Saturday, 23 July 2011

BHX-BHD-BHX Trip Report (2010)

Like my previous trip report (Dublin in 2009), this isn't a full one as it's over a year ago now. This was, again, for my annual birthday daytrip, and was my first time with Flybe and on the Embraer E-Jets.

Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) to Belfast-City (BHD/EGAC)
Flybe Embraer 195 G-FBEG

Being my first flight alone (well, with a friend) I was naturally very excited. We arrived at BHX early and checked in using the fantastic self-service machines, before heading up to the Terminal 2 departure lounge. The two terminals are now merged, which is probably a good thing if you want a good range of shops: they are limited somewhat in the T2 building. But, shops were not high on the agenda for me: we were off to Belfast!
Here's a video of the flight out:
 Flight BE402 went like clockwork, arrving on time. For years I'd been flying on 737's and nothing else, to then fly on an E-Jet was wonderful: they're quieter, comfier (that is down to the airline though), and the windows are bigger too!

George Best Belfast-City (BHD/EGAC)
 To get the cheapest fares and also to fly the E-Jet both ways, we'd booked a return flight (BE409) in the afternoon, leaving only a few hours free. There wasn't really enough time to go into Belfast itself so instead we stayed around the airport. The first port of call? Ikea of course! (Watch the inbound flight vid, you'll spot Ikea just before touchdown).

The Ikea car park gives very good views of the airfield at Belfast City:
 G-FBEG backtracking along RWY 04 to depart off 22.

 The apron at BHD, dominated by Flybe with a bmi A319 at the back preparing for the return to Heathrow.

A Ryanair 737-800 backtracking with the Harland and Wolff shipyard behind.

The Bombardier factory, where the new composite wings for the Bombardier C-Series are currently being constructed and tested. 

Sadly we couldn't stay all day (never thought I'd say that about an Ikea car park...) and so we returned to the terminal for BE409 back home.

Belfast-City (BHD/EGAC) to Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) 
Flybe Embraer 195 G-FBEK
Belfast-City was a nice little airport I found, not very big but fine for internal flights (most of them are from BHD) as the minimum check-in time is 30 minutes before.

The flight back was fairly turbulent, at the time the worst I'd been in and still the second worst today.  But the excellent E-Jet made up for any discomfort, it truly is a remarkable aircraft. If all new aircraft are like this or better, I really can't wait to see what the C-Series, 787, A350 and other new types are like in terms of passenger comfort. 
And the video:
While on approach to RWY33 I took some pictures of Kenilworth from the air, see  below. 

And that concluded my first two flights 'alone'. My experience with Flybe and the E-Jets on that day has meant that all my subsequent flight have been with them too. (Not counting PA28's, of course... stay tuned for some light aircraft action!)

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