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EXT-BHD-EXT On BE, Complete With 6 Hour Delay!  
User currently offlineSQNo1 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 691 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4076 times:

Last week my father had to go on a work trip for his company to Belfast for two nights. He was booked on the Monday and was due to return on Wednesday. The flights cost £90 for the return trip. Unfortunately things did not go as they planned.

Flight No.1


Fly Be. British European 496
From: Exeter, England (EXT)
To: Belfast City, Northern Ireland (BHD)
Scheduled Departure: 11:30
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:45
Actual Departure From Gate: 17:48
Actual Take Off: 17:51
Actual Landing Time: 19:02
Actual Arrival At Gate: 19:05
Registration Of Plane: G-JEDV

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Photo © Tony Marlow
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Photo © Gary Watt - AirTeamImages

He arrived at the airport via taxi about an hour before departure and there wasn't a very large line for check in. Apart from the flight to BHD there was also a service to EDI, departing at almost the same time.

At EXT there is a single line of about five check-in desks for all destinations and he was served within five minutes. Once in front of the desk he handed over his pre-printed ticket and boarding pass and checked in his single bag. (His company's policy is that you book plane tickets on a travel gateway website, which is powered by American Express.)

This original pass was not used and the assistant gave him one of the BE boarding passes and at was told to go through to departures as soon as possible as the flight was boarding soon.

But the departure boards were showing completely likewise, the inbound service was expected an hour late, and there were also delays for the flights to GLA and EDI departing soon also.

As the original aircraft arrived at the gate at about 1220 once the passengers disembark the aircraft was towed to the maintenance hanger, indicating that there was a big problem about to occur.

Soon afterwards a member of staff announced that the new estimated departure time would be 1430, and that food vouchers would be handed out of £5. However the food was so expensive in the airport, he was only able to get a jacket potato with baked beans and a small side salad.

You might be interested to know what my dad did now in the next seven hours. Firstly he had a look at the excellent rooftop viewing area to see the other planes departing as he was stuck on the ground still. On the ground during the time was an Air Europa 737-800 for ACE and other fly be. Aircraft doing their daily rotations.

Apart from that he just sat down and calmly read his book, he believed that there was nothing you could do and shouting or being aggressive to members of staff would get you absolutely nowhere (as other passengers where).

I returned from college at 1715 and immediately went on to the Exeter Airport website, shocked to find that the flight had still not departed and he had left me a message saying he did not know what time he was going.

But then a glimmer of hope............................

The website also showed a BE 846, coming from BRS, was being diverted to the airport to pick the passengers up and finally at 1735 the flight was boarded. One person shouted out "don't forget to claim your compensation from these incompetent bas*ards" and he walked out into the apron.

The aircraft was now completely full, with the passengers from both BRS and EXT on the flight.

He was sat next to the first officer of the flight he was scheduled to go on, who along with the cabin crew had ran out of hours. They then had a discussion which include some problems with the engines of the Q400 and the rear stairs which should not be used unless in a emergency as they jam very easily. It took off from runway 8, and made an immediate left turn towards the Cotswold and crossed over the Irish sea over North Wales.

The flight landed at 19:00 and once out of the airport he went straight to a taxi, to be taken to his hotel. Later in the evening he had a few pints at the Botanic Inn, exhausted after the day's events.


Flight No.1

Fly Be. British European 496
From: Belfast City, Northern Ireland (BHD)
To: Exeter, England (EXT)
Scheduled Departure: 09:50
Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:05
Actual Departure From Gate: 09:50
Actual Take Off: 09:55
Actual Landing Time: 10:45
Actual Arrival At Gate: 10:51
Registration Of Plane: G-JEDO

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Photo © Colin Hines
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Photo © John Thompson

This flight went much, much smoother. He arrived at the airport 08:00, after the hotel messed up his wake up call and taxi. However he still checked in and went through to departures.

On this occasion there was only thirty other passengers on the flight and it arrived about ten minutes ahead of schedule and he was back home in twenty-five minutes.

The conclusion is that unless it is absolutely neccecary, he will not be flying domestically again. He is concerned about the fact that flights from EXT are not particuarly well timed for business passengers, apart from CDG, JER and GCI and this is a major disadvantage comparing with flying from BRS with EZY.

Also these delays with BE at EXT are becoming increasingly frequent in its variety of time and what destination it is, although sometimes it is beyond their control and this will also put business away to Virgin Trains and Easyjet or even WOW.

He prefers train services on Virgin Trains, for which he can have time to do some work and enjoy the convenience of having one departure every hour to the North Of England.

If anybody asks about compensation, he says apparently because of the situation he is not entitled to have any apart from the food voucher and even if he was, the company was paying SO he didn't really care.

Comments and questions are very welcome

With Regards,

[Edited 2005-12-03 01:05:44]

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCapital146 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2003, 2125 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4060 times:

Intestering report, sorry to hear things didn't go according to plan.

Did your father fly to BHD for business or for leisure? If a non-business travellor, then I would have suspected the timings were good (no crack of dawn rush to the airport). FlyBe and their Q400's in my experience are great and unless you are prepared for the treck to BRS, are the only viable option of getting to the much underated Northern Ireland from EXT.

Delays can happen to any airline, it would be a shame if you judged them in the future by this one flight. I have only flown BE a couple of times (always on their Q400's) and rate them highly. Would choose them again in a heartbeat.

[Edited 2005-12-03 01:31:56]

Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
User currently offlineBFS From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 744 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 8 hours ago) and read 3872 times:

There is nothing worse that a long delay in a small airport. I had a 3 hour delay with bmibaby at BFS last week, and I shudder to think how much worse it would have been in BHD or smaller. All we got was a £3 refreshment voucher - pretty useless given airport prices really!

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