Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

The world’s only scheduled beach landing – Glasgow to Barra (GLA – BRR)

The world’s only scheduled beach landing – Glasgow to Barra (GLA – BRR)

Old Aug 11, 17, 4:50 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA CCR/GGL, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,470
The world’s only scheduled beach landing – Glasgow to Barra (GLA – BRR)



I know that there have been trip reports over the years (and even an FT “do” by the looks of things?!) on Barra – the Outer Hebridean island which apparently has the honour of the only schedule flight that lands on a beach.

My very understanding wife, who indulges my flying hobby more than she probably should, bought the tickets for the family for my birthday (thanks MrsLA!) as part of our family holiday to Scotland this year. I've split it into three parts in case you're not intertested in the whole thing:

The flight out
The island
The flight back

It’s the end of an era for Loganair – they operated in British Airways livery between 1994 and 2008 and have been the operator for Flybe since then, but their longstanding franchise agreement with Flybe ends at the end of this month, with Loganair set to operate flights under its own name from the start of September (in a horrible livery).

The flight out


We were on the second of the two daily flights from Glasgow to Barra, the exact timings of which are dependent on the tides, as the three possible runways are all covered in water at full tide. We headed down to gate 1:


After the arriving passengers disembarked we headed out to the apron to board our Twin Otter powered by Pratt and Whitney PT6-27 engines:


It has a capacity of 18, although I think it is realistically 15 as the front row isn’t used. It has a range of 966km / 600 miles, with a take-off speed of 130 km/h or 80 mph (!) and a cruising speed of 306 km/h or 190 mph. There is a flight crew of two, one of whom undertakes the safety briefing:


With a cruising altitude of just under 2,500 metres / 8,000 feet you get a good view of the islands on the way over


After an hour we were on the final approach and then landing on the beach (the first post 9/11 flight where you’ve been able to keep an eye on what the pilot is up to!)




A few seconds after landing we disembarked….


… and had a look at the runway:


… and the ultra modern airport facilites:


… and a few minutes later our luggage arrived at the “carousel”:
LondonAndy is offline  
Old Aug 11, 17, 4:51 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA CCR/GGL, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,470
The Island

The island
Unlike some people who got the next flight back (KARFA!) we stayed for a few days. There were some wonderful sunsets (no filters!):



Kisimul Castle to visit (the home of the MacNeils):


A pod of a dozen or more dolphins in the bay, close enough to swim with (not that we did):


...and the thriving metropolis of Castlebay (make sure you post your letters early though – LAST collection is at 10AM, or 8AM on Saturday!):



We also rented bikes to cycle the 18 miles round the main road of the island – the hotel we stayed in had an electric bike for 3 which was ideal for an adult with our two children on the back.
PAX_fips and Calchas like this.
LondonAndy is offline  
Old Aug 11, 17, 4:52 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA CCR/GGL, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,470
The flight back

The flight back
We arrived early at check-in. Too early - there was no-one there:


However, there is a great cafe - one of the best places to eat on the island!


The branding was all over the place, reflecting the 3 brands marketing the service over the last 10 years – British Airways:


Flybe:


Loganair:


The tractor was out preparing the runway for the arriving flight:


So we had to put our kites away ☹:


The flight arrived on time:




…and before we knew it we were boarding and off:








Leg room was fine on board for the short flight, and it was interesting to see an offer with Scotrail to transfer anywhere in Scotland for £20




We arrived back in Glasgow and quickly disembarked:


... and retreated to the Glenlivet Bar and Snug in the BA lounge before catching the flight back to London



Overall a great experience, and I would recommend spending a few days on the island rather than doing a back to back. It looks like Loganair are offering so cheaper fares than Flybe were, with singles from under £40 – get them while you can!
PAX_fips, SK, megaloman and 2 others like this.

Last edited by LondonAndy; Aug 11, 17 at 5:07 pm
LondonAndy is offline  
Old Aug 11, 17, 9:06 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: LAS/DXB
Programs: AA CK, EK Platinum
Posts: 1,022
This looks fun. Thank you!
LondonAndy likes this.
ckx2 is offline  
Old Aug 11, 17, 9:20 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: IAD
Programs: UA GS, 1MM; Marriott Lifetime Titanium Elite
Posts: 556
awesome trip report thanks. Another aspirational airport to visit. T
LondonAndy likes this.
fivevsone is offline  
Old Aug 12, 17, 7:04 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: YYZ
Programs: A3&O6 Gold,IC AMB & HH Diamond
Posts: 13,626
Interesting TR, thanks for sharing.
LondonAndy likes this.
djjaguar64 is offline  
Old Aug 14, 17, 12:53 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,145
It always looks amazing when I have seen it on TV but must be great to experience it first hand.

BBC Alba did a programme on the Highland Airports, including Barra, and there are still some episodes up on the iPlayer - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0798vp6. Even though most of it is in Gaelic, there are English subtitles so its very watchable to someone (like me!) that doesn't understand a word of Gaelic.
LondonAndy likes this.
nequine is offline  
Old Aug 14, 17, 3:51 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,017
Great trip report! Interesting for me as Ive never seen a Twin Otter fitted with seats before ..(all my flights in one have been sitting on the floor on the way to altitude for skydiving!)
LondonAndy likes this.
trooper is offline  
Old Aug 14, 17, 11:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Central Florida
Programs: UA, IHG
Posts: 346
Originally Posted by LondonAndy View Post
The island
Unlike some people who got the next flight back (KARFA!) we stayed for a few days. There were some wonderful sunsets (no filters!):



[...]
Nice sunset and dolphin photos. Looks like a nice place to spend some time vacationing, though I would expect the fares to go up by next year (which is the earliest I could plan a trip there, if I were wanting to).
LondonAndy and coreycorey like this.
an_asker is offline  
Old Aug 14, 17, 2:07 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA CCR/GGL, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,470
Originally Posted by an_asker View Post
Nice sunset and dolphin photos. Looks like a nice place to spend some time vacationing, though I would expect the fares to go up by next year (which is the earliest I could plan a trip there, if I were wanting to).
Thank you. Actually fares seem to be going down on the Loganair website (the bottom website) compared to Flybe (the top website). I booked the flights perhaps 6 or 8 months out, and the only fare available was "All in", whereas with Loganair they seem to have some availability in the cheaper buckets:





I'm sure that booking for the summer season has something to do with it, but if you look for the end of next May (the latest availabily on the Loganair website) there are flights for £41.03.
LondonAndy is offline  
Old Aug 14, 17, 5:00 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: The North
Posts: 1,287
Thanks for the report, LondonAndy! I'll be doing this in a few weeks to meet up for a long weekend with my parents.

They're spending a week there and a few days in the West Highlands - my father used to visit Barra as a child - but I'm the one who gets to try the Twin Otter

Interesting that the pricing seems to be going down. A few of my friends have expressed an interest in taking the trip, so I might pay another visit sometime.
LondonAndy likes this.
squawk is offline  
Old Aug 15, 17, 9:42 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Body in Downtown YYZ, heart and mind elsewhere
Programs: UA 50K, refugee from AC E50K, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 5,052
Nice TR - thanks! ^

I'll admit, I had to look up Kisimul Castle. I like how it was leased for the princely (annual) sum of "£1 and a bottle of whisky".
LondonAndy likes this.
RCyyz is offline  
Old Aug 16, 17, 2:15 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: DXB
Programs: EK, AA, DL, UA, SPG, HGP, Amex
Posts: 1,122
Always nice to something different!

Have to wonder how the flights are when it's raining heavily.
LondonAndy likes this.
extramileage is offline  
Old Aug 16, 17, 4:56 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Iver
Programs: BA GOLD/OWE BA Amex Prem Plus Tesco Airmiles Qantas Bronze IHG SPG Eithad
Posts: 2,879
Thank you for sharing your Trip Report and what beautiful photos of the sunset.^
LondonAndy likes this.
BA5E is offline  
Old Aug 16, 17, 12:39 pm
  #15  
Four Seasons 5+ BadgeSPG 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Programs: Some
Posts: 9,005
Yeah, this flight is special!
LondonAndy likes this.
offerendum is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: