Travel Advice

FlyBe Flight Review – Cardiff To London City Airport

The motorway from Cardiff to London is only 150 miles but the traffic seems to be getting worse every year. There are frequent delays, speed cameras and when you do finally make it to London you’ll have to take out a second mortgage to pay for the parking.

So what about taking the train? Overcrowded, unreliable and if you want to travel in the morning it’s very expensive. We always seem to be sitting opposite someone drinking cider with a Charles Manson stare and all his belongings in a black plastic bag.

First class, which should be called ‘slightly more bearable class‘ is extremely expensive but you do get a free biscuit.

At last an airline service! FlyBe initially launched a temporary air service last year as an alternative way to get to London during major rail disruptions. They decided to continue with the route as it proved to be popular with commuters.

Cardiff Airport

Arriving at Cardiff Wales airport on a wet and windy early August morning.

Arrival And Check-In

The short stay car park was full so we used long stay car park 1. One of the advantages of Cardiff airport is that all the car parks are on-site and they are all walkable (without cases).

As we didn’t have any bags it was straight to security. All passengers on the FlyBe London City flight are entitled to use the fast track security channel so within 10 mins of entering the airport we were in the departure lounge.

On Time To London City

The flight in on time – all London City passengers get fast track security.

We boarded the plane on-time despite the wet and windy weather, just a short ‘dash‘ in the rain to the ‘Dash 8‘ plane. This plane has two turboprop engines which give you a classic flying experience.

Bombardier Dash 8 Q400

The plane, a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400

Boarding From Gate 1

Boarding from Gate 1, the rain is stopping.

On Board

ALthough not the biggest plane the seats aren’t crammed in like some larger aircraft, so despite the size, you don’t feel claustrophobic.

Cabin of the Dash 8

Inside the cabin of the FlyBe Dash-8

It was a quick taxi before taking off and soon we were above the clouds. The flight time varies from 35 to 55-mins depending on the air traffic around London, even though it’s a short flight there is an on board food service.

We just had a coffee and a Kit Kat, the breakfast of champions!

Take Off From Cardiff

Take off from Runway 12 at Cardiff

FlyBe Menu

The in-flight food service

Arrival At London City

After a surprisingly smooth flight we were quickly over London but due to heavy air traffic, we had to fly past Southend and then back up the River Thames. We had a clear view of the 2 km long Southend Pier.

After a 50 minute flight we were on the ground and as a domestic flight, we were soon out of the terminal and on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) heading to the city. Luckily the weather in London wasn’t as wet and windy as Cardiff.

The flight was a much better alternative to driving and the quick journey time was great. The transport links from the airport to the City and West End are also quick and easy to use.

We would definitely use this service again but unfortunately, there has just been an update…..

Landing at London City

Following the Thames as we come into land at London City airport

UPDATE

We have just found out that Flybe is to discontinue its route between Cardiff Airport and London City Airport at the end of October. FlyBe stated that “results have not reached the level required for the route to be commercially sustainable.”

It’s a shame to see it go as it’s great to have a decent air service from our local airport. Hopefully, some new routes will be along soon.

Do you have a favourite flight which you couldn’t do without? Let us know below.
FlyBe Flight Review Cardiff To London

FlyBe Flight Review, Cardiff To London – Pin For Later

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  • The Jetset Boyz
    August 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    It’s a shame that the London City to Cardiff route is being pulled, but it doesn’t come as a surprise.

    The benefit of the train is that you arrive and jump on the train. There’s no faffing with having to go through security, taking out your liquids, electronics and other bits & bobs. These days travelling by plane you arrive at the airport and you’re herded from one section to another. Checkin or bag drop, security, wait in the lounge, the flight is called so you go to the gate & wait in line, have your boarding pass scanned, wait until the plane is ready for boarding, start boarding, wait in the boarding queue if you aren’t first in line… are we there yet?

    We didn’t know that passengers on this flight can use priority security, wonder if they ever shouted about this in their marketing?

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 16, 2017 at 10:09 am

      It was really quick getting through the airport and it was definitely designed for the business traveller. It was a relatively small plane so boarding is also quick. The main advantage was the flight time – on the way back it took 40 minutes.

  • Dannielle
    August 19, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I used to fly with Flybe a lot because it was the only way to get home to Isle of Man at one point, unless I wanted to take a boat and train. I didn’t realise they flew this route. I’ve always wanted to go to Wales – will have to check if I can fly from Newcastle too!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

      They are expanding at Cardiff but unfortunately, they are discontinuing the London route from October 17

  • Tom
    August 19, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Living in Switzerland for more than 30 years, i never really needed a domestic flight. We have a really good train service (actually one of the things I’m really proud of as a Swiss person 😀 ) and you never have to drive for 3 to 4 hours within our borders. However, even though we’re not massive fans of EasyJet, we used it a lot for our European flights.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Our trains are really expensive and unreliable, also they can be dirty. Although impressive when built by the Victorians it seems that very little has been done since.

  • Travelling Dany
    August 19, 2017 at 11:01 am

    In italy we are using the fast trains or internal flights more often than not because of traffic and the bad conditions of some roads. I had no idea that in the UK trains were so unreliable and overcrowded! Too bad that FlyBe doesn’t serve Naples, and that it has discontinued the service between Cardiff and London, it seemed like an affordable and nice company!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      It was a really useful service. The transport system in the UK is a bit of a mess at the moment as it has lacked investment for years.

  • RaW | Ramble and Wander
    August 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I can’t believe that there’s a flight service between Cardiff and London! I’ve only driven to Cardiff from London before, and took a train from London to Swansea via Cardiff at another time. Quite a shame they are stopping the service soon though. Would have loved to try flying one way and back on a train the next time I’m in the UK.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

      It’s always good to have the option – it was so quick and easy to use.

  • Amelie
    August 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Ah, shame they’re pulling the plug on the flight, seemed like a great alternative for busy commuters! Curious to know how much the flights were though? Propeller planes though :O They are not my fave haha!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 21, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      The prices vary depending on the day. Our return price was £30 cheaper than the train.

  • Nathan
    August 22, 2017 at 10:22 am

    That’s disappointing they’ll be ending the service. It seemed a more viable option than the alternatives. I would have taken it!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 22, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Yes, It was a really useful service

  • Elisa
    August 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I have seen flybe appearing on some of my (international) flights research but I did not have any feedback about it until now. It looks great! A pity it does not connect Cardiff any more . . . 🙁

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 22, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Although they don’t fly to the US, you may have seen them as codeshares for some other airlines, they have some useful routes around Europe.

  • Elena
    August 22, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Interesting to see how ways of traveling between busy cities are changing over time. I remember back in the day, flying between NYC and Washington DC was the best choice. It was called Delta Shuttle, and I always thought about it as a bus with wings. You get to the airport right before departure, 1-hour flight – done. Then security “measures” kicked in. Flying became such a hassle that trains, buses or cars depending on your geographical location suddenly became much more attractive. Then traffic woes made latter two unbearable. At least in some parts of the world, it looks like flying is trying to make come back. Oops, sad that Flybe decided to discontinue this route.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      The good thing was that they gave all passengers on this route fast track security, so getting through the airport (Cardiff is relatively small) was really quick.

  • Alex McWhirter
    August 22, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Pity you didn’t mention the rail upgrades now in hand. Electrification and new Hitachi trainsets. As I said earlier these short routes to London are costly to operate with the handling charges at LCY and then the cost of APD for each flight. Fares would have to be much higher for BE to make a profit and, as you know, BE is under pressure to cut costs (to reduce its losses).

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 24, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Shame the electrification will only stretch as far as Cardiff and not further west. Just catching up with your Ten Top UK rail routes feature in the Business Traveller mag while waiting for our flight. Definitely, need to explore Scotland.

      • Alex McWhirter
        August 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        Yes it is a pity. But as you know in these cash-strapped times the government has cut back on rail investment. Also affected is the East Midlands as the electrification to Leicester/Nottingham/Derby/Sheffield is being “paused.” Yes it is true that the plan is for HS2 to serve Sheffield but who knows how long that will be … if ever.

  • Suruchi
    August 23, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Flybe was a great alternative to the train service. Your check-in was quite quick and within 10 minutes you were at the departure. It is really sad they are shutting it down. What was the cost for this route?

  • Megan Jerrard
    August 24, 2017 at 2:16 am

    It’s a shame to see that they’ve closed the route, as I could definitely see it being a popular one, but it seems like it pops up whenever there is the demand – what a great service they offered for those affected by the railway downtime. I’ve been on many a dash 8 that are very claustrophobic, so it was nice to read that there’s ample space.