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  • Pablo
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • May 2004
    • 868

    easyJet LGW-PRG-LGW

    Apologies for the lack of photos in my report: many of the flights were conducted in poor light and I only took a basic camera with me. Hopefully A.net and the BBC's website will suffice!

    U2 5493 London Gatwick Airport (EGKK) - Letiste Praha (Prague) Ruzyne (LKPR)
    Scheduled dep: 1525
    Scheduled arr: 1825
    Actual dep: approx 1655
    Actual arr: 1918
    Aircraft: 73G G-EZJU


    I'd arranged to go for a weekend to Prague with about 12 workmates. Having checked both easyJet's ('EZY') and bmibaby's websites we decided to choose EZY as the price and timings were a bit better. We caught the Victoria Express to Gatwick and arrived at approx 1335. We proceeded to the South Terminal to check in. The EZY check in area (Zone E) was surprisingly quiet and we checked in very smoothly. EZY's new policy of encouraging passengers to take on cabin baggage rather than checking it in was in evidence by a number of signs. We were given our boarding cards (there appeared to be little sequence in the allocation of numbers!!) and decided to pass through security control.

    Security clearance was smooth. Upon arrival in the departure lounge, we went to grab a bite to eat and something to drink in the Yates'. We sat near the windows, which gave me an excellent view of the South terminal apron! I quickly scanned the four or five EZY birds that were on ramps and noticed that they were all 319s. As LGW is now EZY's main 319 base in the UK, I was really hoping that I'd have the opportunity to travel on one. I have nothing against the 737s, but I've travelled on a number of EZY's 733s and 73Gs, but only ever one 319 (British Airways). LGW wasn't particularly busy at the time. Apart from the usual visitors (BA, Monarch, Emirates, First Choice, Britannia/Thomson.co.uk, Thomas Cook, Excel, Flybe etc) the only visitors of note were the Azerbaijan Airlines 752 (probably quite packed with Northern Ireland football fans ) and this Helvetic F100.

    At 1455 our flight was called to gate 16. It wasn't a particularly far walk, and upon arrival at the gate we were placed in a holding area until the aircraft was ready for boarding. At the gate I could just catch sight of an EZY 73G and 319 parked next to each other at two airbridges but from gate 16 itself it wasn't easy to tell which airbridge corresponded to which gate. I noticed both UK and Swiss registered EZY 319s at LGW - probably five or six 319s had parked up in the short time we were there.

    eople were asked to remain seated until boarding card numbers were called. After some 10 minutes, passengers with boarding cards 1-30 were called forward to board (hardly anyone got up) followed very shortly by numbers 31-60. Mine was number 60 so I went to board. As soon as we got on the aircraft I knew it seemed to be the only 73G at LGW that day! The aircraft was very clean and we took seats in row 19, towards the rear. Boarding announcements were made in English to welcome us aborad, and automated announcements in Czech were played. By 1520 all passengers had boarded and the aircraft was ready to be pushed back from the stand.

    After another quick announcement from the senior crew member, the pilot came over the tannoy to welcome us aboard. "And I have some bad news..." he added, stating that as a result of "air traffic" the flight only had departure clearance for approximately 1610. He added that he would remain in contact with EZY's ops to get an earlier time, and as the aircraft was ready for departure it would be sensible to push back and park at a remote stand closer to the runway. The crew ran over the usual rules regarding bags, mobile phones etc... and we pushed back from the stand.

    After a guided tour of the apron at LGW (including taxiing under the recently built passenger footbridge at the North terminal ). We parked up adjacent to the far end of the North terminal, close to the threshold of runway 08R. The aircraft's engines fell silent and the fasten seatbelts signs were switched off. Over the tannoy, the pilot announced that we were free to move around and use the toilets until such time as the flight was given clearnace to take off. The cabin crew (3 female, all Scottish) offered copies of the inflight magazine around the aircraft. At approximately 1610, the pilot again came over the tannoy to update us. Unfortunately, due to "appalling weather in Prague" the airport was restricting the number of movements, and our departure time was put back until 1715. However, favourable airspace conditions would mean that the flight would take only 1:20 hrs instead of the timetabled 2:00 hrs. As the aircraft temperature was getting quite warm, the cabin crew offered glasses of water around.

    At 1640 the pilot again announced that we had been given clearnace to take off. The cabin crew performed the safety demo, safety announcements were made in Czech (automated) and we proceeded to join the queue of aircraft for runway 08R. The other aircraft at the time consisted of two MONs (A300 G-MONS (which I flew on some years ago) and 752 G-MONJ), a TAP Air Portugal 319, an Excel 738 and a pair of BA 734s. After -NJ, the TAP 319 and one of the 734s, we taxied to the threshold of 08R. Departure (at 1655) was smooth bar a bit of turbulence passing through low level cloud. Shortly after take off the fasten seatbelt signs were switched off, an automated announcement was made in Czech. I caught the word 'easyKiosk' in the Czech announcement, so decided to check the food and drink on offer in the magazine. I chose a coffee (reasonably priced at 1.60).

    As the flight headed easterly, over the English Channel towards Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic, the daylight quickly drew to a close. By 1830CET there was complete darkness outside except for the aircraft lights, wing and engine. As the onboard shop passed quickly through the cabin I could feel the aircraft beginning its descent into PRG. The first officer briefed us on the weather (similar to the UK, bit of rain around) and all too soon the fasten seat belt signs were on and the cabin lights dimmed. We flew over some suburbs of the Czech capital and touched down on runway 06 at 1918. We taxied to a remote stand on the apron and parked up. There weren't many interesting visitors at PRG- lots of CSA, Smart Wings, Travel Service and Fischer 737s and CSA ATR42s, plus this Sky Europe 735, a bmibaby 735 and a Lufthansa 321. The crew welcomed us to PRG, informed us of the local time, thanked us for choosing EZY, plugged their new PRG-Dortmund flight and outlined the discounts obtainable with Europcar car rental (why don't they plug easyCar?!?!). Disembarkation was quick via the front and rear doors - I got off at the rear doors and walked right under the wing (within 5 feet or so of the engine!!) - can't imagine that many UK airports permit passengers to get so close !!! It was raining very lightly as we boarded an airport bus and headed towards the terminal.

    We passed thorugh passport control and into a modern yet packed arrivals hall. The baggage didn't arrive too quickly and our carousel was shared with a bmibaby from Cardiff and a Flybe from Southampton. A recently arrived Travel Service flight from Hurghada was occupying the adjacent carousel and their luggage seemed to arrive pretty quickly. Frist impressions of Ruzyne airport were that it is modern and efficient, but quite busy. We cleared customs and headed off into Prague.



    U2 5494 Letiste Praha (Prague) Ruzyne (LKPR) - London Gatwick Airport (EGKK)
    Scheduled dep: 1900
    Scheduled arr: 2000
    Actual dep: approx 1905
    Actual arr: 1940
    Aircraft: 73G G-EZJU


    After a good couple of days in Prague, the time had come to return home. We caught a cab to the airport and arrived just over 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. Our check in desks weren't yet open so we took up refuge in a cafe with a drink until the screens indicated that the desks had opened. At 1705 the screens indicated that two desks were open, so we headed towards them. There was already a couple of people there, but I was relieved to see we were one of the first to check in. We were told that the aircraft would be boarding at gate B8 some 40 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The desks were located close to a very small casino with a couple of card tables. The check in hall looked very modern and, although busy, seemed to be working efficiently. We passed through boarding card control (oddly no other security checks were made at this stage) and into the departure lounge.

    The departure lounge offered good views of the apron but the glass was obscure and covered with fingerprints. Once again, some five or six CSA 737s were dotted around the apron or parked up on airbridges. We went to the cafe to get a sandwich (ham, cheese and salad baguette cost CK53 (approx 1.20)). We looked in some duty free shops without buying anything and took up seats close to gate B8. Over an hour before our scheduled departure an EZY 733 (G-IGOJ) pulled up at the gate and the airbridge was connected. I guessed this wasn't ours, as it was too early and EZY had a departure to EMA shortly before ours. This was confirmed when an announcement was made over the airport tannoy that an EZY flight had arrived from EMA (unlike at many European airports, the arrival of aircraft is still announced over tannoy at PRG). Ten minutes or so after its arrival, the EMA-bound passengers were called to board at gate B8.

    I checked the screens and noticed that our gate had been moved to B13. As -OJ pushed back from gate B8, another EZY touched down on runway 06. The aircraft pulled up on a distant, remote stand alongide a Travel Service 735. Although it was hard to see to the naked eye, it looked like another 73G. I was secretly hoping for a 319 but not hopeful as the outbound flight had been on a 73G. An EI 320, an LH 321, an AY 320 and a BA 734 and a 763 had also arrived by this time. At 1820 promptly an announcment was made that we should proceed to gate B13. We walked down some stairs, cleared a security check and queued up at gate B13 (PDF airport plan). This gate was used by aircraft parked on remote stands. We passed through the gate (no boarding order here) and got on the buses to the aircraft. Upon arrival at the aircraft I was surprised to see that it was G-EZJU yet again - the same aircraft which had been used two days earlier to take us to PRG!! I boarded at the front door and got some seats on rows 11 and 12 for the others (row 12 being the overwing emergency exit). While we were boarding the usual automated Czech announcements were playing.

    Boarding was completed efficiently and the cabin crew (2 male and 1 female) began their usual drill by welcoming us aboard and giving us the briefing regarding mobile phones and seatbelts. The pilot passed through the cabin and spoke briefly to the head cabin crew member. Over the tannoy, the head crew member (the female) and the pilot both welcomed us aboard and an automated Czech announcement was played. When I heard the words 'easyKiosk' I wondered if they'd played the wrong announcement, so wasn't surprised when the crew, in fits of laughter, apologised for playing the wrong annoucement. We began to push back and one of the other crew members ran through the safety demo. The pilot announced that the first officer would be flying us back today and gave us brief details of the planned route.

    At exactly 1900 the interior lights were dimmed and we began our taxi to the threshold of runway 06. There was no queue so no waiting aorund at the holding point. The engines fired up and we quickly built up speed on the runway and after what seemed like a very short acceleration we were airborne. The flight ran much the same course as the outbound journey, over Germany, Belgium and SE England, and was scheduled to take 1:40 hrs. As I'd eaten and had a drink in the airport, I didn't get anything from the easyKiosk.

    A mention should go to the cabin crew who were professional, humourous and seemed to be very attentive. At the point where the crew were instruced to outline some of the perfumes and gifts available onboard, he joked that "passengers upstairs in first class could now enjoy a choice of 2 films on their own TV screens, whereas us downstairs in economy had the pleasure of the shop" (!). He then ran through a humourously camp but skilful rendition of the gifts available by holding them up at the front of the cabin in the style of the safety demo ("Your crew is so radiant because we all use Lancome moisturiser priced at..."). Some 1:20 minutes into the flight we began our final descent into LGW.

    There was a considerable amount of low level cloud which caused quite a bit of turbulence as we descended over Sussex before taking a right turn to align the aircraft for an arrival on 08R. As the landing lights came into view from the passenger window I was amazed at how low the aircraft was and really expected it to clip one of them! The aircraft touched down close to the threshold of 08R - the landing seemed slightly heavy with quite a lot of reverse thrust. We cleared the runway and taxied past a Free Bird MD83 to gate 10 of South terminal.

    The crew thanked us for flying EZY, told us the local time and plugged new routes from LGW to Valencia, Bratislava, Warsaw and Basel. We disembarked via the front stairs and procceded through passport control to the dismal baggage reclaim hall. By 2010, just 30 minutes after landing, we were in the railway station at LGW awaiting trains back to London.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Pablo; 11th October 2004, 23:22.
    Regards

    Pablo
  • LBARULES
    Pointless flightaholic!
    • May 2003
    • 9820

    #2
    Sounds like a great pair of flights, great report

    Comment

    • bmi-star
      EGOV local
      • Feb 2004
      • 4366

      #3
      Great report mate!
      Regards, Elgan

      Comment

      • Pablo
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • May 2004
        • 868

        #4
        Thanks! They were very good flights except for the delay on the outward journey. I really do like easyJet.
        Regards

        Pablo

        Comment

        • Airline owner
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Oct 2003
          • 5327

          #5
          Great report mate.

          Comment

          • SHAMROCK321
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jan 2004
            • 2544

            #6
            Great reprt a break from the ordinary really professiinal crews is always good.I like a crew who can work in a relaxed envoiement and have a bit of fun.As long as they are prepared for anythinf that may go wrong.

            Comment

            • Pablo
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • May 2004
              • 868

              #7
              Thanks for all the feedback. I spent every minute of the flights noting all interesting details!!
              Regards

              Pablo

              Comment

              • Sam Lambert
                Member
                • Oct 2004
                • 42

                #8
                Great report, the 737 tends to get used on the Barcelona and Prague routes from LGW, all others being A319's, although this isn't always the case, what with the A319's always breaking down,

                Sam

                Comment

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