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I review CityJet from London City – where do they fly, how is the service?

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This is my review of CityJet’s flight from London City Airport to Amsterdam.

With British Airways starting to charge for sandwiches and G&T next year, you may be thinking about looking at the other travel options out there.

The European regional airline CityJet certainly thinks you should be looking at alternatives.  They invited me to look at their product and I decided to try out their route to Amsterdam.  For clarity, the airline provided us with a free return flight but HFP paid all of its own incidental costs.

CityJet was established in 1993.  It is currently operating seven routes in Europe of which two are to the Netherlands.  The seven routes are:

  • London City – Dublin
  • London City – Nantes
  • London City – Paris Orly
  • London City – Florence
  • London City – Antwerp
  • London City – Rotterdam
  • London City – Amsterdam

Flights to Amsterdam start from as low as £38 one way.  There are three different booking options: City Value, City Flex and City Premium.

Even the cheapest option, City Value, allows one checked bag free of charge (unlike a BA ‘hand baggage only’ fare) and a drink and snack.  City Flex lets you change your flight free of charge and City Premium allows an additional checked bag, is fully refundable with priority boarding and seating.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

Outbound:  London City Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol

CityJet is a small airline with small planes!  My flight from London City Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol was operated by an Avro RJ85 – a new experience for me.

The RJ85 has 17 rows with 95 seats.  I’m not sure what the curtain behind row 2 was for as in theory all seats are the same and every passenger receives the same service.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

Before the plane took off I was offered water:

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

and a hand wipe.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

Considering the fact that my CityJet flight was only 40 minutes, I was surprised to get a chicken salad in addition to the cashew snack and red wine.  The other alcoholic options were white wine and beer. Coffee, tea and various soft drinks were also available free of charge.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

The cabin crew was friendly and attentive and gave me a second bottle of wine just before landing.  (I’m not sure whether this was due to the fact that I arrived at the plane in a car straight out of the First Class Lounge or because I was sitting next to an off duty flight attendant ……!)

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

Inbound:  Amsterdam to London City Airport

The gate CityJet uses at Amsterdam Schiphol airport is about a 15 minute walk from the security check. If you’ve got enough time and no access to an airport lounge, there is an Irish Pub about a 7 minute walk from the gate. I didn’t go inside but it looked pleasant from the outside and appeared to have an outdoor area.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

My CityJet flight back to London wasn’t that great, to be honest.

The flight was at capacity and people were asked to hand over their carry-on to be placed in the hold. This can be a bit annoying when the carry-on is your only bag and you need to hold onto your laptop, wallet and passport.

What was even more annoying is that I wasn’t told that my bag had to go in the hold. I ended up waiting around on the plane for someone to tell me where to put my luggage as there was literally no space left in the overhead lockers.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

In the end I had the choice of storing my carry on at the back of the plane – which would have meant waiting until everyone got off the plane in London in order to get it back – or to have it put in the hold.  I went for the latter option as luggage usually comes out very quickly at London City.

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

At least I had a lot of leg room as I was in a bulkhead seat:

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

This time there was neither welcome water nor a hand wipe.  Once we took off, there were only some sweet and savoury snacks instead of another chicken salad.  This seemed a little odd given that I was on a peak evening service, whilst my chicken salad had been served on an off-peak 3pm departure.  But, as I learnt in Germany, beer equals food so all was OK.  You may not agree!

CityJet flight review London City to Amsterdam

Here is a short video of my CityJet flight to Amsterdam.  If you can’t see the video, click here to visit the Head for Points YouTube page where you can watch it, and where you can subscribe so you are notified of future videos.

 

Conclusion

With British Airways starting to charge passengers in Economy for snacks and drinks from January 2017 (from ‘Summer’ 2017 at London City Airport), CityJet offers a potentially decent alternative – especially as you will also receive a checked bag irrespective of the fare you pay.  I would be keen to know which flights do and do not receive a proper meal, because the chicken salad I received on the outbound was a pleasant surprise.

CityJet is a Flying Blue partner so you will also earn a handful of miles and a status credit in the KLM / Air France SkyTeam programme on French and Dutch routes – but only if you book under an Air France or KLM flight code.

You can find out more on the CityJet home page here.

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Comments

  1. Ah Cityjet, consistently inconsistent! Bless them. I find the config very tight if the flight is full, the RJ85 was really only designed for 5 across seating

    KLM are starting their own flights on this route in Feb which will presumably soak up a lot of the current KLM connection traffic, so will be interesting to see how the route holds up

    • +1. I remember being stuck in the middle seat – shoulder to shoulder – on a last minute flight to Dublin a couple of years ago on an RJ85 and since then I’ve never flown with them.

      • Back 1/2 rows is the place to be, there are some pairs there and they usually use the back doors so no loss of deboarding advantage

  2. Missing a Dutch city on the list?

    • I’m guessing Antwerp may have relocated to the Netherlands for the purpose of this article!

      • Or Dublin…

      • My geography teacher used to throw me out of the classroom for eating during the lessons. Now that I think about it, that doesn’t even make sense…. But I blame her for my lack of geography knowledge.

        • Well Antwerp was part of The Netherlands for a short while. Maybe you paid more attention in history class!?

    • They used to fly to Eindhoven too but that stopped a few years ago…

  3. €10.75 for a pint and some nachos

  4. Caoimhín says:

    Yes, I too am struggling to find 3 Dutch cities! Head For Geography lessons!

  5. I flew with them a couple years back on an LCY-AMS, was booked via AF though. Both flights fine given they were about 45 mins, it was water/tea and I think some small snack or biscuit at peak time both ways. Definitely very cramped on board though.

  6. The curtain is because they still operate some flights on behalf of Air France (e.g. NCL-CDG) and they will have a business cabin where a Club Europe like service will be operated. The LCY services are now single class though, I was surprised to see the food though!

    The ‘outside area’ in the Irish bar in AMS is just decorative.

  7. Phatbear says:

    It may have been worth a mention that cityjet will soon be flying from southend too!

  8. You can earn KLM / AF points, can’t you? And. I’m not sure that switching to city jet is worth it just to get a syrup waffle – when I used them a lot their punctuality in bad weather was appalling.

  9. The Avro R85 are being replaced by the Superjet 100 on Cityjet:

    http://www.blog.cityjet.com/maiden-scheduled-service-for-new-cityjet-superjet-ssj100

    32 inch seat pitch throughout

    • the_real_a says:

      Hmmm we still have an insurance ban at work from flying on Russian built planes!

    • Not into LCY though I expect, can’t believe it’s certified for the steep approach yet.

  10. On behalf of offended Antwerpians…….!
    RJs notorious for poor overhead storage. Recently BA subcontracted my AMS-LCY and all were made to check in standard wheelies…..

  11. “You won’t earn any frequent flyer miles” well not really true since CityJet partners with AF/KL and you can earn Flying Blue miles on CityJet sectors. I flew WX this past August and earned FB miles and elite qualifying miles/segments on the trip (typically for lowest priced tickets you can earn 188 FB Miles. Not great but at least better than 125 Avios).

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