Once there used to be a number of regional airlines flying low volume routes in ATR and Bombardier turboprop aircraft and I always liked flying them because their service usually was a lot better and more personal. Just to remember Air Dolomiti’s on board wine tastings, Tyrolian’s hearty smorgasbord dinners or Augsburg Airways‘ all business class service…
With the rise of regional jets, consolidation of the airline market and LCCs crisscrossing the country with their 737s, the regional airline has been pushed back to reservations in niche markets. One such niche are the Canarian islands, and when I visited some of them by „ferry cruise“, I made sure my trip included an island hop with Binter Canarias who have been serving the Canary Islands since 1989. Their destinations include all seven main islands of the archipelago as well as Madeira, Lisbon, Morocco and the Cape Verdian Islands.
Navigating the Binter website was not an easy task as even finding the english landing page is a little difficult. In the end I got a ticket for 55 Euros for their late evening flight from S. C. de la Palma to Las Palmas. Tickets include one checked bag (20 KG).
Check-in, Departure Airport
On my travel day I could not quite figure out, if online check-in was possible but did not persist either, as I had a bag to check anyway. In the end I ended up doing it the old-school way: showing up 90 minutes before departure, checking-in at a desk where an actual fellow human being gave me a boarding pass and took care of my luggage. Not so bad after all.
I was the only passenger both at check-in and security so everything went really quick and I had about an hour to enjoy the modern terminal of Santa Cruz’s airport sitting on a comfortable high chair at a floor to ceiling window watching the night crawling in over the bay. Again, not bad, not bad at all. Throw in a tasty salad an a cold beer obtainable at moderate prices this made for a very pleasant waiting lounge indeed.
Boarding is through an air bridge gate and stairs directly to the tarmac where the ATR 72 is already waiting. As our flight was the last one of the day the airfield was solemnly quiet with only the cicadas chirping.
Passengers were greeted by a bunch of friendly flight attendants who despite their long workday are still friendly and proactive.
The cabin is plastered with stickers and advert yet the seats are clean and comfortable. Overhead bin space is limited on this propeller aircraft, set pitch tight and the turboprop engines are LOUD.
Once airborne, FAs come through the cabin with water and chocolate bars and later moist towlettes and candy – all styled in Binter’s distinguished white and green branding.
Arrival, Onward Journey
A Cobus takes the group to the terminal in LPA. Bags arrive at the belt shortly after the passengers and from the baggage claim it is only a short walk to the taxi ranks.
This short hop was a lot of fun and a welcome difference from the LCC cattle drives.