Review: A day in the big smoke via new Derry to Stansted service

Ornate fountain outside Buckingham Palace.
Ornate fountain outside Buckingham Palace.

I have to admit I am one of those who have rarely used City of Derry Airport, but after sampling the new London to Stansted service, I’ll definitely be back.

The worst thing about holidaying, or travelling in general, is the hassle getting there and back. Having an airport minutes away takes care of much of that stress, and its compact size means there’s no nightmare security queues.

Big Ben.

Big Ben.

The 49-seater planes on the new bmi regional service are just three seats to a row so most passengers will get a window seat. The interior is also a cut above, with plenty of leg room, and the staff were friendly and efficient.

While the ticket prices might be marginally more than those of budget airlines, its worth bearing in mind you get a 23 kilo hold luggage allowance included, compared to some airlines which charge up to £50 for a suitcase with less capacity. There are also complimentary drinks and snacks.

The Stansted Express train station is actually beneath the airport so it couldn’t be handier and took just 45 minutes to get to Liverpool Street.

From there you can walk or take the Underground (£12.50 for a day pass) to much of London city centre, and the times of the new flights mean you can have a full day of sight-seeing or shopping and be back in your own bed the same night.

Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace.

The great thing about London is that the iconic sites are very often located close together. I headed for Parliament and came across Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral close by, before jumping on the underground bound for the shopper’s paradise of Oxford Street and the buzzing Soho and Carnaby Street areas.

There were a few minor issues on day one of the service to do with departure timings and a glitch with the check-in desk notifications at Stansted but such teething issues will likely remedy themselves.

The return flight route offers a chance to get a bird’s eye view of the scenery across the north west, creating a great first impression for the (hopefully) many visitors the new service will bring to the area.

Some of the landmark buildings close to Liverpool Street station.

Some of the landmark buildings close to Liverpool Street station.