London is an ever expanding city, and as such; it requires more transport options for its residents and visitors.
One thing, that surprised me after moving to London a few weeks ago, was how easy it is to get around, and how easily you can be sucked into the mentality of the busy Londoner; running and pushing people out of the way for the 7.16am bus, which will connect you to the 7.37am central line train; as heaven forbid, you will have to wait another 2 minutes for the next train.
I left the UK at the very beginning of 2012 (January 1st), and missed out on a lot of new developments, and events; the Olympics being the main one. The other thing I missed out on opening, was the Emirates Airline flight across part of the Thames in London.
When my sister told me about this, I initially thought “why would you get on a plane for a short crossing over the Thames?! Surely a bus or tube is much easier!”. Well, perhaps the latter is true in terms of the cost and possibly time when you queue up, and despite the name, you aren’t actually getting on a plane; it is just sponsored by Emirates, so don’t get too excited now.
The Emirates Airline, is now another transport option, now included on every standard tube map, which you can view at the Transport for London website. A cable car takes you from one side of the Thames from North Greenwich, at the o2 (formally the Millennium Dome), to Royal Docks in East London.
Although possibly now a bit of a gimmick for tourists, given that you can easily get buses or alternative trains to the other side. It is a different way to see London, with the highest elevation being 90 metres.
I had wanted to ‘have a go’ on this for a while, but didn’t ever get the chance to, when I returned to London in 2013. However, now that I am a resident in London, I am starting to do all those things on my London bucket list, and got the chance to take a flight from North Greenwich, to Royal Docks, whilst I was having a mini break in the south of the city, for my sisters birthday.
If you have an Oyster Card (which is a great investment if you are going to be in London longer than a month), a single fare will cost you £3.30 (adult) or £1.70 (child), or if you are paying by cash it will be £4.40 (adult) and £2.30 (child). Although when using your Oyster Card, the system is not fully integrated with the ticketing system on TFL, and so regular daily capping won’t apply. This is cheap in comaparrison to other cable cars, I have been on, such as the Queenstown Gondola, which costs NZ$30 or £15 (though the views are arguably much more spectacular), or the Christchurch Gondola, costing NZ$25 or £12.50.
Experience and views
I was quite excited about our short journey across the Thames. There was a short queue, and we waited no more than 10 minutes. We shared a car with three others, and off we went. There was a small TV in the cable car, offering information about the local area. Unfortunately, the sound wasn’t working, so we took photos, and enjoyed the view instead.
During the weekdays (Monday-Friday), the Emirates Airline is open from 7am-8/9pm, in Winter/Summer. Weekend times are: Saturday – 8am-8/9pm Winter/Summer, and Sundays 9am-8/9pm (Winter/Summer.
Do it; despite costing more than a bus or tube, it is different, and is beautiful
Also head into the ‘Aviation Experience‘ where they have the World’s first commercial flight simulators to have a play with. You will also get a free souvenir photograph.