Club Europe: LCY-RTM op by T3

Old Jul 9, 14, 10:18 am
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Club Europe: LCY-RTM op by T3

So far all my BA CityFlyer flights have been domestic, but I decided that I'd at least try Club Europe on a CityFlyer flight when the opportunity arose.

I've not seen anyone comment on Club Europe on the Saab 2000 operated by Eastern Airways (T3), I was quite surprised to see CE being offered on such a small aircraft but I decided to give it a go anyway.

Quick intro: was travelling HBO so no comments on the bag drop experience. It was also one of the few times I didn't need my laptop, so as I wanted as little hassle as possible I travelled with my iPad and a good old fashioned notepad.

No issues at LCY security, not asked to turn on my iPad. Was a bit slower than usual as I seemed to have got behind people who didn't know the security basics (liquids in bags, belts off, etc) which is unusual at LCY.

Flew on BA4453 which is a 10:30 departure. I'm not sure if LCY uses the same mealtimes as LHR/LGW but that would usually mean brunch. As I booked less than 24 hours before departure I don't know if there's a special meal option on this flight.

The Saab 2000 is a turboprop that seats 50 passengers the livery was plain white with an "operated by Eastern Airways" sticker near the front door.

There was a single member of cabin crew dressed in BA uniform with a BA CityFlyer name badge. I did ask and she is actually an Eastern Airways employee based in Aberdeen. Announcements were in the standard BA style, safety briefing will be the standard Eastern Airways tape that just like the BA audio briefing does not name the airline.

Seats are arranged in a 1-2 layout, so if you take the A seat you get the benefits of (a good sized) window and aisle. There's no curtain separating the CE section from the rest of the cabin (I think T3's own flights are all single class).

Before take off the cabin crew member asked each CE passenger (3 in total) whether they wanted a continental breakfast and what they'd like to drink.

After take off the meals and drinks were prepared in the galley at the rear of the aircraft (there's no space at the front) and brought the previously requested food and drink by tray individually to each passenger. After serving CE a more standard trolley based service commenced for ET.

The breakfast tray was a reasonable sized continental offering, plate of meat+cheese, fruit, pastries, etc.

The aircraft looks just over half full (maybe 30 passengers) so there was enough time to be offered another drink (tea in my case) and had a quick chat with the crew. It's as close to a regular CE service as possible considering the space limitations of the aircraft, catering is provided by the same supplier as BA and is BA branded (got those nice big tea cups).

Arrival at Rotterdam required a short bus ride to the gate then a quick passport check.

I quite like how they made an effort to make CE a special experience despite the limitations meaning the usual features of CE aren't present on these aircraft. I don't think it was worth the difference in fare but it was still a nice experience.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 10:38 am
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I did this flight yesterday, although the other way.

Having got stuck in a traffic jam leaving The Hague, we arrived less than 20 mins before the departure time at RTM - fortunately it's only takes a couple of mins to get through security and to the gate.

Anyway, not in CE but had one of the single seats on the left side of the Saab 2000, which was far more comfortable than the outbound had been crammed into a 737 from LGW to AMS.

Crew lady from Aberdeen was indeed excellent (and very pretty - not that the two are connected!).

Short flight, but very pleasant and a change to watch propellers go round and round!!

She did mention that LCY-RTM would go to an E190 from October.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 10:55 am
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thanks for the mini TR

sounds like a pleasant flight and experience

CE on this service seems rather expensive though
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by irmster View Post
I did this flight yesterday, although the other way.

Having got stuck in a traffic jam leaving The Hague, we arrived less than 20 mins before the departure time at RTM - fortunately it's only takes a couple of mins to get through security and to the gate.

Anyway, not in CE but had one of the single seats on the left side of the Saab 2000, which was far more comfortable than the outbound had been crammed into a 737 from LGW to AMS.

Crew lady from Aberdeen was indeed excellent (and very pretty - not that the two are connected!).

Short flight, but very pleasant and a change to watch propellers go round and round!!

She did mention that LCY-RTM would go to an E190 from October.
Wonder if it was the same person. She was very good at her job and also mentioned the switch to E170/190 in October, she was a big fan of Rotterdam as a city so would miss that route but was excited to see where they'd be sending the Eastern plane from October.

I won't be a regular on this route, but it will be nice to have the opportunity to fly it again, it was an expensive trip (over 500) as I needed flexibility anyway and CE is only approx 10 each way more than the flexible economy ticket. But the mark up over cheapest available economy is very high so in them circumstances I'd travel Euro Traveller.

I'm not complaining about having to pay over 500 for flexibility in this instance. I also use my Avios for some short notice business travel (as well as leisure travel) so overall I still get a very good deal out of BA. What surprised me was when I selected flexible on ba.com the fares were in B for ET and D for CE. I thought it would be Y and C. The fare rules did show they had the needed level of flexibility and free cancellations.
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Old Jul 19, 14, 9:40 am
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I forgot to mention my return flight, which as into LHR. Flight usual CE service with converter seats. Arriving into T1 was no pain as I had no hold luggage to collect and it saved a few minutes on the journey into London.

As there's no longer any lounge (once upon a time there was, I used it in 2006) you get given a voucher at the check-in desks (not sure what happens if you don't realise this and go straight through security).

It lets you choose three items off the menu in the airside cafe, not all items are included but a significant portion are. There's a little symbol on the menu indicating this.

After selecting my items I went upstairs and there's an outdoor terrace where you have runway views. As the weather was nice it was a good way to wait for the plane. The outdoor terrace is actually split into landside and airside sections so beyond the fence were people seeing off their families, waiting for them to arrive or just parents and their kids watching the planes.

I thought it was quite a pleasant place to wait.
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Old Jul 19, 14, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
After selecting my items I went upstairs and there's an outdoor terrace where you have runway views. As the weather was nice it was a good way to wait for the plane. The outdoor terrace is actually split into landside and airside sections so beyond the fence were people seeing off their families, waiting for them to arrive or just parents and their kids watching the planes.

I thought it was quite a pleasant place to wait.
A proper airport! Fewer and fewer of these around.

It's a shame that (most likely) a mix of cost control and security paranoia meant that no public viewing gallery or outdoor space was provided at T5 or the new T2.
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Old Jul 19, 14, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by mjh0 View Post
A proper airport! Fewer and fewer of these around.

It's a shame that (most likely) a mix of cost control and security paranoia meant that no public viewing gallery or outdoor space was provided at T5 or the new T2.
I remember how high the fence became on the rooftop viewing area at NCL before they abolished it. Not sure whether it was scrapped in the name of security or the expansion of the airport meant they had to demolish the staircase.

It seems Dutch airports still value the viewing area. Even Schiphol has a large viewing area (so if it's security paranoia it's not reached the Netherlands), I think MST had one too.
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Old Jul 19, 14, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
After selecting my items I went upstairs and there's an outdoor terrace where you have runway views.
Couple of nice beers on tap at the bar there as well.
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Old Jul 19, 14, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by pauleeepaul View Post
Couple of nice beers on tap at the bar there as well.
I missed the draught beer so if I'm going through there again I'll take a look. Are these also included with the voucher? The bottles selection was not bad.

As someone who would like a better beer selection in BA lounges I thought it was nice to have a wider range of beers than a lounge could provide (even though I missed the ones on tap).
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