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General travel tips on no frills airlines

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No Frills Flying - Some amazing deals are available

While many airlines are clambering over themselves to produce the most high tech of planes, with upgrades being conducted to not only first and business but also economy class. A new style of flying has recently taken to the skies and is proving to be quite a success.

Indeed a recent survey conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which questioned corporate travel managers and the travellers themselves found that fewer than 30% of business travellers would never use such a no frills service. However the survey did identify certain reservations about using such services, which may stem from a lack of understanding of these airlines. The main concern was the lack of leg room, which most travellers seemed to believe comes with such a service, not surprisingly the corporate travel managers were not interested in this preferring cost over comfort. Those that had used the service stated they would prefer a different choice of in-flight meal which is on a pay per eat basis. They said they would like to see simpler food rather than have the airline try to come up with a three course meal.

Especially on short haul flights a number of 'new look' airlines have emerged on the European scene offering flights at very low rates, but without the frills which they say some passengers do not need nor want. These airlines comprise of Virgin Express, Buzz, Go, Easy Jet to name but a few, and to give you an idea of cost a return ticket with Buzz from London to Berlin. cost in March  only 70 pound sterling compared to a whopping 170 pounds sterling with British Airways. The ideology behind the airlines is that you pay to get from A to B and and optional extras you may require such as food and drink, Fastrack at Stansted, or use of lounges are all on a pay per use basis.  

No Frills Flying - Buy your own meals !

So what are these airlines all about ? and what exactly do they mean by no frills ? Are you really crammed in like sheep ?

 We took a closer look at Buzz, to let you know how it works.

Buzz, as do most of the no frills airlines flies from Stanstead in London, which is a 42 minute ride from the centre of London with a train that leaves every 15 minutes. They fly to destinations in Europe such as Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan, Paris and Vienna, and  they are looking to add to these destinations all the time. Each destination is covered by three flights a day, one in the morning one the afternoon and one in the evening with the exception of Milan which does not offer an evening flight on Mondays.

They offer two types of deals, the "Done deal" and the "Open deal". The done deal is the cheaper option, but offers very little flexibility. You need to buy a return flight and stay for at least two nights, however you cannot change the schedule at all, and there are no refunds. They stick to their word on this so make sure you plan the trip wisely we tried to change the return section of a flight, by bringing it forward two days, and true to their word this was not possible so we had to buy a brand new ticket.  The other ticket, the "'Open deal" offers a little more flexibility and may ultimately be more suitable for business travellers whose itineraries may change from one minute to the next. You can buy either a one way or return ticket, and you can change your schedule, you can even cancel the flight two hours before departure, and they will give you credits of the value of the price paid towards your next Buzz flight.

Buzz operates 8 whispering jets known officially as the BAe-146 (British Aerospace 146-300) which is supposed to be one of the quietest jets on the market.  Each carries a maximum of 110 flyers plus crew. With six abreast seating, with each seat offering a pitch of 79cm and are 42cm wide. They also added in February two Boeing 737-300 which offer 142 seats each.

As we have mentioned the price of your ticket includes only the seat, however you can purchase in-flight food and beverage if you so desire before you board the aircraft and during the flight. Freshly ground coffee in a cafetiere costs 1.50 pounds, a beer 2 pounds, a 1/4 bottle of champagne 5 pounds, a sandwich 3.50 pounds. They also offer the traditional three course meal with breakfast costing 5.50 pounds, lunch and dinner 7 pounds.

When we flew with Buzz we were in one of the new Boeing aircraft and it has to be said that it was very comfortable. The seats were well laid out with adequate space, in fact no different really from any short haul European carrier. The check in and boarding was painless, and the stewardess, were all very polite not to mention young which makes a nice change from a lot of today's carriers.

Although skeptical as to what the flight would be like we were pleasantly surprised and would not hesitate to recommend this type of flying to anyone travelling short haul.

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