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Altranter

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About Altranter

  • Birthday 29/09/1966

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  1. It seems that many Brits are selling their holiday homes in France and the new destination for buying is Devon, Cornwall, and other places in the UK. A French estate agent was telling me that Parisian work-from-homers are snapping up the types of properties that British second homers like to buy, and with high prices, the temptation to sell is great. Brexit has made a French holiday home less attractive, and some of the Brexit effects are not immediately apparent, for example, some capital gains tax reliefs are no longer available to Brits as non-EU citizens. Covid-19 has emphasised the added difficulties of travel between Britain and France. Taxes on international travel – already applied to aviation, will doubtless hit passenger shipping before long, making the cost of a short break across the channel more expensive. Plus the Taxe d’habitation will increasingly hit overseas holiday home owners – it is being abolished for main French residences but non-voting second home owners will remain an easy tax target. So I raise three questions: 1. . What will be the effects on Brittany Ferries if the number of British holiday home owners declines sharply? My sense is that these provide a solid year round level of repeat business, especially important during the quieter months. Should I be selling my holiday home in Calvados now? 2. Should other Brits be reconsidering whether they should buy or sell in France? 3.
  2. No, anybody can book these, but BF say that if needed by disabled passengers, an able bodied occupant may be moved to an "equivalent" cabin. If these cabins were kept only for disabled people, it could mean having lots of empty cabins crossing the channel in peak times, when BF may be turning away able bodied people queuing up to pay for them. I'm sure they can't afford to do this. The lack of outside standard cabins is a design weakness on Amrorique
  3. I was trying to find out if “Condor Voyager” will still be running from Poole to St Malo as advertised in some early timetables? It is not showing on any of the online ferry booking agencies' sites as bookable. And I couldn’t find it on Condor’s own website. I couldn’t find an update in this forum except tales of grief for Voyager. Any news anyone? BTW, does anyone else find Condor’s website cookie policy annoying? Sites normally give you the option of rejecting non-essential cookies, and I routinely disable these. Condor is very unusual in forcing you to accept all cookies. I clicked on their more information button and I was amazed that they wanted to put 70+ advertising cookies in my computer! I’m afraid I usually ignore companies who treat their visitors in this way.
  4. I wish Brittany Ferries wouldn't use "Sailing full" to describe sailings which have been cancelled / changed. It is just so dishonest to imply that the sailings are so busy that all places have been sold and this further undermines trust in the company. Why not just say "Not available"?
  5. Coming back to the story of the flying ferry, in my experience of corporate communications, this looks like a ruse to divert attention away from bad news stories. Perhaps the company is picking up on a workforce which is becoming demotivated and sees no future, or it sees stories beginning to circulate about the company going bust. Answer? Promote a story about a bold new future and workers’ and customers’ fears go into background. Management is seen to be creative, so no need to worry about the future. It costs very little to mock up a picture of a flying ferry, it gets lots of positive media coverage. Nobody here would expect this to ever happen, but the story has done its job.
  6. If NEx is going to be used for longer journeys from UK to CI or France, I think a "Club Class" lounge would be vital and also good for generating additional revenue. I like the Condor lounges - they have always seemed very busy on UK - CI sectors, much less so on CI - St Malo. Liberation would be overkill for CI - St Malo as some have suggested, but I would be very happy to go UK - St Malo on Liberation. Also NEx if it had something more than the reclining seats which were fitted a few years ago, which are of only modest benefit relative to their cost.
  7. I always thought it was completely crazy running NEX with a French crew, staying overnight in the UK, incurring most operating costs in Euros when most of the income was in Sterling. I presume NEX will now be crewed this side of the Channel. Maybe the pandemic has focused minds on the economics of the operation rather than the preservation of French jobs, and this must be good for sustainability of NEx operation.
  8. Altranter

    2021 Timetables

    The crewing of NEX has always seemed complete lunacy to me. When times are good and you have a captive market, you might just be able to get away with the inflated costs of paying French wages and social employment costs, plus the accommodation costs for staying overnight in Portsmouth. Now that times are not so good, I don’t think even the French unions could force BF to lose money in this way. Remember also that post-Brexit, it will be even more useful for BF to manage its currency risk so that income in one currency more closely equals expenditure in that currency.
  9. Talking of expensive, I just noticed another strange thing when I looked at booking Portsmouth – Cherbourg in December. “Inside large 2 berth / 4 berth cabin £62 per cabin” “Inside 2 berth cabin. Wheelchair accessible” - £43 per cabin" There were no 2 berth cabins for non-wheelchair users. I wondered if you had to be a wheelchair user to have a 2 berth cabin if that is all you need. Or are these cabins available to all? £62 seems a lot for a single traveller or a couple to pay for a midweek, mid-winter smallest cabin with no windows. The Ibis at Portsmouth was just £39 for the same night, free cancellation and a window!
  10. With almost no passenger service being offered by Brittany Ferries over winter, I wonder what regular ferry travellers will do during this time? Quarantine or not, there will still be many people who will need to travel – to work, to check on their properties, for medical treatment etc. Loyal travellers will have to break their habits and find an alternative which they may discover is actually better. I used to be 100% loyal to the ferry until a strike / lockout a few years ago, then I was forced to “discover” the Tunnel / Shuttle. And overall, it was much better than I had expected and since then I have used it for over half of my trips to France. It took non-availability of the ferry to make me break my habit and I now spend less with BF. It’s similar to online shopping - many people have been forced to discover it during lockdown , but will they go back to regular shops now they have been forced to discover benefits of online? It’s a pity Brittany Ferries couldn’t keep a once or twice a week service going throughout winter on the main routes, so that the temptation to look elsewhere is reduced, but I appreciate that the costs of catering for just one sailing a week may be disproportionately high.
  11. Brittany Ferries has been running an advertising campaign to encourage people to book their sailings for summer 2021 now. Stories of cancellations like this will surely cancel out the company's efforts to get people to book early for next year?
  12. Private Equity firms and “Vulture capital” funds are circling distressed companies which have run out of cash but otherwise have good long-term market prospects – they are looking for a purchase at a knock down price. There is a fairly well repeated formula when private equity takes over – slash costs, outsource, load the company up with debt and then flog the company on as a lean, efficient, regular source of dividends. The ownership / asset structure of Brittany Ferries may complicate a distressed sale, but never say never....
  13. Unnecessarily annoying, I turned up 90 minutes before the scheduled 1445 departure time to Caen, so in all I had to wait for nearly 2 hours in a hot queue of traffic, next to a lorry running its refrigeration unit. I am now even more annoyed knowing that BF seems to have planned this later departure all along. The boat was fairly empty, quite soulless walking through the public areas. Functional, but not the experience we have been used to (and pay for). One thing that I couldn’t work out was some sort of staggered loading, which might have needed the extra time. I thought this might be a clever way of spreading people out as they boarded, but no, when I got out of my car I found myself in a queue of people on the staircase with congestion as some waited for the lift whole others wanted to pass by on the stairs.
  14. The strike must be a sure sign that French life is getting "back to normal" . But I thought they usually waited until September rather than the summer holiday period to hold strikes.
  15. It is risky to book a ferry more than a couple of weeks ahead. I have noticed many “peak” dates to France in August still with lots of spare cabins – usually sold out by now. To fill capacity, I wonder if it would be a good idea for BF to reinstate day trip and short break offers, but with the condition that they are only available to book a maximum one week in advance. That will be good for BF because it doesn’t sell cheap spaces into the future when demand may have picked up, and good for customers who will have to act fast to get a deal, knowing that there isn’t that much risk booking just one week ahead.
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