We all know you get what you pay for in life? That’s a given right? Therefore we have come to expect that if you travel on one of the ‘higher end’ airline carriers then you are going to get a slightly ‘higher end’ experience- it doesn’t mean that the budget airlines are worse, just different. But what happens if you use a charter flight? Does that alter the experience at all?
We recently travelled on a British Airways charter flight with Mark Warner Holidays, going to the island of Rhodes. For those who aren’t aware, quite simply, a charter flight is usually one that you can’t book direct with an airline itself, only with a third party such as a tour operator. On booking the holiday, we were pleasantly surprised to find that when flying from Heathrow you flew with BA and when flying from Manchester you flew with Jet2. We were looking forward to putting the airline to the test and were interested to find out whether our experience would change with it being a charter flight.
On the Ground.
Check in at Heathrow was simple, quick and nothing to particularly report. As Mark Warner only have one hotel on Rhodes, we found it quite interesting to think that all the people queuing up with us at check in were going to the same hotel as us. (Levante Beach Hotel)
The plane was on time and they boarded us quickly and efficiently, with all members of the cabin crew being friendly and polite when greeting us. We didn’t travel with a buggy this time, but they did invite customers with very young children to board the plane first.
The plane itself was clean and relatively modern in terms of interior, although there were no televisions in the back of the seats. We were surprised to find this, mainly because although the flight to Rhodes is still considered short haul at only four hours, we thought it perhaps was long enough to deem worthy of some form of entertainment. We again wondered whether this was a case with all British Airway’s short haul flights (having only travelled with them on a transatlantic before) or whether it was just because we were on a charter flight.
We were really impressed with the BA service on both the journey to Rhodes and back into Heathrow. The cabin crew were polite, friendly and efficient. We experienced a forty minute delay on the flight home due to a problem in the baggage hold, and the Captain kept updating us from the flight deck as to what the engineers were doing. I am a slightly anxious flyer and I appreciated being updated as to what was going on, we definitely do find that with British Airways, that they do update you during the flight more so than other airlines.
We got a meal on board both times, which again of course is because you aren’t flying the budget airlines, and the food was absolutely fine. We had a rather nice chocolate mousse on the way there and my little girl really enjoyed it, so out of the blue a member of the cabin crew gave her a spare one which we thought was nice. We also got a couple of complimentary drinks but on both flights they had run out of ice- obviously not a big deal at all but just something I noticed.
As it was a charter flight to a family resort, plus being slightly out of high season in June, there were a lot of families with very young children on board. It did mean that there was a lot of noise and a lot of children walking up and down the aisles and/or standing on seats. As a parent it was slightly overwhelming so I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the cabin crew- I think it made their trolley service a lot slower because they kept having to wait for children to move or for people to return back to their seats after going to the toilet. Indeed I was stood waiting for the toilet and was chatting to one of the cabin crew- I said jokingly about there being a lot of children on board and it must be quite stressful and she joked back that she hadn’t ever done this particular charter flight before and she only volunteered to do it right at the last minute which she was regretting. But jokes aside, they did really go the extra mile considering it was probably not the best flight to be working on.
Overall we were really impressed with our charter flight to Rhodes with BA. The cabin crew were really efficient, the service was what you would expect from British Airways and the atmosphere on board was relaxed and even more friendly than usual- I did wonder whether this was partly down to it being a charter flight as well. We would have liked screens in the back of our seats- but again this wasn’t really an issue as we had iPads and other forms of kid friendly entertainment with us!
As I mentioned above, we did have a 40 minute delay on the way home, which didn’t bother us in the slightest, planes do get delayed, but we were impressed by the Captain reassuring us and giving us updates on what the engineers were doing at regular intervals while we were sat waiting.
I definitely think with air travel, that like anything else you do get what you pay for and I definitely think that travelling with one of the slightly higher end airlines like BA does often feel a bit more relaxed and just overall a nicer experience. It doesn’t mean that the lower budget airlines are worse, I just think it’s a different experience and I always find it a treat to fly with British Airways.