Flight: London Stansted – Cologne/Bonn
Germanwings is classed as a budget airline and is owned by Lufthansa. Cologne is one of its hubs and from there the airline flies twice daily not only to London Stansted but also to Manchester and Edinburgh. The majority of passengers flying from the UK on this route are business travellers.
The website is easy to navigate and is in English and a choice of other languages. The e-mail containing the ticket confirmation was unfortunately in German which for the first time flier on a budget airline can be a little daunting as you have no idea what the terms and conditions are. I had to return to the website to check luggage allowances and policy on hand baggage.
Check-in can be done online. At the same time you can also choose your seat. Online check-in opens 72 hours before departure and closes. It was an easy enough process though part way through the site reverted, for some reason to the German language version. Clicking the Union Jack in the top right hand corner resolved the problem. After selecting your seat two copies of your boarding pass are printed out. These you need at the boarding gate.
At the airport
If you have checked in online you only need to drop any hold luggage off, answer the security questions and proceed through all the standard airport procedures.
On the plane
I received a very warm welcome from the Germanwings cabin staff. I had taken an aisle seat in row five and was surprised by the amount of legroom. At 1.81m I am not tall but I do appreciate some space between my knees and the seat in front. There was easily 15cm. The seats themselves were very comfortable. The grey leather with maroon trim gives a very classy feel to the interior. The table was large enough to take a laptop without the lid being forced to an angle where the screen is impossible to see; important when many of your customers are business passengers.
During the flight paid for snacks and drinks were served. We were not constantly bombarded with sales pitch for duty free or scratch cards which made for a very relaxed flight. The flight time was 55 minutes and we arrived at Cologne/Bonn 10 minutes early.
Apart from a couple of glitches on the website there was an overall sense of a well run and efficient airline without the aloofness often associated with Germanic efficiency. Throughout the whole process I felt as if they cared about me as an individual rather than part of a herd who had to be got onto the plane and delivered to the destination in the shortest time possible while making as much money as possible. I hope they will soon serve more destinations in the UK and have more destinations to offer in Germany. It would be my budget airline of choice.