At the end of every year I do an annual review, and award a “best of” in a few categories. The first of the 2017 awards is for flights.
2017 saw a big change in my travel patterns. No more regular, monthly commuting to Munich on easyJet (it’s a long, messy story).
The change (like all these things) has had its positive angles. One has been more variety in my travel, and air travel in particular. easyJet did figure a couple of times in January, but let’s dump that in the past.
I flew with two airlines I’ve never used before – Royal Air Maroc between Casablanca and Ouarzazate, and Hebridean Air from Oban to Colonsay.
I renewed friendships with Turkish Airlines (Ercan via Istanbul), Norwegian (Oslo) and Air France (Casablanca via Paris). I’ve used them before (many times in the case of AF).
I flew with FlyBe too – but it has never been a regular in the same way as Air France or easyJet. The short hop from Edinburgh to Belfast doesn’t allow much time for passenger experience, so its a question of whether it was on time and the staff were pleasant!
Norwegian was a 2 hour flight, but it is a slightly upmarket version of easyJet, so it’s hard to get excited.
Turkish Airlines was a 4 hour flight to/from Istanbul and a bit more than an hour from there to Ercan and back. All in all I was very happy with it. My last long flight with Turkish Airlines was in 2006, so my memory is a bit rusty.
Air France – the flight from Paris to Casablanca seems to get a better quality of service because it’s inter-continental. It was fine, but nothing to get excited about. the connecting flights to/from Paris CdG were on AF’s Hop! brand. I think it’s their “no frills” version. Well, as you’d expect the French do “no frills” with style.
RAM? My flight to Ouarzazate was a 22:40 departure so the crew just left the lights switched off to let people sleep – no on board service! It’s only 80 minutes, of course. My flight back to Casablanca was a 6.55 am departure – again no service, but early departure and early arrival. I like that!
Anyway, the Hebridean Air flight stands out. Unusual. Special. Fun.
An 8 seat plane with just the pilot to do it all.
Loved it. Easy winner.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2018