Jet set review: Legacy 600 with London Executive Aviation
By Alex Andrews, Corporate Jet Investor.
London Executive Aviation has nine Embraer Legacy private jets in its fleet of aircraft, which it manages on behalf of wealthy owners and charters out to business people, touring rock bands and even members of the royal family.
Operator: London Executive Aviation (part of Luxaviation)
Aircraft: Embraer Legacy 600 (G-PEPI)
Departing: Belfast International Airport
Arriving: London Luton Airport
Time of departure: 15.30
Getting to the airport
The Universal Aviation FBO in Dublin is only a short walk from the commercial airport, but strangely, there is no sign of the runway – or any indication that you’re about to get on a flight – from inside the building.
The private terminal (known in the industry as an FBO) is unassuming, but comfortable. A dark wood table ties the room together and the white walls are mounted with a large television and a black Breitling clock that seems to be an obligatory feature in all FBOs.
Seven people can be seated without too much trouble on the black leather armchairs, and there is free Wi-Fi connectivity and an array of glossy lifestyle magazines to help pass the time. There is also a small refrigerator in the corner of the room lined with cans of beer and soft drinks, as well as tea and coffee-making facilities.
Before we have chance to be driven to the airside gate, we are informed by a member of Universal’s staff that the Embraer Legacy 600 – which took off from Iceland earlier this morning – has been unable to land at Dublin due to fog and has instead been diverted to Belfast.
Amid the momentary confusion, the operating team at London Executive Aviation work quickly behind the scenes to arrange a taxi from Dublin to Belfast for myself and the three other passengers, where the aircraft is instructed to wait for our arrival.
At soon as we exit our taxi outside Belfast International Airport – following a two-hour drive – we are hurried through the main terminal by a friendly member of staff at the Jet Assist FBO.
There are around 500 steps until we’re inside the FBO, where we are promptly greeted. There is no time to take in any of the surroundings; our bags are quickly passed through the scanners and we’re briskly walked across the tarmac – another 500 steps or so – where the engines of the Legacy 600 (registered as G-PEPI) are already running.
What is most striking about the Legacy is just how spacious it feels on board. The cabin is split into three zones; up front is the cockpit and galley, which can be sealed off from the passengers behind sliding doors, allowing the flight attendant to prepare hot food and drinks.
In the main section of cabin, there are four leather armchairs – which are able to recline and swivel – and another pair of armchairs positioned closer together, facing each other across a fold-out table. A low unit runs alongside the side of the cabin, which includes plenty of space both inside the slide-out draws and on top of the unit’s surface.
The furthest zone of the cabin (which can be sealed off with a curtain) contains a side-facing sofa that can sit three passengers; there is another pair of armchairs and a wooden door leading to the second lavatory, which again, is far more spacious than anything that commercial aviation is able to offer, including luxuries such as hand lotion, fluffy white towels and decorative orchids.
The shiny panelling throughout the cabin is made from a dark wood, while the furniture uses a softer cream colour. It’s certainly a scheme that could be described as neutral, but it is tastefully appointed, with flowers and fruit bowels providing the finishing touches.
In terms of inflight entertainment, there are two large screen televisions on board and two DVD players. There is also Wi-Fi connectivity (although it has not been switched on for our flight) and a satellite telephone system.
Although there are only four passengers on board our flight, the Legacy 600 can seat 13 passengers. However, you get the feeling that anything above 10 passengers will start to sacrifice some of the luxury that you expect from a private jet flight.
We are taken through a thorough but friendly safety talk by our flight attendant, Emma Dawson, who is knowledgeable about the aircraft we are flying on.
The captain on today’s flight is Nick Attah and the co-pilot is Brett Gibson. Both take the time to introduce themselves and welcome us on board the aircraft.
Attah is the longest-serving member of the cabin crew, having worked for London Executive Aviation since 2006. Gibson joined in 2012 and Dawson in 2014.
Food and drinks
The flight between Belfast and London Luton takes just under an hour, but I am offered a soft drink while on board, which is served in an attractive tumbler with crushed ice.
In the main section of the cabin you can help yourself to a bowl of Swiss chocolates in brightly coloured wrappers and there are baskets of snacks, including peanuts and crisps (potato chips), in the back.
For longer charter flights, passengers are given a set menu that is appropriate for the time and length of their flight.
From short-haul morning flights, passengers can choose between a variety of cold, continental breakfast options, while for longer morning flights, there is a number of hot breakfast options, including eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, beans and toast.
Lunch includes a selection of sandwiches, wraps and platters, which are all served with refreshments, tea and coffee.
The hot dinner menu consists of three courses, including soup or salad to start; a main course of chicken wrapped with bacon, chargrilled salmon or mushroom risotto; followed by a dessert which includes orange mousse, crème brûlée or cheeses.
Alcohol is available, but Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, LEA’s chief executive, tells me later that the most commonly ordered drink is actually a Virgin Bloody Mary.
We descend into darkness at Luton and the time between landing and disembark is remarkably quick. A member of staff from the Signature Flight Support FBO boards the aircraft and collects the passports of everybody on board. She leaves and returns a few minutes later to hand back our passports and asks if we need assistance with making travel arrangements from the airport.
Any luggage that has been stored in the hold of the aircraft is then lifted into a nearby car that is already waiting to take myself and the other passengers on to our next destination.
My flight is an excellent example of private aviation’s flexibility. After hearing that the flight had been diverted, I had resigned myself to the grim prospect of heading back to the busy terminal at Dublin and attempting to board the next commercial flight back to London.
But London Executive Aviation went beyond the call of duty to make sure they were able to fly us home – even if it meant taking a taxi from one country to another.
The friendly and attentive service on board the flight was flawless, but as with any good private jet flight, the real benefits were in the speed of service at either end of the flight, with the operator and FBO working seamlessly to ensure you experience as little hassle as possible.
Published in Corporate Jet Investor, 18 February 2015.
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