Posts Tagged ‘sculpture trail’

London’s Cheapest Flight: June-July 2013

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Eight years ago I took a couple of rides on the Emirates Air Line, better known thanks to London blogger Diamond Geezer as the ‘dangleway’ and posted a number of the pictures that I took from it.

As I pointed out then, “in transport terms its a joke, a slower and more expensive route on almost any possible journey“, but to my surprise this joke is still running eight years later despite huge losses, and my exhortation “if you’ve not taken a ride don’t leave it too long” was then misplaced. Though given the effects of the virus on air travel it may not last much longer, but perhaps the extensive developments on the south bank on the Greenwich Peninsula and the replacement of industrial sites by housing on the north bank, together with the move of the Greater London Authority to the Crystal at the north end of the route by the end of the year may provide a few more customers.

One advantage of the current situation is that, according to the TfL web siteOnly one passenger is allowed per cabin, unless a household or group is travelling together” so you can be sure of having it to yourself, or chosing those you want to travel with. The poor people in the picture above had to share a ride with me.

I think there were notices in the cabins telling you to remain in your seats during the short journey, but clearly I didn’t entirely obey these, but there was no one around to see. Perhaps there might be safety issues if a full cabin of Sumo wrestlers began to throw themselves around but I don’t think my careful movements were any problems.

The service runs weekdays days from 7am to 11pm, stopping an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays and opening later at weekends. It also stops in very strong winds and thunderstorms, though one London reporter made a story out of using it this January as storm Christoph was approaching. His photographs don’t really support his story of being buffeted around by the wind but I imagine there was some tangible swinging motion. When there is any real danger it closes – and that happens around a hundred times a year. There are also some closures for maintainence.

My journeys were both smooth and rather quiet, and the ride seemed much shorter then the 10 minutes it took. A single journey costs £4, more or less the same as in 2013. I generally avoid air travel, but I imagine the carbon footprint of this short journey is quite low.

Back in 2013 I commented “it should be promoted as one of London’s cheaper and more interesting tourist attractions, giving a rather better view than the helter-skelter on the Olympic site at around a tenth of the cost, and with the added attraction of motion in three dimensions.” It has so far only attracted a few more discerning tourists, some of whom are doubtless also following London’s public art trail, The Line and get an unusual view of Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud on their ride.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.