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About Jooles

  • Birthday 07/03/1957

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  1. Can someone explain why BF requires passengers to check in two hours ahead of the specified sailing time during the present pandemic? Having made several trips over the last few months during the restrictions I have dutifully turned up at the specified time, only to then spend an hour and a quarter in the parking lanes about 100 metres beyond the check in booths.
  2. I travel on BF 12 times a year, have done so for the last decade and normally eat in the more formal restaurants. Over that time the food standards have reduced and what used to be great French quality in the basics has gone - the bread is now awful, where it used to be superb. Change the Customer Services Director, Sawdays gain was our loss.
  3. Having now reviewed the prices published today, the implications, using a single journey from Portsmouth to Caen with car and two adults in May as an example is as follows: 2019 fare £119 with 30% deposit upfront. 2020 fare £115 economy with 100 deposit upfront 2020 fare £125 standard with 50% deposit upfront 2020 fare £135 flexi with 25% deposit upfront. Net effect is that the new standard fare has increased some 5% compared with this year, but the upfront deposit has risen from 30% to 50%.
  4. It's a great shame to see BF announce their new ticket structure with such a positive spin. In reality the fanfare seems more designed to hide that facts that cancellations and ticket changes will cost significantly more, whilst deposits taken in advance are subject to similarly large rises. Net result is that as a very regular traveller I will delay booking until the last minute, post April 2020. Between now and then I'll book as many of next years trips as I can and benefit from the current booking terms and conditions.
  5. I've travelled over 150 times, I used to have one each trip. I'll get over it, but there again BF could just maintain service standards and quality.
  6. In a service business small details matter. In France quality of bread is a vital to a happy life. All the more surprising and disappointing therefore to see the replacement of the fabulous triangular rolls so long a staple of BF ships with a vastly inferior spherical substitute. Another example of things being "improved worse"!
  7. I travel frequently on BF using a variety of different vehicles. I booked a return journey this month in the normal fashion. Two days later I received notification that my booking had been amended, this carried out without my consent and extra charges added to my previously confirmed booking. Turns out that the new 2019 "improved" booking system looks up your car registration on a data base, if the manufacturer's specified height exceeds the height you booked the system increases the charge automatically - regardless of the fact that your vehicle may be under this height in practice. (Eg if you have non standard tyres or wheels). So if you drive a higher vehicle its worth checking the actual height versus the theoretical height on the BF database.
  8. We travel with pets sometimes. The only trouble is that the system automatically assumes the pet is a dog, whereas we have two cats. This makes for an interesting experience - like: please exercise your pet (cat!) in the pets area (with the dogs!), your allocated pet cabin for the cats is next to those with dogs and you get a doggy toy in the cabin! I guess that travelling cats must be rare, as I haven't seen many others over the last 10 years.
  9. Over the last year I have travelled several times to Ireland with both Stena Line and Irish Ferries and back from the USA on the QM2. It made me appreciate how fortunate we are to have BF as the operator of the routes in the Western Channel and to Spain. I travel to and from France at least a dozen times a year with BF. The ships are always very well maintained, the crew are smartly dressed and pleasant, the food is excellent, the service and cleanliness is superb. The boarding, loading and docking experience is generally efficient. In ten years I have only experienced one cancellation and two delays. By contrast the QM2 terminal in Brooklyn is a disgrace, Irish Ferries cancelled two out of my last two bookings, Stena Line ships have a very cheap standard of fit out, are dirty, poorly maintained and in one instance last autumn I came across an unsecured rail gate on the top outside deck with the potential for the unwary to lean on the gate and fall overboard! No company is perfect and there will always be occasional operational difficulties which are unavoidable. In the overall scheme of things, however, BF does things significantly better than many others. From a commercial perspective the BF strategy may not deliver the best short term profit margins, but customer loyalty and premium pricing for a quality product must win out over time. Keep up standards BF, don't chase be tempted to cheapen the service or diminish the quality in any way in a misguided attempt to chase greater passenger volumes.
  10. Interesting statistics. More passengers on longer routes, more services to Spain, less passengers on the channel routes. Yet still no service to La Rochelle which would fit with the obvious market trends and could be accommodated for a one year trial as a once a week stop in each direction en route to Spain. It's time to give it a try.
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