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Flybe announces its first Summer flight schedule under Virgin Atlantic ownership

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Flybe has launched its Summer schedule for 2020, which will be the first to reflect its new focus under Virgin Atlantic ownership.  Seven new routes have been announced.

Having attended the Virgin Connect (as Flybe will be rebranded) launch event last month, I can confirm that the new management team is very focused on returning the airline to profitability.  Part of this was to be a razor-sharp focus on routes where it believes it can make money over the long term.

The biggest changes will be at London Southend Airport.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Southend is owned by Stobart Group which is also a shareholder in Flybe.

Six new routes will be launched from Southend to Belfast City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey.  Existing services from Southend to Caen, Groningen, Newquay and Rennes will continue.  Loganair immediately responded by announcing plans to drop its own Southend to Glasgow service.

The only other brand new route is Manchester to Stuttgart.  Growth elsewhere is focused on increasing frequency on core business routes from Manchester and Southampton as well as retiming flights to better fit around the working day.

The BBC is reporting, however, that Southampton Airport is due to see substantial cuts overall.  Routes to Faro, Palma, Alicante, Malaga, Biarritz, Nantes, Bordeaux, Dusseldorf and Bastia will be dropped.  Flybe is the dominant carrier at the airport and this will cause it substantial difficulties unless new carriers come in.

With the exception of Dusseldorf, the Southampton changes seem to be in line with Flybe’s new approach.  It will be reducing its focus on holiday routes in order to concentrate on business and ‘visiting friends and family’ services.

Flybe has said that there will be more announcements to come so we can expect additional services to be announced over the coming months.

Tickets are now on sale at for the Summer season, which runs until late October.

Comments (194)

  • Stephen Blower says:

    The last few times I have visited the BA AMS lounge, the Aspire lounge was turning Priority Pass holders away due to overcrowding. I think this change will make the BA lounge even more busy and unappealing.

  • Alex says:

    OT as bits:
    I’m encountering a strange situation – I’m looking to book a trip to japan with a 241. Outbound LHR-NRT in economy, return KIX-LHR in business.

    Looking at the two flights individually, the taxes and fees should be £659.34 (446.74 on the outbound, 212.60 on the inbound).

    When I called to book, they quoted £834.34 for the trip and when I pressed that I priced it up at £659.34, the agent when to consult a superior and came back saying that indeed there’s seemingly no reason for the fees to be £834.34 but that she cannot do anything about it.

    I’m wondering, is it true that they can’t do anything about it and whether there is a workaround?

    • Charlieface says:

      Book one way then call back to add the return, saying it wasn’t available when you booked. Usually they won’t reprice

      • BJ says:

        And call to add the second within 24h so that if you are not happy with the outcome, you can then cancel outward flights free of charge.

    • Rob says:

      Have you priced up 2 x one-ways? If so, that’s why.

      Japan has rules capping airline surcharges. A one-way FROM Japan has articifically low surcharges because it is ticketed in Japan and must follow the rules. When you book a return, however, it is ticketed in the UK and the surcharges cap on the return leg does not apply.

      • Benilyn says:

        same happened to me, I was booking into Osaka and leaving from Tokyo so couldn’t book online and was using 2-4-1, so had to book at the higher rate.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Work around is to book 2 singles online outward with 241 back without online then call in to apply voucher to refund Avios, you need the Avios to do this though

  • Aston100 says:

    Crikey, just looked at BHX to CDG return in summer next year and it’s £160ish per person (with a suitcase in the hold).
    Seems a bit high for the schedule release day for a budget airline?

    • Rob says:

      Flybe is no longer prepared to sell super-cheap tickets. They see EU261 as too much of a risk.

      Let’s assume it is a 78 seat aircraft and Flybe believes it can sell 50 seats for £150+. You might logically think that it is worth selling 28 seats for marginal cost, and hoping to make a few quid on food sales and baggage charges.

      EU261 changes the game. Whenever Flybe sells a ticket for peanuts, it is gambling on not having a delay which triggers €200 compensation. Flybe is not the most reliable airline (ahem) and this is a big risk. It would rather not sell the seats than sell them for virtually nothing (after airport charges etc) and be on the hook for EU261.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Is EU compensation going to be around for UK domestic flights after brexit? are we rolling it into our own laws?

  • Aston100 says:

    o/t i think a couple of people commented recently that it’s worth having a go at applying for an SPG Amex to see if we can get the signup/spend bonus despite currently holding a live & active preferred rewards gold, and having cancelled a BAPP only 2 months ago.

    Can you simply cancel the card for a prorata refund as soon as you’ve spent the £1000 within the 3 months without jeopardising the signup/spend bonus (assuming it comes along)? or do you need to wait for it to appear? how long does it normally take to appear?

    • Charlieface says:

      You must wait at least for the points to show on Amex website. In practice best to wait til they transfer over, sometimes the link is broken and you can waste time trying to get them.

    • Rob says:

      You’d be mad to cancel any Amex whilst a bonus is still sitting in Amex waiting to go across.

    • Anna says:

      Don’t talk about flight club but the bonus usually hits as soon as you’ve met the spend target (plus a day or so for payments to be authorised). However, the points won’t go across until just before your statement is generated, but this still only means one or two months of membership.

      • Freddy says:

        Wasn’t it concluded that this was a complete punt and for the majority no bonus would be generated

      • Yorkieflyer says:


        • Doogie says:

          Fight Club, sample size of 1 etc etc.
          2nd Player Referral start Sept, referral bonus paid
          2k spending hit around a week ago
          No sign up bonus paid

          YMMV etc etc

    • Louise says:

      Didn’t work for me
      But I’m happy to keep the card as my main earner now as I’m after Marriot points for a specific conversion

  • Aston100 says:

    o/t – I’m about to make a purchase in Thai Bhat equivalent to £1500.
    I currently have a BAPP Amex with the companion voucher already triggered.
    I also have a preferred rewards gold Amex, but I am not going to hit the £15k spend for the 10k bonus MR.
    I also have a Halifax Clarity with 0% fx

    I feel frustrated because the logical thing to do here is use the fx fee free Clarity card on which I won’t be generating any points or anything.
    The BAPP is pointless at this stage since I hit my target spend and I wouldn’t want to pay approx £45 in fx fees for 2250 avios (if my maths is correct).
    The gold Amex will give me I think about 3k MR (convert to 3k Avios?) for the same fx fee of around £45 so this would be better than the BAPP I suppose, but I have no target I would want to hit with this.

    Is there some card I can apply for quickly with a target spend of between £1k and £3k within 3 months and which isn’t Amex (since I’m unlikely to qualify for a bonus due to holding my current Amex cards) and ideally with a low annual fee, or a fee that can be prorate refunded?

    Or should I just go ahead and purchase with the Clarity card and think of it as having gained whatever the difference is between £45 and the value of the avios I would have earnt with the BAPP or Gold card?


    • Aston100 says:

      Ah yes Tandem. Forgot about these new fangled cards.
      0.5% is what, £7.50 on a £1500 spend? Still, it’s more than what the Clarity gives me.

      Are there any risks at all with Tandem though?
      And yes, I do bank with Halifax. Whole family does. Still worth dropping Clarity? I mean, my main money saver with that card is when I withdraw cash from foreign ATMs and then I go online and xfer the funds from my Halifax current account to the Clarity to pay the withdrawal off and prevent interest charges.

      • John says:

        No need to close clarity. Risk with tandem is if you lose or damage your phone then you can’t access your account.

  • KBuffett says:

    OT – Can my wife refer me for a Amex Business Charge Card from her Gold Charge Card and we both retrieve bonus referral points?
    What is the best way to get max referral points on both sides and for which business card (I assume Platinum Charge Card)

    • KBuffett says:

      I forgot to state that I already have a personal Amex Plat Charge

      • Peter K says:

        You get no sign-up bonus on the business cards of you have had any (personal or business) MR card in the last 6 months.

  • Anon says:

    OT – I had a OneWorld flight on the day my BA tier points expired and they credited it to my old year, does the 2 week grace period only work for crediting flights flown after the expiry to the old year or if I ask BA can they credit the flight to the new year?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes only extends to allow the two weeks to count in your prior year if you hit a higher tier.

      Can’t roll back two weeks for the next year

  • Lady London says:

    I’m assuming Virgin Connect is dropping Nantes and DUS from SOU due to there being too many other airlines to compete with on those routes. Nantes, like the West Country, seems to be having huge business expansion currently. So I can only assume competition is why those 2 are being dropped.

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