TIPS

What is it like to fly HOP!?

August 26, 2018

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.

Nose of the Bombardier CRJ700

Nose of the Bombardier CRJ700

Interior of the Bombardier CRJ700

Interior of the Bombardier CRJ700

Inside an Embraer ERJ145

Inside an Embraer ERJ145

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.

Technology

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.

Grub

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.

A galette from Brittany

A galette from Brittany

Bottom line

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.

Steps up to the ERJ145

Steps up to the ERJ145


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.

Also see:


  • Reply
    Lauren M
    August 28, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Very interesting information. Bombardier is a very highly regarded corporation.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      August 28, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Glad it was helpful. It’s common for many flyers to have some trepidation about flying new-to-them airlines.

  • Reply
    Carol
    September 3, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Will be in Europe this October. Might find good use for Hop!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      It’s funny but winding up with these unknown-to-us carriers is a little like entering a hospital and having to use an anesthesiologist you’ve never heard of. If you book Air France to Strasbourg, you don’t really have a choice.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    September 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Thx for the post, Irene. I’d never heard of Hop! Airlines. It’s amazing how many budget carriers are popping up around the world. I’m going to check out more of your posts in this series.

  • Reply
    Lois Alter Mark
    September 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    So funny because when I discovered I was flying HOP on a trip, I had to look it up to make sure it was a real airline! My review would be similar to yours – it got us there safe and sound so there’s nothing to really complain (or rave!) about.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 4, 2018 at 7:45 am

      I think branding the airline with a crooked explanation point after HOP! adds to the mystery:-)

  • Reply
    Charles McCool
    September 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I have seen Hop! planes but have not flown them. Perhaps I will fly on them soon.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      When it comes to travel (and airlines, these days), there is always something new!

  • Reply
    Kristin Henning
    September 7, 2018 at 12:29 am

    We’ve flown HOP! (Paris to Rome? I can’t remember.) We liked the crew’s casual attire. They looked like they’d just come from the gym and were readily able to lift large luggage:)

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Funny, I don’t remember the attire or the physique but I guess your crew was memorable!

  • Reply
    Cathy Sweeney
    September 7, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Some of the budget airlines can really be pleasantly surprising — as in getting a nice snack on a short jaunt and having your luggage actually turh up where it’s supposed to be! I haven’t tried HOP!, but wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try sometime.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 7, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      I always hold my breath until I see my bag on the carousel!

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    September 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I appreciate your honest assessment of HOP!. Airlines vary so much. It seems they are doing a good job… plus your luggage arrived!!! 🙂

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 7, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Guess it’s mostly about safety and reliability; hospitality is a close second!

  • Reply
    Rachel Heller
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I live in Europe and am a member of KLM’s frequent flyer deal. KLM has merged more or less with AirFrance, and I’ve still never heard of Hop! It sounds pretty comparable to the other budget competitors like Ryanair and Easyjet, but with the advantage, as you point out, of organizing transfers, which these others don’t. It sounds fine for a short flight.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      I’m quite certain you will find yourself on HOP soon, Rachel!

  • Reply
    Judy Freedman
    September 7, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve never heard of that airline. I’ll have to check it out. I’ve used Ryanair before and it isn’t my favorite.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Amazing how all the old airline names we knew are gone or going with new ones popping up all the time.

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