Review: British Airways Economy Class E190 (LCY-FRA)

I recently took a trip to England to spend Christmas and New Year’s with my family. My flight back with British Airways was a surprisingly lovely end to a great trip.

How I booked my British Airways ticket

I booked my British Airways ticket with cash, for $147.68. My ticket details were as follows:

  • British Airways 8762
  • London City Airport (LCY) – Frankfurt (FRA)
  • January 2, 2023
  • Departure: 5:00 PM
  • Arrival: 7:30 PM
  • Flight Time: 1h 35m
  • Economy Class, Seat 9A

For an intra-Europe one-way, this seemed relatively expensive to me. Then again, I booked the flight about three weeks beforehand, which is somewhat last minute and the day after New Year’s day tends to be popular as people return home.

British Airways check-in

I checked in online the night before my flight and was assigned seat 9A. BA’s mobile app is one of the better airline apps out there, so check-in was easy. Getting to the airport, London City, was also easier than getting to Heathrow or Gatwick (and infinitely more accessible than London’s grotty budget airport, Stansted). Unless you’re staying in West London, LCY is a better option than London’s other, larger airports.

The godforsaken security at British airports

No matter how many times I fly through British Airports, I can’t get used to their security’s merciless and unyielding quest to find any unauthorized liquids or liquid-like materials in my bag. In the past, I’ve been stopped because I failed to take out my pens which, I was informed, contain ink which, I was again informed, is a liquid and thus meant my pens should have been placed in the single clear plastic bag provided by airport security. On another occasion, I was told that since the zipping mechanism on my one clear ziplock bag was shy of closing by half an inch, I had to throw away items so the bag could close fully. On both occasions, I had to wait more than 10 minutes as security personnel made their way leisurely through the bags of other passengers also caught off guard by the draconian and deeply hydrophobic measures. This time was no different: it turns out I had forgotten to remove a stick of chapstick from my bag and had to wait exactly 14 minutes to have my bag searched and rescanned. I thank god every day that these rules are being lifted by June 2024.

I am in absolutely no way faulting the personnel for enforcing these rules–that’s their job. But the folks who created these rules have cumulatively stolen countless hours from passengers and staff alike, not to mention the British taxpayers footing the bill.

British Airways boarding

British airports have the somewhat infuriating practice of announcing gates shortly before boarding begins. There are a few reasons they do this (which I discuss here) but the upshot is that I constantly feel rushed and as if I’m about to miss my flight.

I felt slightly less behind schedule on this flight than others departing the UK I’ve taken simply because London City Airport is so much smaller than Heathrow or Gatwick, which meant I knew that wherever the gate was, I wouldn’t have far to walk. Nevertheless, since the gate ended up being on the opposite side of the terminal from where I was sitting when I finally got to the gate, I was one of the last to board (despite having begun walking briskly to the gate within five minutes of the gate being announced!)

Beyond all that, boarding went smoothly and quickly. We boarded through gate 9, and after a quick walk down some stairs, I was crossing the apron and heading towards the plane, affording me some lovely tarmac views of our E190.

British Airways E190 cabin and seats

I’m a fan of the Embraer E190. For one, there are no middle seats, since the entire plane is laid out in a 2-2 formation. I also like that their seats tend to be slightly wider than those on the A220. British Airways E190’s seats are well-padded, more than comfortable enough for the 90-minute flight, and have 30″ of pitch–fairly average, but not as generous as JetBlue’s 32″ of pitch.

a group of people sitting in an airplane
The 2-2 configuration on the Embraer E190 means no middle seats. Hooray!
a seat in an airplane
Seats are well-padded and the rounded windows on this aircraft are gorgeous.

British Airways departure from London

We pushed back from the gate two minutes early at 4:58 PM and, thanks to the teeny tiny nature of London City Airport, were in the air about 5 minutes later.

British Airways Wi-Fi & IFE

Bring your own entertainment if you’re on one of BA’s E190; there are no IFE screens on this plane, which is fine, nor Wi-Fi, which is less fine in this day and age.

British Airways food & drink

Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants began the food and drink service, which comprised potato chips (from a brand called the British Crisp Co.) and a brownie (from a bakery called Sweet Things based in London). Previously, BA offered a more comprehensive light meal when flying out of London City, but it usually wasn’t very good, so I don’t mind the move to snacks. All the usual refreshments were offered: tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices, and water.

a bag of chips and a cup of coffee on a table
Snacks and drinks were offered. All pretty basic, but not bad.

British Airways E190 lavatories

There are two lavatories on board, one up front and one in the rear of the plane. The lavatories are small, though slightly larger than I’d expect on a plane this size, and clean.

a bathroom with a sink and toilet
Lavatories were clean and relatively spacious given the tiny plane.

British Airways arrival in Frankfurt

About an hour and 10 minutes after takeoff, we touched down in Frankfurt. We ended up spending a while taxiing because, the pilot pointed out over the PA, “there’s an Emirates A380 ahead of us that, for some reason, is moving very, very slowly.” As we turned a corner, it was pretty cool to get a view of the behemoth, which dwarfed our tiny Embraer–a single wing of the A380 was about the length of our entire plane!

British Airways inflight service

Service was fine. Beyond food and drink handoff, there was minimal interaction between flight attendants and passengers, so there was not much for me to go off. I did like how communicative the pilots were, giving us an overview of the flight path before the flight, an update during the flight, and landing information such as our arrival gate, local weather, and local time. I find this abundance of communication to generally be a strong suit of British and American airlines’ pilots.


All in all, this was a pleasantly uneventful flight. Flying out of London City is always a delight, and feels more like a small regional airport than one in a major global city. The plane was small but comfortable and service was efficient. Due to the supreme convenience of London City and the comfortable E190, I prefer this product to other flights between London and Frankfurt–namely, BA’s and Lufthansa’s flights from Heathrow on the A319 and A320neo, respectively–and would fly it again in the future.

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