Airline Review: Air Baltic (regional Economy)
Air Baltic is officially known as low-cost carrier. However, the airline is neither really cheap nor bad. We had the pleasure to try Air Baltic on four flights in the Bombardier Dash Q-400 and were quite impressed on some flights, while others were less pleasant. A great feature is the possibility to pre-order large meals for a fee. Flying low-cost with a Business Class feeling!
Air Baltic was our choice for our flights to Vilnius and Riga, the hub of Air Baltic. While three out of four flights were almost fully booked, we were surprised by sharing the whole Bombardier Dash Q-400 with just a single other passenger on our flight from Riga to Vilnius.
- Airplane: Bombardier Dash Q-400
- Cabin Class: Economy
- Daytime: Morning / Evening
- Food: Pre-ordered meal (Breakfast & Dinner)
- Seat Pitch: 29 Inch (74 Centimeter)
- Seat Width: 17 Inch (43 Centimeter)
Something very rare, especially when considering that the Air Baltic Dash Q-400 got 76 seats in total. However, our comfort on board did rarely change due to the low occupancy, making all our flights comparable.
Solid seating with some noise
Something that’s really low-cost is the process of seat selection when flying Air Baltic. You may choose to pay for a seat assignment while booking or any time per-flight.
However, if you don’t, you are not even able to choose a seat when checking in. Instead, you are assigned one at some place in the airplane.
At least, people flying together are seated next to each other which meant that we were not bothered by that process of seat selection.
Seating itself is nothing special. We did neither feel very uncomfortable with the quite small seat pitch nor with the small seats.
The leather seats are clean and in a good shape while being comfortable enough for the short flights Air Baltic operates with the Bombardier Dash Q-400 planes.
The only thing you should be aware of is the fact that the airplane is quite noisy, especially when sitting in the front.
Special dining when flying Air Baltic
On two of our four flights, we decided to pre-order from the extensive menu Air Baltic offers on all regional flights. My choices out of more than 100 dishes offered were the “Sunny Morning Breakfast” and the “Chicken Schnitzel”.
You should be aware that Air Baltic offers no food and no drinks for free, so if you don’t pre-order, you have to deal with the limited menu offered on board. The prices for pre-ordered meals as well as the food purchasable on board are quite fair though.
Talking of the quality, I have to admit that the Sunny Morning Breakfast was a very positive surprise.
I’m not really a breakfast person, but this meal really made me smile on this Saturday morning. Hot bananas and granola served with the porridge style main dish made this meal a real joy.
The Chicken Schnitzel which was served with a salad without any dressing in contrast was boring and tasteless. Only the little chocolate cake was delicious.
No entertainment on board
Even though the prices, especially when departing from Germany, are not really low-cost, this motto can be seen when talking of entertainment.
While most airlines at least offer an onboard magazine, Air Baltic just had the price lists for inflight shopping and dining available. Neither newspapers nor magazines were offered when boarding. In the Dash Q-400 airplanes there is also no television.
Average experience flying Air Baltic
Before we were boarding our four flights, we expected the worst as we were told horror stories of Air Baltic over and over again. I have to admit that flying Air Baltic was a positive surprise.
The service was not very warmly, but quite efficient. The pre-ordered breakfast was an absolutely positive surprise, while the dinner on the other hand was totally disappointing. The comfort aboard is comparable to what other European airlines offer on regional flights, while the entertainment is not existing.
Something strange for us was not having the possibility to choose a seat on our own. If you can deal with these aspects of flying low-cost, Air Baltic definitely isn’t a bad choice!
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