SAS ATR42/72 Economy04/10/2012
BACKGROUND Flights between London City airport and Copenhagen are operated by Danish airline Cimber Sterling. Cimber uses the twin-turboprop short-haul ATR42/72 aircraft on the route, a small propeller plane with only 12 rows. There are up to two flights a day from London City to Copenhagen, departing at 0935 and arriving at 1255, or 1755, arriving at 2115.
CHECK-IN Checking in online at sas.com the evening before I was due to fly, I chose seat 3A, and printed out my boarding pass. I left home a little early the next day accounting for the morning rush hour, arriving at London City DLR station at 0830, an hour before my scheduled departure at 0935.
I chose to fly from London City as it is the most convenient airport to get to from my home in East London and the airport is small and easy to negotiate, but flights from London City take 25 minutes longer than flights from Heathrow.
The airport was fairly busy when I arrived, with plenty of people milling about. As I only had hand luggage, and there was no queue at security (I had to take my jacket off but not shoes, although the lady in front of me had to do both), I was through into the departures lounge by 0845, only to find my flight would be delayed by 25 minutes, until 1000.
I grabbed a coffee and settled down with some reading in preparation for the meeting in Copenhagen.
BOARDING I kept an eye on the screens as there are no announcements at London City and I didn’t want to get caught out, but fortunately I didn’t have to wait too long before being told to go to the gate for boarding. Here there was a further 15-minute wait while we watched the incoming passengers disembark the aircraft via a set of stairs at the back of the plane.
Boarding began at 0930, shortly after the last passenger left, and we were welcomed by the only member of cabin crew on the flight. There were three classes – two rows for Economy Extra, eight rows for economy, and two rows for business. (This flight, and consequently classes, is only bookable through SAS, as Cimber is an economy-only airline.)
There was obviously little time for the cabin crew to complete their turnaround, as there were a few scraps of rubbish left on the floor of the plane. The aircraft wasn’t full – there were no passengers in business or Economy Extra – so the plane was ready to leave fairly promptly. We took off 15 minutes ahead of our predicted (late) departure time.
THE SEAT Seats on the ATR42/72 are configured 2-2 (A-C, D-F), and are upholstered in blue material with small red dots. I was seated right next to the propeller, which was fairly noisy during take-off but seemed to get quieter during the flight, or maybe I just got used to it.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? With only 12 rows, the seats are all the same, regardless of class of travel, so there is little to choose from. If you would like to be first off the plane, choose seats closest to the back, near the single door for passengers to use. The toilet is also at the back of the plane however, so it may mean you are disturbed during the flight by people coming and going.
THE FLIGHT As the flight was operated by Cimber Sterling, the food and drink served on board was from a Cimber menu, which was priced in euros, although you could pay in pound sterling or Danish krone. (Food in Economy Extra and business is free.) A cup of tea or coffee, served in a paper cup, cost €3, and a sandwich cost €5. I had already had a coffee at the airport, so decided not to order anything for the two-hour 20-minute flight. I completed the reading I needed to do, as well as fitting in a quick nap.
ARRIVAL On the approach to Copenhagen, I noticed a row of wind turbines in the sea, before landing at 1240 local time (one hour ahead). We were due to arrive at 1255, but had made up time during the flight. We disembarked quickly, and as I had no baggage to collect, I was through immigration and into the arrivals hall at Terminal 3 by 1300.
VERDICT Despite the late departure, the flight was satisfactory and I arrived in Copenhagen on time for my first appointment.
PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight with SAS from London City to Copenhagen started from £162 in December.