Flybe had closed its long time London Gatwick base and sold the slots to easyJet (sans a PSO Newquay service) and a year later set up a base at London City Airport rivalling BA Cityflyer- however this was to mark a change!
Flybe wouldn't offer a base at LHR, unlike BMI or Virgin "Little Red", but fly planes in from their regional UK bases where they were operating from. The first routes were Aberdeen and Edinburgh- two of the key routes that UK Authorities were keen to get competition on. The airline (up to March 2020) would also serve the Isle of Man, Newquay and Leeds/Bradford at various times. Whilst the routes would vary across the three years- Edinburgh & Aberdeen were the main staples. Whilst Virgin Atlantic offered a "Little Red" service to Manchester Airport, Flybe (despite its base at MAN) would not serve the route.
G-PRPL operated the inaugural Aberdeen-London Heathrow service that day. Here it is going for departure, sporting the Flybe "Purple Plane" livery introduced in 2014.
So when the airline came to London Heathrow, I opted to take myself on a day trip to Edinburgh on the inaugural flight that day. I hadn't flown Flybe prior to this date, so not only was this the first flight of the airline at London Heathrow, it would also be my inaugural experience with Flybe, which would lead me to make a total of 15 flights with the airline (including three franchise operated flights) before the original airline closed its doors. At the time of writing I'm yet to fly the rebooted 2021 "Flybe" airline.
Flybe offered its domestic services at London Heathrow from Terminal 2 "The Queen's Terminal", as had the previous Virgin Atlantic Little Red services, whilst the now historical BMI- British Midland International offered its domestic flights out of the now defunct Terminal 1 (closed in 2015), had it continued and remained in Star Alliance- BMI would have likely done all its services from T2 which is the main Star Alliance Terminal for LHR. Domestic LHR flights from BA all operate from Terminal 5 which is where BA is based. T2 and T5 are the only active LHR Terminals which can facilitate domestic arrivals, Terminal 3 & Terminal 4 don't have those facilities.
Terminal 2 is my least used LHR Terminal, I've even done more flights from Terminal 4 which has been closed for nearly 2 years!
Passing through London Heathrow from departures to post security was quick, easy and uneventful as my memory recalls. I was only using carry on luggage and I had checked in online and had my boarding passes printed off. I had to get a bus gate to the Flybe flight on the remote stand. I was flying on a Sunday and the airline opted to mark the launch flights on the Monday, I assume to get any teething problems out on this day to avoid a possible PR fiasco.
The short drive took us to a white and blue Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400 registered G-JECI, the aircraft was delivered to Flybe brand new in June 2005. It was retired about 7 months after this flight in October 2017, after a year in storage in Toronto, Canada it went to South Africa to join the fleet of CemAir (as ZS-DHG) where it remains flying at the time of writing.
The Dash 8 Q-400, G-JECI, wore the original 2002 Flybe White/Blue livery which was introduced when the airline branded as Flybe.
I opted to sit in Seat 6D, which was right next to the right engine, something I hadn't experienced in living memory, but this was not my first flight on a Dash 8 or a prop liner. The seat was standard for a Dash 8 or similar aircraft type and the view of the engine was amazing!
I got lucky on this inaugural flight as I didn't have anyone sat next to me, allowing for me to get plenty of footage on this inaugural flight. The plane was staffed by the usual DH8 crew of four (Captain, Co-Pilot and two Cabin Crew).
The grey 2 abreast seating on a Flybe Dash 8 Q-400 with the purple seat covers.
The taxi was uneventful, however we did depart at an intersection in front of a number of wide body airliners- including a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800! It was quite an experience enjoying my memorable first take off in a modern turboprop airliner, the Dash 8 Q-400 shot up like a pocket rocket and we began the Northern track towards Edinburgh, Scotland!
As we cruised along the UK skies, the crew did their Flybe Cafe service, there was quite a variety of options available (which would reduce on later experiences with them). So I opted for the "Feel Good" snack box with a Hot Tea with some vanilla syrup.
Lunch is served… Flybe style!
I took the chance to get some shots around the cabin as it was my first Flybe flight and my first time in adulthood flying on a Dash 8, and the results didn't disappoint. Though using the toilet, I quickly realised how small the Dash 8 toilets were!
Even though the flight lasted a little longer than it would have on an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, it was time to begin our arrival into Edinburgh. It was a very lovely spring afternoon and we arrived coming up to 1pm local time. We taxied over onto a remote stand where we exited the aircraft, however I did manage to get a quick flight deck visit and I asked the pilots how they got on with London Heathrow that morning.
I exited the plane and made my way towards the domestic arrivals and onward for a day out in the city of Edinburgh, I would fly back on another Flybe Dash 8 Q-400 that evening, which I might do a report on in the future?
I hope you enjoyed this throwback in time!
Overall it was a good service with Flybe, though ironically this would be the only time I used them at London Heathrow in the original Flybe's existence. I would make more flights using their Southampton base after moving out of Berkshire for Dorset in mid-2018.
This was a nice Trip from my history books and I am still kicking myself I never reported this particular flight sooner!