O V E R V I E W :
I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam but have not got the chance, as a friend of mine did his internship there from July to September I thought it was the perfect time for me the explore the city with the help of a ”local” tour guide. When booking was made the cheapest option was actually Vueling from London Luton (LTN) but after taking into consideration the hassle and transportation costs to and fro the airport, I decided to go for the next best which was FlyBe from London City (LCY) which is just a stone’s throw away from where I live. For those of you who have been following my trip reports, you would have read about my supposedly virgin flight from LCY here, which was eventually cancelled and re-booked via LHR hence the excitement for the flights from and to City Airport this time.
FlyBe – BE 1370 – LCY – AMS
De Havilland Dash 8-400
Flight time: 08:20– 10:30 (08:42-10:32)
Duration: 1 hours 10 minutes
23rd September 2017
Not my first time on FlyBe having flew on BE from Birmingham to Edinburgh during my university days, though it will be my first time on their propeller plane. In fact, this will be my first turboprop flight outside of Malaysia. Boarding pass obtained quick and easy through one of kiosk at LCY.LCY is a fairly small airport, proceeded to my boarding gate which is located towards the far right on the airport after security clearance and I was one of the first few at the gate. First sight of the turboprop that will be bringing me to Amsterdam that morning. The empty holding area at my gate as mentioned earlier which only started to fill up approximately 20 minutes before the STD (scheduled time of departure). Decided to be one of the last to board the plane as I was allocated an aisle seat when I checked in online but wanted to see if there were empty window seats available. Rather ecstatic to find that my row was entirely empty when I boarded the aircraft. Very nice mood lighting that complements BE’s livery, did not expect this on a turboprop. Tight leg room but it was fine for this short hop, taken from the window seat next to mine that was empty at first. It turned out to be a 99% load that morning and my seat neighbour arrived eventually and was not keen on swapping seats hence the need to move back to my allocated aisle seat. 😦View of the cabin from my seat, no unoccupied window seat for me to migrate to unfortunately. F&B cart was rolled down the aisle soon after take off (20 minutes after STD). Flipped through the onboard menu and noted the interesting collaboration with Itsu as above but mainly nibbles, the rest of the offerings are the usual (ie: sandwiches/salad bowls) which you can find on most European LCCs. The flight went by really quickly, we were on descent after being in the air for only 30 minutes. Tough shot of the final approach from my aisle seat!Despite only taking off about 20 minutes after STD, landing was just 2 minutes after ETA at the furthest runway (Not sure what number?) from the terminal building at AMS as the taxi took forever. First impression of AMS is that it has the Changi vibe, definitely one of the better airports in Europe. Waiting time at passport control did not take long and I was soon on my way to the city via rail.
FlyBe – BE 1371 – AMS – LCY
De Havilland Dash 8-400
Flight time: 16:40– 16:50 (16:57-16:44)
Duration: 1 hours 10 minutes
25th September 2017
2 days later after admiring the beautiful canals to windmills, it was time to fly back to London and go back to reality. Decided to have a quick peek at the exterior of AMS after arriving at the airport via rail. Check in was done via the counters, which was very empty when I arrived. Interestingly, I was told off by the check in agent for taking the shot above as she thought I was taking a picture of her and wanted to actually see what I took. The manner in which the agent brought the matter up was really rude and not professional at all, thumbs down!Nevertheless, cheers to my hard boarding pass instead of the flimsy ones and the lucky me got randomly assigned a window seat this time when online check in was performed! 🙂 Passport control for departures was a mess without clear lines segregating the different lanes as noted above, though there was a personnel that was in charged of directing people to the various lines, it was not done in an orderly manner. Line barriers should have been utilized to prevent confusion which leads to queue cutting.Explored the airport a little before heading to my boarding gate as I was rather early. Love airports that offers views like this of the aircraft at the parking bay. KL’s queen of the skies spotted. Various seating options available with charging points as well. An interesting discovery, a museum in an airport?! Boarding gate for my flight back to LCY. Aircraft was already at the bay.Soon after, boarding commenced and it was obvious that load was light. A short wait at the stairs down to the tarmac before passengers were allowed to proceed to the turboprop. Seats onboard in a 2-2 configuration. Lets play complete the word/sentence? 😛Front half of the cabin was mostly empty after boarding completed and it seems that passengers were allocated seats from the back of the aircraft. The green light was given for passengers to move forward if preferred after the door was closed. Glad to have gotten a window seat for shots like the above and also the infamous approach into City airport. Flying over London Bridge station and the tallest building in London – The Shard!Fast forward to the approach after the short flight, incredibly close to the high rise buildings above Canary Wharf. The O2 arena being the final landmark before touch down at LCY, which marked the end of yet another uneventful short hop.
C O N C L U S I O N:
On my virgin flight on FlyBe, I complimented on the attentive crew and good service in general but these 2 flights do not seem to share the same experience I had initially unfortunately. The turboprops are starting to show their age but generally the hard product was fine for such a short flight. In terms of the softer product, the check in agent at AMS was definitely a bummer and could have treated the matter professionally by asking in a friendly manner rather than being confrontational. Crew onboard both sectors did not share the same enthusiasm as I experienced 1 year ago, with some being expressionless in the air. No opportunity to try the other offerings but definitely will still fly them if fares remain competitive.