Air travel to many is a luxury; something to be enjoyed, savoured, and appreciated. I spend a lot of time flying for fun, and making content for my YouTube channel. So, every so often, it’s good to be reminded of how fundamentally important air travel can be as a tool in driving economic development or linking remote communities. My video on my experience flying a Passenger Service Obligation (PSO) route is below:
Anglesey is at the northwest tip of Wales. Flat and barren, it’s home to about 70,000 people. Wales’ capital is just 134 miles away, but road and rail connections are indirect. This is thanks to the sparse population in central Wales, and the challenge of driving infrastructure through mountainous terrain. It’s therefore quite a hassle to get to Cardiff, some 4-5 hours travel time by either road or rail.
Enter the Welsh Assembly, who subsidise Eastern Airways (who operate the flight on behalf of Flybe) to fly 40-minute flights twice daily between Anglesey and Cardiff in both directions. Anglesey Airport is actually a wired-off civilian enclave inside RAF Valley, and consists of a single small terminal built especially to handle these flights. Get lucky with the timing, and you’ll be able to see RAF Hawks training new fast jet pilots using the airfield.
Taking the flight
Departures consists of a single room, with one check in desk. The door to the right leads to security, which is a single checkpoint with scanner and metal detector equipment.
Eastern Airways supply free tea and coffee in the gate area, which is very welcome.
Boarding is done by walking across the apron. Even small bags need to go into the valet check cart, as there are no overhead racks on the Jetstream 41s that operate this route and the under-seat space is quite small. Any essentials can be put into a carrier bag which will fit under the seat without a problem.
Fans of extreme legroom could select seats 2 B and C. These benefit from an absence of a row in front, as it’s been removed to make space for the crew jump seat.
Takeoff was spectacular – this part of Wales is stunning in midsummer sunlight. However, be warned that Wales has a reputation for some rather disappointing aviation weather, so you may well be looking at slate clouds for the entire trip.
On board experience
Eastern Airways cater all of their flights and sweets, snacks and soft drinks were available. Despite the very short flight time of around 40 minutes, there was even time for a second drinks run. This was a credit to our lone cabin crew on the day, who worked conspicuously hard.
After a smooth cruise, we descended and landed in a gusting headwind in Cardiff.
Overall, a pleasant and interesting flight. I’d done this once before with Links Air, several years ago, who used J31s on this route before losing their operating licence (!). Eastern Airways provide an efficient service and it’s easy to see why the route is attracting increasing custom. For locals from North Wales, this is by far the most convenient method of getting to Cardiff.
You can book this flight for as low as £19.99 one way with Flybe.
Make sure you check “Get More” to avail of free seating and a hold bag at no additional cost!