Wednesday 19 September 2007

British Airways, Economy, London Gatwick to Bologna, Italy

This flight takes less than two hours, but tends to be preceded by a lot of faffing about. Even though it is quick to check-in online or at one of the BA self-service kiosks at Gatwick, there are still lengthy queues to drop-off baggage and get through security. And afternoon flights seem to be prone to delays of about an hour or so. If the flight is full and you aren't in any great hurry, British Airways may offer you 170 pounds to wait for the next one. When it is finally time to board, you cross a futuristic new skywalk with fine views across Sussex countryside to some smart new outlying gates in Gatwick's North terminal.

On board, economy passengers are given a comfortable dark-blue leather seat, a glossy BA magazine, featuring well-known journalists and plenty of arresting photos, a sandwich and a drink, while kids also get a colouring book, a pack of cards or some other toy. But all these diversions shouldn't stop you admiring the birds' eye view of the momentous snow-topped Alps. The flight crew are friendly, but uncompromising on safety, even threatening to ask the captain to delay landing until a two-year-old boy sits down in his seat. And you might have a lengthy wait for your bags, particularly at Gatwick. 6/10