Southampton to Aberdeen by Private Jet (Almost)

Eastern Airways“All passengers for the 08:20 to Leeds Bradford and Aberdeen, please proceed to Gate 3, your flight is now boarding.”

With check in allowed up to 30 minutes before departure, I was pleasantly surprised to find an actual human at the Eastern Airways desk. The young man advised me to proceed through fast track security which took about five minutes.

I looked around to check how the queue was developing. I don’t really see the point of queuing, especially when you have an allocated seat number  – mine was 6A. There was no queue. I jumped up and walked to the gate where a bus was waiting. I wasn’t sure if I’d stepped on the right bus. Was I on the bus for the flight to Aberdeen or Leeds?

When the bus pulled up at the plane, two ladies went into fits of laughter. I reckoned they were off for some girlie event and therefore joyful even at that hour of the morning. The plane was quite small compared to what I’d flown in previously ( A Jetstream 41). But I’ve flown many miles and I would not give the illusion of being apprehensive. Anything bigger than a handbag was placed in a metal trolley for stowage.

I had a single seat, by the window and the emergency exit. The happy ladies were up front. With no overhead lockers, my bag was placed in a locker behind the pilot.

There were twenty one passengers, and three crew members. Our flight attendant whizzed along offering a selection of boiled sweets for takeoff. I fancied the look of the sweets in the boxes, with the picture of a yellow cylinder on the front. I asked what flavour they were. She discretely told me they were earplugs. I could have crawled under the seat.

I overheard the flight attendant giving instructions on using the emergency exit before repeating the patter for my benefit.

“Your life is in my hands!” announced one of the chirpy ladies. The other passengers giggled.

Tea and snacks followed as soon as we were airborne, followed by hot towels and more boiled sweets for landing. I took a butterscotch flavoured drop and a sneaky mint humbug for later.

The Yorkshire Dales were bathed in sunshine but Leeds was swathed in gloomy grey clouds. The aircraft wobbled and moved like a paper plane as we raced towards the runway though the landing was safe and uneventful. Three passengers remained onboard for the onward leg to Aberdeen. Another bonus of travelling this way is that there is no waiting around for steps. Simply open the door and Voila!

I met the happy ladies in the powder room and asked them about their flight. Jo and Belinda were lecturing nurses, going to a conference, and the laughter was due to nervousness. I admitted I had feigned confidence and wished I’d had a companion for the journey.

We strolled towards the exit together. “I can’t believe we’ve got to go back on that,” said Belinda, “Thank goodness the weather was good. Now where can we get a Taxi?”

I had the swanky Yorkshire Premier Lounge to look forward later in the day.

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

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