ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
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See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:32 pm

Ok, I’ve just spent an interesting afternoon trying to book a flight to Crete for my dear old mother to visit friends and the only reasonable option is to book her on a charter flight. Its been a while since I’ve flown a charter airline and I was shocked, yet quite impressed at the number of extras they can now charge you for if you are gullible enough to believe the crap they spin you.

This is probably nothing new to a lot of UK/EU readers but might give a few North American flyers complaining about where the pretzels have gone on NW, the feeling that at least things could be worse (and probably an indication of how it could get worse).

I’m not picking on any particular airlines but got most of my information from First Choice, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson (Britannia). Enjoy!

The first thing I noticed was that you can spend a small fortune on getting that seat you’ve always wanted. For example First Choice charge, get this, £17 each for long haul flights (£10 for the kiddies) to sit together. But don’t worry if you’re just taking that 2.5 hour flight to Malaga because that will only cost you £7 (or a bargain £5 for the little’uns)

The best seating “deal” though is Thomas Cook who charge you £10-15 each to sit together:

“Seats together ensures that your party will be seated together, seats numbers will be given to you at check-in, you will receive seats numbers in advance if you have also paid for Your seat. Your choice.”

Now why if you have paid for a particular seat number for you and your companions would you pay an extra £10 each to sit together. Surely just assign yourself x number of seats next to each other?? Of course they have thought of that and give you a discount on the seat assignment fee of £20-25 if you have paid to sit together  Cool

Having paid all of this money, surely you want to know what your expensive seat will be like? Fear not as the trusty FAQs will enlighten you and make you feel glad you paid all that money to park your backside in 29A.

“On a First Choice Airways shorthaul flight you will have 28" of legroom in a normal Economy seat, or 33" if you have upgraded to the Premium service”

Thomas cook: “The seat pitch (distance between the back support cushion of your flight seat and the back of the seat or other fixed structure in front of your seat) will not be less than the minimum stated in the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Airworthiness Notice No.64, issue 2 of the 29th October 2001 (ie at least 26 inches)”.

And if the thought of sitting in that 28” seat is too much for you then how about an extra legroom seat for £30 (First Choice, Monarch). Lying long haul? No problem, just cross our palms with an extra 30 quid. Yes folks that’s £60 to avoid DVT on your next trip to Hurricane swept Florida.

But if you like living dangerously and will take your chances at check-in then you can check-in the night before for just £5 per person on First Choice.

But if you’re an A.netter you’ll also want to know what type of aircraft you are flying on, no? Fear not, a return visit to those informative First Choice FAQs will surely yield an answer.

“Your flight will be operated by a charter airline using modern passenger aircraft”.

See  no 

So finally you settle into your seat which reassuringly conforms to minimum CAA standards, surrounded by your nearest and dearest to whom you can make endless complements about the airline and their great product. However you get that horrible rumble in your stomach. Yes, you are hungry. Now lets be fair some charter airlines still give you free grub and a  bigthumbsup  to them. If you are flying Thomson (Britannia) though that’ll be £10. But don’t worry because you might get lucky and be flying an airline like First Choice that gives meals for free and even lets you choose a vegetarian and diabetic meal if needed. But wait, remember last week when you went to the Synagogue to take a vow of Judaism. Poo, that Kosher meal you want costs £10, oh no you’re flying to Florida aren’t you, that’s £20 then.

So here is how it stacks up for your average Jewish family of 4 flying First Choice to SFB (as an example):

Sit together: £17x2 £10x2
Extra Leg Room: £30x4
Night Before Check-in: £5x4
Kosher Meal: £20x4

Giving a grand “extras” total of £274, just enough to pay for granny to come along  eek 
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luisca
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:46 pm

Wao, and people complain about AA's crappy service.
If it ain't Boeing (or Embraer ;-)) I ain't Going!
 
ba757
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:52 pm

This is why I don't fly charter...

Adam
 
777adoration
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:05 pm

Well so much for that good deal they claim to be!

This is my first post here at airliners.net! Long time reader through!
Nicole
 
unitedgirlie
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:07 pm

me too not only the thought of all of that but sitting with a whole plane load of chavs turns my stomach......this to me would be a living nightmare.
 
PanHAM
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:10 pm

...and there's still lots of opportunity for the charter airline to cash in. Why should the use of toilets be free of charge, just to name one?
powered by Eierlikör
 
cornish
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:13 pm

Quoting Unitedgirlie (Reply 4):
me too not only the thought of all of that but sitting with a whole plane load of chavs turns my stomach.

well try not to throw up - they even charge for the sickbags now  Wink
Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
 
Maersk737
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:13 pm

Why don't you bring your own food?

If you pay almost nothing, that's what you get  Wink

Cheers

Peter
I'm not proud to be a Viking, just thankfull
 
AlanUK
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:16 pm

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
Kosher Meal: £20x4

That is very poor indeed. And probably on the verge of illegality in the European Union. Couldn't this be considered "racist" against a particular group of people?

I know BA offers all their special meals for free (which means the system can get abused by passengers), but at least BA can proudly say they do not discriminate against a certain type of people by charging more than others to eat what their faith allows them to eat.

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
Sit together: £17x2 £10x2

That is simply unacceptable!

Safe flying all.
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:19 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):
...and there's still lots of opportunity for the charter airline to cash in. Why should the use of toilets be free of charge, just to name one?

Please don't give them ideas!

Quoting Unitedgirlie (Reply 4):
me too not only the thought of all of that but sitting with a whole plane load of chavs turns my stomach......this to me would be a living nightmare.

I wasn't trying to be snobby but i'll have to agree with you.

Quoting 777adoration (Reply 3):
Well so much for that good deal they claim to be!

This is my first post here at airliners.net! Long time reader through!
Nicole

The joke is the actual flight prices to Crete are not that cheap. I reakon I could just about get myslef to New york on a good airline for that (£220)

Oh and welcome!
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AlanUK
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:23 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):
...and there's still lots of opportunity for the charter airline to cash in. Why should the use of toilets be free of charge, just to name one?

Because as you are in a confinde space, it would be illegal to charge in order for people to excise body functions... (Human Rights)

Plus you'll probably get people sneeking a wee by the side of the door to save pennies. The follow up cleaning will render any profit made on the toilets useless!!!

Al.
 
ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:24 pm

Quoting AlanUK (Reply 8):
That is very poor indeed. And probably on the verge of illegality in the European Union. Couldn't this be considered "racist" against a particular group of people?

To be fair they also charged £10 for a childrens meal, but yes you'd have thought so. Here it is in black and white:

http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/info/flightsprebookables.html
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
ACEregular
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:25 pm

If you do not prebook seats or meals they tend to allocate the remaining scum before the flight anyway and tend to seat you according to your booking reference so its not often someone travelling on the same booking is split up, apart from maybe an aisle. See its a just a con, they will sit you together anyway.
I flew BY and did not pay the extra for any of it, all of our party were sat in the very last row of a 757 on seat A,B,C and D both ways. thats not just a fluke.
 
BCAL
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:38 pm

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the standards of services on UK charter flights improved. No longer did the package tourist have to suffer from the inconvenience of departures in the middle of the night from the middle of Bedfordshire, flying in an old aircraft that had seen better days, and the "sardine salad" in-flight meal. The UK charter airlines started to invest in modern, quiet and fuel-efficient aircraft, meals and services improved, IFE appeared and on some airlines they introduced "Premium Class". Departures at convenient times from convenient airports also became the norm.

Towards the 1990s, the charter airlines saw competition from LCCs and people were keen to get a "bargain". To remain competitive and keep prices rock bottom, charter airlines decided to offer "basic fares" that covered only the minimum services they were forced to offer - i.e. a seat, baggage allowance, and services of their employees and agents. Anything else would be charged extra. Hence, the price of (say) £150 to fly LGW-PMI could be reduced by £10 if the provision of meal service was taken away, another £10 if the service to select seats was taken away. Having taken away extra services, the airlines then decided that they could raise revenue by charging for popular things like seats with extra legroom, daytime flights, and this might subsidise other aspects of the fare. Suddenly the £175 fare could be reduced to £99.99 and advertised as "Cheaper fares". Joe Public sees this as a bargain and jumps on the bandwagon, and the fare matches that charged by the LCC.

Such is the demand of today's travellers, as seen by the charter airlines and tour operators, and the power of advertising.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
Candid76
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:23 am

Quoting BCAL (Reply 13):
Hence, the price of (say) £150 to fly LGW-PMI could be reduced by £10 if the provision of meal service was taken away, another £10 if the service to select seats was taken away

Not sure I understand this. As a former check-in agent I can tell you it is no quicker to select seats for the pax at check-in than not to, and there is certainly no cost involved!

Yes, on trunk leisure routes the charter airlines must compete with the LCCs but when flying longer routes to places like Heraklion where there is not currently any LCC competition, it's just an excuse for poor service.
 
jmc757
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:38 am

The seating charges are just a way to spin more money. But as long as stupid people are willing to pay for it, then they will charge it. I have never payed for "Group Seating", yet my group has always been sat together (and there were 24 of us last year - on an A320!). Its not as if they are forcing anyone to pay it.

Quoting AlanUK (Reply 10):
The joke is the actual flight prices to Crete are not that cheap. I reakon I could just about get myslef to New york on a good airline for that (£220)

When does she wish to travel? See if your fantastic schedueld airlines can get her there any cheaper.

[Edited 2005-08-25 17:45:58]
 
philb
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:41 am

Not flown on a charter flight since 1982 and, having read the piece by ManchesterMan, nor will I in future.

If I can't afford/don't want to pay for a FCC I'll fly LCC - at least I know then that I'm only likely to be fleeced on tax and charges.
 
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PA110
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:49 am

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
and the only reasonable option is to book her on a charter flight.

You state you're booking charter to get a "reasonable" option (implying that scheduled carriers would be much more expensive). But, then you complain about all the extras that would be charged so that you can have all the same amenities of the higher priced scheduled service. What part of this don't you understand?

For those that don't want all the "extras" that come automatically in the higher prices of scheduled carriers, there is the charter option. What the charters do however is give you a range of optional extras so that you can pick and choose what extra amenities you might like, and be willing to pay for. If you select them all, you might as well have flown and paid for scheduled service.
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
sausageandmash
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:03 am

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
So here is how it stacks up for your average Jewish family of 4 flying First Choice to SFB (as an example):

Sit together: £17x2 £10x2
Extra Leg Room: £30x4
Night Before Check-in: £5x4
Kosher Meal: £20x4

Giving a grand “extras” total of £274, just enough to pay for granny to come along

Obviously you didn't do your research JUST that well. If you are commenting on the "awful" service of charter airlines, perhaps First Choice to Sanford would not be a good example to use. I suggest you do a search on this forum and look at exactly what FCA long-haul flights offer - I really am tired of repeating myself. Suffice to say, the standard of service and - as you make such a song-and-dance about it - seat pitch (at 33" standard and 36" premium) is greater than BA and Virgin in their economy cabin.

I take your point about the extra charges. You aren't being forced to pay for them, are you? Charter airlines operate in a much more price sensitive market than most major scheduled airlines. Customers choose to pay for these extras if they want to, or else they get a cheaper holiday. Perhaps not all people flying are overly concerned about whether or not they sit together on an hour-and-a-half flight to Palma? They certainly aren't on Easyjet. And personally, I woud much rather at least have a seat allocated than have to queue up in the cattle crushes amongst the stampede that EZY use.

Quoting Unitedgirlie (Reply 4):
sitting with a whole plane load of chavs turns my stomach......this to me would be a living nightmare.

I am fed up of the snobbery against charter airlines. I fly regularly on Virgin and frankly see just as many "chavs" as I see on my own flights. (I work as crew for First Choice, in case you hadn't realised.) And just take a look at some EZY or FR flights. Why shouldn't people who are perhaps not as "classy" as you lot be allowed to fly? All airlines offer low fares; BA and bmi - the "high class airlines" - are aiming their fares at those who want a bargain. It is the nature of today's market. Low fares = everyone can travel. If you want to avoid your "chavs", fly First Class.

And incidentally, hop onto one of our Bodrum flights from Luton (that place in Bedfordshire, you know) and you'll find that the vast majority of the passengers are Harry and Chloe from Hertfordshire who are going on sailing trips in the Med. Not exactly "chavs", are they?

Stick to your BAs and Virgins and whoevers if you must. Those who fly FCA - especially on long-haul - will have a better time.

Rant over.
Hello - it's me again
 
BCAL
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:11 am

As regards charter vs scheduled, I have often found it cheaper to fly BA (or rather GB Airways) scheduled flights from LGW to LPA than on a Monarch or First Choice Charter. Last time the BA fare was £179 all inclusive, and the Monarch fare with meals, extra leg room etc was £274.

So out of curiousity I did a quick search for LGW-HER (could not find any direct BA or OA flight MAN-HER) outwards on 04/10 returning on 18/10. The BA fare was £217.50 with all taxes and fuel surchages added. The cheapest charter flight (out with FlyJet and returning Monarch) was £228.00, including meals but not pre-assigned seating/seats with extra leg room.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
b6sea
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:24 am

I always love it how the seat pitch on the UK charters is 26-28" and on one of our local bus systems (sound transit) it's 29".

Also why does anyone fly the charters? I mean, sorry, but airlines that think they can get away with treating their passengers like cattle in return for a good price dont deserve to be in business (looks over at southwest). But that set aside, Why haven't changes like that occured in the US? Why haven't airlines like southwest or any others drastically changed the seat pitches in order to squeeze in a row or two and why dont they charge for every convenience? My thought is because in the US no matter how much the "southwest effect" sets in, flying is still "glamorous"... even though its far from that. And also they would go out of business because people would complain and we all know how Americans like to complain (Being an american, I, for one also like to complain, just to clarify im not trying to offend anyone, merely stating how I feel about our society as a whole, which is probably why I have to write this paragraph in perentheses about how im not trying to offen anyone).
 
ARGinLON
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:27 am

Just the idea of travelling with all those typical “holiday makers” keeps me well away from charters!

And the check-in queues? Just appalling.
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:36 am

Quoting Jmc757 (Reply 15):
When does she wish to travel? See if your fantastic schedueld airlines can get her there any cheaper.

Well the scheduled options require 2 changes from MAN and cost out at £800 (as she is travelling in less than 2 weeks) so no they can't.

Quoting PA110 (Reply 17):
But, then you complain about all the extras that would be charged so that you can have all the same amenities of the higher priced scheduled service. What part of this don't you understand?

I'm not complaining at all. I even said I was impressed that they could get away with some of them. I was just sharing my surprise at some of the things that pass as extras these days. Good on them if people pay it.

Quoting Sausageandmash (Reply 18):
Obviously you didn't do your research JUST that well. If you are commenting on the "awful" service of charter airlines, perhaps First Choice to Sanford would not be a good example to use. I suggest you do a search on this forum and look at exactly what FCA long-haul flights offer - I really am tired of repeating myself. Suffice to say, the standard of service and - as you make such a song-and-dance about it - seat pitch (at 33" standard and 36" premium) is greater than BA and Virgin in their economy cabin.

I'm well aware of FCA's excellent long haul service and if you read some of the threads which you suggest I search you will find me praising them for it. SFB was not really a bad example because they still charge all those things if you want them. I'm sure the service is excellent and the cabin looks very comfortable. Again I am in no way criticising charter airlines just making an observation in a light hearted way about all of the things some charge for. I grew up flying airlines like Monarch, air 2000, Britannia etc. and have fond memories of my flights with them, I was just surprised to see how things have changed.

Quoting Sausageandmash (Reply 18):
I am fed up of the snobbery against charter airlines.

Me too but I have nothing against them. I would dladly fly FCA to SFB but I certainly would't pay for any of the extras but that's my choice.
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
b6sea
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:48 am

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Reply 22):
Me too but I have nothing against them. I would dladly fly FCA to SFB but I certainly would't pay for any of the extras but that's my choice.

Not singling you out or anything, but HOW CAN YOU SIT IN THE CATTLE CAR FOR 6+ HRS???? What is yout secret? I mean, I'm only 5' 10" and I think 31" is crampt albeit do-able. For me its a matter of principle too, would you rather support an airline that is forcing standards down the toilet in order to make a profit (this also forces the standards on the other airlines down because they have to make money from the passengers they loose to the competitors and uniformly lower their standards to stay in profitability/offer the lower price). I mean I would rather fly BA(or any other non-charter) and pay an extra $100-$200 in order to 1: keep my comfort 2: know I was making a difference (however slight) in keeping decent standards.

#2 is also why I am such an adamant fan of B6
 
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Crosswind
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:49 am

And the case for the defence;

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
The first thing I noticed was that you can spend a small fortune on getting that seat you’ve always wanted. For example First Choice charge, get this, £17 each for long haul flights (£10 for the kiddies) to sit together. But don’t worry if you’re just taking that 2.5 hour flight to Malaga because that will only cost you £7 (or a bargain £5 for the little’uns)

Point 1 - There is no charge to sit together, or anything similar.

The charge is to have your party pre-allocated seats together, which allows the recommended check-in time to be reduced to 60 minutes. When my family used to fly charter we usually tried to get to the airport 3 hours before departure to make sure we were seated together. If you choose to pay for the service, you can arrive later without worrying about seat allocation. If you choose not to pay, the status quo is maintained, seats are allocated on a first come first served basis at check-in, if you arrive early you will be allocated seats together, if you arrive late there is a chance that it will not be possible to seat your party together. The service is aimed at families, there'd be little point in a couple booking it, you'd have to be the very last person to check-in on a completely full flight for a pair of seats together not to be available.

Again going back to my own experiences, on the return journey you have

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
On a First Choice Airways short-haul flight you will have 28" of legroom in a normal Economy seat, or 33" if you have upgraded to the Premium service

Point 2 - The seat-pitch is clearly documented, and as pointed out upgrades are available if you want more legroom. Short-haul premium with 33" costs £29-£49 return on the A321 and exit-row extra legroom seats are £30 return on short-haul, where the pitch is at least 45" except on the A320.

People know what to expect in terms of legroom on a short-haul charter flight, there won't be any, and I honestly don't think the charges for extra legroom are in any way unreasonable. Especially for taller people like myself, it means you don't have to get to the airport unreasonably early and try your luck in the lottery of exit-row allocation.

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
And if the thought of sitting in that 28” seat is too much for you then how about an extra legroom seat for £30 (First Choice, Monarch). Lying long haul? No problem, just cross our palms with an extra 30 quid. Yes folks that’s £60 to avoid DVT on your next trip to Hurricane swept Florida.

Point 3 - No charter airlines have 28" pitch on their long-haul aircraft - the standard is 30" Standard seat pitch on First Choice Airways' long-haul aircraft is 33"

First Choice Airways offer more legroom than any other UK charter airline, British Airways, bmi, Virgin or any US scheduled carrier except American Airlines on their Trans-Atlantic flights as standard. If you want to pay £60 return for 45" pitch then it's available, but it's by no means essential for a comfortable journey. No mention made of the 31 channel PTV system in economy on our aircraft either...

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
But if you like living dangerously and will take your chances at check-in then you can check-in the night before for just £5 per person on First Choice.

Point 3 - It's an option by no means compulsory, some people living near the airport or staying overnight in hotels use the service to get rid of their suitcases the day before and arrive later for their flight the next day. You also get your pick of the available seats - no need to pre-book group seating if you check-in the day before!

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
But if you’re an A.netter you’ll also want to know what type of aircraft you are flying on, no? Fear not, a return visit to those informative First Choice FAQs will surely yield an answer.

“Your flight will be operated by a charter airline using modern passenger aircraft”.

The website and brochures list carriers for each specific flight, so you will know when you book who you are due to fly with. As soon as you book your confirmation invoice lists the airline and also flight number and terminal information. If you are flying with First Choice Airways you could go to the Fleet Information page for technical details, albeit slightly out-of-date.

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
But don’t worry because you might get lucky and be flying an airline like First Choice that gives meals for free and even lets you choose a vegetarian and diabetic meal if needed. But wait, remember last week when you went to the Synagogue to take a vow of Judaism. Poo, that Kosher meal you want costs £10, oh no you’re flying to Florida aren’t you, that’s £20 then.

Point 4 - Kosher meals are expensive to provide, they have to be specially prepared and are not produced in-house by normal caterers. As a result these extra costs are passed on to customers - until this year kosher meals were not even provided by First Choice. Anyone of the Jewish faith can still eat for free on a First Choice flight by selecting a vegetarian meal at no extra charge. Did you know that some specialist Israeli tour operators even select all-vegetarian meals for their passengers because of the cost of providing kosher meals on board?

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Thread starter):
So here is how it stacks up for your average Jewish family of 4 flying First Choice to SFB (as an example):

Sit together: £17x2 £10x2
Extra Leg Room: £30x4
Night Before Check-in: £5x4
Kosher Meal: £20x4

Giving a grand “extras” total of £274, just enough to pay for granny to come along

One by one;

-Sit together: £17x2 £10x2
-Night Before Check-in: £5x4
Why would this hypothetical family book day before check-in and pre-bookable seating??? They'd probably be the first 4 people to check-in, there's no way they'll be separated on board and checking-in later the next day is immaterial since they've paid £5 each to check-in the previous day!

-Extra Leg Room: £30x4
It would actually be £60x4, and if a 33" pitch isn't enough for them then that's what they would be charged. Incidentally Virgin Atlantic who offer a 31" pitch also charge for extra-legroom seating, as do LCCs like bmi baby.

-Kosher Meal: £20x4
Again if you want it, it is available, if not the vegetarian option is free.

Reasonably the extras would probably come to £100, and most of that is down to kosher meals, so if you'd chosen a non-Jewish family for example their extras for the flight for Florida would be a whopping £20 between 4 of them!

Competing against low-cost carriers have forced charter airlines to streamline their services, but much of what is "extra" for is charged for on cheaper last-minute holidays. For example a Sovereign Holiday (First Choices' 4/5* brand) includes pre-booked group seating, late check-in, 30kg baggage allowance, in-flight meals and free drinks as standard on all First Choice Airways flights. If you're spending a reasonable amount of the money with us, the service you receive from the company will reflect that. If you book a £199 holiday to Majorca in allocated-on-arrival accommodation and expect to be charged for all the above!

Interesting debate nonetheless...

Regards
CROSSWIND
 
jmc757
Posts: 1205
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 3:36 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:15 am

Quoting B6sea (Reply 20):
I always love it how the seat pitch on the UK charters is 26-28" and on one of our local bus systems (sound transit) it's 29".

26"?! I assure you there are no charter airlines operating aircarft with 26" seat pitch. 28" is the minimum.

Quoting B6sea (Reply 23):
Not singling you out or anything, but HOW CAN YOU SIT IN THE CATTLE CAR FOR 6+ HRS????

First Choice long haul have a generous 33" pitch, more than BA and Virgin. Cattle car? I could go on all day quoting your posts on this topic and correcting you, but I don't feel its worth it. You clearly do not have any idea how the air travel markets in Europe work, and the fact they are totally different to those in the USA.
 
Leezyjet
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:27 am

Don't forget that with charter airlines, someone somewhere has paid to charter that a/c for that flight so the airline has already been paid or will be paid for the whole cost of flying that a/c regardless of how many seats are sold. When you buy a ticket, you are buying it from whoever chartered the a/c so as they paid for it they can charge what they like for whatever they like. Obviously this is slightly different if the airline is operating services on behalf of itself, but that is pretty rare for charter airlines in peak summer season.

Also are charter airlines still legally required to provide you with accomodation for the first night ?. They certainly used to be. Even if you bought a seat only, they legally had to give you an accommodation voucher with it although these were seldom used.

Quoting Candid76 (Reply 14):
As a former check-in agent I can tell you it is no quicker to select seats for the pax at check-in than not to, and there is certainly no cost involved!

It actually costs more to have seat allocation than not if using a computer based check-in sysytem. The owner of the system charges more to have the airlines seat maps stored on its database and then charges for the use of the seat maps for check-in, so as Ryanair do, they check you in on the system for speed as it's quicker than manual check-in but don't use seat maps as it would cost the airline more to have this function. Although for the check-in agent as you say it takes no longer to allocate a seat than not.

Same as producing a loadsheet - it costs anywhere between £10-£60 to produce a loadsheet in a CRS, and that is just for the system charge, where as Ryanair use manual loadsheets because it's cheaper (well they used to anyway) as they only have to pay for the costs of the person to produce it.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
ACEregular
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:53 am

Charter Vs BA, let me tell you I have been looking for any flights I could possibly get from the Northeast to Tenerife in October (half term week) the Air Scandic flight operated on behalf of MyTravel and XL is full from NCL and MME dodnt have the Tuesday departure.

FIRST CHOICE, do you hear that Sausageandmash, yeah FIRST CHOICE wanted 409.00 for a return on thier flight operated by TCX and TCX themselves wanted 287.00. I think its outrageous, so after a lot of scouting about I am flying on BA!!!!! LGW-TFN 99.00 return!!!! with the connections on BA I am taking along with a night in the travelodge at LGW 178.50.

coupled with what am expecting to be superior service and better seat pitch I would say its not a bad deal at all.

Charter airlines need to watch what they are doing, the Sched's are getting clever.

[Edited 2005-08-25 20:00:57]

[Edited 2005-08-25 20:03:50]
 
jmc757
Posts: 1205
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:59 am

Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 26):
Also are charter airlines still legally required to provide you with accomodation for the first night ?. They certainly used to be. Even if you bought a seat only, they legally had to give you an accommodation voucher with it although these were seldom used.

The law as it stands now is that a charter airlines are not allowed to sell tickets direct to the public. Whenever you book a charter seat only, you are a customer of a tour operator at some point.

Alcregular, its a school holiday, charter prices always rocket at school holidays because the tour operator know they can charge it. They will probably sell those seats in with a package deal anyway, which is of course what they would prefer to do, and with it being half term shouldn't have too much trouble. Also, Tenerife is a route that many schedueld airlines have jumped on.

I'm going to Zante week today. I payed under £300 for 14 nights including accomodation going from BHX. To fly schedueld, the flight would cost me £814.60, take me on 3 different airlines, through 4 different airports and take me 16 hours! Ok, unrealistic, no-one serves BHX-ZTH schedueld, but its a good example - charter airlines serve their purpose.

[Edited 2005-08-25 20:09:39]
 
gkirk
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away Wit

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:00 am

A message for The people that say that the people WHO DO fly charter airlines are chavs:
You are the proper chavs. Stop judging people on what airline they fly with. It's prejudiced people like you that make me sick.
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
Posts: 1040
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:14 am

Quoting ACEregular (Reply 27):
FIRST CHOICE, do you hear that Sausageandmash, yeah FIRST CHOICE wanted 409.00 for a return on thier flight operated by TCX and TCX themselves wanted 287.00. I think its outrageous, so after a lot of scouting about I am flying on BA!!!!! LGW-TFN 99.00 return!!!! and the connections I am taking along with a night in the travelodge at LGW ammounts to the grand total of 178.50.

To be fair very few people actually buy "seat only" on charter airlines and most get the flight bundled in with their holiday but they can be expensive. The trick, which is the opposite from the scheduled carriers, is to wait until the last minute and assuming they have availability they will be virtually giving the last seats away.

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 24):
And the case for the defence;

And a good case you make (I'll ignore your obvious bias  Wink ) I didn't mean to pick on FCA - they are one of the better ones but they do offer the best selection of "extras".

Absolutely people know what they are getting and it works for them when they buy their holiday. I wonder how much some of these extras get pushed by travel agents though? I think you have to say, and this is not being snobish, that your typical IT passenger will be less flight-savvy than your frequent flyer types on the likes of BA and hence I think the airlines are taking advantage of that a little with some of these extras which people may be persuaded to buy which most people on this thread have agreed they wouldn't pay.

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 24):
Did you know that some specialist Israeli tour operators even select all-vegetarian meals for their passengers because of the cost of providing kosher meals on board?

I didn't but being vegetarian I do like the sound of that  Smile

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 24):
Point 3 - No charter airlines have 28" pitch on their long-haul aircraft - the standard is 30" Standard seat pitch on First Choice Airways' long-haul aircraft is 33"

I want to disagree with you on that but I can't find any evidence. I'm sure Thomson have their 767s with 29" though. Anyone?
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:21 am

Reading the first post reminded me of that UA advert that was UK screens a few years back where the couple are checking out of the hotel..

Receptionist: 'Did you see the sunset last night?'
Couple: 'Yes, it was lovely'
Receptionist looks at keyboard and starts tapping...

 Smile

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 29):
A message for The people that say that the people WHO DO fly charter airlines are chavs:
You are the proper chavs. Stop judging people on what airline they fly with. It's prejudiced people like you that make me sick.

Have you been to LGW South recently? By accident or otherwise  Wink

Quoting AlanUK (Reply 8):
That is very poor indeed. And probably on the verge of illegality in the European Union. Couldn't this be considered "racist" against a particular group of people?

My thoughts when I was reading the original post, although surely in this day and age of lawsuits ahoy First Coice would have found some loophole or hire some legal bigwig.

Quoting ACEregular (Reply 27):
FIRST CHOICE, do you hear that Sausageandmash, yeah FIRST CHOICE wanted 409.00 for a return on thier flight operated by TCX and TCX themselves wanted 287.00. I think its outrageous, so after a lot of scouting about I am flying on BA!!!!! LGW-TFN 99.00 return!!!! with the connections on BA I am taking along with a night in the travelodge at LGW 178.50.

 thumbsup  An interesting observation since many people just presume full service carriers are more expensive. Last year I was looking at going to Berlin for the day, a month in advance I paid less for business class on BA than it would have cost to go on Easyjet! (ok not a charter but you see my point!)
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
Posts: 1040
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:57 pm

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:23 am

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 29):
A message for The people that say that the people WHO DO fly charter airlines are chavs:
You are the proper chavs. Stop judging people on what airline they fly with. It's prejudiced people like you that make me sick.

 down  I didn't want this thread to make anybody ill.

I agree it is very big generalisation for anyone to make that charter airlines = chavs and a wrong one. All sorts of people book package holidays - my parents, many of my friends, and when I start a family probably me and none of them are chavs. Besides these airlines fly to some very "posh" places in Italy for example and winter ski resorts - certainly chav free locations. However I can also forgive people for thinking that if they wonder around the MAN T1 check in area at 08:00 on a summers morning (but of course they'd be wrong  Wink )
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
gkirk
Posts: 23345
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:34 am

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 31):
Have you been to LGW South recently? By accident or otherwise Wink

So? I fly charter airlines so that makes me a chav?
Well, I guess anyone who flies anything other than Economy are retarded, twats who think they are above everyone else.
Seems fair?
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
gilesdavies
Posts: 2268
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:51 pm

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:38 am

How about if you book a late or last minute holiday with one of the major UK tour operators...

For example

Thomson website "Holidays from only £129!"

Ohh we forgot to mention the basic cost of the holiday maybe £129, but we'll charge you:

£12 - Ticket on Departure Fee
£7 - Increase Baggage Allowance from 15kg to 20kg
£15 - Airport-Resort Transfer Fee
£25 - Fuel Surcharge
£10 - Pre Book Seat
£10 - In-flight Meal

TOTAL EXTRA FEES
£79 - (61% Increase on the Basic Cost)
Bringing a £129 holiday to £209.

These kind of charges are scandalous!

The website automatically adds all the above fees to the final price and many people do not know that you can click on these and remove some of these additional charges as they are optional!

Does Britannia/Thomsonfly still offer free headphones, or do you have to pay for them to watch the IFE?

If you want extra legroom that will be an additional £30, just to sit by an emergency exit - were not talking about getting any kind of premium service!

I still think £209 is a very good price for a last minute deal in August, but my concern/frustration is how they advertise the price of the holiday and all these additional charges pop up from nowhere!
 
AIHTOURS
Posts: 323
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:50 am

I notice you mentioned the charge for select a seat, after you have reserved the seats in the first place. I have experienced this with Thomson Holidays. Havenñt you already reserved seats in the first place? You are informed it is a choice, but who would choose not to sit next to you relatives?

I'm sure Thomson have their 767s with 29" though. Anyone?

It will depend which Aircraft you travel on. Thomson 767-200s operating Short-Haul flights will be in 28 inch configurations, and the Thomson 767-300s Not Designated operating Long-Haul this year will be in 28 inch configuration.

At a guess, there are 4 767-300s this year in the Thomson fleet selected for Long-Haul flying with the 30" pitch and Premium service. I am sure G-OBYJ is one of them. I will be able to rectify this when I get my hands on the TUI documents in a few days. (contains configurations, registrations etc...) In the mean time, member AvionicMech may help.

I do not understand why First Choice are getting a grilling here, being one of the better Charter Airlines. Unfortunately, maybe you should take a look at Thomson "Your Holiday, Your Choice".


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ExPedia
Posts: 49
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:02 am

Although charter carriers were among the first (and are the strictest at enforcing) extra charges, it's worth noting that the are not alone. N. American sched carriers are introducing similar fees. On some fare classes, advanced seat selection will cost you, extra baggage will cost you (and the free allowance is going down), meals are often BOB, IFE will cost you etc.

I am not saying that this is a wonderful trend - wouldn't it be great if we could all fly F for Q fares? - but pointing out that these folks are not alone in charging for services. And, as is often the case, they did it first and the sched gang are playing catch up.

The reality is that there is very little money in operating a seat-only charter across an entire series (assuming a seasonal destination schedule). In years past - and before oil at US$68/barrel - most of the real money being made was from the sale of IFE (headsets) and duty-free. In fact they usually only make about GBP 6 - 7 per pax off the seat alone. If anything that number is less now.
-- ExPedia
 
BCAL
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:07 am

Why use charters? Well often they are the only airlines flying the route direct and non-stop. BA only started serving LPA direct from LGW a few years back. Before that scheduled flights meant changing at Madrid or Barcelona, adding hours to the journey and £s to the fare.

Going back to the 1970s and 1980s, when my parents had a villa in Majorca (away from the hot spots), no British scheduled carrier served PMI (BD later started this route) and IB was the only scheduled carrier on the route from UK. Property owners generally booked charter flights to PMI arranged through Owners Abroad (who went on to become First Choice).

Charters are only for chavs? Well it might be true if the flight is being operated for the likes of Club 18-30 in the middle of the night, or in the early days of the bucket-and-spade brigade on a cheap holiday to Spain, but generally I found charter passengers to be good flying companions. My worst experience with bad-behaved passengers, who I would classify as "chavs", was on a scheduled VS flight.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
Gary2880
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:17 am

Does everyone not go abroad on their BBJ?  snooty 
Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel :- Samuel Johnson
 
ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:42 am

Quoting Gary2880 (Reply 38):
Does everyone not go abroad on their BBJ?

Not since I got my A319CJ  Smile
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
Air380
Posts: 172
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RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:44 am

Please tell me what chavs are!!!
 
BCAL
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:16 pm

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:48 am

Quoting Air380 (Reply 40):
Please tell me what chavs are!!!

Chav is a slang term, usually derogatory, used in the United Kingdom to define lower-class youths seen as tawdry hooligans.

Source: Ask Jeeves?

[Edited 2005-08-25 22:19:46]
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
Air380
Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:18 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:49 am

Thanks! Learned some proper English  Smile
 
ManchesterMAN
Topic Author
Posts: 1040
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:57 pm

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:02 am

Quoting Air380 (Reply 40):
Please tell me what chavs are!!!

All you need to know here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
vsmike
Posts: 279
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2003 12:40 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:04 am

Please.
Full-service Virgin Atlantic change GBP75/USD75 on the day-of-departue for Emergency Exit seats (not including the window seat), providing the flight is over 50% full.
That's nasty!
Skyteam. Caring More About Me.
 
707lvr
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:41 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:10 am

As a genuine plane/travel enthusiast, as we all are, I just have to shake my head at all of this. The industry has gone totally in the opposite direction from what was envisioned not that long ago. Remember when there were actual commercials showing off comfort and style? About all that's left is "we will move you," which is pretty much the motto of the city bus company. Sure, I realize it's totally the buck or euro, but does the standard have to be the chav? (Great new word Ugirlie, and thanks for the excellent definition, BCAL  Smile
 
Ricci767
Posts: 148
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:28 pm

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:33 am

Let me just say that in my experience I think all charter airlines suck. The main offender has to be MY TRAVEL!!! Closely followed by Monarch. I am about 6 foot 2 and I couldn't even sit straight in one of their A320's last year, I actually had to sit sideways due to lack of room. Before pushback though I was fortunate to be moved by one of the FA's to the emergency exit row because they needed someone to sit there. It was much much better, I could sit straight but my knees still dug into the seat in front.

Two years ago I flew on Air 2000 to Sanford from Gatwick and that was better but the seat pitch and service was still a bit crap. This November I am flying with them again, albeit now First Choice. I know they have refurbished their 767-300's increasing seat pitch and all that so hopefully it will be much better.

Scheduled airlines are so much better!!!! I have flown on Virgin Atlantic and I have to say it is the best airline I have ever flown with! The service was so great! And the seat pitch was great. I liked it that I didn't have to wait half an hour for a drinks cart while I could just go to the galley and pick up whatever I wanted.

I have to agree with the idea that /all the chav's fly charter airlines. I certainly noticed a big decrease of in-flight "chavness" on Virgin Atlantic over My travel, Monarch, Air 2000 and Britannia. On the charter flights it was burberry, fake gold, whiny voices and girls with the "Croyden facelift" everywhere! I was seated in the rear cabin of the VS 747-400 and there was only one chav group, who got a bit rowdy over the Atlantic, other than that it appeared to be middle class "normal" people, unless the chav's had dropped all the fake gold and burberry and gone into clever disguise.
 
ExPedia
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:37 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:37 am

Quoting 707lvr (Reply 45):
The industry has gone totally in the opposite direction from what was envisioned not that long ago. Remember when there were actual commercials showing off comfort and style? About all that's left is "we will move you," which is pretty much the motto of the city bus company.

While I agree it is sort of a shame, in many ways I think the "comfort and style" part is a bit of a red herring. Remember, back in the early days of commercial aviation, air travel was really only about the wealthy. It cost a lot, and people got the requisite bells and whistles. What has happened is that affordable travel has opened the world for folks and created the real opportunity for global travel and global business. Want the bells and whistles, champagne and caviar? It's all there, and more on today's top carriers - and (big supposition coming) it's likely not that much more in today's dollars than the regular service was way back when.

It wasn't that long ago (try 25 years) that an average bloke UK holiday maker couldn't even dream of a sun holiday in Spain. Not to mention that when most immigrants left Europe, say, after WWII for the US or Canada they went by ship and were resigned to likely never seeing home again. The fact that a sun holiday is now within almost everyone's reach as is a hop from YYZ to LHR for one day is a tribute to the fact that the concept, and commercial aviation at all points of the spectrum, is actually quite sound.

But still a nasty way to make money  Smile
-- ExPedia
 
Air380
Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:18 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:41 am

Well, it is not in the UK but Condor flies FRA-MCO for 99 Euros one way! I would definitely book that over any regular carrier! You just have to pay for a beer, but get a free meal. (just like the normal US airlines). Surely that gives sun starved Germans the opportunity to go somewhere nice that could not go otherwise?!
 
ExPedia
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:37 am

RE: See What A UK Charter Airline Can Get Away With...

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:48 am

Quoting Air380 (Reply 48):
Well, it is not in the UK but Condor flies FRA-MCO for 99 Euros one way! I would definitely book that over any regular carrier! You just have to pay for a beer, but get a free meal. (just like the normal US airlines). Surely that gives sun starved Germans the opportunity to go somewhere nice that could not go otherwise?!

And that is exactly the point. There will always be many, many people more than prepared to make this tradeoff, and no carrier in its' right mind (and yes, that is open for debate  Wink) would turn them away.
-- ExPedia

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