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Easyjet A319 economy class
FIRST IMPRESSIONS Terminal two at Nice Cote D’Azur airport was typically quiet when I arrived at 0945 for my 1045 departure to London Gatwick. I only had hand luggage but there were no queues at the Easyjet desks, as per my previous experience of this airport.
Security has been revamped somewhat since my last visit last summer and is now more streamlined and better organised (shoes on, laptop out) with a nice Paul cafe the other side being added. Only one security lane was open but there was no queue. My carry on was quickly checked and I was airside by 0955 and made my way right towards gate B19 and the small selection of shops and cafes in this area.
I was through passport control and in the holding area for B19 by 1005, everything was quiet and relaxed so I grabbed an Orangina and a bottle of water from the small cafe (£6 for both) and took a seat overlooking the runway. There is free wifi in the airport but it is unreliable. I was able to access websites but my online apps didn’t seem to respond.
BOARDING The flight was called very early at 1010 so a queue quickly formed. I qualified for speedy boarding so made my way to the front left hand side of the mass of people and waited to be invited forward. I then had to wait 15 minutes standing around until 1025 when passengers were allowed to go through to the aircraft.
I was then held again in the air bridge while I watched the passengers disembark until 1035 when I was finally allowed onboard. I would much prefer if they called the flight once everyone is able to get on board so that I can sit instead of standing around in a bit of a scrum, but I guess this is so that the turnaround can be kept to a minimum. I was welcomed onboard by a smiling mix of French and English cabin crew.
SEAT I made my way toward the emergency exit seats located at row 10 on this A319 aircraft (to see a seat plan, click here) and sat in the window seat 10F. Pull back was at 1055 once boarding had been complete. The flight was busy, however I had managed to keep a middle seat free.
WHAT SEAT TO CHOOSE Seating is not allocated on Easyjet flights (not yet anyway, see online news November 15) therefore it is first come first serve. The exit row seats in row 10 are a good option as they offer slightly added legroom and are not too far back from the front. However, as I found, these seats can often take a while to get served by the food and beverage trolley and you must be able bodied to sit in them.
Row one would be preferable as this affords extra room, quick disembarkation and you are the first to be served. However these seats are naturally the most popular and often go to the first six or so passengers on the flight. It is also located near to the toilets.
FLIGHT Take off was at 1115 and we immediately banked back over the beautiful coastline and then the Alps for some fantastic views on what was a bright, hazy day. The
Times newspaper and a selection of magazines were brought round soon after takeoff for purchase.
At 1140 the food and drink trolleys began to roll out. Food is available for purchase and consisted of the typical selection of hot and cold drinks, including Starbucks branded coffee, sweet and savoury snacks and a selection of sandwiches such as cheese and chutney, hot croque monsieur and the best-selling bacon baguette. To see exactly what Easyjet offer onboard, including prices, click here.
The trolley was slow moving coming through the busy front section and the two trolleys met at my row at 1155. I ordered a packet of mini cheddars (£1.50) and settled in with my book for the next hour of the flight.
I was disturbed once or twice by cabin crew making announcements about duty free, scratch cards and an update from the pilot but otherwise it was a quiet and relaxing flight with no turbulence. Unfortunately, after being told we may get good views of Paris by the pilot any views of the French capital were obscured by cloud cover.
Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall was also onboard the flight, having launched the airlines two new bases in Nice and Toulouse earlier in the week (see online news March 22), and helped cabin crew clear away rubbish at 1215.
ARRIVAL We landed at 1140 and I disembarked via an air bridge at Gatwick South terminal at 1150. Immigration was empty apart from a small queue for arrivals from the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland. I made my way through the e-passport gate and having only hand luggage I was buying my ticket for the Gatwick Express by 1210. For those that needed them the bags were already on the carousel when we reached it at 1200.
VERDICT A pleasant, efficient service on what is a short flight.