Hello! Welcome to Child Flyer, and this review will be about airBaltic economy on the Bombardier CS300. In this post I will be flying from London Gatwick to Riga International Airport in Latvia. This will be a review of the ground experience at Gatwick (not very special), the flight and the ground experience at Riga (again not very special) On to the review!
- AIRCRAFT: BOMBARDIER CS 300
- SEAT: 10F
- ROUTE: LGW TO RIX
- FLIGHT NUMBER: BT654
- CLASS: ECONOMY BASIC
Here is the ground experience for someone in economy at Gatwick:
We had a flight departing from terminal south, so there was no need to take a shuttle to the north terminal when we got off the Gatwick Express. If I had the choice, I would book a flight departing from Heathrow, but my Dad likes Gatwick. We went through security, which was alright, but we got stopped and they searched our bags, because my Dad had a coffee machine with him. When we got through security, I bought some pringles and orange juice. I’m currently writing this ground experience review while in a restaurant called Wetherspoon at Gatwick. There were lots of announcements, as usual, saying “Passengers flying AIRLINE to DESTINATION please come to GATE!”. My airBaltic PINS number is added to this booking, so you may get business class reviews soon. At this Wetherspoon, you can get some great ice cream (vanilla with chocolate sauce), for only 99p, and it’s only for kids. This is not an ad. This is going off-topic (ground experience), but I was tracking the plane on Flightradar24, and found that the plane would be a June 2017 Bombardier CS300. This meant we would have an unusual 2-3 configuration. Even though I’ve never been on a Bombardier Q400, I think this is an improvment on the product because the plane is newer, and the Q400 may be noisy since it’s a turboprop.
We were welcomed on board, and found out seats at 10E and 10F. On take off from runway 26L at Gatwick, we had to wait for 2 EasyJet A320s to land, and then we were given permission to take-off. The seat belt sign was turned off 7 minutes from when the main landing gear got off the ground. We were given a safety video on the small monitors, and the start was funny. A few minutes after take-off, my Dad realized that in the magazine it said that airBaltic has no row 13. After I heard this, I looked behind me, and there was no row 13, as it went from row 12 to row 14, with no row 13! The flight attendants were opening and closing overhead bins, and they closed 2 but then opened them and made sure the bags weren’t falling out. I was confused at first, but now a few minutes later I understood. I am currently flying over the north sea, and have just left London. The flight attendants have just rolled a cart down the aisle, and I guess they start at the back, and business class. The business class product is the same old boring intra-European type. It isn’t even permanently blocked, the middle seat. Instead, the first 2 or 3 rows have tray tables in the middle seat, while the next few rows just have “DO NOT OCCUPY THIS SEAT” written on them. As a budget-carrier, I think they are a nice airline, especially compared to Ryanair and Wizz Air. Even though their main colour is meant to be a lime green colour, the plane is nearly all white, apart from the mood lighting and the cabin crew uniforms. There is no wifi on this plane, and the whole of airBaltic’s fleet. I am agreeing with Lucky from One Mile At A Time, when he says the lack of air vents on planes annoys him. Luckily this plane did have individual air vents! YAY! This plane was getting pretty warm, but the vents helped. Even though there aren’t personal entertainment screens, the airBaltic magazine is interesting. Their menu isn’t very child-friendly, apart from some Twix, Pringles and some juice. This was an early night flight as it departed at 5:30PM, and arrives at 10:15 PM, but you should know the time difference in Riga is 2 hours ahead of London time. Writing this review was the only real entertainmment I had. I’ve flown airBaltic many times before, 2 or 3 times on the CS300, and I was soooooooooooo bored on the flights. So if you want some entertainment, write a review of your flight, and tell me in short how your flight was in the comments. The pictures on this post are in weird postitions, so some pictures from this flight will be at the top. I’m sort of copying Lucky’s style from OMAAT (link above) with these reviews. People give airBaltic bad ratings, and I only see one or two real reasons they should be angry, one being they have bad service if you miss your connection, and two, they’re expensive. I understand people being angry about missing their connection, but I agree with airBaltic. If you miss your connection, you booked it, your fault. This flight went a lot faster than I was expecting, probably because I was writing this review. Most of the interesting things I’ve already talked about, so otherwise this review is nearly done, apart from the ground experience at Riga. Apparently at 11815 meteres in the sky our outside temprature was -57 degrees Celsius, which kind of scared me because I was scared our fuel would ice over. Even though I saw the Air Crash Investigation for British Airways flight 38, where they said the fuel icing temprature was lower than -57. I also knew that aircraft have a system that heats the fuel to prevent that, but I still thought what if something changes and we have an engine failure, but that very, very rarely happens, and luckily we had a safe flight on this flight. Going back to the flight, there were lots of little kids, and crying babies, running down the aisle. The person in front of my Dad also reclined their seat, which kind of annoyed me, even though I wasn’t in his seat. The person seemed to be reading some sort of Arabic book, which was very small, maybe a portable bible? I can speak Latvian if needed (I speak both English and Latvian), but our crew understood English well enough. We passed through security and everything at Gatwick, so with British passports, I hoped that there would not be queues at Riga, since we had EU passports. We were flying just North-East of Hamburg, so we were close and I started having less interesting things to say. The CS300 is just the best plane of airBaltic’s fleet, with the other planes in their fleet being 737-300s and -500s and also Bombardier Q400. They did have something for kids in the magazine for purchase, which was a teddy bear. The thing about the teddy bear was that it was dressed in a cute little airBaltic uniform. We were earning PINS for this flight, so every mile we flew we were earning miles. We were seated in possibly the noisiest part of the plane, right next to the engines. I eventually stopped writing and played on my iPad, because there was nothing else very interesting. We had a decent landing, it was alright, but I would have preferred a larger gap between the main landing gear and the nose landing gear touching down.
RIGA GROUND EXPERIENCE:
We got some stairs, but we were at a gate so I didn’t mind much. We then got inside the terminal and went through passport control where there were 2 other people in the queue, and immigration was fine. We then went in to the bag drop area, and then went through an area where you could go through customs if you wanted to declare anything. Then we went through some sliding doors and we found my Mum and sister.
airBaltic was fine for economy, Gatwick was alright and Riga was the simplest of all. If I was given the option between Ryanair, Wizz Air, EasyJet or airBaltic, I would take airBaltic as fast as I could! Overall the best part between the flight, Gatwick and Riga, Gatwick was probably the best.