Jsmith From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2444 times:
I am fairly new to this part of airliners.net, but if anyone is interested, I provide a summary of an amazing flight I took in late 1998 on Britannia Airways. It must be one of the longest through flights for a 767-300 today!
I was studying in London at the time and returning home to Brisbane for a short break - the airfare was a crazy GPB199 return because I had booked at the last minute and BY were trying to fill the aircraft.
The flight was routed Gatwick - Abu Dhabi - Batam - Brisbane and the flying times were roughly 7.5 hours per sector.
We left Gatwick very early in the morning on G-OBYA and I was very impressed with the level of service from this - my first time on a charter airline. Australians have no concept of what a charter airline is - there are no long or short haul charter carriers in the Australian market.
We were served a decent meals on all the sectors, the flight attendants were pleasant and professional and the seat pitch was not too uncomfortable - I am 185 cms tall. In fact I was more comfortable than on some of the scheduled carriers which operate in our part of the world!
At AUH, we were delayed (not because of anything Britannia had control over) so the airline bused the entire planeload of passengers (the aircraft was full) to the Hotel Intercontinental in Abu Dhabi for a buffet feast to pass the time. In all, our delay was about 3.5 hours - hardly significant when you read some of the horror stories of air travel out there!
Batam, Indonesia was our next stop. This small island, near Singapore had a brand new airport and the fees were lower than Changi - hence BY's decision to refuel there. We arrived to pelting Monsoon rains in the mid afternoon - with a lone Garuda 737-400 to keep us company.
By the time I arrived in Brisbane - I was tired but continued to be impressed with BY's service. The return flight to London was less eventful and we arrived 10 mins late - not bad for a 767 which has flown half way around the world!
OK - so I only paid GBP199 for the flight - I guess it was the best money I have ever spent.
If you are considering flying to Australia from the UK - don't be put off by some of the stories you might read about short haul charter services in Europe - it seems that they do not apply to long hauls to Australia - at least in my case!
Looking forward to reading anyone else's comments/experiences.
Jsmith From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2355 times:
Sorry, I cannot recall what we were served but I do remember that it was no worse than any of the economy meals I have had on Qantas or Ansett. We were also provided with the option of white or red wine with each dinner - free of charge. I remember being served so many meals that by the time we landed in Brisbane - I don't think I could have faced another aircraft meal. At least we did not starve.
To answer your other question - the 767s were all economy - I recall reading that there were approx 320+ seats and I know that every seat was taken on the outward journey and there were about 3 or 4 seats vacant on the return trip.
BY continue to fly between the UK and Australia/NZ between November and February each year, and including Brisbane, fly to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland.
In fact, our return flight had come from Auckland when I joined in Brisbane. Now that would be a very long 767 flight!
When I returned to London, I wrote to Britannia to tell them that I was very impressed with my flights - airlines deserve to receive credit where it is due.
BCal DC10 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 724 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2331 times:
ref. those cheap flights to Australia... I remember looking at them last year. There is a website called www.lateescapes.com - occasionally the charter seats come up to Australia, as they did last december.
If you were prepared to fly on Xmas day, for 2 weeks in Australia with Britannia, you could get a return for £250. They actually sell the seats in pairs, so all fares are for 2 people, and its an auction site, but quite a lot of australia seats were going for no more than £500 for 2.
check it out when the service starts flying later in the year.
Crosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2636 posts, RR: 56
Reply 6, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2300 times:
Nice report. Glad some people can see past the hysteria;
"328 people in a 767, that's inhuman!"
When you've actually experienced it, it's fine, especially at that price.
Just a slight correction,
Britannia permanently ended their flights to Australia/New Zealand in early 2000, citing increased competition from scheduled airlines offering low fares but better service, and stopover opportunities.
Airtours International permanently withdrew their Australian services earlier on this year, the last flights operated by a UK charter airline "down under"
Airnewzealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2549 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2284 times:
Yep, Crosswind is right, we lost brittania last year!! Damn aswell, They were offering seats for $199 NZD to go to BNE return...It is currently $429 return...Hey that is a massive bargain..You know why...You went half way round the world, and yet, the cheapest airline going to BNE from AKL today is Garuda Indonesia offering around$400...that means it is roughly around 1200 pounds...This flight is 3 hours. Is that the prices it is like in UK??
Well anyway, great trip report!!