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After the varying reviews seen here on Ciao about Excel airways I was very interested to see what my flight would be like. If you read my last op you will already know that our destination was the sunny Island of Corfu, and that our flight was at the ungodly time of about 6am.
We flew from Manchester Airport, and we got there in plenty of time to check in. This was the first thing that was good about Excel, they had opined the check in desks early and we were first to be there, so we managed to acquire the extra legroom seats on the plane. The attendant was very helpful and made light work of all the usual checks, and we were checked in in no time.
Once we had waited for a boarding call, we boarded the plane and settled into our very spacious seats. Whilst there was no more room either side than usual planes, the legroom, even in non-extra legroom seats, was plentiful and it was a pretty comfortable start.
As we taxied out to the runway we watched the well presented safety video backed up by the usual flight attendants signals for exits. However I was amazed at the speed of the whole thing, we were on the plane, taxied and ready to go within 15 minutes. Very efficient, take off was nice and smooth and complimented by the obligatory hard sweet for the ears.
The safety instructions were given via a video (good idea, more people seemed to pay attention) and they were as pleasant as can be, considering they tell you what to do if your large plane should crash. The video screens were plentiful as well, with one over every other row of seats on both sides of the plane. This virtually guaranteed you a good view.
Soon after take off we were shown the in-flight movie “The Emperors New Groove,” however I was asleep about half an hour later. Other entertainment shown on their flights (according to the magazine) included Father Ted, Vicar of Dibley and The Simpsons. Not bad. I was woken to find breakfast in front of me.
Now meals on a plane are something I normally fear, and approach only if very hungry indeed. With the range of snacks offered by the bar I usually leave the meal and just have some Pringles or the like.
However the meal we were served on the outward journey was pretty damned good. Full English breakfast in a tray, but it really was good. Add to that decent coffee and good service and my views of Excel were rising all the time. The service was good and it was all far faster than the usual. I also saw some people asking the stewardess about the possibility of a different meal as they forgot to order vegetarian, and they were told that it was no problem and 2 minutes later they had their meal. The organisation and preparation seemed very good on the flight. The stewards and stewardesses were extremely polite and helpful.
The flight itself was pretty smooth, take off was good and there was little delay on the runway, the landing in Corfu was well done by the pilot, although a tad scary due to the short and water surrounded nature of the runway. However we landed safely and were soon off the plane.
The return flight was similar, good check in (although a bit slower due to the unorganised airport) and we again took off well and had a smooth flight, however the landing was to be the bad point. The pilot came in rather too fast and we nearly left the runway at the end and swerved rather hard. It was a minor worry but a worry none the less.
Our return meal was a chicken one that I didn’t eat due to a dodgy stomach (yes, drink induced) but I’m told it was a nice meal. The in flight movie was the soon to be released Heartbreakers, which was quite good.
The plane used on both flights was a 737, which has 2 rows of 3 seats, but I missed the overall capacity. The flight was a tad bumpy due to the small nature of the plane, but the Pilot kept us informed of any impending turbulence, rather than letting us hit it and then saying “by the way that was turbulence.” The plane also banks very sharply, more so than larger planes and it can be a weird feeling if you’re used to bigger planes, but overall it was a good flight.
All in all I’d certainly fly with Excel again, their staff were courteous and well organised and the in flight meals and entertainment were good. They were also very prompt and on the spot with any questions. They are pretty cheap for things on board apart from the headsets that you need to see the films, they sell at £3 each and you have to buy them as standard ones don’t work properly.
I’d recommend Excel, not the best I’ve flown but far from the worst.