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TheLocalYokel

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BRS-SFB

The weekly summer Bristol to Sanford will now operate non-stop in both directions.

Previously it routed outbound via MAN to take on more fuel (though not more passengers), although the inbound was always non-stop with BRS's short runway not part of the equation of course for eastbound transatlantic flights.

The service was initiated by First Choice. The service has managed non-stop westbound flights on occasions in the past.

According to an impeccable source on the Dried Plum the non-stop service in both directions will be operated by a B767-300ER.

Will still be an interesting proposition on a hot day if 09 is the operational runway.
 

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Aviador

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Thomson Airways has always done the splash and dash routine departing Leeds on the long haul runs, SFB would be well within range. It's probably a borderline decision and the judgement is probably made by the airlines chief captain. They may have decided that it is acceptable now. Maybe the runway grooving which was carried out the other year when the runway was resurfaced has improved the breaking action sufficiently to allay any concerns.
 

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The aircraft are former First Choice 763s with a reduced number of seats (275 according to the BRS Mayfly) compared with their Thomsonfly sisters. FCA made a great thing a year or two ago about how they had taken out seats from their 767s to provide a better passenger experience.

The information re the non-stop routing has appeared only on aviation message boards as far as I can see, with nothing on the airport website or local press.

However, one of the posters on the Dried Plum has confirmed it and he would be in a position to know if anyone is.
 

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[textarea]Thomson adds third weekly flight to Egypt

From 20th December, Thomson will add a third weekly flight to Sharm El Sheikh direct from Bristol. Operating on a Sunday afternoon until the end of April, the service offers a weekend alternative to existing flights that depart on Mondays and Thursdays.

Holidays in Sharm El Sheikh are famous for two things – sun and fun. Located on the tip of the Sinai peninsula and framed by the barren Sinai desert and iridescent Red Sea waters, this vibrant resort has everything sun- and fun-seekers could possibly want.

As the best-known spot on the Red Sea Riviera, it's no surprise that Sharm El Sheikh holidays cater for a vast array of tastes. With its stylish hotels edging silvery sands, it's a fabulous place for lightly bronzing your body in the Egyptian sun. The seas are a constant attraction too. Famed for their tropical aquatic life, stunning coral reefs and the amazing underwater reserve of the Ras Mohammed National Park, the warm, pure waters here are a dream for divers and snorkellers. And as if that's not enough, there's still Sharm's buzzing shopping, dining and nightlife waiting in the wings away from the beach.

Plus when it comes to choosing your hotel, you'll be spoilt for choice. From the palatial Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh to the relaxed European-style Iberotel Palace and many more, there's somewhere to suit every mood and holiday style.

And whatever kind of break you're looking for, Thomson has a fabulous choice, with everything from budget holidays to all-inclusive summer holidays to Sharm El Sheikh.[/textarea]

link: http://www.bristolairport.co.uk/news_an ... _0910.aspx

It seems that the Egypt programme is gradually reverting to its former self.

Last winter should have seen five weekly flights to Sharm el Sheikh but the demise of XL reduced it to three, so this third flight only really returns the status quo.

Summer is worse. Summer 08 had four weekly flights whereas summer 09 has only two, with the second flight (Koral Blue) only re-appearing in June or early July - forget which.

Would be good to see the return of Hurghada this coming winter.
 

backtrack

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LXR Luxor now seems available from BRS by TUI, starting next winter by the looks of things. Could this call for a second based TUI aircraft for Winter 10/11?
 

TheLocalYokel

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Not necessarily a second aircraft based for the week next winter.

Egypt seems a strong market from Bristol with five weekly flights to Sharm el Sheikh this winter, including three by TOM.

There are also six TOM flights on Saturdays to ski destinations and from timings it looks as though a second 757 'lodges' on Saturdays and Sundays because Sundays see four TOM flights - two ski and one to Sharm and one to Arrecife.

One of the Saturday ski flights is operated by a 320 on a W diagram.

Luxor could replace one of the three Sharm flights next winter, though three are advertised at present, or it might be done by way of a 'lodged' 757.

Luxor was advertised two or three winters ago but was pulled before it literally got off the ground.

Bristol has had Hurghada and Taba weekly flights in past winters but they didn't last too long. Seems that Sharm is the Palma of Egypt.
 

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[textarea]Couple humiliated in row over extra legroom on plane

HURT, humiliated and angry – that was how a Bristol couple felt after a dream break in Egypt turned into a row over legroom on the plane.

Marion and Derek Webb from Stockwood paid £100 – on top of the £2,360 for their holiday with Thomson Airways – for seats with extra legroom.

They said they were discriminated against due to their age and left embarrassed by airport staff who suggested they were too old to operate the emergency exit next to these seats.

Mrs Webb said they had travelled in emergency exit seats twice in 2009 – on one occasion with Thomson – and that the firm needed to clarify its rules to avoid problems in future.

Civil Aviation Authority rules say passengers must be fit and able to operate the doors but there is no age limit.

The Webbs, both in their 70s, arrived at Bristol Airport on March 15 for their flight to Sharm El Sheik, having booked the extra legroom seats at the Thomson travel agent branch in Keynsham. Mrs Webb, 77, a retired librarian, said: "We offered the young lady at check-in our passports and tickets. She asked us to wait while she made a telephone call.

"We knew there seemed to be a problem so after about 10 minutes, in an effort to be helpful, we told her we had already been allocated our seats online. She said: 'Yes, I know, but you are too old to have exit seats'. We were not only hurt and humiliated but angry."

Servisair staff at the airport relented and allowed the Webbs to sit in their pre-booked seats.

This was the first in a series of encounters with travel staff, during which they were told:

? They must be under 70 to operate the emergency exit.

? Age is not a consideration – just ability and strength.

? The Webbs were fit enough to operate the emergency exit.

Mrs Webb said she and her husband, a former BAE worker, 79, had booked the holiday at the Thomson travel agent in Keynsham where staff told them they would be suitable for the extra legroom seats.

After check-in for the return flight, Mr and Mrs Webb noticed they had been allocated seats which were not together and not at the emergency exit, despite being assured by a Thomson representative they would not have the same problem again.

A supervisor finally found them seats on Row 2 – not Row 32 as they were expecting.

Mrs Webb said: "Thomson must adopt a clear and cohesive policy about selling extra leg room seats."

She added: "Being elderly does not automatically make one frail. People can be frail at any age. I do not want this to happen to us or to any one else in future."

A Thomson spokesman said: "Due to the location of these seats, Thomson Airways is required to follow regulations put in place by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which state that customers must have the "strength and full mobility" to open the emergency exit doors if required.

"Given these regulations, Thomson Airways recommends that customers choosing to sit in these seats must not be elderly and frail. Our retail staff saw no reason why the couple would not be able meet these requirements and booked the seats for the couple.

"Thomson Airways uses a third party to provide handling services at UK airports and in Mr and Mrs Webb's case they were checked in by a Servisair representative. These representatives are required to ensure the CAA regulations are enforced at check-in."

He added: "Thomson believes it was right to sell these seats to Mr and Mrs Webb. However, it would like to apologise to the couple for any distress caused during the check-in process and for not providing consistent information."

Jessica Lewin, of Age Concern Bristol, said: "It is unjust to discriminate against people because of their age. Although we can not comment on this case specifically as we do not know all of the facts, we stress the importance of fair judgement and urge people to treat others equally, regardless of their age."[/textarea]

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Cou ... ticle.html

What a muddled and inconclusive report. I'm still not sure of the outcome re Thomson's policy.

If this is a humiliating experience then this couple must have led a very sheltered life; annoying perhaps but humiliating?

Some people seem to take a delight in going to the press for all sorts of inconsequential things (to the average reader) and the press, especially local rags, are always happy to oblige with something to fill their 'news' space.

I thought I'd post it in case there are any forums4airports members who have had first-hand experience as check-in staff or cabin crew who might be able to throw a bit more light on the subject.

Although I've got a few years yet before I reach the three score years and ten and never bother booking these sorts of seats, it's always useful to know the situation.
 

Aviador

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Hmm yes hopefully someone on here perhaps from a 'check-in' environment might have a bit of first hand background knowledge on this subject.

I recall a conversation with an airline cabin crew member early last year about this very issue. She told me that it was very worrying these days because "most of the extra-leg room seats were being filled by retired elderly people" (sorry I must be politically correct here, I mean 'mature' people :blush: ) She went on to say "a large percentage of them, if not most of them, would struggle to open the fire exits in an emergency", and that "even the cabin crew who are specially trained to open the fire exits sometimes struggle with the doors."
 

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It can be a problem. Some septuagenarians are very fit and strong whereas some thirty-somethings are overweight, lethargic and physically weak as gnats' piddle.

On some flights we've been on such as lakes and mountains charters you would sometimes be pushed to find a passenger under sixty.

I cannot imagine what would happen in the event of an emergency evacuation on flights like that.
 

Aviador

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On some flights we've been on such as lakes and mountains charters you would sometimes be pushed to find a passenger under sixty.
Sounds like the dreaded Jersey run.
 

TheLocalYokel

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A house across the field from where we live is currently being re-roofed and amongst the four-man team is a former Bristol City footballer* who has worked as a chippy for many years and can still be seen running round the neighbourhood to maintain his obvious fitness.

* from their four-year stay in the old First Division in the 1970s where, incidentally, the great Leeds United stalwart Norman Hunter finished his playing career and is still remembered with great affection by many older BC fans.

As I look out on this glorious spring morning the former footballing chippy is running round the scaffolding and onto the roof carrying several heavy tiles at once that would defeat many men much younger than him.

I know Brian quite well. He's 68 years of age.
 

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I know a similar gentleman from a less prestigious background who is equally fighting fit and he's 70, looks more like 60. So I guess age shouldn't come into it, but I think in this case I suspect that it was thought that the couple were perhaps not of the same caliber
 

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Thomson representative was interviewed on BBC News 24 this morning at Farnborough, where a 787 is visiting, and said the company would use the aircraft in the UK from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, East Midlands and Bristol.

With Bristol's short runway always a handicap (the current weekly Cancun TOM 767 has to go via MAN to pick up fuel on the outbound though the weekly Sanford TOM 767 seems to manage it non-stop - most of the time anyway) the 787 was hailed as the saviour when First Choice placed orders.

Boeing told Bristol Airport management that the 787 would be able to reach the west coast of the USA and Capetown* from the current BRS runway without load penalty. Even taking into account aircraft makers' often optimistic forecasts for new aircraft it does seem that more long haul destinations would be in reach without the need for en route refuelling.

When First Choice and Thomson amalgamated people wondered whether the new company would carry though what was always believed to be First Choice's plans to operate the 787 from BRS.

* These were the examples given - I don't think we shall see regular flights from Bristol to South Africa or even to the western USA for quite a while, if ever, but you never know.
 

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It would be nice to see the odd 'far away shore' destination added to test the market for future flights from other 'local' airports around the country.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The Bristol Evening Post seems to have left its usual negative airport mode today and has greeted the 787 announcement with the news that Bristol travellers can look forward to flying direct to Hawaii and Thailand from their local airport.

Although the 787 ought to make Bristol's short runway limitations for long haul a thing of the past I think the newspaper is confusing what would be possible with what would be likely.

I suspect that initially the 787 will become a replacement for the 767 on the current summer weekly routes to Cancun (Mexico) and Sanford (Florida).
 

alphagolf

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I think it would feasible to operate fortnightly flights to new far flung destinations from Bristol, don't think at this stage there would be sufficient demand for weekly flights.

787 - Bring it on! :yahoo:
 

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Luxor

It looks as though the TOM weekly charter to Luxor will go ahead this winter. It was due to start two or three winters ago but was axed.

There will also be the usual 4 or 5 weekly winter charters to Sharm-el-Sheikh (3 by TOM alone).

I had heard that Hurghada might be coming back (was tried some years ago) but I don't know which operator/airline might have been involved.

The other winter Egyptian destination that Bristol once operated was Taba, several years ago, but that was not so popular...................then anyway.
 

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Reported Heavy Landing Causing Damage

There are reports that the weekend-based Thomson Boeing 767-300 suffered a very heavy landing at BRS this morning on arrival with the weekly flight from Cancun, Mexico.

There are suggestions, not confirmed officially, that the aircraft has sustained serious damage to part of the fuselage across the top of the passenger windows.

The aircraft is reportedly G-OOBK, formerly a First Choice machine.

The aircraft was due to operate the weekly Sanford, Florida service but a replacement aircraft had to be brought in from Gatwick and the service left BRS for the USA three hours late.
 

Aviador

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Crikey that's bad and no doubt BRS short runway will be blamed for the incident.
 

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