This was a flight taken for the experience of flying the route and aircraft. When you fly in a small aircraft it is the closest experience to being on a private jet…especially if the service is up to scratch. Some regional jets in the US don’t necessarily have the service and that is what can turn a journey like this from OK to special.
The 328 Jet has one class of travel with a maximum of 32 passengers, not Euro Traveller, not Club Europe but something in-between…more on that later. As you can see from my electronic boarding pass the class of travel is ‘null’.
I arrived at Manchester Airport a few hours ahead of scheduled departure as I felt like relaxing in the lounge and didn’t have anything else to do that afternoon. I’ve said before that the Terraces lounge at T3 is one of my favourites anyway so why not. Tracey was on the front desk and I was greeted with her usual smile. We had a bit of a catch up as we had been missing each other over the past few months as my travel didn’t coincide with her shift patterns. (I really like this touch of an acquaintance rather than ‘staff’ welcoming you back – something you get at a regional lounge if you frequently travel & you are a chatterbox like me!) The lounge staff quickly got my usual champagne & I had a nice chat with them about how their families where etc. BA have the best sandwiches in their lounges and are replenished frequently. Today I had Pastrami & gherkins with Tuna and lemongrass…yum!
As I sat eating, drinking and listening to music I watched the various planes come and go….but then I saw the Dornier 328 come in….how cute it looked and how small and lost when it was taxiing in amongst 767’s and even a A320 dwarfed it.
I headed off to the gate when the lounge call was made (another great feature of a regional lounge-each flight gets called so you don’t have to keep checking the screens)
There were only 13 other passengers on this flight and boarding was not done by frequent flyer status for obvious reasons (plus I was the only passenger that evening with any status anyway)
The passengers have to go down three flights of stairs in order to be a ground level (as the aircraft is too small for an air bridge) . You then have a short walk across the tarmac to climb up the 4 steps the plane has to board. Swift, easy and fun.
Immediate impressions….well let’s say it made me feel like a 10 year old. Happy and excited…oh dear I really am a geek. I was seated in 1D – front row immediately as you board, also this is an exit row. Plenty of room, spitting distance of the pilots and a really cool seatbelt.
We had a really short taxi out and a quick safety briefing then we’re off! It struck me just how fast these little jets get into the air – again…fun.
Once airborne, Laura quickly got everyone a drink and was making such a fuss over me that I kind of felt embarrassed and a couple of the other passengers gave me the same look I get when I’m in Club World on a 777 and a few Economy passengers walk past my seat as I sip my welcome drink (funny when I could only afford to fly at the back of the plane I never engaged in reverse snobbery like that). The flight is around 1.45mins so I wasn’t expecting too much of a food service – but I was pleasantly surprised to receive basically a Club Europe meal on china. Good cold salad with smoked Pastrami, fresh bread served from the basket and a nice ice cream to finish off. A+
Had a ‘smorgasbord’ of after dinner drinks as Laura came round with smaller glasses and a selection of Brandy and Baileys – nice touch.
We approached Gothenburg for an on-time landing and I can say this was a fabulous flight, with care and consideration taken in each step from boarding to the exemplary service. I can’t wait to fly it again.