London City Airport (LCY) is my absolute favourite of all the airports serving London. It’s small (getting through it is a breeze) and well-connected to the City (via the efficient Docklands Light Rail). One of the highlights (for me, at least) of flying to LCY is the approach. All flights from the European continent approach the airport via the Thames estuary, then loosely follow the Thames river to the London Docklands, where the airport is located. Strict noise restrictions mean that planes have to maintain a certain altitude before descending to land. At a certain point, the plane more or less ‘brakes’ in mid-air, sending the plane into a steep descent – it really feels like a nose-dive! It’s always cool to have a look around the cabin when the plane enters its final approach. There are always people clutching their arm-rests tightly, a nervous look on their faces.
An alternative approach to LCY takes the plane over central London – the views over London are stupendous. You’ll be able to see Heathrow airport, Wembley stadium, and over central London, you’ll be treated to views of Hyde Park, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and the skyscrapers of the City and Canary Wharf.
On my recent trip to London for the World Travel Market, I got to experience the thrilling ‘nose-dive’ yet again. The views over the Thames estuary as the sun set were simply enchanting.
Three days later, I was on my way back to Amsterdam. I love the take-offs from LCY too. As the runway is short, the pilots always put the brakes on at the start of the runway while they rev-up the engines. When they release the brakes, the ‘catapult’ action is sensational! The views of the curly Thames river and the Docklands were gorgeous. The plane also flew over the site of the 2012 London Olympics, currently a huge construction site.
See other ‘Plane Views’ articles: