Seems this year is a series of firsts when it comes to flying. I’ve extended my knowledge of different airlines quite a bit. Flying LOT Polish Airlines for the first time at the start of the year. Followed by my first ever Lauda Flight back from Vienna. More recently my first two flights with Vueling. And today I’d like to share with you my experience of flying Hop for the first time.
Hop is one of those airlines that I vaguely heard about before, but I never really used them before. Probably because they mainly do inland flights within France. And I don’t travel to France that often (yes, I know this does sound a bit weird, given that I just returned from a holiday in France a couple of days before the trip). However, I did have a business trip to Marseille and Toulouse. And whilst the flights to Marseille and back from Toulouse were both British Airways, the inland flight between Marseille and Toulouse was operated by Hop (although it was actually booked on Air France and we only realised afterwards that it would be operated by Hop).
So, what can you expect, when flying Hop for the first time?
How about, I just tell you about my first flight on Hop?
Flying Hop for the first time: Check in
30 hours before the flight, online check in opened. Fairly straight forward check in process, no passport details required (which baffled me at first, but makes sense, since it was an inland flight). Unfortunately, the website didn’t offer a mobile pass, instead I had to download my boarding pass as pdf and print it. However, Air France does have a mobile app. So, chances are, you might be able to get a mobile pass when using the app. I didn’t try, so I can’t really tell you.
In case you didn’t check in and print your boarding pass before heading to the airport, you can just use the check in machines at the airport or head to one of the check-in desks. Free of charge (worth pointing out, as this isn’t always the case with budget airlines).
Flying Hop for the first time: Hand luggage allowance
Here we go again, my most important question, whenever I fly an airline for the first time. How much hand luggage do I get with Hop? And how strict is Hop with hand luggage allowance?
OK, so first things first. Hop allows twelve kilos as hand luggage. Which is a little better than Lufthansa or Eurowings for example. But not really a lot. And this does not mean you can have your carry-on luggage weighing 12 kilos plus your handbag / laptop bag with a couple more kilos. No. 12kg is the grand total of both those items. But that’s not all. Turn out, that the allowed size for your carry-on luggage is only 55 x 35 x 25cm. Instead of the 55 x 40 x 25cm that is commonly used by most other airlines. Perfect. I was going to board a flight with a carry-on suitcase that was too big and the overall weight higher than 12kg. Let’s keep fingers and toes crossed.
Which brings us neatly to the next question. Is Hop strict on hand luggage allowance?
Luckily for me, they weren’t on the day. Not sure if they never ever check. But for sure they didn’t check me on the flight. Neither weight nor size were a problem. And since the suitcase still fitted into the overhead compartment, it wasn’t an issue anyway (on smaller aircrafts, the larger carry-on suitcases occasionally don’t fit into the overhead locker, so this had me worried for a brief second, as we boarded a rather tiny propeller aircraft).
Flying Hop for first time: On-board service
As mentioned above, the aircraft used for our flight from Marseille to Toulouse was a rather tiny propeller aircraft (an ATR 42/72 to be precise. Not sure I’ve ever flown this one before) with only four seats across and a central corridor.
The cabin interior was a little dated with thick seats (rather than the modern thin ones you get in most refurbished cabins nowadays). No adjustable headrest or backrest. Also, no separate coat hanger (other than the table lock in the middle of the seat, which I always find terribly uncomfortable for actually hanging your coat). Given my rather short legs, I have to say that leg room was rather restricted. It was just about fine for me, but no idea what it was like for my much taller colleagues.
Whilst this might not sound terribly great, I have to admit that this was only one single flight on Hop. They do have other aircraft types in their fleet, so chances are these might be different. Should I fly Hop again, I’ll let you know.
On the plus side, Hop does actually cater on the flights. We were offered drinks (hot and cold drinks as well as some alcohol) and given a little snack (either biscuits or pretzel sticks). But since it was a rather short inland flight, we could have probably coped without catering if I am honest.
For the very first time during my many many flights, my seat neighbour was a little dog. Well not the actual seat neighbour obviously, that was a sweet elderly lady. But in the handbag on her lap was a little dog. That kept trying to escape the handbag. If travelling to and from the UK, taking a dog in an aircraft (or any pet really) isn’t an option. But since this was an inland flight within France, it clearly wasn’t a problem. Although the flight attendant kept reminding my seat neighbour that the handbag was meant to go underneath the seat in front of her for take-off and landing. Needless to say, it didn’t make it down to the floor.
So now that I’ve flown Hop for the first time, would I do it again? And would I recommend flying Hop? Yes, why not. There wasn’t anything major wrong with the airline. As I mentioned before, I’ve only flown with Hop once and only on a short flight. So, I can only share my first impression of Hop here, rather than draw from vast experience. But as a frequent flyer in general, I have had much worse.
Tell me. Have you flown Hop before? What was your experience?