And the new Flybe brand will be ….

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Flybe has just announced its new brand, following its takeover by a Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Air consortium.

And it is ….

Virgin Connect.

This was my guess, and indeed much of the industry (the new holding company is called Connect Airways, after all).  What I didn’t know is that there was a Russian mobile operator using this brand so it took a lot work to get hold of it!

I am the only media representative at the Flybe leadership conference in Exeter today where the new brand was announced.  I am not allowed to report much of what is being discussed, for obvious reasons, but the new CEO Mark Anderson, who comes from Virgin Atlantic, has a sound plan for driving the company forward – and it is certainly not ‘pie in the sky’.  There will also be a new loyalty scheme which will integrate with Virgin Flying Club, although the details of that have not yet been announced.

You will not see the new brand in action for a while.  The new owners, sensibly, want to ensure that the business is fully on the right track.

When people see the Virgin brand they come with expectations and Flybe knows that it is not yet ready to meet them – but it should be soon.  We are talking about punctuality (already much improved), aircraft cleanliness, clearer baggage rules, a loyalty programme etc, albeit it all within the confines of what can be done on a 78-seat Dash 8.

When the roll out starts, the last place you will see the new brand is on the outside of an aircraft.  Painting aircraft takes time and reduces capacity, so you will see a new website, new signage etc before you see a red aircraft.  Change is a coming though ….

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  1. Shoestring says:

    O/T the £15 bonus on Post Office travel card (prepaid Mastercard) is back again, nice easy profit. You get it in your chosen foreign currency – the rate used was fine if not the sharpest I’ve seen – minimum load is £50 with free delivery. Check what the ATM charge is, choose a round number over £50 good for ATM witjhdrawal and add on the ATM charge (which was about £1.50 for me). Then you can just withdraw the lot at ATM. We used a couple of cards to pay overseas bills as well, to avoid the ATM charge – and got within a few pence of the full card load, so it really was nearly £15 free. Over 18s only, there was no problem getting multiple cards sent to the same address (though only 1 each).

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Which website is the £15 bonus on?

    • Thanks for this – can you load it with Revolut? I think last time I tried to get one of these it refused to accept Curve.

    • Harry T says:

      Presumably if you use an ATM that doesn’t charge for cash withdrawals, then you’re golden?

      • I think most ATM’s in the UK would charge some sort of fee for withdrawing Sterling from a card that is loaded with foreign currency.

        • Shoestring says:

          I withdrew mine abroad, the ATM bank didn’t charge anything, I’m assuming PO charged £1.50 (as they told me the fee on the website) – I haven’t checked the balance but assume it is zero now

          not nearly as lucrative if you load in (say) EUR then withdraw in £s in UK

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, I see. I’m off to Dubai next week so I may load a card up and just spend it.

    • Great! Thanks for this.

      When you say: ‘a round number over £50 good for ATM withdrawal’

      Is £51.50 okay? Presuming that the ATM charge is £1.50 or does it need to be a round number in the foreign currency?

  2. If I google “Virgin Connect” it takes me to a few press stories and links to a broadband provider.

    The site, linked from a banner on the Flybe homepage, isn’t on the first three pages of Google’s hits for Virgin Connect.

    Bodes well, doesn’t it?

    • It’s an empty website that has existed since yesterday! These things don’t happen overnight.

      • Isn’t that what advertising is for?

        • No need to advertise it yet since it is a non-functional website. Only reason it exists is as a placeholder. Not surprising given they haven’t even revealed their logo yet. Hard to advertise without one!

  3. Brian mccracken says:

    Much improved… NOT. On Monday night when they cancelled the London city to Belfast & the only option was to fly Tuesday morning at 11am, i do not agree. Lets hope we see that new logo v soon.

    • Eh? I was in City Airport on Monday night and I thought the Belfast flight went. I was sitting at the gate it was using (23?) working because it was super quiet. There was a guy fighting with the agent over the size of his wheely bag (typical Flybe!). Unless there is a later flight than the 5pm.

    • Lady London says:

      Did you claim your EU261 compensation as well as duty of care for the overnight and meals?
      Would have thought that was a slam dunk.

    • which comes back to Rob’s point about “albeit it all within the confines of what can be done on a 78-seat Dash 8” which aren’t young !

  4. Charlieface says:

    Virgin seriously need to think about moving into MAN as a full hub operation. It is accessible from most parts of North England and Wales, even Birmingham isn’t far. It has two independent runways, (the only other in the UK is LHR) with plenty spare capacity. And no other airlines has a hub there.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      And it is getting a Virgin Clubhouse.

    • It’s just a shame that there are no direct trains from Birmingham to Manchester Airport.

    • If they could start a MAN-LGW route I’d be happy! It just seems crazy that there are no Caribbean flights, except NAS/GCM with a BA connection from MAN. Obviously the loss of business can’t be an issue for BA, although plenty of people used LGW for the US/Caribbean/Bermuda before they pulled the route.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        I’m driving MAN to LGW in August having just paid £4 plus avois for return flights to Antalya. It will be my first BA flight in at least 4yrs. No idea when the next one will be. If Virgin decamp to MAN it may be never.

      • Charlieface says:

        That’s not the point. We don’t want more northerners pushed to connecting flights, we need direct. There’s easily enough business passengers in MAN to run a full network hub out of it.

    • But the money is in London.

  5. There are some spare planes hanging around from a company that has just gone bust,
    it would be a good use of the Thomas Cook planes

  6. hopefully get them flying out of bournemouth again

  7. What you mean by “the guarantee”?

    • Shoestring says:

      it’s a no-quibble guarantee, I’ve used it umpteen times and they never refuse it provided you demonstrate a competitor is offering a higher bonus

      no silly get-out clauses that the hotels use with their ‘best rate guarantees’ 🙂

  8. Shoestring says:

    Tower Bridge 65m
    Leaning Tower of Pisa 57m
    Stonehenge 4m
    Brandenburg Gate 20m
    Eiffel Tower 324m

    Could I politely suggest they are redrawn in true proportion?

  9. Shoestring says:

    O/T Ryanair is having another ‘from £9.99’ sale – fly Dec/ Jan/ Feb

    quick check and there are indeed loads of £9.99 flights, eg Bristol to Venice – shame my wife & I have to get 3 kids into school

    I’ve been watching the Ryanair offers as I’m now planning on flying back with them to Bristol next summer – and I have to say these ‘crazy’ sales seem to be genuine, provided you snap up something fast

    Another chance for Rhys to go to Gdansk & report back on the lounge scene, methinks

    • Lady London says:

      They are genuine and this is not the cheapest..
      Just watch out for being nickeled and dimed on everything except their stated fare price. Noting that the Ryanair max size of hand luggage is considerably smaller (and must weigh less) than on, say, BA.
      they DO mean business. You will definitely be asked to weigh all your luggage including hand luggage and any handbag at the airport if you check any luggage in. Charges for being told you need to check something at the airport would make you cry.
      So my advice as to Ryanair is they are great according to everyone if you pay attention to their rules and stay within them. If not, then you are up for humungous charges.

      • I was way over limit on my last two Ryanair flights. The first time they waved it through without a word. The second time it was a machine scale, that asked me to pay. Before I could even consider what to do, a staff member rushed over and told me to take some stuff out, reweigh, print the baggage tag, then shove the stuff back in.

        So in my experience… friendly and pragmatic.

  10. Keith harper says:

    Let’s hope customer care improves ,like pulling the Hamburg route and not telling us,
    Leading to a few problems to sort with booked flights,etc.

  11. The BIG question remains. I’d this gonna be s limited time brand like Virgin Express or Little Red?
    The problem is FlyBe did not make money in the last years (how many in the red?) – the competition is ridiculously high. Do you think Virgin/Delta has a magic wand to transform businesses?

    • Having through various presentations yesterday, the overall theme is that they don’t need to do much. They have chopped a load of costs. They are getting rid of unnecessary aircraft. They are closing everything that loses money. What is left is a pile of routes, 70% of which are monopolies, which should work.

      Now, as a guy who spent 11 years in private equity, I have seen more failed business plans than 99% of people, but at least this one does not involve crazy growth plans.

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