Convenience Is King: British Airways’ Embraer E190 in Euro Traveller From London City to Dublin

May 6, 2019

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TPG Rating

67 100

Pros

Location, location location; a complimentary food and drinks service and abundant legroom.

Cons

No onboard amenities to speak of and ho-hum service.
9 Ground Experience
23 Cabin + Seat
2 Amenities + IFE
17 Food + Beverage
16 Service

When we learned that Ireland’s Aer Lingus would be hosting an event to unveil its new livery, I immediately thought that the trip to Dublin would be a great opportunity to compare British Airways’ Euro Traveller and Club Europe products on its Embraer E190, which operates out of the ultra-convenient London City airport.

Booking

To book this trip from London City Airport (LCY) to Dublin (DUB), I took advantage of a British Airways Reward Flight Saver and paid 4,000 Avios (this would have been 4,500 Avios on peak dates). I used the British Airways Premium Plus Amex credit card to earn 3 Avios per pound on the tax. In this case I earned just 52 Avios, but every little bit helps! Even in comparison to low-cost carrier fares, this price was reasonable, especially in light of the upgrade in experience.

Ground Experience

TPG Rating

9/10
G-LCYK

Tail

9yr

Age

07:05

Departure

h 58m

Duration

London City Airport is the only airport actually in London itself. It’s neat and compact and a dream to travel through.

The taxi drop-off was meters from the front door, and the BA check-in desks were right there as I entered. There was a moderate queue, but I only had hand baggage and had my boarding pass on my phone, so there was no need for me to speak to the agents.

A number of desks staffed by agents serviced Club Europe and status passengers, whilst self-check-in desks were available for the rest.

Due to its size, London City lacked in facilities. There was no lounge, and food and shopping were not as comprehensive as elsewhere. But for convenience, it was unbeatable. I was more than happy to have a quick Pret A Manger breakfast in exchange for speed and convenience.

There was no security fast track, but queues at security were minimal.

Cabin and Seat

TPG Rating

23/25
2-2

Configuration

18

Width

30

Pitch

1

Lavs

Boarding was rapid, through Gate 3 then down the stairs with a short walk to the aircraft across the apron. Boarding was by front and aft doors. I boarded through door 1L to a warm welcome by the crew and a cabin that was around half full.

The Embraer E190 was arranged in a 2-2 configuration, with an adjustable curtain to separate Club Europe from Euro Traveller.

Even though smaller than the narrow-body Airbus aircraft that operate similar routes, the cabin did not feel cramped. Perhaps that was down to the spacing of the seats and the gorgeous rounder windows.

I was seated in 12A, an exit-row seat that benefited from a normal window (hooray!), a not-so-terrible armrest and more legroom than I could ever need. As a British Airways Executive Club Gold member, I was able to book the exit row for free at the time of booking. I found the seats comfier than the usual BA short-haul seats.

Even the normal seats had a decent amount of legroom.

There was also a usual seatback tray rather than an armrest tray, as is sometimes the case in an emergency-exit row. The tray table was large and perfect for working with a similarly large laptop.

 

The seat next to me was free, which made for an incredibly comfortable and spacious flight.

There was one toilet at the rear for Euro Traveller passengers, which was a little more spacious than the new cubicles on other BA short-haul aircraft. Toilets were clean but had run out of soap and hand towels.

With small aircraft, a small airport, stairs moved by hand, and aircraft that parked without needing a tow from the gate, departures from LCY were incredibly quick.

Amenities and IFE

TPG Rating

2/15
No

Live TV

No

Tailcam

No

Headphones

Wi-Fi was not available on this flight, and there were no other amenities to speak of.

Food and Beverage

TPG Rating

17/25
1

Comp Meal

Yes

Comp Alcohol

BA services out of LCY still offer a complimentary food-and-drink service, unlike the usual paid Marks & Spencer menu service.

Within minutes, the trolley arrived by my seat. Breakfast was a ham-and-cheese croissant plate and a cup of orange juice. Tea, coffee and soft drinks were also available.

It was a nice perk, but the croissant was dry and cold. The cheese and meat were OK — but I’d have been better off spending a couple of quid in in the airport for something hot and delicious.

Service

TPG Rating

16/25

The service on this flight was distinctly average.

There was certainly more of a feeling of being a a well-trodden bus route than being on a flagship carrier, albeit on a short hop. That being said, on such a short flight, and with the only interaction being the handing out of a tray of food, there wasn’t much to go by.

The end of the flight was somewhat ruined by a particularly aggressive purser telling me I had to delete every single photo I’d taken when he caught me taking a photo of the cabin at the end of the flight after all the passengers had disembarked.

The first officer came out the cockpit whilst this was happening and shot me a look of “What is his problem?”. Nobody else seemed to be aware of a strict rule against photos on board.

I avoided further conflict by asking the first officer if I could see the cockpit. She welcomed me in, we had a good chat, and she invited me to take photos! Bizarre!

Overall Impression

I really adore LCY and would always choose to fly from here if I had the option. It is completely unrivaled for efficiency and ease. I also really enjoy the Embraer and find it more comfortable than BA’s other aircraft.

The food offering is a nice touch, although not great, but it does add a bit of that old-school magic to a flight, especially in today’s world, where the credit card machine makes its way up and down the aisles of many short-haul flights.

Generally, the experience is head and shoulders above the equivalent option of flying to a destination like Dublin on low-cost airlines from the likes of Luton (LTN) and Stansted (STN). So, given the choice, and in particular, Avios availability, I would choose this option every time.

All photos by the author.

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