The capital of the Czech Republic is just a couple of hours flight away from the UK but stroll through its fairytale streets in the snow, and you will feel a million miles away from home. Given the opportunity to take in the architecture of Prague, sip on a few cups of gluhwein and experience a new airline and I was there with bells on!
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, welcome to Jet2”.
(Yes their announcements said that, and yes, it made me happy).
Mixing things up a little, I flew out of Manchester airport for this trip. Jet2 operate out of two terminals at Manchester airport. The majority of their flights depart from T1 but a few destinations are from T2. These were well signposted from the train station. I then got myself in a small tizz. Half of the airline’s check-in from another floor, and it was here that I got confused. I followed people into a lift, without paying any attention and had to find my way back down to the ground floor for the Jet2 desks.
The gentleman who checked us in was incredibly cheery and made the experience very enjoyable. It was nice to have a chatty check-in agent, rather than the minimal interactions we are often greeted with. Was it because we were “up North” or is it just the normal way Jet2’s agents are?
I had originally packed into hand luggage, partly out of habit and partly because I was thinking of Jet2 as a budget airline. Happily, we were given a 22kg checked bag along with a 10kg hand luggage, and a personal item. I could have packed my whole wardrobe…almost. This was my first pleasant surprise and my first indication that Jet2 is a value airline, not a budget one.
I checked my hand luggage bag in, and went handsfree for the journey, just carrying my little rucksack and my coat in a carrier bag. So far, so easy.
Again, I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the plane. There wasn’t any mood lighting or anything, but they had Christmas pop songs playing, and the crew gave us a wonderfully warm welcome. I didn’t know it was possible to feel festive on a flight, but this felt jolly.
The 757-200 is a very long, thin plane. There are over 40 rows and only one aisle. Luckily, there were two boarding doors so it didn’t take too long to board or disembark. We flew on a Delta 757 just a few days prior to this, and it took almost 20 minutes to clear the plane.
The seats are leatherette, with an alternating pattern of grey and red. I quite liked the effect.
There was a pretty standard amount of leg room for a short-haul flight. The exit seats had quite a bit, so if you need it, I would advise you to book one of those. There is no recline, and that is also worth bearking in mind if you need a lot of room.
Looking at the seat back, it took me a second to realise that it was without a back panel. Instead, you just see the shape of the seat bucket in front of you. I’ve seen a few seats like this and I suppose they save weight? Looking at the picture, I can see that they have done the same with the armrests. I noticed that they were a little thin at the time, but I hadn’t realised that they were hollow.
There is a magazine rack but don’t store anything in it, as it will fall out again. It is just the kind that is designed to house A4 papers but has no bottom.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a seat back pocket lower down so you will need to keep your bag under the seat in front of you for your bits and bobs.
The cup holder is a metal hoop that hangs from the chair back. I have mixed feelings about it. I like that it doesn’t wobble, or tip your drink forward like some plastic models, but it feels a bit like an afterthought.
The tray table itself was simple to use and very sturdy with the standard locking arm.
There is always a struggle for overhead locker space on a flight to a cold destination. People tend to have large coats and stuff the lockers full. Thank goodness I could check my bag in. The locker themselves were standard size but our fellow passengers just didn’t use them properly.
Despite the free luggage allowance, lots of people still had full size carry on bags and towards the end of boarding, there were some reshuffles to do so everyone could fit their things in the overhead bins. I did like that they had elastic stretched across the front of each locker, preventing things from falling out when the lockers were opened.
OK, there isn’t loads to say about these, they are standard windows but I thought this would be worth mentioning.
On our outbound flight, we were in row 19, and this was the window view:
That’s fine if you are in the window seat itself, but I was in the middle seat and couldn’t see out at all. When the person next to me leaned against it for a nap, it was totally blocked.
On the way back, I was in the middle seat again, but this time in row 21, and the view was considerably better. Something to consider if a view is important to you.
Beyond the in-flight magazine and duty-free shopping, there was no entertainment available. Bring your phone/book/iPad to keep yourself entertained.
Food and Drinks
Jet2 sell a variety of snacks on board. You can also preorder hot meals but as it was an afternoon flight, I’d already eaten lunch.
I just stuck to what I know best, the bar.
They serve a range of drinks, and happily, among them is my favourite brand of prosecco! I was very overexcited when I clocked it in the menu. It tasted different at altitude, but was still rather tasty and very appreciated!
I believe that it is worth mentioning; Jet2 should be immensely proud of its staff who were kind, friendly and unfailingly enthusiastic. It was a very refreshing change and they got us all the way to Prague with a smile.
If you are thinking of travelling with Jet2, here is some information that you might like to know.
- You will find the best deals on flights to Prague (and their other destinations) directly on the Jet2.com website.
- Jet2 flies from 9 airports in the UK to 50 destinations in 19 countries. The Jet2 flights hub is in Manchester, (check out their routes here) but they are expanding their network from London Stansted.
- Jet2 tries to operate flights at reasonable hours. That means no half nights of sleep or running to catch the last train!
- Jet2 have been receiving awards right, left and centre. Which awarded them Best Travel Brand of the Year, and Tripadvisor gave them Best Airline – UK. Looks like we will be hearing a lot more about them.
- Jet2 are about to take delivery of a new fleet of 787s. In fact, it is listed from January 2019, so maybe they already have!
- They don’t just do flights, but package holidays, city breaks and villas as well.
When I consider it against the UK’s biggest airline, and their short haul offering, I would pick Jet2 every…single..time. (You can read all about our most recent flight with British Airways here).
Jet2 definitely exceeded my expectations. The plane was bigger than I thought, the luggage allowance was bigger than I thought, and the choices for food and beverages were bigger than I thought as well!
We were guests of Jet2 on this flight but all opinions are entirely my own.