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
Photo © Tony Marlow
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.
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
Photo © Colin Hines
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
[Edited 2005-12-03 01:05:44]