We popped down to Southampton for halloween to visit a friend who had just given birth to a little girl.
I’d been planning to drive down to see her, but J wanted to get up in the air and with the M25 clogging up, we decided to give ‘YC a run. Please believe me when I say I know how lucky we are to even have this as an option – it’s absolutely incredible (and sometimes we feel a bit guilty flying over the queues of traffic – sometimes also a bit smug)!
We’ve transited through Southampton controlled airspace a number of times and I’ve even done the radio work before now, but I haven’t landed there. J has been down once for an open day but not during normal traffic. There is a lot of info online about how difficult it is to go into Southampton as a private GA flight – refusal of permission, high landing fees, difficult security and lots of waiting about – but I have to say our experience was excellent.
We called PPR and they were happy to have us in arriving at 1:30, which worked out perfectly. Time enroute from Biggin was 40mins including an ILS – the incredibly strong inversion layer meant the air was fabulously clear on top, but visibility downwards wasn’t great. We could just about have done it visually but it was definitely better on the ILS.
On arrival, we were marshalled into a stand right at the end and parked up. The marshaller kindly drove us out to the front of the main terminal and dropped us off, explaining the procedure for getting back in. Time from landing to being land-side was about 5 minutes, and most of that was probably us faffing about trying to get our coats and hi-vis on and remember the flowers!
By excellent planning/happy coincidence, our friends actually live about 10mins’ drive from the airport in Southampton, so they kindly picked us up from the station car park just opposite the terminal building.
We met the gorgeous little one and had a great catch-up for a few hours before heading back to the airport. The ground crew arrived to pick us up within about 5 minutes – very efficient once again and really quick as the guy had a card machine with him so we could pay our landing fees there and then before going straight out to the plane. No need for fuel as it’s such a short hop.
We got in and briefed for the flight back. Southampton had a few commercial flights to get away ahead of us and a change of runway direction, but we were in the air reasonably quickly and had a stunning sunset behind us. Landing fee is not cheap at £32.50 excluding parking, but we certainly have no complaints about the speed and efficiency of the service.
It was a beautiful flight back and absolutely worth it to be able to get down to see our friends at short notice and meet the lovely new arrival!
- ICAO code: EGHI
- Elevation AMSL: 44ft
- Runway direction & length: 02/20 (1,723m)
- Runway surface: Tarmac
- Landing fee (at time of visiting): £32.50
- Facilities: Marshalling service to park on the stands. Transport to and from airfield perimeter by Operations. Toilets, shops and restaurants available in main terminal building.
- Transport links: Southampton Airport Parkway train station is just across the road from the terminal building.