READER REVIEW: Day Trip to Amsterdam on British Airways Club Europe from London City Airport

London, United Kingdom – July 8, 2019: British Airways BA CityFlyer Embraer 190 airplanes at London City Airport (LCY) in the United Kingdom.

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Just like the one-day international cricket match of England versus The Netherlands that we had gone to watch, our same-day return travel with British Airways from London City Airport to Schipol airport certainly had its fair share of drama.

Having found the most economical BA flights from London to Amsterdam at the time of booking, the outbound flight was scheduled to depart London City Airport (“Lucy”) at 08.40hours, with the return from Schipol Airport at 19.40hours. The economy flights cost £170 each with a special offer to upgrade on the return leg of the journey for £50 per person.  The booking earned us 50 tier points each.

Six years ago when we lived in Lewisham, City Airport, with its checking in and boarding efficiencies, meant that “Lucy” (LCY) was once the love of our lives.

Moving homes meant we drifted apart, and “Heather” (Heathrow) soon became our favourite airport…at least until we realised we could save around £500 on our day trip and still fly British Airways.

The morning’s adrenaline rush was more fuelled by the rail strike and the prospect of having to navigate the M40, M25 anti-clockwise and the A11 rather than seeing an ‘ex‘ after many years.  Fortunately, with working from home and a well-established routine, the roads were reasonably clear and just as the sat nav had predicted, our taxi from High Wycombe took 90 mins.

 

London City Airport check-in and security

On first glance, “Lucy” had not changed a bit.  At 07:10hours, smart business professionals with hand luggage only were being dropped off and making their way through departures.  Despite the length of the queues, the presence of airport managers expedited our transit through security within 20 minutes.

Conveniently through the other side, with no lounges, we settled for a high street coffee and breakfast sandwich from Pret-a-Manger, which we ate while seated at an unallocated departure gate. “Lucy” had changed.  “Lucy” had lost its class as the Capital”s business travel terminal. “Lucy”was more like a regional airport cramped by holiday makers travelling to party locations in Ibiza, Majorca and Mykonos.

 

Boarding

Boarding the Embraer 190 was managed by group. Despite our economy class of outbound travel, our Gold Status meant we could board first, albeit as part of the pool of Groups 1-3- of which there were lots!

Our economy seats (14A and 14B) were comfortable for a short flight. We were offered a complimentary granola bar with a cup of water or orange juice.

While boarding the full flight only took 10 minutes, departure was delayed by 20 minutes. 

 

Arrival at Amsterdam

BA birmingham bristol routes

E190 aircraft taking off from London City

 

 

As is usual at City, we rocketed up the runway easterly direction and the flight time of 38 minutes meant we landed 5 minutes ahead of schedule.  Just when we had the prospect of reaching the cricket ground in time for the start, all hopes faded as we waited 15 minutes to be allocated a stand and for the jetty to be attached.  With waves of despair and hope, it was like a bowler taking a long run-up to deliver a yorker that only goes misfielded for a boundary.

Hoping that everything will be back on track with the next over, we made our way to passport control only to be reminded of the gift the keeps giving, Brexit.  We endured the slow “All Passports” queue. After 40 minutes, we were greeted by a border patrol officer who having been made aware of the reason for our visit, commented on how we had already missed the start of the match.

Taking an Uber from the Schipol Airport to VRA Cricket Stadium was straightforward and significantly cheaper than the airport forecourt taxis – though you have to walk further to the meeting point.

 

Check-in and security at Amsterdam

After a sunny afternoon enjoying volumes of lager while watching England win, we took an Uber back to Schipol Airport and proceeded through to the Fast Track queue – we were eligible because we were travelling Business Class, not merely because of our Gold Status with British Airways.  The transit through security and passport control only took 10 minutes.

 

Lounge

Aspire lounge AMS

Unfortunately, the BA Lounge was shut.  Instead, we had to resort to the Aspire Lounge, which was failing to cope with demand.  While clean and tidy, its selection of food and beverage offering was significantly limited compared to what a BA Lounge would otherwise offer, and they even ran out of glasses for beer!

 

Boarding

Knowing the distance to gates at Schipol, we left the lounge at 1900 hours for our 1955 hours departure.  Boarding was swift by group numbers, though almost everyone at the gate stood up when they invited groups 1-3 to board.

 

The flight

BA E190 Club Europe

Row 1 of the E190 (Club Europe) TLFL photo

It was great to fly on a “biz jet” seated 2-2 rather than 3-3. Seated in 1A and 2A, we were offered alcoholic beverages, with the smarter one of us avoiding mixing our drinks and plumping for Speedbird lager. The other decided to mix beer with Nicholas Feuillate champagne, though fortunately, there were no repercussions on this occasion. To eat, we were offered a reasonably decent salad and dessert.

By far, the best aspects of this flight were the views flying back to City: low over Kent, doing a right over the Shard, over Canary Wharf for another steep landing.

Photo by TLFL

Disembarkation and clearing immigration was very swift; with e-gates in operation, we were through in less than 10 minutes. With still having to negotiate the DLR, tube and Chiltern Railways, the journey home was three times longer than the flight, reminding us why “Lucy” remains far from our first choice. Perhaps this will change once the Elizabeth Line is fully operational.

Overall, we were bowled over not just by England winning the cricket, but also by the smooth and comfortable travel experience.

34 Comments on "READER REVIEW: Day Trip to Amsterdam on British Airways Club Europe from London City Airport"

  1. Please don’t ever write an article referring to airports as ‘Lucy’ or ‘Heather’ again. It just sounds so weird.

    • “Weird” as maybe ( in your own opinion). Having checked with a good friend of mine, who also happened to be the commercial director of the place in a previous life, ‘Lucy’ has been called/ referred to as such since before she had even become operational.

      Good luck on shifting that one

    • Peter Davies | 29 August 2022 at 3:54 pm |

      I’m assuming you writhe in pain at the mere mention of ‘Singers’ or ‘Bangers’ 🙂

  2. I am carrying out a tier point run in Oct (To gain silver)LGW to AMS 4 hours in AMS before the return. CE out Econ return 50 Tier points,£200,I decided on CE on the outbound journey because of the BA lounge in AMS being closed.

  3. Entertaining read thank you and, as it’s been a while since I’ve flown via LCY, interesting to hear what it’s like now. I quite like your idea of naming the airports although, thank goodness, your experience at Amsterdam Ship-Hole was not unfavourable.

  4. Lucy and Heather??
    Seriously is this a blog about TLFL or BSFK (Bedtime Stories for Kids)?
    David above says it sounds weird; I’ll go one step further and say it made the article childish and not worth reading till the end.

    • How many times do I need to ask for people to be polite about reader reviews? Is it really necessary to be this rude? You could have just said I wasn’t keen on the reference to Lucy and Heathrow if you had to say anything at all.

      • I do not have any social media accounts and never have had for exactly this reason, There’s too many sad individuals in this world and I’m guessing the majority are single and sit in a small room in front on a pc monitor typing C**P to satisfy their self esteem…..

        • Constant Traveler | 29 August 2022 at 2:53 pm |

          Great review, well crafted,fun and light harted, with some nice storytelling and narative to boot! (unfortunately there are still too many grumpy people out there that like reading stale instruction manuals)… thanks for the great review!

      • I think you should monitor and delete such rude comments .

  5. I love the ‘Lucy’ and ‘Heather’ references. That’s the paradox of this blog, you can rave about airlines owned by homophobic totalitarian regimes but inject a bit of harmless humour and you’re branded childish.

  6. BrewDog Speedbird100 is an IPA not a lager.

    • Though it wouldn’t be Speedbird if it’s post pandemic – it’s Jetstream now. Also not a lager though

  7. The Heather and (constant) Lucy references made me want to vomit. But a good review otherwise.

  8. Not a cricket fan but happy to go for a spin with the extended metaphor.

    I have to agree with others, the ‘Lucy’ personification was a bit hard to swallow.

    I had nervously readied myself for the ‘fair share of drama’ – did I miss that bit? It all seemed to be a pleasant, and somewhat whimsical day out. No major calamities were evident, which is most welcome in today’s unpredictable travel world.

    I’m flying BA Club out of LCY to Palma on Wednesday – hopefully it will be as equally straightforward…with no googlies.

    • Thank you Mark for demonstrating the adult way to comment on a reader article! As I’ve said before not everyone will like everything but you can be polite about it like you are!

  9. Without pertaining to sound rude, but I was not impressed with the naming of airports. By the way, I’m sure someone will come along and mention being offended that they’re both ‘female’ names.

  10. Deryck de Maine Beaumont | 29 August 2022 at 10:12 am |

    Well, sorry to be “different” but I for one loved Heather and Lucy. Why all the “lets conform” to the norm”. Give me individuality anytime, and more so give me the freedom to be an individual swimming my own way – as long as I do not endanger anyone else? I like “paddling my own canoe” In fact it is part of my chosen Notarial motto. (in latin of course!)

    And please give people the freedom and encouragement to be individuals?
    Telling everyone they HAD to use Heather and or Lucy would be different but let’s go with freedom to be individual?

    Thank you for Heather and Lucy It made my day and only 1005hrs

    deryck

  11. Matthew Ellis | 29 August 2022 at 10:20 am |

    I love Lucy!

  12. It can be annoying that BA lumps Group 1 to 3 together especially given the number of Golds flying from City.

  13. Michelle being mother hen again, whereas I want to know where the foxes are, not the chickens nic names.

  14. What I want to know is if LCY is Lucy and LHR is Heather, what does that make LGW?

    • Lauretta Gertrude Winthrop. I thought everyone knew that?! Unlike the other two hussies she isn’t the sort too allow any of that 1st name shenanigans until such times she has assessed your suitability.

      Some say this is why she’s struggled over the years to find and maintain a proper suitor but I for one commend Ms Winthrop on her high standards ( and more importantly her infinitely better Club lounge)

      • Love it 😂. Sounds far too posh for Gatwick though! Now if it was Luton I think it would have to be Lorraine given the connection with Lorraine Chase!

        • Let’s keep this out the gutter and just all agree now that STN is the most Sharron ( neigh Shaz’) of all the airports and there’s a reason she hails from Essex

          ( My apologies to any readers from the beautiful county of Essex. But hey it’s not all bed. You’ve learnt to read no less. Good on you eh 😉🥰)

  15. Thanks for the review! Reminds me of day trips to Ammers from Gatters when I worked for BCal. Ooops sorry silly name season is catching:)

  16. I recently took a 35m return flight to Guernsey on an Aurigny E190. I loved both those low altitude flights. It felt like we were just gently gliding whilst enjoying beautiful close up views of Guernsey and southern England. Also the flights seemed particularly silent.
    Aurigny doesn’t have business class. They are, however, masters at speedily selling drinks and snacks. I loved their family vibe atmosphere and pleasant efficiency.

  17. I enjoyed this review – thank you.

  18. Lucy is much easier to say than London City or LCY, I like it.
    I’m a bit disappointed you didn’t tell us your nickname for Schiphol. Mine is Sh****le

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