As I wanted to get to London on rather short notice, I decided to fly with U2/BE since their departure times suited my schedule quite well. Also, I've wanted to try BE's rather recently incorporated SEN-VIE service anyway. Off to Vienna Airport it was then, with the viewing deck as my first destination.
There are these info panels all over the viewing platform and they cover quite a range of A/C - all the way from the ATR42 to the A380. I've never seen the CS300 referred to as the C300-Series though.
OE-LPB in the foreground, a B772 in the old blue-bellied OS livery. Some 320s, some Q400s, and a CA A330 that produced quite a mighty roar taxiing. That blue and white E170 in the background seems to be PE's.
First A380 I've seen in the wild. Awe-inspiring, to say the least.
Don't feed the planes!
On my way to the gates.
Gate area D, shortly before boarding.
Here's G-EZAU, the A319 that would be taking me to LGW shortly. Unfortunately, getting a good shot from the D area seems to be quite tricky as the jetbridges obscure practically everything.
Let's see how my first trip on U2 goes!
Fabric seats in an Airbus - haven't seen that yet. I definitely seem to prefer the feel of leather though.
The older-style Airbus overhead panel.
Getting pushed back, a QR 787 is watching us leave!
Apologies for the potato quality but I had to use the digital zoom of my phone. There are still planes flying in AB's livery?
Shortly after takeoff my phone battery died so I sadly don't have any more photos of this leg. My U2 experience was rather okay - the pizza roll I bought had a great taste, plus the flight attendants were cordial and didn't try to pitch additional sales too hard. FR still takes the (negative) cake here with their scratch cards. The fabric seats didn't feel as comfortable as most leather seats I've sat on but they were bearable. Compared to FR, I'd take U2 any day.
Hardly two days later I took the train to Southend Airport to fly home again already.
SEN's departure hall. Definitely one of the cleanest and most modern "budget airports" I've been to.
Cafe to the left, duty free shop to the right. The coffee is rather expensive here but the personnel are friendly and attentive.
Here we go, BE6150 to Vienna!
G-FBEF, one of Stobart Air's E195 is already waiting for us.
Boarding starts at 12:10.
What a beauty. I have no shame admitting that I'm a huge fan of BE's liveries. The white/blue one seen here simply looks classy and their newer, purple one adds a dash of colour to an often bland landscape. Before this flight I've only had one E195 experience with OS on a short hop to Belgrade and I wasn't really convinced about the plane's comfort then (owing to a particularly hard seat). Let's give the E195 another chance!
First impression: THE FLOOR IS PURPLE! What a nice surprise. Also, these seats are much wider and plushier than the ones OS uses on their Embraers. They remind me of the ones in the old OS Fokkers which might just be the most comfortable Y seats I've ever experienced.
A little snuggly but not uncomfortable at all.
Quite a massive tray table. My Kit Kat looks a little lost there.
Safety card! The SEN-VIE route is operated by Stobart Air, the same group that also operates Southend Airport.
And here's the overhead panel!
I can safely say that BE's product and service on this route vastly exceeded my expectations. The 2-2 seating coupled with the soft and wide seats seems unrivalled for a budget airline and I've yet to see a friendlier and more attentive crew anywhere in Y. I can't really comment on the food options since I've only eaten a Kit Kat but the prices seemed reasonable. Moreover, BE has managed to instill some love for the E195 in me - no mean feat since I wasn't exactly a fan of it beforehand.
Compared to the other LCCs I've flown on, BE outranks even EW, my former No. 1. While the rest of the service is comparable, BE's E195s simply sport the better seats. I can't comment on their Q400s (yet), though. My personal ranking now would be BE-EW-U2-V7-FR. I hope you enjoyed this trip report - as it's the first I've ever written I'm sure it's still a little rough around the edges but I'm happy for any constructive feedback!