How bad can it be? [FR from STN v BA LHR T3]

Old Aug 10, 17, 2:33 am
  #46  
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Originally Posted by pauldb View Post
Is it certain that FR uses steps at every airport? Tomorrow morning's PRG-STN is showing as gate B1 which looks like an airbridge to me.
At airports which give them the option of using stairs rather than compulsory use of jetbridges, then yes, FR always uses stairs.

This doesn't mean that they can't pull up to a gate that has a jetbridge connection. They just won't use it.

(The fees for using a jetbridge are higher).

I can't imagine that either STN or PRG requires airlines to use jetbridges. They are both LCC-friendly airports.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 2:39 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
There is no reason to believe BA would be sympathetic if that happened. Separate tickets means you would be at their mercy. Frankly, right now, FR is less likely to be cancelled than BA.
Or delayed for that matter! So less risk of an Ex-EU going messy, unless its weather related of course.

Last edited by ahmetdouas; Aug 10, 17 at 2:46 am
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Old Aug 10, 17, 2:40 am
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Originally Posted by pauldb View Post
Is it certain that FR uses steps at every airport? Tomorrow morning's PRG-STN is showing as gate B1 which looks like an airbridge to me.
They never actually use the airbridges unless they are forced to by the airport. The gate maybe an airbridge gate but they won't pay to use the actual airbridge.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 2:48 am
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Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
The neat thing about STN is that you can go and check out how long the security lines are, before deciding if you want to buy a fast track ticket. I always look and have bought fast track just once in about a dozen trips.
How do you do that?

I got caught in the massive queue last time through, and if I'd known I would have bought fast track in advance to save the 30 minutes it took getting through. It was the 20 minutes of standing watching it slowly advance before they opened other lanes and let people use the fast track security lane when nobody was in that queue.

The cost of flying a low cost carrier?

Long checkin queues for luggage because they won't pay for a lot of staff. Long waits for pickup of luggage because they pay the handlers the least they can. It can be mitigated by HBO.

Airport travel problems, be it STN, or dropped miles away from the city you want to be in.

Or the 'experience' a little. For instance, faced with an easyjet 40 flight to glasgow you'll get normal people, and a few spare seats, not jam packed. The 20 flight on FR will be packed to the rafters with "more the type of person without the means pay that extra 20". Or deodorant.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:27 am
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Smid View Post
How do you do that?
As you approach the entrance you can generally see how long the queues are from the wide doorway area to security, and the machines dispensing fast track tickets are to the side of the entrance. If you hover around for a minute or two you should get a view as to how bad it may be.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:29 am
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Interesting there is not a consensus, and that there are plenty of advocates for BA SH despite the enhancements.

For my dates, there is plenty of RFS availability, and one date is off peak so only 4k. And I didn't realise PRG is T3, so the draw of the CX lounge is very tempting if I can get there early enough for a nice meal and a few glasses of champagne!

That said, I've got two trips to do, so perhaps one out via STN would be an interesting experience.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:42 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
The security is a crowded mess, well worth buying fast track to avoid or you'll be behind a toxic mixture of incompetent amateurs and family groups with more crap than imaginable. Stansted security claim to process 90-something% in less than 10 minutes, but it'll be 10 minutes of exposure to the worst of humanity that you'll remember for a long time.
Originally Posted by Smid View Post
How do you do that?

I got caught in the massive queue last time through, and if I'd known I would have bought fast track in advance to save the 30 minutes it took getting through. It was the 20 minutes of standing watching it slowly advance before they opened other lanes and let people use the fast track security lane when nobody was in that queue.
I am not a very frequent STN flyer but everytime I have used it, my experience has been rather better: while the queues seemed long, they moved rapidly and efficiently with a large number of processing points open and have not really felt the need to plump for fast track although I had considered it.

My use of STN is primarily early morning on weekdays so perhaps this is different from, say, a Friday late afternoon during the holiday period.

I concur with the unpleasantness of the rapaciously commercialist atmosphere of the airport. This is a British plague that has gradually spread worldwide but it seems to have developed in a particularly nasty manner at STN.

All in all, it is not my favourite airport (despite being reasonably convenient from my neck of the woods in North East London) and I try to minimise the time I have to spend there but it is bearable for the sake of either better timed or priced flights in some cases.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:43 am
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
At airports which give them the option of using stairs rather than compulsory use of jetbridges, then yes, FR always uses stairs.

This doesn't mean that they can't pull up to a gate that has a jetbridge connection. They just won't use it.

(The fees for using a jetbridge are higher).

I can't imagine that either STN or PRG requires airlines to use jetbridges. They are both LCC-friendly airports.
Not just money, but also boarding through stairs is quicker as they can do from both front and rear.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:54 am
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Interesting to read some of the posts. I think it probably depends on where you live. Those of us who live in the regions have had a decade, or more, of no direct BA service. Clearly those in the SE have more options.

Originally Posted by Smid View Post
Long checkin queues for luggage because they won't pay for a lot of staff. Long waits for pickup of luggage because they pay the handlers the least they can. It can be mitigated by HBO.

Airport travel problems, be it STN, or dropped miles away from the city you want to be in.

Or the 'experience' a little. For instance, faced with an easyjet 40 flight to glasgow you'll get normal people, and a few spare seats, not jam packed. The 20 flight on FR will be packed to the rafters with "more the type of person without the means pay that extra 20". Or deodorant.
Im not sure I agree with your on-board travel 'experience'.
Im have been a regular FR flyer - not because I particularly liked the product, but the timing and route best suited my needs. Sometimes I actually want to fly to Liverpool, if Im going to the Italian Lakes Bergamo is actually far more convenient, for example. I don't think there is a huge difference across any of the airlines, in terms of clientele, its the same Great British Public regardless.

My last 4 BA flights boarding has been chaotic, no priority lines, cabin baggage everywhere, stressed passengers and crew before we even sat down. All because BA just cannot manage the boarding process. FR are excellent. There is always a priority queue and after 90 bags, the rest go in the hold. Its actually a much better experience than BA. The BA cabins have been packed, too hot and Ive been short an air vent on the A319. Not to mention the seat pitch is up to 2 inches less than FR. I have to pay for a drink either way - but on FR I have a chance that I'll get it before final descent and the choice to pay by cash or card.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 3:59 am
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BA have a lot of entitled passengers
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:01 am
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Smid View Post
For instance, faced with an easyjet 40 flight to glasgow you'll get normal people, and a few spare seats, not jam packed. The 20 flight on FR will be packed to the rafters with "more the type of person without the means pay that extra 20". Or deodorant.
bless
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:06 am
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Originally Posted by BrianDromey View Post
Im not sure I agree with your on-board travel 'experience'.
Im have been a regular FR flyer - not because I particularly liked the product, but the timing and route best suited my needs. Sometimes I actually want to fly to Liverpool, if Im going to the Italian Lakes Bergamo is actually far more convenient, for example. I don't think there is a huge difference across any of the airlines, in terms of clientele, its the same Great British Public regardless.
That has been my experience too. It seems to me that the type of clientele you get depends much more on the destination and timing of flight than anything else. The population on my FR STN-MRS flights is not hugely different from the population on my BA LHR-MRS flights.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:10 am
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Originally Posted by BrianDromey View Post
IIm not sure I agree with your on-board travel 'experience'.
Im have been a regular FR flyer - not because I particularly liked the product, but the timing and route best suited my needs. Sometimes I actually want to fly to Liverpool, if Im going to the Italian Lakes Bergamo is actually far more convenient, for example. I don't think there is a huge difference across any of the airlines, in terms of clientele, its the same Great British Public regardless.
Correct, depends on the route, but with a choice you will get a division of passengers from cheapest to most expensive.

Megabus versus the local slow stopping train versus the fast train...

Though to be fair such routes on trains/buses are "money no time" versus "time no money".
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:28 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I am not a very frequent STN flyer but everytime I have used it, my experience has been rather better: while the queues seemed long, they moved rapidly and efficiently with a large number of processing points open and have not really felt the need to plump for fast track although I had considered it.

My use of STN is primarily early morning on weekdays so perhaps this is different from, say, a Friday late afternoon during the holiday period.

I concur with the unpleasantness of the rapaciously commercialist atmosphere of the airport. This is a British plague that has gradually spread worldwide but it seems to have developed in a particularly nasty manner at STN.

All in all, it is not my favourite airport (despite being reasonably convenient from my neck of the woods in North East London) and I try to minimise the time I have to spend there but it is bearable for the sake of either better timed or priced flights in some cases.
An excellent summary
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Old Aug 10, 17, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by SonTech View Post
They never actually use the airbridges unless they are forced to by the airport. The gate maybe an airbridge gate but they won't pay to use the actual airbridge.
Which makes U2 better. U2 will typically use jetbridge (if available) AND stairs and that basically gives you the best of both worlds: direct (and reduced mobility compatible) boarding through the jetbridge but faster and more efficient as the people sat at the rear of the plane can go via the stairs.
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