2nd May 2014 at 07:36 #589128
Anonymous2nd May 2014 at 07:36 #589129
My day return from Glasgow to Birmingham was my first experience of flybe for some considerable while so i was interested to see what the experience on a short flight would be like, especially as my main domestic comparator is the BA services I frequently use to three London airports. For a LCC, flybe fares are certainly at the higher end and mine to Birmingham was comparable with my average to London on BA and probably more than Easyjet.
I checked in online the day before which was a bit fiddly but not really a problem. Even 24 hours ahead of departure, choice of seat is a paid-for accessory so I took my chances – 21B on the outbound and 16C on the return – these would not have been my choice but as time was not a huge issue, I did not see the purpose of paying £7.50 to be seated fourther forward.
I was dropped to Glasgow Airport in good time and made my way up through general security (no fast track as would have been the case with BA). Queues were not bad and I was through into the general waiting area quite quickly. no lounge access but Glasgow Airport offer 30 minutes free wifi so that enabled me to download a couple of important documents that i needed for my meetings during the day.
Boarding was fairly quick and photographic ID is required, again a difference to BA on domestic flights. However, once on board, the very new-looking Embraer 175 was a real pleasure to see and enjoy. The flight was only about 50% full and so I had plenty of scope to spread out with 2 seats in the 2-2 configuration. The seats, well padded, were very comfortable with good legroom as well. I moved in to the window seat and was able to work in comfort for the 50 minute flight. The safety briefing was effcicient and informative.
We pushed back a tad early and were soon airborne – rarely any queues at Glasgow. Once airborne, paid-for service commenced and I did not indulge. The options are, frankly, poor – sweet and savory snacks, one undefined (on the menu) sandwich type (“Ask your crew) and drinks. Nothing with any appeal or consideration for health.
We landed early and, after quite a long taxi, pulled up at the gate where disembarkation was quick, despite my rear seat. Within 5 minutes, I was on the Maglev to Birmingham International station.
My return allowed me some time to wander the revamped Birmingham terminal (that shows how long it is since I have flown there) and it is certainly very impressive the way that the two terminals of the past have been merged. It is a bright and efficient space (security was amazing for its speed – no belts or shoes off unless asked). Again, I waited in a quiet public lounge area for the flight to be called.
When th flight was called, it was to a Dash 8, with forward and rear boarding by row number clearly announced although some folk clearly found this too much information to process, creating some chaos in the cabin. The flight was totally full and comfort was not aided by the number of folk who were unchecked in bringing large items of hand luggage aboard, much of which was deposited under seats to th discomfort of neighbours – I know because the large young lady due to sit window side next to me announced on arrival that “I have to sit in the aisle seat” – late flight, long day and I, to my shame, acquiesced but then suffered the spillover of her suitcase in my legroom space.
All in all, the two flights were chalk and cheese. A crowded Dash 8 has little to commend it – noisy, hot, bumpy and constraining are words that come to mind!! Had I wanted something from the drinks/ snacks service, I would have been disappointed because the cabin crew abruptly abandoned that service at Row 14 in order to commence inflight sales – higher margins? better commission? We arrived on time, which was good and disembarked via steps and back up into the terminal.
In sum, then, two very different experiences. The Embraer 175 is, as many of you know, a lovely aircraft and is the height of regional comfort for its class. The Dash 8, especially when full, is a wholly different kettle of fish!2nd May 2014 at 15:23 #589130
Thanks for an interesting check.I
FYI It’s the Dash-8 which flybe will be using from LCY later this year.2nd May 2014 at 17:15 #589131
I was surprised that Flybe are not using E175s from LCY to EDI since BA are use mostly E190s on the route. A dash-8 v E190, the E190 wins in every aspect.
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