I was really sorry to hear that other dooyooers hadnt enjoyed flying with British European; as a, fairly, regular user, around 6 times per year, I rate them very highly and comparable only to the only other good low cost airline Ive been on, Jet2.
The premise is simple; stack em high and sell em cheap. People do not fly on BE, or any other low cost airline, for the luxury, only for the price. This is what anyone wanting to fly with any budget airline must remember. Even if you paid £200 for a ticket, theres bound to be someone on the plane who paid peanuts and got a really good deal, just by booking earlier.
Another dooyooer thought it was weird that they didnt drop fares nearer the time, but they do tend to work opposite to how many people would think. The nearer the time of departure, the less seats they have and, therefore, more demand. Rather than working as tour companies which sell off the last few remaining holidays in order to make sure that they get rid of them, these budget airlines work like the stock market, so, when demand is low, the cost is cheap. However, as more people buy shares (book seats) the price goes up. We found this out quite early in EasyJets life when we booked four tickets, with three costing one price and the fourth a bit more. In the case of BE, flying from Leeds-Bradford to Belfast City, my usual route, costs £110.00 if I want to go in three days, but is free* (yes, FREE) if I book seven months ahead.
* These fares do not include taxes.
BE fly to many airports in the UK and mainland Europe, with their main hubs being Exeter, Southampton and Birmingham. By using these provincial and smaller (no offence) airports they can ensure that they have a big share of the total number of passengers and, therefore, have great bargaining power when schedules are written and space is allocated. They are medium fish in a small pond rather than a great big one like Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick, etc.
From these three airports, you can travel to many parts of Europe, as well as other parts of the UK, quickly and cheaply, often far, far cheaper than you would using other modes of transport. From Birmingham or Southampton you can travel as far a field as Edinburgh, Salzburg, Malaga or Perpignan. For those wanting to travel to exotic destinations, Murcia, Toulouse, La Rochelle and Leeds-Bradford are all served well. It is worth remembering that, if you dont live within easy travelling distance of one of these airports, one near you may well offer a very cheap connection, so going via Southampton will be a viable option for the early bird.
British airports served are (with domestic destinations / European destinations):
Aberdeen (Belfast City only)
Belfast City (12/0)
Isle of Man (Birmingham only)
London City (Edinburgh only)
London Southend (Jersey only)
Luton (Jersey only)
Manchester (Southampton only)
as well as
Shannon (Birmingham only)
European destinations are:
Palma de Mallorca
As noted before, even if BE dont fly to your destination from your local airport, it is very likely that you will be able to connect to one which has more choice, as long as you book early enough.
However, this is about experiences of BE and mine have, without exception, been very good. I dont like getting treated badly even if I am getting something cheap, so I wouldnt put up with poor service, rude behaviour or massive delays. I have never had any of these problems with BE and would highly recommend them to anyone.
Their service is great, with a very easy online booking and payment system. The website guides you through each stage of the booking and paying sections and lets you read and digest everything, in plain English and large numbers, before you move on. Immediately you get an e-mail confirmation and this, as well as some ID, is all you need to fly far, far away. Payment is accepted via many different cards and is secure when done on-line.
The website is very informative, giving you good descriptions of each of the destinations. You can see, at a glance, whether or not BE uses your local airport and where you can fly to from there.
The staff at check-in and on-board have, with me, always been courteous, polite and helpful, even if they tend to wear just a little too much make-up.
I cannot tell you whether or not they are helpful when faced with a problem, as was the situation faced by another dooyoo reviewer, as I have never had any cause to complain. The greatest amount we have been delayed was 5 minutes, and this has happened once, and we are regularly early as they take the first available slot as soon as all of the passengers are boarded, another benefit of using smaller, less busy airports.
In short, I have found them easily the best of the budget airlines that I have flown with, comparable to Jet2 in cost and service, and far superior to EasyJet and Ryan Air.
To be a little different FlyBe as British European are now known (www.flybe.com)they have come up with a simple idea. Low Fares, Seats allocated, pay for inflight drinks and snacks and if you are transferring through any other airport they can usually check the luggage all the way to your final destination. Anyway I flew from Belfast City Airport (2miles from the city centre)to Birmingham for a day trip so they checked us in for the return journey as well. The flight out was in a small Dash8 plane with 37 seats , it was a bit bumpy but fine. The flight was on time leaving and arriving, I had a coffee for £1.50 and my day return which was on a special offer cost only £67 including all taxes. The average seems to be about £97 return. On the return flight it was late leaving due to a mix up on availablilty of a wheelchair assistance at Birmingham and we were kept informed but that delay was vastly reduced when we landed back at Belfast. This time it was the BAE146 and it was very smooth and comfortable I prefered it to the Dash8.The flight was only 45 mins.Overall a good flying experience. On top of all that the staff were all very customer focussed so well done Flybe. Changes If that was not enough they also allow you to change the ticket, names, times etc up to 2 hours before the flight.Lowest fares are on the website. Airports to fly from Aberdeen (to Paris) Belfast City Birmingham Blackpool Bristol Edinburgh Exeter Glasgow Isle of Man Leeds Bradford London City, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton Newcastle Southampton They fly to France, Belgium, Channel Islands, Italy and Spain as well as within the UK. Check In Check in is as other airlines up to 30 mins except if you have hand luggage only you can check in as late as 20mins before the flight. If you are returning the same day they will check you in for the return flight. Special help is available for
the elderly and infirm. Aircraft Jets BAE146 Is a 4 engined regional jets capable of carrying up to 110 passengers. A very quiet airplane , smooth with leather seating although they are getting a little older they are very reliable and safe. CRJ200 Very New 50 seat regional jet mostly used on Belfast to Leeds however they will be dropping these as their routes dont suit this type of plane. DHC Dash 8 These are very new twin engined turbo prop aircraft seating from 37 passengers up to 74 in the newest 400Q of which they have ordered another 20.They are only a little slower than a jet EG Belfast to Birmingham 10 mins more. Comfortable but can be a little bumpy in bad weather but again very safe. Inflight Service As stated earlier you do have to pay for everything on board but at £1.5 for a coffee and £2.45 for a filled roll it is not too bad. The captain gives you an update on the floight as to time weather expected etc, and the safety announcements are done in a professional manner.
I have flown with Ryanair and Go, both the up and coming discount airlines. Recently I needed to fly from Bristol to Belfast, the times offered by Go to get there were either too early or too late. I such all over, looking at almost every airline, flying from The West, London, Midlands. I suddenly came across a company called British European. Who are they I thought, I had never heard of them. Now they flow from Bristol (Great) and landed in Belfast (Great) and they landed in Belfast City airport not the Internatinal Airport (Fantastic). So sould I or shouldn't I. Well I booked anyway. While waiting at the airport there was a slight delay, but it was air traffic control problems, so couldn't really blame British European. My girlfriend went to the toilet and I saw the plan land. Now I was taken back a bit by the plane. My girlfrind came back and I said I saw the plan land. She was happy. So I told her what I saw. The plane is quite small and it has properlors. Ofcourse she didn't belive me. Well the plane was small, old, and had properlors. But on the plus side there was plenty of leg room. I am 6'1 and could strech my legs out. In flight drinks and nibbles were free and the flight was OK, but not as smooth as a jet.
I am applying to join British European Engineering services and i have completed a weeks work experience with them a while back now. The compnay is run very affectivly and to a very high standard, the planes are serviced to the best standard possible and all members are helpful. People who think they no it all becasue the fly reguarly have no idea what it is like behind the scenes and how much hard work and the amount of flack from people who fly with them once in a blue moon and just becasue the plane isnt on time or is delayed due to a technical failure, it generally isnt the comapnies fault usually it is ATC or a faulty part so if people have a problem witht he service find out what went wrong and contact the maufacture or ATC, British European are an up and coming compoany and people who don't no what goes on shudn't comment, with out knowing the full facts
I travelled from London Gatwick to Guernsey with British European in April 2002 in Economuy Class. The service was far better than that offered by British Airways on the same route, with short queues for check-in, comfortable (leather) seats on the plane and very personable staff. There was a good seat pitch too, even at the back of the plane. The flight is promoted as full service (in comparison to the no-frills carriers) but you have to pay for alcoholic drinks - coffee, tea & soft drinks are included in the price, as is a snack, but it is only a 45 minute flight. Also, British European only seem to use jet aircraft on this route, making for smooth and fast flights. Both the outward and return flights were on time, luggage was delivered quickly and all round it was a service id' recommend
I wouldn't fly with this airline if you gave me a free ticket and £1000. Glasgow to Exeter - 8th July. British European cancelled the flight. My 5 year old daughter and elderly Mum were due to fly to Exeter - following on to Paignton on Holiday. I paid £296 for flights so that the journey time would be quicker. Because the flight was cancelled they ended up with a journey time of 8 hours instead of 3. On cancellation it was decided that they would fly the passengers with 'BA' to Birmingham and BUS them to Exeter. We were told that staff would be at Birmingham to greet them and that staff at Exeter would arrange transport to their final destination (they were missing their train connection). On arrival at Birmingham NOBODY was there to meet them. They wandered around Birmingham Airport for 20 mins before finding somebody who would help. They were taken to a MInibus which took them to Exeter. On arrival at Exeter ( 7.15pm) they refused to transport my Elderly mum and daughter to their destination. They left them stranded at Exeter airport at 7.15pm on a Sunday. After frantic phone calls by me and 1hr they reluctently arranged a taxi. There compensation offer for 'cancelled' flight - 50% of my next flight with them. Can you guess my answer??? My Last word about this airline - Disgusting.
as a brit working in jersey i have to use the air services fairly frequently (approx every 3 weeks) although i find the service, staff and reliability very good. but he price for tickets remains very high. as only three or four airlines operate services between jersey and the uk mainland they can all afford to charge what they like. if i was in england i could have a return ticket to amsterdam,malaga etc for approx £60-£70. but oh no if i want to fly to birmingham it will cost me in excess of £145 and that is only if i can plan 6 months ahead. if i need a flight urgentley (as i did in july '00) then lottery funding would be a good option as i have paid £300 for a return to southampton because the seats get more expensive the later you book, unlike other airlines who make their last minute flights a bargain. so come on british european be 'island friendly'
I travelled to and from a holiday in Jersey at the beginning of September with my wife and two children, I had the misfortune to travel with British European (formally Jersey European). To be fair the outgoing flight was adequate, but on the return flight chaos ensued. There seemed to be a proble with double booking the seats on the aircraft which caused confusion whilst embarking the aircraft. I had requested (and thought I had) two sets of two seats so each child could sit with one of the adults. I got into my seats with my son just before someone else arrived for the seats but my wife and daughter were forced to stand in the aisle as their seats were already occupied. The stewardess at the front of the aircraft was French and spoke little English and didn't understand what was occurring. My daughter (aged 6) was now getting upset as the cabin crew were no help at this stage. The French stewardess asked my wife to take her seat and was most irritated when my wife told her she did not have a seat. My daughter was by now crying and two seats were found near the front of the 'plane but not next to each other. My daughter was now hysterical and the cabin crew were stll no use. The French hostess now turned to my wife and barked "Take your seat" followed by "well, find one then" when told no seats were available next to each other, she then snapped "WE HAVE TO GO, FIND A SEAT" then "YOU CAN GET OFF!" offered as an alternative. Fortunately the passengers instigated some seat swapping to throw up two seats together and the situation resolved itself easily but with no help from the cabin crew at all. A letter of complaint had to wait over a month for a reply which then gave £20 to purchase a gift for my daughter 'entirely as a gesture of goodwill' in other words we don't have to do this so be grateful! Having left my daughter with a fear of flying this does not seem p[articularly generous. In s
ummary if you have children do not fly with British European, they simply have not got the common sense on board to sort out the most trivial problems letting them escalate until departure is delayed. (in my case by 20 minutes)
I have travelled with British European On Countless occassions mainly because they are the sole operator on a variety of useful routes. Whilst the crew are very good - pleasant and attentive I can't help getting the overall impression they are not happy at their work! The Economy service is adequate but there is wide disparity on the level given depending on which type of aircraft you fly on! The Business service is very good - but not guaranteed on every flight. Sometimes they change the seating to accommodate more passengers! Sometimes they have failed to provide business meals also. Their main problem would seem to be punctuality. Only half the flights I have been on were on time. Several have been cancelled and many were over 1 hour late. The 146's they operate however are very comfortable, particularly in the business cabin. A little more reliability and consistency could do a lot for this airline
They just changed the name but the service remains the same. Dont get me wrong. The staff are marvellous. They do their best to give you a pleasant flight. Seat pitch / width is excellent. Food is good in Business Class. Bar is excellent. Everyone is very friendly (BA take note). The problem is that the planes dont work. On my last 4 flights 2 were cancelled outright because the BA 146 broke down. Another one was 3 hours late because of an engine fault. In the first two cases I was offered an alternative flight...to Stanstead instead of Birmingham.....but sorry, this just isnt good enough. Perhaps I have just been unlucky but I dont want to spend 2 hours sitting at 20000 ft wondering when the next bit may fall
I did a return flight with British European from London City to Dublin at the begining of July 2000. The plane was comfortable and the staff friendly. However there was only one option on the meals which meant that vegetarians either just had to pick out the veggie bits from their meal or go without. Not really an aceptable service! On the return flight however we were only given a small packet of 'cocktail snacks' (cheese biscuits) and a drink. Not quite the lunch we had expected either! We were also sat on the plane for 10 minutes when we landed because they couldn't find any stairs to let us off with! So if you want a relatively cheep ticket on a comfortable plane and don't mind erratic meals then the service is fine, but there is still plenty of room for improvement!