FlyBE has a highly unusual niche market in the world of British Aviation. Virtually unknown outside its marketing areas, it can best be described as a low-cost with-frills airline, that is still trying to establish itself. There are the usual mainstream airline options of a Frequent Flyer scheme, allocated seats, a business class (ish) with executive lounges, and it code-shares on International (and Transatlantic) flights. However it's a low cost airline - you pay for your food and drink, and customer services is bruising.
FlyBE is an airline that can never really decide what to call it self, or what its marketing strategy is. Technically the airline began in 1979 as Jersey European Airways, itself a merger of Intra Airways and Express Air Services, and based itself in Jersey, mainly surviving by flying Vickers Viscounts and Fokkers to Southampton, although there were also routes to Birmingham, Stanstead and Belfast. It became British European in the mid 90s, but kept the "rainbow" logo. Codeshares with Air France started, and some of France's old BAE146 became BE planes, but retained the Air France logo with "British European" under the unusual markings. Now the airline has revamped again as a low-cost airline selling tickets over the Internet. Hence the new name FlyBE.Com emblazoned up the planes, with the rainbow logo turning into a stripe under the text. This has coincided with the axing of meals & drinks on the airline, and a massive expansion of the hub at Southampton, with quite remarkable success. Alas production of the BAE146 around which the airline based its operations has ceased, and large airliners can't use Southampton thanks to its very short runway, so the airline has become the only low-cost airline replacing jets with propeller driven planes, and where most of the routes are flown by a fleet of new prop Q400s - and indeed BE has sold some of its older BAE146. ... read more about FlyBE's seats and fleet.
Flybe does have one unique selling point that no other airline can really offer - cheap, direct, international flights from a small central hub in a great location.
Note that all reviews and opinions on FlyBE (BE) food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Frequent Flyer scheme is soley at my judgement. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice.
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