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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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How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (102)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Guy G says:

    Sorry for the OT.

    I’m going to book at WTP flight from NYC > LON and from the availability I have two options:

    1) 747-400
    2) 777-200

    I’ve done a bit of research it and have a broad idea. The 747-400 is older, more padded, extended foot rest. Think they have broadly similar cabin sizes albeit in different parts of the plane

    Does anyone have any experience (or strong opinion) on the the two? Happy to accept any recommendations!

    Thanks

    Guy

    • Ben says:

      On the 747, you could in theory be stuck with a plane with poor IFE and a seat from 20 years ago if you are unfortunate enough to get on one of the unrefurbished Mid-J planes…

      Don’t quote me on this, but I think the 777’s on the NYC route have more uptodate cabins.

      • Stu N says:

        For 747, if PE is rows 33+ it’s definitely a refurbished super-Hi J one. If PE is 11+ it’s a mid-J of which about half have new IFE. You’re unlikely to get an unrefurbished 747 on London – New York as they have the same crappy IFE in all cabins and BA won’t want F and CW passengers to have the old kit on that route.

        I’d lean towards a 747 – if only because they aren’t going to be around much longer – but if timing of 747 option is poor it’s not enough of a difference to swing it for me.

    • Simon says:

      I believe 777 has lower carbon emissions per seat, if that weighs on your mind.

  • Brett says:

    Shame they have ditched DSA, as flybe it was a profitable hub for them

  • Graeme says:

    Their Aberdeen to Heathrow route will be binned ASAP in favour of another route from Heathrow. When does the 3 year period end, must be soon?

  • stevenhp1987 says:

    I wonder what this means for Southampton airport. They are the major airline here and the ability to “connect” is limited to Manchester.

    The current connection availability with Virgin in Manchester is poor with the current slots.

    If you include partners then Paris (AF) and Amsterdam (KLM). Are we going to see them focusing on providing passengers for partners too? If so, will they be available on one ticket in FC miles?

    Hopefully flights available via FC miles soon. Got a stash that need using!

  • memesweeper says:

    I think the first Virgin Connect name prediction on the HfP sites pages was in the comments section by someone called memesweeper. Perhaps you should reward that prescient individual with a guaranteed and free ticket to the Xmas party 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Sure that can be arranged!

      • memesweeper says:

        Many thanks! 🙂 I’ve managed to nab a ticket in the draw three times on the bounce and don’t fancy chancing my luck again!

  • Sam Mcfadden says:

    Could stop ripping flyers off by charging people for hand luggage without informing them that the bag size has changed , disgraceful!

    • Philip says:

      Agreed. I got stung for £35 at Belfast City on the exact same flight I had taken a fortnight earlier.

      TBF, during on-line check-in there was a notice to check the size of one’s carry-on luggage. But there was NO warning to advise that the acceptable dimensions had changed! Shoddy behaviour, which has meant that FlyMayBe are off my Christmas card list.

      What was most insulting though was the woman at the boarding gate, who could not contain her glee when she discovered that my bag was out of gauge.

      She excused it on the basis that FlyMayBe was cracking down, but I couldn’t help thinking that she – and other gate stuff – must be being incentivised to do so.

      How much of the £35 they got would be interesting to find out. On my flight to LCY there were 10+ bags which were subject to the levy. At even £5 per bag, that’s a tidy £50+ going to the gate staff. Multiply that by the nearly 40 flights per day from BHD and that’s a lot of incentivisation. Ditto other airports.

      One thing is for sure, when a company resorts to such underhand means to obtain its income, it is seriously on the slide. Passengers will either adapt to the new rules or travel with another carrier entirely. FlyMayBe probably got a short term boost from this sneaky scam, but will have lost in the long term.

      • planeconcorde says:

        In the last ten days I have flown FlyBe three times. On each occasion the day before travel I was sent an email explaining the cabin baggage rules and the options available to travel with larger baggage. They are certainly making sure those passengers where they have an email address are being informed in advance of reaching the airport.

      • Zoe says:

        What really takes the biscuit is when you complain their go to cut and paste answer is that ‘customer feedback’ had driven the change. They declined to answer how many customers had requested these draconian charges. They declined to provide the question used on any passenger survey. We took the wheels off our (several mm oversized) cases for our return where of course they were not even checked. At Southampton you were getting checked before security and sent to the extra ‘customer service’ desk for the pleasure of paying for the bags to go in the hold. As soon as hell freezes over l’ll be recommending them.

        • Andrew says:

          ‘customer feedback’

          People were always whining that they couldn’t fit their bags in the bins on the Q400s, or that the bins were full before they had boarded, so I have no doubt there was “feedback”.

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    Hear me out…So the flights flybe currently fly into Heathrow, don’t the slots actually belong to BA but can be made available to any airline wanting to using them for UK Domestic flights?

    Then after a certain number of years of flying those flights, the airline can take ownership of the slots?

  • Alex Sm says:

    I hope they will allow to claim retrospectively for post-Avios flights over the spring and summer! The only fair way

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