Flight test: Cityjet economy Paris to London

A CityJet Fokker 50.
A CityJet Fokker 50. 

THE ROUTE

Paris Orly to London City

THE PLANE

Fokker 50

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

None

CLASS

Economy seat 8D, on the lunchtime city-flyer to London aboard a twin-prop Fokker. The cabin is only a quarter full so there is no sense of being crammed in, as with budget carriers such as Ryanair or Easyjet.

DURATION

One hour and 15 minutes. The plane is 10 minutes late lifting off from Orly West (1.40pm instead of 1.30pm) but still arrives on time in London.

FREQUENCY

CityJet flies this route up to seven times daily.

THE SEAT

Seat pitch of 32 inches (81 centimetres) and width of 18 inches (46 centimetres). There are 50 seats in a 2x2 configuration, all of them economy class. Seats are caramel leather and silver plastic which, coupled with patterned blue carpet, lends the cabin a touch of style, even if the interiors are showing their age.

BAGGAGE

One checked bag up to 23 kilograms. Extra checked bags up to 23 kilograms at a cost of €45 ($64) purchased online or €70 ($100) at the airport. Staff don't raise an eyebrow at my two pieces of hand luggage.

COMFORT

The lack of passengers and relatively generous seat pitch makes economy feel almost deluxe. There is plenty of room for luggage and legs and no need for armrest tussles. I sleep for the first 20 minutes so miss the views over Paris but wake to bird's eye aerials of the patchwork fields of the French countryside.

ENTERTAINMENT

There is no electronic entertainment. The in-flight magazine features breezy articles on the airline's European destinations. Air pockets over the Channel and near London provide the most excitement.

SERVICE

With only a dozen passengers to serve, our lone attendant has an easy task of handing out snacks and pouring drinks, although the tea is not the finest cuppa. There is no running water in the single bathroom, instead, passengers must wrestle with a two-litre water bottle - tricky when your hands are slippery with soap.

FOOD

Perfunctory food offerings stretch to a tray of packaged sweet or savoury snacks, including a pleasant enough friand-style miniature cake with a chocolate centre. The snacks, as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks, are included in the ticket price.

ONE MORE THING...

The twin-propeller Fokker comes in low and slow over central London, tracing a route along the Thames that gives passengers an incredible sightseeing tour of the English capital. Free of charge.

THE VERDICT

Why doesn't everyone fly into London City Airport? City Jet arrives punctually at 1.45pm and, as we are the only arrivals, we clear immigration, collect luggage and jump in a cab within 15 minutes. The city centre is 25 minutes' drive away.

Not every flyer will be comfortable with the bumps and shakes of the buffeted turbo-prop Fokker, or the sight of landing wheels unfolding outside your window, but the route is otherwise quick, easy, and passengers get a free joyflight over London. Well worth the £72.60 ($130) ticket price.

A bonus travelling this way is that passengers gain an hour on the crossing so we actually arrived just 15 minutes after take-off.

Tested by Kendall Hill, who travelled at his own expense.

Comments