InterCaribbean 716, Bridgetown to Saint Vincent
|Route||Grantley Adams International, Barbados (BGI) – Argyle International, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD)|
|Cost of Ticket||One way – £161/$194|
|Flight Time||45 mins|
|Baggage Allowance||23kg checked bag, small carry on item|
After staying for one night at Bellevue House in the parish of St Michael on Barbados, we left this charming little guest house in a pre-booked bus and headed for Grantley Adams International Airport. We arrived at the semi-outdoor check-in area, which was relatively silent on all airlines, with the only open counter being the one for InterCaribbean Airlines, who we were flying with.
We checked in our bags, which itself was a slight issue, as there are very strict baggage limits onboard the aircraft. After checking in the bags, I looked at my boarding pass. It stated that my flight left Bridgetown airport at 1230, with primary boarding beginning at 1205. I went to the departure board to corroborate this information and was incredibly confused.
It stated that JY716, our flight to Kingstown, St Vincent, and the Grenadines, was to be leaving from Gate 9 at 1100. Considering it was 1035, it confused me. Nevertheless, we trusted the boarding pass and headed on through security. One of the trays of a family member of mine spilled over inside the x-ray machine, which I have never seen before.
We headed on through relatively quickly and into the practically deserted departure lounge. The departure board issue was still baffling us, as it still showed the aircraft departing at 1100, even though when we looked at the time on our phones, it was 1120.
In order to try and solve this mystery, my mother traveled to Gate 9 to enquire about this, where a staff member apologized in an incredibly calm manner and told us to be there at 1200. We did arrive at 1200, where there was some slight confusion as VQ-TPS, an Embraer ERJ-145 and the newest member of the InterCaribbean fleet, was boarding at the same time from the same gate for a flight to Antigua. Whilst the passengers for this flight were beginning to board, we saw VQ-TDG, our Embraer EMB-120, land in from Saint Vincent.
After a short boarding process, in which seemingly all passengers with non-Caribbean passports were shunted to one side, we headed out onto the ramp and towards the EMB-120. We waited outside the airport for a moment, and the first few passengers began to attempt to board the aircraft, but due to several issues, the sole cabin crew member turned them away and stated that they had to board us by need first.
A passenger who was in a wheelchair and her companion boarded first, followed by a Scottish-American family with very young children, and then came us, as we were traveling with a few relatively young children. It turns out that they did the boarding process to ensure that no children were traveling in the emergency exit row. Our group boarded, and I sat in my seat for flight 7A.
InterCaribbean organized the EMB-120 in a 2-1 configuration, meaning I sat in the solo seat on the left of the aircraft. It is a very small aircraft, with seemingly just 10 rows, with all but the back row being in this 2-1 configuration, whereas the last row is 4 seats altogether. The safety briefing was carried out, and the cabin crew member informed us that we all had to switch off all electronic devices, meaning I was unable to get a video of the takeoff out of BGI as I had hoped.
Takeoff and Inflight
We taxied to Runway 09 and immediately took off from the Barbadian airport. Runway 09 departures from BGI take you to the west, so the pilots gave us a full view of the island out of the left-hand side as we began to turn ourselves to the west and in the direction of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The route between Bridgetown, Barbados, Kingstown, St Vincent, and the Grenadines is an especially interesting one. Two airlines operate the route, and both offer vastly different products. The first is the InterCaribbean route, which operates multiple times a day using the Embraer EMB-120. The second is a continuation of Virgin Atlantic’s route from London Heathrow to Barbados, which operates using either an Airbus A330-300 or a Boeing 787-9, which operates every 3 days.
The first option is definitely more of an experience. Shortly after we got into the air, and the seatbelt signs flickered on, we hit a patch of turbulence due to the weather conditions, a common occurrence in the Caribbean. The aircraft began to swerve between clouds and rain patches, but in the end, all was fine. I leafed through the InterCaribbean inflight magazine and read about their newest flight, from Providenciales to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, which takes place at a shockingly infrequent once a month!
After not long at all, probably only 15 minutes, the seatbelt sign was re-instituted for landing. We began our approach to Argyle International Airport, which follows the coastline of the island, giving a great view. We touched down calmly and taxied to the gate. Deboarding was quite swift, and so we entered the immigration hall. Unfortunately, our flight had landed just after a Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800 had landed from New York JFK, meaning the hall was very busy.
The passport checks were slow, as they had two different lines, meaning nobody was quite sure where to go. Furthermore, they kept the doors open, meaning we could still hear the noise of the EMB-120 as it prepared for departure back to Bridgetown. This meant that the questions being asked by the clearly stressed immigration officers were not very easy to hear, extending the time.
Eventually, we got through, where the bags from JY716 had been taken from the aircraft and dropped on the floor. However, SVD airport has manual customs checks, and our arrival at the same time as the Caribbean 737 was once again a problem. The passengers onboard that flight seemingly had multiple suitcases each, and each passenger was being interviewed for ages.
When we walked up to the customs desk, with one bag per person, we handed the passports over, and were asked where we were staying. When we told the customs officer, he immediately returned them and allowed us into St Vincent. The process in St Vincent is one of the worst I have ever seen, but the flight itself was not bad at all, and a fun experience!
Flight Review: Avianca Long-Haul Boeing 787-8 from Bogota El Dorado to London Heathrow
Having previously flown Avianca in Short-Haul on their Airbus A320 on a domestic flight to Bogota, whilst it was slightly overpriced for the product, My expectations for their long-haul product were not too low. A lack of in-flight entertainment on the previous flight, despite the fact that the aircraft had been used for flights of up to 5 and a half hours, had made me wonder whether the same would apply to the Dreamliner. In this review, I take you through the on-ground experience, seat, entertainment, and food options for Avianca’s Intercontinental Long-Haul product.
On the Ground
Like my previous flight, check-in was easy, with the main difference being that passport details had to be entered because it was an international flight. Seat selection was not free, and I was unfortunate enough not to be assigned the emergency exit row again. It seemed the luck from the previous two flights had worn off. The major difficulty I had with Avianca on the ground was their poor planning regarding aircraft Boarding. A lack of coordination between the ground crew and aircraft-crew had led to passengers stuck standing for nearly half an hour on the jet bridge, something which could have been made better by letting us stay at the gate where seats and charging points were available.
Once we had finally boarded the aircraft, it was time to take a look at the seat. Perhaps the major annoyance was the fact that the sides of the headrest didn’t fold inwards but instead folded down. I felt this was a cheeky tactic to make you want to pay more for business class or premium economy. Legroom was fairly limited, however, the seat did come with a footrest, although it seemed primarily designed for shorter people. The seats did recline, although there seemed to be no adjustment to the IFE panel or tray table for when the passenger in front of you reclined, something which was difficult for an overnight flight when most passengers wanted to recline for sleeping purposes.
Food and Entertainment
The gift of a screaming baby a few rows ahead of me had led to a lack of sleep, and so the IFE system was the best option for reducing irritation. The selection was rather limited, with no categories of films, and so movies were all in a long list. TV shows were also available. However no selection of music, something which often appears on other airlines like Virgin Atlantic or Qatar Airways. Food was rather mediocre, with a midnight meal consisting of pasta with Ham and Cheese and breakfast an omelet.
Overall, with Avianca, it’s probably worth it if you fly on their Business Class product, which seemed cheaper than most when I looked at prices. However, if Economy is your game, then I suggest paying less to go through Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub, as they run a flight to Bogota using their recently reintroduced Airbus A340s.
Average Avianca: Avianca Airlines A320-200 review from San Andres Island to Bogota
The National Airline of Colombia, Avianca, has long been servicing the Americas since 1919, making it the second oldest airline, just a few months younger than KLM, to remain in service. Although there have been problems along the way, as well as having to help repair Colombia’s somewhat previously broken tourism industry, Avianca still manages to maintain a short-haul fleet product that can be compared to the likes of most other traditional airlines. Join me as I walk through the On Ground experience, Seat, Food, and entertainment.
On the ground
Check-in was extremely easy, as well as the fact that this was a domestic flight and so passport details weren’t required. However, the one thing that I would pick up was that seat selection was not free, costing roughly 120,000 Colombian Pesos ($29 USD) depending on the seat. However, I was lucky enough to be randomly allocated the emergency exit row, technically giving me a free upgrade to the airline’s “Plus” seat. Boarding passes were automatically sent to me, and so all I had to do was go through security and get on the flight.
Given the fact that I had been given the upgrade, the seat was really nice. However, this seat felt like what you could normally get as the basic economy seat on an airline like British Airways, and so if I’d sat in the basic seat on Avianca, I would have felt like I was paying for a traditional airline and yet was receiving something you might find on EasyJet. It came with Folding Headrests, something I wished I would have received on my Long-Haul flight to Heathrow that I flew a day later. Because this was the emergency exit row, there was plenty of legroom to stretch out in, but this also meant that nothing was allowed to be stowed on the floor, and everything had to be in the overhead lockers instead.
Food and Entertainment
Food was purchase-only, whereas I would expect at least a light snack to be provided on my flight if I am flying with a legacy carrier, especially due to the fact that some low-cost airlines like JetBlue are offering free snacks nowadays. Despite the fact that some of Avianca’s Airbus A320s are flying flights with routes up to 6 hours in length, there was no seatback entertainment on the flight. Although, it is useful in pointing out that my seat came with charging ports and a phone holder for me to watch my own downloaded entertainment. Avianca also has a feature that allows you to watch some of their films on your own phone, known as “Avianca on Air.”
Overall, I’m not entirely sure that this is a flight that stands out to me, unlike that I had experienced earlier on my trip with JetBlue. Whilst the seat was good and comfortable, I don’t particularly feel that it was worth the extra money to be paid for it, as well as the fact that If I weren’t upgraded, I would be missing lots of the features which came with it. I would recommend Avianca for its short-haul flights. However, If you are on a route within South America which could be up to 5 and a half hours on an A320, I would probably recommend going on LATAM for a chance of a larger plane.
Flight Review: SAS A320neo London Heathrow to Stockholm Arlanda
On July 19th, I flew on Scandinavian Airlines System for the first time. My expectations had been set quite low, having flown with only European budget airlines since the start of this year. As expected, my expectations were completely exceeded when I flew with SAS, a brilliant first experience to say the least.
|Route||London Heathrow Terminal 2- Stockholm Arlanda Terminal 5|
|Flight Time||2 hours 25 minutes 06:40- 10:05|
|Baggage Allowance||20KG Loaded Bag+ 7kg Cabin Bag|
|Price||£908 (return)- NB: This flight was the first part of a connecting flight to Bangkok|
Basic flight info (N.B Prices for this flight review will be in GBP and EUR)
Due to Scandinavian Airlines being part of Star Alliance, it departs from Heathrow Terminal 2 (as of August 2023). In order to save time, I checked in online via the SAS app which was simple to use and displayed helpful notifications updating the status of your checked baggage. So I made my way over to the rather long bag drop line in the departures hall of T2 and after a good half hour, dropped my bags off and headed over to security. As my travel partner holds a Thai Airways ROP Gold Card, I was able to reap the rewards and use Terminal 2’s fast-lane security. From taking a quick look at the regular security lane, there wasn’t a big difference at all in terms of waiting times. This could’ve been due to my early flight time of 6:40 AM.
Heathrow Terminal 2’s airside is spacious and well equipped with duty-free stores, restaurants and airline lounges. I didn’t get to use any of the lounges as I was slightly pushed for time, so I headed straight over to my gate, B47. The B gates are quite a long walk away from security, so spare at least 15 minutes.
I arrived at the gate right on time, as I took a seat in the waiting area, boarding was called. Starting with SAS Plus passengers, EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members and any Star Alliance Gold Card members. Then, different boarding groups were called. SAS made the boarding very efficient, with the cabin crew calling “boarding complete” just 20 minutes after it had started.
My first impressions of the cabin were that it had a nice, relaxing colour scheme. The bulkheads had been given a light birch wood pattern that went well with the grey seats. The cabin crew welcomed passengers and showed them to their seats upon boarding and were very friendly. Unfortunately, the cabin wasn’t the cleanest, some discarded tissues were found in my seat pocket.
Now, for the seat review. This was one of the best things about SAS, their seats on the A320neo were surprisingly comfortable. Even though they look as if they lack padding and have thin cushioning, this is just an illusion. The seats were very comfortable, had great legroom and knee-room, were quite wide and had good recline as well.
In the seat pocket was an inflight menu, WiFi info card and a safety card. No airsickness bag or magazine was present. Fortunately, there was in-seat power via a USB outlet and the tray table could slide in and out, both of these were very helpful. Overall, a great seat for a short 2-hour flight.
We pushed back a few minutes ahead of schedule and as the cabin crew carried out the safety demonstration the A320neo taxiied towards the runway. The cabin lights were then dimmed as we reached the runway where the airbus accelerated down the runway and lifted into the skies of London. The take-off felt extremely powerful, so powerful that a few children started screaming.
10 short minutes after taking off from London Heathrow, the cabin crew started the inflight service. At first, I wasn’t going to bother ordering anything, but I took a look at the menu which said that water, tea and coffee are always free & complimentary on SAS flights so I asked for a cup of hot tea. There isn’t much more I can say about tea is there?
Cabin Cleanliness & Loo Review
Although the cabin was brightly lit and had a great choice of design, it wasn’t the cleanest but also not the worst I’ve seen. As mentioned earlier, there were used tissues in my seat pocket and there were specks of grime on my tray table before I scrubbed it off with a wet wipe. SAS’s A320neo is equipped with 3 lavatories, 1 in the front, and 2 in the rear. The toilets were clean and well stocked, in addition to this, they had foot-level mood lighting which was an extra bonus. Apart from the charcoal black toilet, it was pretty standard for an aircraft of this type.
Tip: When flying on SAS’s A320neo, avoid sitting in the last row; row 31. Not only is this row near the toilet, but there is no window and the recline function is also absent.
Descent & Landing
With 20 minutes to go, the captain announced our descent into Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The cabin crew went around and collected any remaining rubbish and in a few minutes, we were a few thousand feet above Stockholm. From this particular approach path, I found there to be many turns before landing which caused much excitement among younger travellers. After a rather bumpy landing at Arlanda Airport, we taxiied to Terminal 5, where the A320neo parked right next to my next ride. A Thai Airways A350-900 that would take me to Bangkok! We disembarked the aircraft and entered the terminal. Now, for a confusing transfer experience and 3 hours of waiting!
Overall, SAS provided a great flight from London Heathrow to Stockholm Arlanda. The online check-in was simple, the boarding was efficient and the cabin had a nice design. In addition to this, the comfort of the seat and the high standard of service provided by the cabin crew also made the flight more enjoyable. Although my seat pocket wasn’t clean, the rest of the cabin and lavatories were. I would definitely fly with SAS again.
|Recommended?||Yes! SAS is a great airline|
American Airlines Airbus A319 Diverts to Memphis After Engine Shutdown: An In-Depth Look
An American Airlines Airbus A319, operated by Fort Worth-based American Airlines, encountered engine problems mid-flight, resulting in an emergency landing...
United Airlines’ $1.25 Million Investment Empowers STEM Education in Schools
United Airlines has announced a remarkable initiative to allocate $1.25 million towards funding various STEM projects in schools across selected...
LATAM Airlines Pilot Dies En Route from Miami to Santiago
In a rare and tragic incident, a LATAM Airlines pilot passed away mid-flight during a scheduled journey from Miami to...
American Airlines Passengers Amazed as Service Dog Secures Three Seats for Comfortable Flight
In a heartwarming and surprising scene aboard a recent American Airlines flight, passengers were treated to the sight of an...
Australia’s Rejection of Qatar Airways Expansion Could Incur $500 Million Annual Loss
Australia’s recent denial of Doha-based Qatar Airways’ request to expand its operations in the country is expected to result in...
Riyadh Air Announces Partnership with Atlético de Madrid in Landmark Sports Sponsorship
Saudi-based startup, Riyadh Air, in a groundbreaking announcement, has confirmed its multi-year partnership with the esteemed Spanish football club, Atlético...
Air India Unveils New Livery and Logo
Air India (AI) has announced a significant rebranding, unveiling its new livery colors and logo. While maintaining its signature red...
Jazeera Airways Expands Fleet and Boosts Revenue by 26% in First Half of 2023
Fleet Expansion and New Routes Drive Impressive Passenger Growth Kuwaiti airline Jazeera Airways recently announced its financial results for the...
60,000 American Airlines Advantage Miles Stolen From a Hacker
In a recent incident, an American Airlines frequent flyer fell victim to a hacker who stole over 60,000 AAdvantage miles...
Emirates Celebrates 20 Years of Service in New Zealand
Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, is celebrating its 20th anniversary of service in New Zealand. The airline began its inaugural flights...
An interview with LATAM airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Marty St. George
AVIATION AFRICA 2023: Pioneering the Future of African Aviation in Abuja
Airbus Unveils New Automated A321XLR Equipping Hangar in Hamburg
American Airlines Airbus A319 Diverts to Memphis After Engine Shutdown: An In-Depth Look
Efficiency Takes Flight: Discover the Top Five US Airports for On-Time Departures
Aviation News11 months ago
Antonov An-225 to be Rebuilt After Being Destroyed in Ukraine
Aviation Stories12 months ago
A Boeing 747 Once Flew With 5 Engines
Aviation3 years ago
SpaceX’s historic crew launch.
Informative12 months ago
Heads-Up-Displays (HUDs) And How It Works
Informative10 months ago
Why Does The Airbus A340 Have 4 Smaller Engines?
Informative2 years ago
Antonov An-225 Mriya: The Plane With 32 Wheels
airbus2 years ago
Airbus Beluga vs Boeing Dreamlifter
Informative5 months ago
Why the Airbus A380 Only Utilizes Reverse Thrust on Its Inner Engines