Video report of the below trip: FlyBE - BE6160 - London Southend to Budapest - ERJ195/LRBritish Airways - Club Europe - BA867 - Budapest to London Background
Hello A'netters. Hope you're all well.
We had an upgrade voucher via Avios that I wanted to make use of. Hunting through the BA website I was able to bag 2 return upgrade tickets from Budapest, on Club Europe.
It was then time to look into how we get to Budapest. There were quite a few reasonable options. But we wanted either something late on a Friday or first thing Saturday morning.
I really liked the look of the FlyBe option from Southend. Timing and pricing ticked the right boxes. And it would also enable me to try out Southend airport.
New airport. New route. New aircraft (would be my first on an ERJ195 LR). I was sold.
Booking via the website was simple enough and easy to navigate.
Since we had a 0720 departure we needed to stay near the airport.
Premier inn seemed to be the best bet. A total of £30 for the room plus another £30 for the train to Southend plus a tenner for the 2 way taxi from the airport. Net of 70 quid on top of the air ticket was still cheaper than taking the night Ryanair flight from Stansted. Result.
FlyBe started this new route in May of 2017. It operates a thrice weekly flight from London's 6th airport. Was looking forward to this flight.
Thanks for GCMap for the illustration of our route, below:FlyBe (Air Stobart) - BE6160
Route: SEN - BUD
Flight Reg:G-FBEL; Delivered to FlyBe on June 2008.
Aircraft Type: EMBRAER ERJ-195 LR
Flight time: 07:20 - 10:45 (07:37 - 10:37)
Actual flight time: 2Hr
Distance: 881 Miles
Load: Around 50%
4 Nov 2017
My Log book: 3rd Flight on FlyBe/ 1st flight on EMBRAER ERJ-195 LR / 147th Total overall flight
Southend Train station - The night before our trip
Checked in online (OCI) the previous day. OCI begins 36 hours prior to departure. Upon OCI, seat selection was charged for, or else free automatic section. I chose the free automatic selection and was lucky to get 6A and B. the website wasn’t able to add our Avios number during checking in. Apart from that a seamless process. (it has been over a month now, and still have not received any points for my account, but my wife has received it! Not worth the hassle to follow up)
On the day it was a quick 5 minute drive to the airport. Check in was super quick. Security took around 10 minutes.
SEN on a Saturday morning 6:00 AM
FlyBe Check in desks
Heading towards security
There are 6 boarding gates at the airside. Few restaurants and a duty free shop. Decent for a small regional airport. Bear in mind that the food at the restaurant is very expensive. A coffee and croissant costs you £6.60!
Airside at SEN
The most expensive Croissant and coffee here; friendly service though:
Early morning departures at SEN
Boarding began 30 minutes before departure. But was held in A queue due to engineering checks. We were held for around 20 minutes and only boarded by 7:20 which meant a slightly delayed departure.
Flight time of 2 hours announced which meant that we would still land before scheduled arrival.
Time to board, on EasyJet???
There is our ride to BUD - A 9 year old ERJ195LR
20 minutes in the line, finally get to boardFirst impressions.
Warm welcome by the cabin crew. Aircraft smelt and looked fresh. I'm sure it helped that this was the first flight for the day on this aircraft.
Disembarked from the gate 10 minutes behind schedule. With the usual safety demonstration and indication of the route from the flight deck, out of the way, we roared down the runway in what probably felt like the quickest take off I've experienced.
I like the 2X2 seating on the ERJ195
Leg space shot
Neighbours at SEN -> EasyJet heading to Amsterdam
Reading material on board
There were quite a few empty seats on this flight today. Around 50% load. I did question the route While Booking The Flight. Essex to Budapest? Even though it's only thrice weekly.? Who would go? And my question was answered today. Not many.
My breakfast on board - Tasted quite good, actually
I'm not sure what's the arrangement between FlyBe and Stobart too. As all the cabin crew, the livery, uniforms and all ancillary branding were all FlyBe. It was mentioned that this is a flight operated by Stobart but that's about it.
The rest of the flight was very comfortable. The temperature was towards the colder side and I prefer it this way.
Upon approaching Budapest, we got a beautiful view of The Danube and airport before landing.
Landed 5 min ahead of schedule. Remote stand parking. Unfortunately there was a bus waiting to bus us but no stairs. Lol!
Over the Danube
Landing at BUD on a cold and sunny winters day
From here on it was a quick exit out of the airport. Rental car collected and was looking forward to our 3 days in Budapest.
Tailfins at BUD
Can i choose the one on the right, please. Thank you.
Bussed to the terminal
Thank you FlyBE
Exiting the airport Verdict
For us, this service worked really well. We had no issues and all things considered it was a very good option for us. Would we use it again, given the price and timing, perhaps yes.
Not sure how long this route would continue, though, as it looked like a very light load and for the price paid, not sure if it would be sustainable.
That being said, thanks for FlyBe for a great ride into Budapest.Sights around Budapest
St. Stephen's Basilica
Danube against the setting sun
Hungarian Parliament building all lit up
On a misty road in Duna-Ipoly National Park
Basilica of Esztergom
DanubeBritish Airways - BA867
Route: BUD - LHR
Flight Reg:G-EUUD; Delivered to BA on April 2002.
Aircraft Type: Airbus 320-200
Flight time: 17:40 - 19:25 (17:51 - 19:01 )
Actual flight time: 2Hr 10 min
Distance: 928 Miles
6 Nov 2017
My Log book: 25th Flight on BA/ 33rd flight on Airbus 320-200/ 148th Total overall flight
3 days later, it was time to leave Budapest
Day before flight online check in via mobile was a usual BA affair. Simple and seamless. Quite a few seats available on club Europe.
Day of the flight quick drive to the airport and car hire drop. Check in desks opened at 1540. it took us 12 minutes to check in.
Departures at BUD
Whenever i see this, it reminds me of the Movie 'Terminal' starring Tom Hanks
Check in desks at BUD
Heading towards Security
BA do not provide fast track at Budapest. Most, if not all the other airlines, do provide fast-track on premium class travel. Really do not see the point of club Europe on BA when such perks are also not provided. I wouldn't be surprised if BA completely follow the LCC route in Europe in the near future. Don't think anyone would ever buy a full fare club Europe ticket with their own money. A small perk like this would go a long way especially when other carriers provide them.
Anyways it took around 20 minutes to clear security.
Duty free at BUD
Airside at BUD
We then made our way to the lounge near gate B7.
Lounge was quite cosy or in other words quite tiny. Very few food and drinks options. Just about alright but nowhere sufficient for an airport like the Budapest. I'm not sure if there any other lounges at the airport. Probably near gates A.
Heading to the Lounge
Boarding began at 1710 and priority boarding worked well.
First impressions was usual BA. clean and crisp. Nice Philharmonic music being played upon boarding.
Seats as we all know, Leg space is a bit cramped but the centre seat locked for personal items is quite handy.
Time to board
There is our ride - A 15 year old A320 (G-EUUD)
Smart but cramped interiors
Where are all the aircrafts?
Middle seat - Handy when you have more than one drink
Full flight on this route back to Heathrow. On all classes and there were 5 rows of club Europe on this flight.
Boarding complete at 1730.
What do you guys think about the new BA safety video for comic relief? I think it's alright. They tried their take on British humour. Perhaps they tried a bit too hard?
Nevertheless we had a short taxi and away we went.
What BA lacked on the ground, lounge and cramped Seats, they made up for it with flawless and pampered service. It was a full load today and the flight attendants Worked tirelessly for the duration of the flight.
Started off with a spicy bloody Mary. Then has a Spanish red for the dinner service.
Dinner was fabulous. The chicken tikka was a perfect way to end our trip with.
Bloody Mary it is! Love the Ciroc!
A very tasty meal
The trays were plastic but it didn't bother me too much.
Slightly turbulent ride back but nothing catastrophic.
We landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
It was a very quiet time at Heathrow T3. We were out of the airport with baggage by 1930! Btw bags marked with 'priority' didn't arrive first nevertheless we got our bags fairly quickly.
London Skyline at night
Good to be home!
And with that, our trip ended. We had a fabulous time in Hungary and would definitely like to go back.
Hope you enjoyed this trip report. My next one would be to our trip to Vietnam for the Chinese New Year in February 2018. We have a few road trips across Europe in the interim, but no flight related trips unfortunately.
Until then, happy and safe flying.