Barra With Flybe & Europe With QF/BA (Pics)

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
NB: once again image quality has been affected due to having resize original images

It is difficult to even comprehend trying to create a trip report outlining my recent trip to Europe, which is why I am going to focus on my overnight trip to the Isle of Barra, Scotland, the destination made famous for its beach arrivals and departures.

A significant amount of time went into planning the trip to Europe, given I wanted to see a variety of destinations and attractions, and also had to appease the concerns of my Sister, who would be travelling by my side over the course of the 5 week holiday. After reading various trip reports, I had long wanted to visit the Isle of Barra and experience a beach landing and departure, and provided there are very small family links to the region, it was not difficult in any way justifying the need to travel there.

My holiday to Europe would encompass a large number of countries, immerse me in a variety of cultures and cuisine, see close family and friends once again and allow me to meet a number of wonderful people who have become good friends. I had the intention of visiting three main places, namely Portugal, Scotland and Germany, given the family links in all three countries. Having lived in Germany (on a school exchange) for three months in 2002, I was eager to return, to see friends and brush up on my German. My Sister and I were fortunate to be afforded 5 weeks annual leave and with this in mind, I tailored an itinerary that would allow us to visit the three main countries I highlighted above with a Tour allowing us to see most of continental Europe. The Holiday was topped off by 3 magical days in London before returning home.

We were fortunate enough to make use of cut-throat airfare war earlier in 2009, whereby Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Qantas were discounting Europe fares significantly. My Sister and I booked an itinerary with Qantas, namely Brisbane-Singapore-London-Singapore-Brisbane, with the former and latter sectors being operated by the A330-300, and the A380-800 and 747-400 operating SIN/LHR and LHR/SIN respectively. Inclusive of the blasted credit card fee, the total itinerary cost AUD$3057 for the two of us, which I would argue to be an absolute bargain. Intra-Europe/UK flying was all with British Airways, given good value fares, Terraces/Galleries Lounge access and Qantas FF points won over. The only non-BA sectors were of course with Flybe to/from the Isle of Barra, which will be the focus of this report.

13 October 2009
Glasgow - Barra
BE6851
Flybe de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (G-BVVK)
4 Passengers including my Sister and I (19 seats with a ~21% LF)

We were dropped off at the Airport and proceeded to check-in. Formalities aside, within minutes we were at the gate ready to board. I was aware that we would be travelling in the off-season and that loads would probably reflect this and it was hardly surprising that when the flight to Barra was called; it was almost instantaneously closed, with just four passengers on the service, including my Sister and I.
We were given a quick safety run-down by the cheery Female FO and before long we were taxiing to the active runway. Given it was the first flight of the day, engine tests were a must, and short of the runway was where they were conducted. Before long we were on the active runway preparing to depart. Given there was next to no one on board, we lifted quickly into the drab and dreary sky. The flight was uneventful, which is why I have included the following pictures:

IMG_0838.jpg


IMG_0842.jpg


IMG_0850.jpg


IMG_0861.jpg


IMG_0882.jpg


IMG_0874.jpg


 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
IMG_0887.jpg


IMG_0895.jpg


We touched down on the beach and much to my surprise it was smoother than I was expecting, given you could easily see that there were deep patches and no go areas. The crew are obviously very experienced and landing on the beach to them is like a walk in the park. After the engines were shut down, we were allowed to exit and as expected, the camera was out quickly, snapping up the lovely scenery. I took a breath of fresh air and said to myself how lucky I was to be where I was and that after all this time, I had finally made it.

IMG_0902.jpg


IMG_0908.jpg


IMG_0910.jpg


IMG_0913.jpg


As there was a requirement for a quick turn-around, we were ushered towards the terminal. The facilities were rather good for a regional airport and there was a much better offering than what you’d find in some regional Australian ports (namely Longreach/Barcaldine et al). As we had no checked-baggage (the baggage collection system consists of it being placed on an external belt for you to pick-up) we headed straight to the local bus. After a short period waiting, we were on our way to our Hotel for the night and to the much publicised and main village on the Isle of Barra, Castlebay. We had selected to stay at the Castlebay Hotel and neither my Sister nor I were disappointed. Excellent service and wonderful food were part of the experience and I appreciated being treated like an individual and a real guest, not just another number. The following images are from in and around the Castlebay Village.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
IMG_0920.jpg


IMG_0922.jpg


IMG_0940.jpg


IMG_0947.jpg


IMG_0959.jpg


After a massive amount of exploring, a wonderful night’s sleep and a hearty Breakfast, it was time to say goodbye and return to Glasgow.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
14 October 2009
Barra - Glasgow
BE6852
Flybe de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (G-BZFP)
19 Passengers including my Sister and I (19 seats with a 100% LF)

We arrived at the Airport well before the Aircraft was due to land it was effectively a ghost town. I was thinking that today we’d see a very low passenger load, however as time passed by, the terminal slowly filled with more and more passengers, by then it became apparent that today would see a full flight. The café opened and it did rather well, in terms of the amount of food sold. A number of people were waiting outside, cameras ready, preparing for the arrival of the Aircraft. As I had already checked-in, I too wanted to get some images of the aircraft’s arrival and was outside quick smart. The Twin Otter became visible in the murky sky and snap, snap, snap went the cameras, including mine. I was fortunate enough to take enough sequential images to show the aircraft from final approach to engine shut down.

IMG_0969.jpg


IMG_0979.jpg


IMG_0981.jpg


IMG_0983.jpg


[FONT=&quot]
IMG_0984.jpg
[/FONT]
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
IMG_0990.jpg


IMG_1000.jpg


As expected, the ground crew spun into action and began unloading baggage and freight. Barra Airport is akin to its smaller regional counterparts in Australia in that there are no security scanners or technologically advanced screening systems. Before boarding everyone was pat-down and we were asked to present the contents of our hand luggage. Not long after we were onboard where I was pleased once again to see the same Female FO that had flown me to Barra the day prior. I peered into the flight deck and much to my surprise saw a Female CPT. Having only ever had an all-Female tech crew team on a flight from Brisbane to Honiara, it was definitely a pleasant surprise, as I would later find out that they were excellent aviators, resulting in me having one of the smoothest flights ever, even factoring in the inclement weather.

The props were started and within minutes we were taxiing to the active runway for a quick departure that appeared to be to the south west (over the terminal).

The flight was once again uneventful; however I certainly appreciate the space we were afforded on the flight to Barra as it was rather tight with a full passenger compliment. As alluded to earlier, the tech crew need be commended for their excellent and professional flying. We passed through some inclement weather and much to my surprise we did not feel the slightest bump or jolt. Within an hour we touched down in Glasgow and were back with the family friend.

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have travelled to the Isle of Barra, it is a hidden gem. It is disappointing that the weather was so drab, however having seen photos from the summer, I can appreciate that during the Summer months is the best time to travel to the region. The beach landing and departure was much smoother than I expected and the journey to/from the area very picturesque. I am fortunate to have been able to sample flying with Flybe and would definitely like to fly with the carrier again as all staff were consistently friendly, professional and warm. A job well done by the team at Flybe as far as I am concerned.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
As alluded to earlier, I was fortunate to visit many wonderful places in Europe while on Holiday. Here are just a few of the close to 3000 images (yes, I went crazy) that I took.

IMG_0584.jpg

Germany, heaven on Earth.. love the place to bits..

IMG_0695.jpg

Lisbon, Portugal. Paradise on Earth.. beautiful weather and a stunning City!

IMG_0800.jpg

Lisbon

IMG_0820.jpg

Lisbon

IMG_1030.jpg

St. Monans, Scotland

IMG_1176.jpg

No prizes for guessing where this pic was taken..
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
IMG_1301.jpg

Innsbruck, Austria

IMG_1328.jpg

Venice, Italy

IMG_1548.jpg

Rome, Italy

IMG_1586.jpg

Vatican City

IMG_1621.jpg

Florence, Italy

IMG_1677.jpg

Lucerne, Switzerland
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
IMG_1702.jpg

Paris, France

IMG_1765.jpg

Paris, France

IMG_1768.jpg

Paris, France

IMG_1824.jpg

Hotel Indigo London Paddington - beautiful Hotel

IMG_1846.jpg

London

IMG_1884.jpg

London
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
349
Points
0
Across the five week period, there were many flights as noted below:

flightlog.png


I was very impressed with British Airways. Not long after returning I sent a glowing email to the customer relations team outlining the many wonderful flying experiences I had. Alas, I am yet to get any sort of acknowledgment and dearly hope that the crew I mentioned have been congratulated. I found British Airways to be consistently good, with professional, cheery and welcoming crew. They were available at all times and nothing was too difficult for them. While catering was lacking, the excellent service made up for such a shortcoming. All BA-operated Lounges had excellent facilities and kept my Sister and I occupied pre-flight. A job well done once again to all of the team at British Airways, please keep up the good work and I look forward to flying with the Airline again.

Qantas once again looked after us from Australia and back. All crew were consistently professional, welcoming, chatty and were available when required (as in they answered call bells in a timely manner). The Qantas A380 certainly packs a punch and I think it is the only way to fly. I was fortunate to be seated in 80K, one of those prized seats in Economy. There are only two seats at the front and passengers seated in 80K have the opportunity to stretch their legs, without having the slide/door protrude and lessen the amount of space. The aircraft is quiet, the seats are comfortable, the AVOD system wonderful and the catering also very good – especially Qantas’ famous Cadbury Hot Chocolate drink. Qantas has an excellent product and crew to match.

Anyway, that is enough from me. Admittedly I have been rather slack with the report as I could have said so much more. However given pictures can tell a thousand words, I thought it would be better to include only the smallest amount of writing (or in my case rambling!).

I hope you enjoy this report and look forward to seeing further reports from those that travel to Barra in the near future.

Cheers and Happy New Year :)

Other personal trip reports:
Uluru and Kata Tjuta - Australia's beautiful Red Centre
http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/trip-reports-and-trip-photos/trip-report-brisbane-uluru-kata-16177.html
 

Flashback

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
11,591
Points
1,545
Great TR Wunala Dreaming. Brings back some memories of the weather I had on my recent European jaunt :rolleyes:
 

yo yo ma

Active Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2007
Messages
809
Points
5
They are great pictures... what sort of camera do you use?
 
Combining a phone charger and phone holder our Magnetic Wireless Car Phone Charger quickly charges your phone while driving without tangled cords!

Suitable for car dashboard air vent installation, our wireless phone charger makes phone calls and GPS navigation easier more convenient.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

samh004

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
19,425
Solutions
13
Points
1,570
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
The photos of the landing on the beach are quite cool. I’d love to visit such a place myself in the future!
 

albatross710

Established Member
Joined
May 15, 2004
Messages
3,383
Solutions
1
Points
625
Thanks for the trip report. I was so happy to see the Twin Otter in a beautiful setting - such a versatile aircraft.

I have also learnt that RPT do operate for beach landings. Do they adjust schedule for the tides?
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
28,579
Solutions
1
Points
4,040
A great TR though i admit to thinking it was going to be fishy:oops:
 

zig

Established Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
1,920
Points
475
Thanks for your report, I really enjoyed it and the photos. Looks like you had a magical and memorable trip.
 

Bundy Bear

Established Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
Messages
3,745
Points
860
Thanks for the report; you certainly posted it in a few locations.

Just a heads up for anyone who wants to do this flight. Flights to Remote Scottish Island face being grounded.

A flight to a tiny Scottish island renowned as one of the most scenic air services in the world is under threat.
The Barra route is the only scheduled air service in the world that uses a beach for landing and take-off. As well as providing a unique visitor experience, the service is also a lifeline to those who live on the remote island in the Outer Hebrides.
However, doubts have emerged over whether Loganair, the operator of the service to Barra, will bid for the contract when it comes up for renewal because of the spiralling cost of maintaining its ageing aircraft. With other airlines reluctant to take over the route, because it would require investment in planes suited to the island's famous sand runways, the Scottish Government has been urged to emulate its partnership with the ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne, and spend about £4 million on new aircraft to lease to private operators.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..

Staff online

  • NM
    Enthusiast
Top