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sq_ek_freak
Topic Author
Posts: 1180
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 4:48 pm

Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 1:22 pm

So I've finally booked my flights for the summer. I was going to be in Geneva for work and wanted a quick side trip to Beirut to visit a couple of close friends also there for work. Since the leg between GVA and BEY would be a personal expense, I wanted the cheapest ticket possible. From our base in LAX, I am already confirmed on United to JFK, then Swiss to GVA both on Business. I wanted to stick to Star Alliance, but LH, LX (via FRA) were both $1000+ to BEY. Alitalia (via MXP) and MEA (direct) were about $950, TK (via IST) was $770 and Egypt Air (via CAI) was $700. In the end the best flight I could find was with Malev Hungarian Airlines via Budapest to Beirut. The timings, though being dead in the middle of the night (0315 arrival, 0425 dept. from BEY) are perfect, about an hour layover at Budapest either way. The price was also right at $470.

Now my question: how are Malev? I don't have much of an idea of their service or their safety. What should I expect? I am on the F70 and CRJ for the GVA-BUD sectors, with the BEY sectors being operated by a B73G. The flights are all either very late night or very early morning - am I going to get anything in terms of meals? How are the crews? Also, are they part of any major alliance or share any agreements with other airline programs? I am a UA Star Gold - would I be able to earn any mileage?

Any help would be great, thanks!
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sq_ek_freak
Topic Author
Posts: 1180
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 4:48 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 4:44 pm

One more question: I noticed that almost all the flights I looked at landed and took off from Beirut at odd hours of the night, ranging from 2-4am. Why is that?
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L410Turbolet
Posts: 6217
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 4:56 pm

Quoting SQ_EK_freak (Reply 1):
I noticed that almost all the flights I looked at landed and took off from Beirut at odd hours of the night, ranging from 2-4am. Why is that?

Utlization of aircraft? Airports in this region, i.e. TLV, BEY, LCA, ATH, CAI also have a lot of arrivals from Europe in these ungodly very early morning hours.
 
PEET7G
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:00 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 6:18 pm

To make it simple, MALEV is my favorite airline and number 1 choice whenever I fly within the reach of their network. I know you might say I am bi-assed, cus I am from Hungary, but let me back my claims up with all my colleagues who are from all around Europe and the world and once getting them to try MALEV they remain a MALEV fan. I have a German colleague who always takes the MUC-BUD-ATH route whenever he is flying to the office in ATH (he chooses this itinerary against direct flights with LUFTHANSA!!! The other airline I find top of the tops!)

Professional crew, excellent punctuality record, wonderful customer service, modern fleet, etc, etc.. The meals are great even in this world of cutting back services... and I have never had any problem getting as many drinks as I wanted... never had this answer: sorry sir, we are out of this or that...

I had bad things too, after all just last year I done 36 segments with MALEV alone... delayed or cancelled flight, but in every case the staff went waaay out to handle the situation. Rerouting us or accommodating passengers, handing out meal vouchers, etc.

Since April 1st they are a full member of the Oneworld alliance, and rightfully so!

I can only hope that the privatisation will only help this airline and not step back and let go of their quality and well known brand...

[Edited 2007-05-03 11:19:46]
Peet7G
 
dean
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 11:39 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 8:03 pm

Hi,

Just to add some things:

- GVA-BUD-GVA legs will be fine... but you might find the CR2 a bit small and limited cabin luggage service could be also annoying to someone.

- BUD-BEY-BUD legs are normal night flights, but of course you will get a normal portion of food and complementary drinks, even if it's hard to imagine from the USA these days  Smile Malev operates their 737NGs in a normal layout, not like LCCs, so according to the European average, you will find it comfy. There are no PTVs.

- UA Star Gold does not really worth anything at MA, sorry.
 
AF022
Posts: 1854
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 10:41 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 9:50 pm

European flights on European carriers to/from Beirut operate in the middle of the night to keep their narrowbodies in use. Lufthansa can't use an A321, for example, at 0200 within Europe, so it looks to keep these aircraft flying by using them to places like BEY.
 
PRGDLGUY
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:42 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 10:14 pm

Quoting AF022 (Reply 5):
European flights on European carriers to/from Beirut operate in the middle of the night to keep their narrowbodies in use. Lufthansa can't use an A321, for example, at 0200 within Europe, so it looks to keep these aircraft flying by using them to places like BEY.

true....another reason is that these flights are coming back to Europe in the morning without need of hotac for transit pax -most of them are just transiting through EU hubs
 
krisyyz
Posts: 1301
Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:04 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Thu May 03, 2007 10:44 pm

Quoting SQ_EK_freak (Thread starter):
Now my question: how are Malev? I don't have much of an idea of their service or their safety. What should I expect?

http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/malev.htm

http://www.planeticketsnow.com/airlines/airline-info-malev.htm

Malev was also voted "Best Airline in Eastern Europe" last year.
Don't expect anything special, but overall MA is a very good airline. Large enough to have a well developed network which is operated by one of the youngest fleets in Europe, but small enough to provide a constant level of high customer service.

KrisYYZ
 
Aleksandar
Posts: 2941
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 11:43 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 12:14 am

You made a good choice. Malev is an airline worth flying with  bigthumbsup 
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dean
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 11:39 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 12:23 am

Quoting KrisYYZ (Reply 7):
provide a constant level of high customer service

I could argue with that!

The customer service of MA is horrific. I had - luckily - only a few annoying issues, but I've friends, relatives, etc who really had long and nonsense arguing with MA CS because of problems with online bookings, refunds, etc.
When I wanted to book a flight on malev.com, I received all the time an error message in the last step. I called the CS and after 20 minutes of nonsense talking, the guy told me that I shouldn't use Safari as internet browser, because their system supports internet explorer in 100%. I said, that i dont have IE, and I could use the site from my computer all the time. He offered a telephone booking opportunity for extra 35 euros. Hah, he was very customer friendly. Of course it's not his fault, because he was just doing what they told to do, but I got really angry and immediately went to lufthansa.com to book my flight :p

and there are dozens of other stories like this...
 
krisyyz
Posts: 1301
Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:04 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 12:51 am

Quoting Dean (Reply 9):
I could argue with that!

The customer service of MA is horrific. I had - luckily - only a few annoying issues, but I've friends, relatives, etc who really had long and nonsense arguing with MA CS because of problems with online bookings, refunds, etc.
When I wanted to book a flight on malev.com, I received all the time an error message in the last step. I called the CS and after 20 minutes of nonsense talking, the guy told me that I shouldn't use Safari as internet browser, because their system supports internet explorer in 100%. I said, that i dont have IE, and I could use the site from my computer all the time. He offered a telephone booking opportunity for extra 35 euros. Hah, he was very customer friendly. Of course it's not his fault, because he was just doing what they told to do, but I got really angry and immediately went to lufthansa.com to book my flight :p

and there are dozens of other stories like this...

Sure, sure. You can dig up horror stories on any airline. Even big carriers like CX, EK, AA, KL, BA all have issues with customer service. All I was implying is that MOST of MA's customers walk away happy. MA tends to get you from A to B comfortably, on time and with your baggage.

KrisYYZ
 
PEET7G
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:00 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 4:28 am

The F70 will be great... it is confy, scilent, and definitly not that cramped

Quoting Dean (Reply 9):
I could argue with that!

The customer service of MA is horrific. I had - luckily - only a few annoying issues, but I've friends, relatives, etc who really had long and nonsense arguing with MA CS because of problems with online bookings, refunds, etc.
When I wanted to book a flight on malev.com, I received all the time an error message in the last step. I called the CS and after 20 minutes of nonsense talking, the guy told me that I shouldn't use Safari as internet browser, because their system supports internet explorer in 100%. I said, that i dont have IE, and I could use the site from my computer all the time. He offered a telephone booking opportunity for extra 35 euros. Hah, he was very customer friendly. Of course it's not his fault, because he was just doing what they told to do, but I got really angry and immediately went to lufthansa.com to book my flight :p

and there are dozens of other stories like this...

Well you brought up one serious issue... their internet booking system is very very sensitive! It does give me some headaches from time to time, and believe me it is not 100% IExplorer either Big grin

But to say their customer service is horrific is too strong... for those dozens of stories I could give you dozens of exceptional care... so as Kris YYZ said, horror stories could be dug up about any airline.

As for the GVA-BUD segment... yep DEAN is right the CRJ is not a favoured choice in my dictionary either, but it is just a typical regional crap... on the other hand the F70 is the best ~70 seater around! You will enjoy it a lot!
Peet7G
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 6:20 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 2):
Utlization of aircraft? Airports in this region, i.e. TLV, BEY, LCA, ATH, CAI also have a lot of arrivals from Europe in these ungodly very early morning hours.

I think it's also partly for insurance-related reasons. Insurance companies don't like aircraft spending any longer on the ground at certain points in the Middle East (among others) than necessary. Some of the very early morning departures from that area are also to facilitate connections beyond Europe.
 
iadguy73
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:48 am

RE: Malev To Beirut?

Fri May 04, 2007 7:21 am

Quoting PEET7G (Reply 11):
Well you brought up one serious issue... their internet booking system is very very sensitive! It does give me some headaches from time to time, and believe me it is not 100% IExplorer either Big grin

I like MALEV and indeed they are an excellent airline but their website leaves a lot to desire. They should have one worthy of a OneWorld member!

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