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I know XL are no more, But when i flew to Sharm el Sheikh in July with Viking i noticed the cart equipment said XL so i assume viking to be XL.
I booked the flight via teletext, which was a hassle as they sent the hotel through imperial travel, who are useless, and the flights through kiss travel. Not as useless.
Viking allow 15kg per passenger, the average is 20kg, but we managed with 15kg and I own a lot of clothes, 5kg is a lot though and we did have to cut back on the things we would have liked to have taken away with us. For any extra kilo it was £10. A lot! You could also pay what i think was£10 for a seat with extra legroom.
So both flights took off on time and arrived on time which was a bonus! Luggage did not get lost.
The hostesses on the flight were a bit poor, a four hour flight and it took a bout one hour for the cart to get to us. It was not a big plane. If the cart was behind you, you could not go toilet. It really took so long, we were hungry and fed up.
The seats are a bit cramped, coming back, the woman next to me went to sleep as did my boyfriend, I had no leg room, no arm room and was not happy!
The food was not too great, did not serve meals on 4 hour flight.
The toilets were okay, no fancy soaps alike with BA but did the job, if you could get in them though! Sharm el Sheikh a lot of people seemed to have dodgy tummys.
The films were a tad outdated, we had night in the museum one few years old, and he's not that into you. coming back we had bolt, inkheart and meet dave. All a bit zzzz really. Also the screen werelocated every other aisle and the screens were tiny. Bit of a struggle to watch. Have to pay for headphone, i used my i-pod ones! saved me £3!
The flight i did not feel to comfortable had a rough take off coming back which made me scared. then a lot of turbulence. Didn;t feel at ease with comfort.
However the flight was cheap, very cheap which is great. But I think ill stick to BA!
We booked a package holiday with XL to Majorca.The flight was on time departing only problem seats were very cramped. On return we had more room between each seat.We booked to go to the 4*Sol Antillas in Maguluf.The Hotel was clean staff very good and on the hole the Hotel was Brilliant. The down side is the rooms they let out to the Yobs. Every night us & most of the other famillies on our floor had to call Security to stop youngsters from fighting in their rooms. The Hotel said because they were under 18 they could not chuck them out.I f you want a good nights sleep DONT GO TO THIS HOTEL.
I have just got back from a week in Portugal, I managed to get a last minute deal and the airline was XL Airways.
I have never flown with them before and to be quite honest I had not even heard of them so of course I did a quick Dooyoo on them and didn't feel too elated by the prospect of a long delay and a bad flight, but it was booked and paid for so I thought "Never mind take every thing as it comes and don't get up tight before I need to."
The tickets arrived a week before departure and the flight times all stated the same as agreed on booking the holiday, 20 kilos each baggage allowance was good too, I have nearly always had 15 kilos allowance on other airlines to Europe.
Our flight was departing at ten past eight on the Saturday morning and we had to check in at ten past five, no complaints there then it is pretty standard practice now because of airport security. We arrived at Manchester terminal 2 at about quarter to five and the staff were just opening check in, we were the first passengers to check in so there was no queuing at all.
I found the check in staff very friendly and efficient, we asked about extra leg room and they organized it there and then for a cost of twenty pounds each, being the start of our holiday and feeling quite flush with our spending money my husband and I agreed the cost would be well worth it.
We passed the time away for the next three hours wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop we were feeling a bit tired after the early morning start. At quarter to five it was announced that we were boarding so we slowly ambled down to the gate, yes as always our gate was the very last one down that corridor!!!!!!!!
They asked passengers to board with seats at the back of the plane first we were in row one so we just sat and waited for the crowd to clear. Why do travellers always get up and queue when the gate opens? Cannot understand that one at all. I started to feel quite relieved when the family with three noisy kids got up and boarded quite early that told me that they would not be too close to us on the flight.
We finally boarded in fact I think we were the last couple to get on and we got a lovely surprise......The cabin steward beamed at us and showed us to a luxurious first class seat, nice shiny leather and huge. Apparently the plane had flown into Manchester earlier from some long haul destination and the airline decided to use it for the flight to Faro in Portugal.
We considered ourselves extremely lucky and enjoyed the flight immensely, the seat reclined right back and a leg rest came up it was a really nice flight and I even managed to get forty winks.
Cabin crew were good and brought round tea and coffee at a cost of 1.50 per cup then the drinks trolley arrived, we didn't participate with a brandy or beer it was a wee bit early in the morning for us.
The flight time was two and a half hours and we landed at Faro spot on time feeling really refreshed and ready to enjoy the sunshine.
Our return flight a week later was not as good but you don't get that lucky twice do you.
We checked in with no problems again asked about extra leg room (well you never know do you? And we had a few Euros left!)
This cost us thirty Euros each couldn't quite work out why it was more than when we came out but never mind.
It was a smaller plane but boarding was bang on time and we were in row 17 by one of the exit doors............
We sat waiting to taxi off, and we sat and we sat.....one and a half hours later we eventually took off. Apparently the loading door of the hold lost its hydraulic power so the pilot could not get it to close.
On reflection though these things do happen sometimes and there is nothing any body can do about a delay when the aircraft has a fault, better to find one on the ground and not above the clouds!!!!
The service was the same as the outward flight, tea and coffee etc and safely back in Manchester only one and a half hours late.
Over all we had a good flight there and back and I thought the ground crew and flight crew were very good. I would not hesitate to fly with them again.
just come home from antiuga with XL
the aircraft was so old. cant understand why xl use such old planes. the flight on the way there was on time you had to wait 4hours before your main meal no joke they keeped bring the drinks out where you had to buy them it was1.50p for a little can of coke.
the food did come round after the 4hours and it was warm not hot.. asked the crew as to why the food was warm she said the food was keeped in the oven never mind. the crew new how to look after the xl1 lot
and the rest in ecom had to wait and wait
I booked what I thought was a good deal with this mickey mouse outfit. I was scheduled to fly out to Alicante on Sept 21st arriving at 23.30, I then received a letter stating due to logistigal reasons the flight had been put back to arrive at 16.00hrs, after arranging the apartment and car hire around the initial time then having to go back and alter times the other suppliers were fine. A month ago I got another letter stating due to operational reasons the flight had been cancelled and we were offered a transfer to the flight a day earlier. When I checked the website there was a flight on the Saturday the day after so I phoned and asked to be transfered to this flight, they refused unless I paid £270 as they said this was a premium flight. When I argued the fact they wouldn't back down so I had to settle for the Thursday even though the letter stated I was entitled to a free transfer to another flight. I accepted the Thursday flight arriving at 22.00hrs and paid another 58 euro for the extra night accomadation and sorted the car hire for an extra £12. Thinking I was just a bit unlucky I then received another letter changing the flight again from 22.00hrs to arrive at 13.00hrs which meant more money for the car hire. I phone up and spoke with some joker who blamed everything and everybody except XL. After a 15 minute conversation she then cited current weather conditions as the reason the flight had been changed, when I explained the flight was 9 weeks off I was informed by the rep (Swansea call centre) that the internet is very good at predicting the weather in advance!!. I told her that this excuse was on a par with the old British Rail leaves on the line. Their customer service is non exsistent and the reps are useless. I have flown this route 14 times with various airlines including Easyjet, Jet2, Bmi Baby, Monarch and Thomsonfly without fuss. XL cannot be relied upon and I wouldn't advise anyone doing a DIY holiday to use them. I am a member on a holiday travel website and other people have had flights cancelled in the next few weeks to Greece, Majorca, Alicante amongst others. Shambolic.
XL Airways are the worst Airline i have ever used, this includes a 13 Hour Delay due on our fight back from Spain this year June 2007, I think this Airline is going down the tube, you can't even E-Mail them now, Please NEVER USE THIS AIRLINE. After waiting for someone to talk to near 2 Hours we were told to have a free drink and that the fight was due in 11 Hours which was not the answer i was hoping for.
I don't understand what people are on about. I was gutted to look at the reviews and see Excel slated. I thought that as a nervous flyer I would have a nightmare. I couldn't have been more wrong. The plane went out 10 mins early, a fab smooth flight with great attentive cabin crew. The flight back just the same. I would say to others it was a great airline with great staff and high efficiency. I would definately use them again!!
I have just returned from Dominican Republic following a 49 and a half hour delay. The holiday was originally booked with Thomas Cook but the flight was sub contracted out to Excel Airways. The complaints include:
1. rude, unhelpful Excel cabin crew
2. plane for return flight was on the runway and the captain noticed a fault with the air conditioning so did not take off. On taxi back to airport the captain braked so hard that all 300 passengers hit heads on seats in front (captain's excuse was that he was avoiding an animal!). I have got a sprained wrist, sprained ligaments in the neck and sore throat following hyperventilating on the plane. My mum has suffered whiplash and my husband has sprained muscles in his back and a swollen, inflamed throat.
3. the flight got cancelled and when we went to get our suitcases back (having not left the airport in Puerta Plata) one of them had the padlock cut off, the suitcase was opened and perfume was stolen, 2 statues were broken and all our things had been gone through.
4. Excel put us up in the hotel from hell Occidental Grand Flamenco Player Dorada (food was disgusting, rooms were dirty (taps fell off, ceiling was coming down) and hotel staff were rude and unhelpful)
5. was told the following day that the plane had been fixed and we would be flying home at 5.30pm. Coach arrived at 3.45pm and we got on only to be told there was a problem and to get off. Since arriving back in England I have been told by a family member who phoned Excel that we were only told this to keep us quiet
6. Having checked out of room at 1pm we then had to check back in again to a different room and would be given more info at 10.30am the next morning.
7. Finally rescued by Omni Air who brought us back to England (49 and a half hours later). Whilst at airport we saw the Excel plane we were on was still sitting in gate A8. Apparently it had not moved because following further investigation problems with the engine and landing gear had been identified as well as the air conditioning problem (Omni Air had to fly 7 of their mechanics in to try and sort out the problem).
8. Excel Airways somehow lost the manifest and Omni Air cabin crew were given 30 minutes to obtain the names of all 300 passengers onboard otherwise we would not have taken off and the delay would have been even longer!
Flew to the dominican republic on 12th sept 2005. Outward journey delayed 24 hours. Return journey delayed 19 hours. We encountered a 43 hour delay in total for one weeks break. Every reason/excuse was given to us that you could imagine. Here are some of the best ones ! Blocked toilet, plane too heavy,plane too light,crew gone over their time,waiting for flight plan,wrong flight plan arrived,waiting for part for plane,missed slot,no plane,no pilot.........seriously all of these excuses were given to us.Absolutley appalling.This lot could not fly a kite!!
When you think of long haul flights, you know if you go economy class it won't be the most comfortable trip in the world as it is. You can choose to go Business or 1st Class and have a virtually hassle free flight. Well, when we wanted to go on a skiing holiday to Canada we booked a middle of the range holiday that included flights with Excel. At the time of booking, they didn't know WHO the airline would be to take us from Manchester to Calgary (appx. 10 hour flight). At the time we though nothing of it. We had booked the holiday in January 2004 for December 2004.
A few months later we were informed that we would be flying Excel. I had read both good and bad reviews on the airlines and usually take bad reviews with a grain of salt. However, what I did know from reviews was that the seats and leg room for European and Caribbean flights were quite small and that we should book Premium seats. When we tried to do this, we were told that we couldn't until closer to the time of departure. I thought, "No problem! There will be loads of premium seats and we will get at least one for my Semi-pro Rugby playing husband." Yet, when the time came, there were no seats available! Then we thought, "Oh well, it is a LONG HAUL flight! They will have a plane with more leg room for such flights. Right?"
Check in was a muddle from the get go! They didn't start checking in people until 45 minutes before loading was to occur. I wasn't paniced about that, but others were. The anxiety of the lines seemed to grow by the minute. Oddly enough the Premium line seemed to have only a few in it. I found that a tad bit strange since it had been full. To top it off, there must have been taping Excel for some Airline programme because most of the Excel staff were pretending to sing Christmas carols in front of a video crew. Yes, I said PRETENDING because they were just mouthing the words and there was a tape in the background with a choir singing!!! I guess they wanted to look good!
When we were finally able to check in they gave me a little bit of a hassle with my passport. I have an American passport that has been amended with my married name in the back. Usually, there is a little confusion when I check in. However, they were making it a big deal when there should have been NO deal made about it. Finally, it took someone in Senior management to explain HOW to put in my details. When we got our boarding cards, we noticed that we were in the last two rows. HMMMMMMM..... we weren't too sure about that.
When they finally posted the gate for boarding we were told that there would be a 15 minute delay. That turned into a 30 minute delay- at which point we all realised that the plane wasn't even at the gate!!!! The 30 minute finally turned to 1 hour. We were finally allowed on the plane only to find ourselves t he the VERY last row with seats to fit minature adults!! As we are trying to squeeze ourselves into these seats we were told that the flight would be delayed ANOTHER hour because now the plane was too heavy and could not hold enough fuel to get us to Calgary. We would have to land in Quebec and refuel and continue on. This would increase our flight time. HMMMMMM..... So, what time were we to get there?
At this point hubby realised he would NEVER make it in such small seats. When a stewardress came by an asked if there was anything we needed, hubby replied "Bigger Seats!" She quickly walked off and came back minutes later. She said she had a surprise for us and asked us to take our things and follow. We did and were then seated in 2 empty seats that were in the row right after Premium which had more leg room! THANK GOD!! The width of the seats were still small but at least hubby's legs were not to his chin.
We finally took off. Snacks and drinks (which you must pay for) were brought out. The prices were reasonable. A can of pop (small) was 50p and a small can of Pringles was £1. However, I had packed some drinks and snacks in my carry on so we needed nothing of them. Lunch was finally served 3 hours into the flight. There was a beef curry and a chicken dish. Hubby had one and I had another. They were both tasty and we were pleased with the meal.
At the beginning of the flight we were offered headseats for the celing tv screens. From my seat, it was VERY hard to see. So, I just read my book. Hubby had a good view and said that the movies showed were mostly BRAND NEW and never shown in the UK yet.
Sometime during the flight I was able to fall asleep only to be woken up by the captain saying, "On your right you will see the coast of Canada. That is Goose Bay. We will be landing their shortly. Please prepare for landing." WHAT??? Weren't we to land in Quebec? What is wrong? No answers of course. It was snowing and you really couldn't see anything. We feel the plane going down to land and then all of a sudden pull up sharply. The captain again comes on and says, "Sorry about that folks! I couldn't see the runway. We will try again!" WHAT? What place were we landing at. I have NEVER been scared about landing before. But, this landing was VERY scary. The plane rocked back and forth and shook! Finally we landed and were told it would take 1/2 hour. This is also when we were told that we had landed at a military base because we didn't have enough fuel to get to Quebec and it was an emergency landing!!! Well, 1 1/2 hours later we finally took off.
16 hours after we boarded, we disembarked!!!! A 10 hour flight took an extra 6 hours!
When we landed we immediately asked our holiday rep to see about booking us premium seats for the way home! We keep on her about it and 2 days before we left she confirmed that she had gotten premium seats for us! YEAH!!!
Check in was very quick with the premium seats. The seats themselves are wider and have more leg room. You also get free drinks through out the flight. After that, the flight was not much different. This time I could see the tv screen but my earphones did not work! So, I took some sleep medication and slept through the entire flight home. This time it took only 7 hours!!!! CAN YOU imagine??? Flight in- 16 hours Flight out-7 hours!!
Food- Good quality! Better than a lot of airline foods I have had in the past. I found no difference in quality in the economy and premium class. The only difference is the dishes it is served on.
Customer Service- Check in staff were poor and could only deal with the normal everyday problems. If there was something different for them to deal with they got all flustered.
The flight crew were better with excellent marks for seeing to my hubby's needs on the flight out.
Punctuality- POOR!!! That is all I can say about that!
Space- WHAT SPACE??? It is better in premium. However, there are only about 30 premium seats on a flight that holds about 300. You are VERY lucky if you secure one of these and they are a bit pricey if you are on a budget. A one way premium seat from UK was £300 and from Canada it was £100. We were never able to work out why there was that difference.
WILL WE USE EXCEL AGAIN?
Right.... I have had two experiences with this airline, and what I would probably say is, they are worth it if you can get cheap flights with them!
My first flight was not a happy experience. This being because it cost £1500 for my husband, and our 3 children to travel to Tenerife, flight only in August 2004 (It cost me £250 less to travel with Virgin Atlantic to Florida peak time!) so when they changed our flight time by 11 hours I was not a happy bunny.
The reason we had opted for Excel when booking flights was because their flight times were very good. There were lots of other operators that would have saved us £500 - £600 but we didn't fancy travelling with children at ghastly hours of the night/early morning. So we cut our loses and went for the booking.
About a month before the flight.... Excel change the flight times, by 11 hours! Yes, that's right, just below the threshold where one would be entitled to some sort of compensation. We would now be flying at 11pm arriving in Gatwick at 3am!! Oh no!! This is not what we wanted! So, we ended up with bad flight times but paid for good ones. Surely they would give some sort of compensation or gesture of good will?? No such luck.
I think I have read someone elses report on this web site who said Excel consolidated two flights into one, and this is exactly what had happened to us.
Anyway... since then, we HAVE flown with them again. At this point you may be thinking is she mad? But I feel I have got the upper hand this time. Fore warned is fore armed as they say so knowing what I know about Excel I booked extreeeeemley cheap flights with them over the New Year 2004/2005. Just £70 each to Tenerife which is a fantastic price. It was last minute, and we had a fantastic week in the sun, but... I did feel sorry for some of the people on our return flight who, guess what, had had exactly the same done to them as us on our flight in the summer. They had been hanging around in the airport for 10 hours, paying between £300 & £400 for their flights. I could barely bring myself to tell the guy who asked me how much we had paid for our flights, but I told him about our story and how I know how he feels etc. etc. Talk about dejá vu!
The actual service on the flight is not bad! The cabin crew are friendly and polite, the food is good or as good as airline food gets. Yes, the seats are leather but a little hard on the butt, but I have to say I have no complaints with the staff or on board service at all. They could do with having a few more blankets on board, you do have to request them and they only have enough for about two people so ask as soon as you're on board. I guess that must be because disgruntled customers want to take as much as they can get from this company (ahem!) Of course that's not me!
I have booked flights with BA in August 2005 to Tenerife at £500 cheaper than our flights last summer with Excel.
I would say to anyone thinking of flying with them to go ahead if you can get cheap flights. But I'm afraid I won't be handing over lots of dosh to them again, I'll be looking for another carrier.
Terrible airline that is one of the worst companies I have ever dealt with.
On a flight back from Corfu to Gatwick, we were told just before boarding the plane that it would first be going to MANCHESTER. Excel had decided to consolidate two separate flights into one for the sole reason of saving a few quid, regardless of the massive incovenience to passengers. Yet the two original aircraft would have had healthy passenger loadings. Instead, we were crushed on to a battered old 767 that was absolutely packed, with no legroom (and I'm short!) We then flew to Manchester, sat on the tarmac for well over an hour, then went to Gatwick. There was never any explanation from the pilot. Aparently this airline does this sort of thing quite a lot - the chief stewardess admitted it - so BEWARE if you are thinking of booking with this mob. Others I have spoken to have also had problems, all of them down to the airline trying to save a few bob.
I wrote directly to the chief executive to complain, and all this arrogant man did was pass my letter on (after six weeks) to a customer services minion, who simply quoted the rulebook at me.
As a very nervous flyer i was very apprehensive about flying with an airline that i had never heard of and after reading more bad reviews than good prepared to expect the worst. We flew Gatwick to Malaga on 25th Jan 03 and I was pleasantly suprised when we were offered a free Daily Mail on boarding, then there were the leather seats which were so comfy also talk about legroom! we had masses, i am not short (5feet 7inches) and my fiance is over 6feet so we were surprised that we werent knees to chest. The food on the outbound journey was not very good but the meal on the inbound was lovely, Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Bread Roll & a chocolate cake. I would reccoment flying with Excel, also if you tell them that you are a nervous flyer they really look after you. no delays even though the weather had been really bad in England and Heathrow & Stanstead were closed on our inbound flight, in fact our plane was 1/2 hour ahead of schedule. The outbound journey was 1/2 hour faster than predicted. The staff on board are really friendly and helpful and the pursers on the outbound and the inbound flights were lovely, cracking jokes and making everyone feel relaxed. I suggest you pre-book your seats like we did, you are more than likely to be at the front of the plane where there seems to be more leg room. I would say that Excel are the best Charter Airline i have flown with, i will definitley use them again.
I'm booked on a diving holiday in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and am flying out of Gatwick. The Tour compay told me that luggage allowance is 20kg (normal for a charter flight) plus 10kg for diving equipment. Having been to the Red Sea som 14 times before, I phoned to check, and was told that "we have switched to a smaller aircraft for the winter, so the allowance is 20kg only. Any excess will be charged at £5/kg". This is really not acceptable for a flight designed to cater for travellers to one of the prime diving locations in the world. If you are booked on an Excel flight - do check - call them on 0870 1677747.