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Re-Start of BF Passenger Services


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18 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I notice no inclusive holidays are available to book yet.  I think (?) that is normal, and that they become available later in the year (?), and that this is not a clue that the holiday business is going to close. 🤞

The fact that BF own “ Holiday France direct “ is proof that they are committed to the holiday business.

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When you read what Roué has told us, it is jaw dropping! Some of us have been vociferously critical of BF, even suggesting that we could do a better job. Consider the following. 780,000 normal fo

I am pleased to report proactive contact from BF Customer Services in recent days. The revised timetable issued last week removed both of the sailings we were booked on [into Le Havre and Poole].

Mrs FW and I travelled Caen-Portsmouth yesterday afternoon on MSM in 2 different vehicles, as she is staying for a couple of weeks and I’m back next Tuesday - it allowed me to test my loading theory.

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7 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

I have it on pretty reasonable authority that the holiday business will certainly not close

There is no reason for it to close & they run 2 versions anyway - the traditional bundled holiday and the book accommodation with them as an agent and get 20% the ferry (Holiday France Direct)

BF have to find loads of imaginative ways of filling the ships including Club Voyage, deals with the various motorhome / camping clubs etc.

Even Easyjet do holidays - it makes sense for a transit company to offer them

Edited by David Williams
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I’m sure you’re right, both, and also that the delayed release is normal.  But equally we are in uncertain times and BF is going to have to go into recovery of losses mode.  The holiday business would be one candidate to close if it runs at a loss (I have no idea whether it does) as they restructure the business.  But I agree it is less likely that they will do this than more.  The point about its role in filling ships is also a good one.

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I’m sure Holiday France runs on a commission and advertising basis I believe the HQ is in Poole I don’t think that they have a big workforce so I suspect it has relatively low running costs.

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10 minutes ago, Gareth said:

But equally we are in uncertain times and BF is going to have to go into recovery of losses mode. 

Correct Gareth but they still need as many bookings as possible over the coming weeks/months/years. Christophe Mathieu made the obvious but very valid point that they can't just whack up prices because we the customer won't accept that and will vote with our wallets. They need to offer as wide a range of crossings as possible even though that could mean spreading themselves thinly at certain times of the year. I think BF have accepted 2021 won't be easy and early season crossings will probably be even quieter than normal, so the onus is on them to reduce their costs wherever possible and try to attract even more freight than usual. 

If I was in the shoes of Christophe Mathieu (perish the thought) I would instigate an across-the-board cost saving excercise to include fuel prices, port fees, bulk buying for on-board use and most importantly wages. I would have thought it's now more important than ever that while staff shouldn't be asked to take a pay cut they should be as flexible as possible with working terms and conditions to avoid the extra expense of seasonal staff, whether that means working on other vessels or taking part of their holiday allowance out of season rather than now.

Chris 

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15 hours ago, Gareth said:

That’s quite a difference in outbound and inbound crossing!  Trying to experience both ends of BF’s offering in the same holiday? 😁

We enjoy driving back through France after visiting two or three Spanish Paradors.The Cherbourg - Poole sector will be changed to Cherbourg - Portsmouth if NEX sails again.

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9 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Correct Gareth but they still need as many bookings as possible over the coming weeks/months/years.

I seem to have been misunderstood.  I was not suggesting closure was likely, merely that it was a theoretical possibility and that I hoped the absence of holiday booking availability currently for next year was not indicative.  In terms of all the arguments for having the business, you’re preaching to the converted! 😉

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

I notice no inclusive holidays are available to book yet.  I think (?) that is normal, and that they become available later in the year (?), and that this is not a clue that the holiday business is going to close. 🤞

FWIW during my call yesterday the holiday accommodation request was confirmed with the comment that they'd revert with the pricing once that part was updated later in the year (usually late October / early November) - that's the usual procedure.

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

I seem to have been misunderstood.  I was not suggesting closure was likely, merely that it was a theoretical possibility and that I hoped the absence of holiday booking availability currently for next year was not indicative.  In terms of all the arguments for having the business, you’re preaching to the converted! 😉

2019's hotel holidays were available to book from August 2018 (that's when I booked mine), but the hotel holidays for 2020 were not available to book until November 2019. I always book asap to get the 20% discount - which I hope will still be on offer. Anyway, we had to wait until November last year, so there's plenty of time yet.

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2 hours ago, Solo said:

With the pictures of Heathrow today couldn't BF be more flexible with their passenger restrictions, I'd certainly rather be on a full ferry than flying at the moment.

I'd rather have an empty pland and an empty ferry😀. Flew on a Jumbo once with seven passengers to ten crew.

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4 hours ago, Gareth said:

I notice no inclusive holidays are available to book yet.  I think (?) that is normal, and that they become available later in the year (?), and that this is not a clue that the holiday business is going to close. 🤞

No daytrip offers either - i am hoping these will appear for autumn sailings once the summer peak is over.

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8 hours ago, Gareth said:

Nothing new there.  Most of that is nearly a month old (apart from the photo which is considerably older! 🤣).

DFDS are taking foot passengers from Newhaven.

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59 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Don’t think that’s new is it - I don’t think they ever stopped.

Understood but in @Stefeni's post which highlights the interview with Connexion, DFDS are quoted as saying that they don't take footies.

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So we are on our way late this afternoon on CF to Santander and so far everything has been smooth and all restrictions taken seriously by all passengers and staff.

We arrived 2 hours before departure to be on the safe side and already cars had been checked in. Checkin was quick, and all precautions explained to us. We have a dog with us so we’re one of the first cars loaded onto the ferry. Cars were loaded in stages to overcome any crowding at the stair/lift cores and as we were one of the first to board had no issue with social distancing. Everyone on board are wearing face masks apart from when in the bar or restaurant.

I would say the ferry is half full as there is plenty of free space to sit outside or in the bars or lounges. Very relaxed atmosphere.

Our departure was meant to be 5pm however we actually set sail just after 4.30pm which shows how empty the ferry is. 2.5 hours into the trip and calm seas blue sky and mild temperatures. Even a pint is £3.55!

We were apprehensive about this trip, and really wanted to get to our destination as quickly as possible, however so far so good. We were doubtful that we would get to our holiday home this summer however I must congratulate BF for getting their service back to relative normality so quickly and smoothly.

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23 hours ago, Solo said:

With the pictures of Heathrow today couldn't BF be more flexible with their passenger restrictions, I'd certainly rather be on a full ferry than flying at the moment.

At least on a ferry you can go outside

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Flying does have its advantages. I think that given the choice between 5 hours on a ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham and 1.5 on a plane from an overcast and drizzly Nantes to Nice and this view on arrival, I'd take the latter. Ed. 

DSC_0391.JPG

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A potential major fly in the ointment for BF’s resumption of “normal service”.  The UK has just reintroduced a 14 day quarantine requirement for travellers returning from Spain.

The underlines the risks associated with trying to holiday overseas at the moment.  Rules governing crossing borders are vulnerable to change at no notice.

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3 minutes ago, Gareth said:

A potential major fly in the ointment for BF’s resumption of “normal service”.  The UK has just reintroduced a 14 day quarantine requirement for travellers returning from Spain.

The underlines the risks associated with trying to holiday overseas at the moment.  Rules governing crossing borders are vulnerable to change at no notice.

Has it been announced or is it just speculation ?

It would seem more logical to do this at a regional level like fco advice often is.

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