What is it like to fly HOP!?
Headquartered in Paris, HOP! (yes, the logo has an explanation point at the end) is the brand name for regional flights operated by Air France (and its partners). The carrier was created in 2013 to compete with budget airlines flying the same short hauls. With a fleet of 76 planes, HOP! currently operates 600 daily flights in France, Italy and Germany.
We flew two different HOP! aircraft: a Bombardier CRJ700 from Amsterdam to Strasbourg and an Embraer ERJ145 from Strasbourg to Amsterdam. In both cases, we had to take a transport bus between the plane and the terminal at the airport in Amsterdam.
Living room (as it’s called in the trade)
The first HOP! plane had a seating capacity of 70, configured with two seats on each side of the aisle. The seats were narrow but comfortably padded and attractively covered in gray leather. We were not able to make seat reservations in advance from home. The plane was clean but looked like it had seen its better days.
The second flight had a capacity of 50 passengers with two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on another, and looked of a somewhat similar vintage.
Before boarding a long, dicey set of metal stairs up to the aircraft, passengers are told that they have to check all carry-on bags because the plane doesn’t have sufficient space in overhead bins. Indeed, both aircrafts had a long, skinny feel. (On our return flight, we were glad to see that there were only 5 or 6 metals steps up to the plane.)
On both flights, legroom was adequate for a short flight. When the seatbelt sign was turned off, the Captain announced, “Feel free to walk around the cabin.” Of course, no one left their seats because there was no place to go.
Hopefully, the cockpit operation was more technologically advanced than that found in the cabin. There was no TV screen behind the seatbacks and the audio system (with announcements in both English and French) was barely audible—although we did manage to hear our first Bonjour of the day.
Even on very short flights—the one between Amsterdam and Strasbourg is only about an hour and twenty minutes long—HOP! provides beverage and snack service. On the way to Strasbourg, we were offered a muesli apricot breakfast cake along with a choice of juice, coffee or tea. On the return flight, which was later in the day, we were offered a choice of a salty, sesame chip-like snack or a sweet French galette butter cookie and a beverage.
Although the flight on Hop! was a bit noisy, it got us from here to there on time, safely and in relative comfort. We did remark that it felt like a miracle that our baggage checked in New York through Amsterdam found its way to the HOP! Baggage carousel in Strasbourg, and on our return flight to New York, too.
Read more about Hop! on the official website.
All photo credits: Jerome Levine
This is one of a series of posts about my experiences on new-to-me airlines. Surely, each flight is different but it’s always helpful to get general impressions of what to expect before you fly. If you fly Hop! and have a very different experience, please feel free to comment below.
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