* Prices may differ from that shown
TUIfly is German based budget airline that offers services around western Europe as well as to Turkey, Israel and northern African destinations. Generally speaking the flights are a little more expensive than you may pay with ryanair but there are frequent special offers on.
Personally I have flown with this airline three times, one from Cairo to Germany and twice within Europe and found them to be an above average service for the price. All three flights left and arrived on time and provided little extras that budget airlines do not normally have- complementary meals and drinks, even catering for vegetarians and dietary requirements such as allergies. Also it is possible to check in baggage without a charge-one piece up to 25kg. Sports baggage and seat reservations do have an extra charge however. I found the airline to be clean, well-maintained with no dubious broken parts inside and the chairs quite comfortable. I found leg-room to be similar to other budget airlines.
As with the other other reviewers I always found the staff extremely friendly and they speak perfect English on all services for those whose German isn't up to scratch. I found on my flights there were also English language papers offered (The Times) and in the language of the country I was flying from/to as well as German.
From the UK the airline only connects to Newcastle and Manchester so is a little limited for reaching the continent, however, for getting around from Germany and connecting to north Africa this is one of the broadest services I could find.
For both of my European flights I was able to check-in online and the process at the airport was very straightforward. From Cairo I had to check in at the airport but the staff were effecient and the whole thing straight forward and relatively quick.
My main reason for writing this review other than to back up what was said in previous reviews is to point out the brilliance (and I think unique feature of this airline) of their fly and rail offer. Any flight going to or from Germany can add Euro25 or 20 pounds to their flight cost and get a rail ticket with Deutschebahn to anywhere in Germany, for use on the day of the flight and includes the super-fast ICE trains. From Cairo I flew to Munich and was able to get the ICE to Mannheim which, had I bought a normal ticket, would have cost me Euro122 (and no flights from Cairo come in any nearer to Mannheim). Potentially you could cross the whole country. For anyone who does not live, or is not going to travel near where the flight comes in this is an excellent value for money service.
Organising the fly and rail is staightforward as you simply click on the appropriate box when buying your flight online-no need to specify where you want to go and you will receive an email of the fly and rail conmfirmation. Then on the day of your flight/after you arrive you can simply get on any train with room going to or from the city you fly from.
I believe TUIfly offers an efficient and reliable service for reasonably low prices-and their fly and rail offer makes it much cheaper to get around Germany when you arrive.
Tuifly is the one budget airline which has really impressed me, I've used quite a variety of budget airlines and you normally get what you pay for, an often unreliable service with no creature comforts and airports often in bizarre locations.
I boarded my Tuifly flight from Berlin-Tegel which is a conveniently located airport in the centre of Berlin, just a couple of minutes away from Hauptbahnhof (the main train station), initially there was quite a delay as the baggage and passengers were meticulously checked and scanned, this was after all a flight to Israel.
The flight didn't get going until almost 2 hours later than the departure time but this is a regular occurance on any flight to Israel and it can I've been told be far worse. The staff remained friendly throughout and the journey was pleasant, although the pilot's English was a bit hard to understand. Before going on to detail what I considered to be "luxuries", I should say that this flight cost me 28.99 euros including tax. 1 bag up to 25kg was allowed, providing you didn't take any explosives, hand luggage was limited to one bag and there was an optional choice to reserve a seat number. I ended up with 3 seats all to myself, albeit rather close to the khazi which was frequented by the majority of the German passengers!
The majority of passengers were older Germans or jewish Russians. A meal (omelette, bread, salad and a cake) was served half way and we were all given inflatable pillows, headphones were also an option. Overall the staff were incredibly friendly and very efficient, as far as budget airlines go, I can't recommend them enough and have to say that the Germans have got it spot on.
For all their flight connections check out either fizzywizzy's review of the airline or for the most up to date info - the airlines website at www.tuifly.com
TUI Fly are a German-based airline that sells package holidays as well as flights only. They have high street branches in Germany and Austria (and a few in Slovenia I've noticed) but they have a prominent presence on the web and it was after being bombarded by promotional e-mails from the airline that I finally booked a flight with TUI Fly.
TUI Fly is not a budget airline but does have regular promotions that bring the prices in line with the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair. When the flights are not on offer the prices do tend to come close to, say, British Airways or Lufthansa. Earlier this year we paid around £60 each for a return flight from Newcastle to Hannover, the bulk of which was taxes.
The good news about TUI Fly is that they don't charge you for lots of hidden extras like hold luggage, desk check-in or seat allocation (shame on you Jet2!) which makes on-line booking a less stressful affair as you aren't constantly making sure you're not being charged for something you don't want. Overall the on-line booking process was swift and simple and there are several ways to look for suitable flights including a brilliant at-a-glance list that shows a handful of the cheapest flights available from your departure airport. This is great if you are flexible with dates as you can simply scroll down for the best bargains rather than carry out endless searches.
Web check-in is available for many but not all of their European departures. We checked in on-line for our outward flight but at the airport for our return which proved to be quick and hassle free.
The flying experience really was something quite enjoyable and, as a frequent flier, the experience for me is generally something to be endured impatiently before my holiday proper starts. The first thing that struck me was the genuine warmth and friendliness of the (all German) cabin crew who all spoke impeccable English. Maybe I have been flying with Ryanair too much because I was excited by the broad selection of free newspapers and magazines that were available, piled up in the first few overhead lockers for passengers to take as they boarded. Admittedly they were all in German so perhaps not ideal for all passengers but I took as many magazines and papers as was polite and stashed them in my bag to read at a later date as I usually only load up on German-language mags in Austria as I find the mark-up in the UK ridiculous.
You had to pay for refreshments but the prices were reasonable and (although we didn't eat) the choice of snacks was good and the food (sandwiches, pizza slices and pastries) did look quite appetising and definitely a step-up from Ryanair fare.
Another thing that got me excited (since I only occasionally fly long haul) were the screens displaying the location of the plane and distance to our destination, etc. What was particularly fun was the occasional update of the football scores as we were travelling during the European Championships.
The seats were comfortable and the general appearance of the aircraft interior was good, certainly not shabby or grubby as Ryanair and Easyjet places often are, though I suspect this place hadn't done the number of journeys a Ryanair plane does over the course of a day.
Having described how pleased I was with TUI Fly, I now have to reveal the bad news. This airline only flies into/out of Manchester and Newcastle in the UK, and even then with limited destinations (Newcastle - Hannover, Manchester - Cologne, Venice, Stuttgart, Hannover). However, you could always use the service for onward flights from one of those destinations (For example, from Hannover you can fly to a large number of "holiday destinations" such as Crete, Madeira, Sicily and Dubrovnik).
The other drawback is that flights aren't daily and this limits the likelihood of using the airline for quick breaks. We found a cheap weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening but had we wanted to extend it we would have had to return on Tuesday rather than Monday. That said, the flights we did pick were ideal and helped create the perfect weekend getaway.
If you can fly out of Newcastle or Manchester and can take advantage of the promotional offers from TUI Fly, then I would unreservedly recommend the airline. However, the standard prices are quite steep and the ,limited schedule out of the UK does affect what you might pay as demand will be greater and promotional flight times might not always suit your plans.
Regular business fliers should take advantage of the Blue Miles card and collect miles towards free flights in a scheme that does seem pretty achievable, unlike some frequent flier schemes.
Based on my experience I would describe TUI Fly as a step up from the budget airlines but perhaps not so special as to justify the standard prices. I would like to see them expand their UK services and will certainly be checking their e-mails for future trips.