24th November 2017

Flybe customer bites back after being quoted £700 to take his dog south

An air passenger has described how Flybe quoted him a staggering £700 for a return flight from Aberdeen to Southampton – for his dog!

Levenwick resident Steve Mitchell was astounded after he was told by airline staff of a £350 charge
each way to transport his pet pooch Zooma between the Granite City and the south-of-England airport.

The eye-watering figure contrasts with the paltry £20 return fee which Loganair offered to charge for the Sumburgh-Aberdeen leg of the journey.

The bill also came close to matching the £800 needed to take the family of four on their summer holiday south.

Mr Mitchell, 65, of Seggieburn, said he had wanted to take his young terrier, which has been in the family for the past year and a half, down for his mother-in-law, who had recently lost her own dog, to see. But the exorbitant price charged by Flybe meant the dog never left the isles.

“It was two to three weeks ago when we went away,” the retired Shetland Farm Dairies manager said.
“It’s been simmering away in my mind for a long while. I’m still mad about it because I don’t see how one company can charge you 20 quid for a return trip and the other one wants to charge £350 for one way.

“We went down to see my wife’s mum. She lives down in Wiltshire and we fly down to Southampton usually. She recently lost her dog, had had it for quite a long time, and is quite fond of our dog so we thought we would take him down.”

Mr Mitchell is not keen on relying on kennels, which he described as “impersonal”. So Zooma instead ended up being looked after by friends in Yell while Mr Mitchell, his wife Elizabeth, 47, and sons Ben, 12, and seven year-old Fergus took their summer break.

The change of plan was not before Mr Mitchell incurred the added expense of buying an “airline-accredited dog cage”, which he said was now “sitting in the garage unused”.

The dog-lover said he found it difficult to understand why there was such a difference in the prices quoted by Loganair and Flybe.

“I’m not sure of the reasoning behind it,” he said. “It can’t cost that much. The only thing I can assume is they [Flybe] don’t want to take dogs, so they price it out of the game.”

The news comes shortly after Flybe came under fire from Loganair after announcing the two would go head-to-head for passengers on the Shetland route.

Flybe chiefs met the public last week as the company, and its new partner Eastern Airways, outlined plans for their new service starting in September.

Mr Mitchell said hidden charges meant the newcomer was less attractive a proposition as it may have originally appeared.

He added: “On the face of it Flybe look to be very competitive, but there are other charges which they’re not so keen to quote such as luggage.

“At the moment they’re charging you for credit card bookings which Loganair don’t, and Loganair don’t charge for luggage either. This just seemed to be another hidden cost, if you like.”

Flybe stated this week: “The safety and security of our passengers (both canine and human) is Flybe’s number one priority at all times.

“As an IATA-regulated airline, Flybe fully complies with IATA’s stringent Live Animals Regulations (LARS). This is the accepted worldwide standard for transporting animals in a safe and humane way by commercial airlines that protects both the customer and the airline. For this there are associated processing costs.

“Not knowing the exact details, Flybe cannot comment on the alleged quote given to Mr Mitchell.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »

3 comments

  1. john ridland

    Why does the Shetland times give time and space to a NONE story like this.?
    Its upto Flybe what they charge ( no sub ).
    This whole dog thing in the UK is now gone far to far.

    Reply
    • Brian Smith

      And my goodness, how about the whole hamster thing …

      Reply
  2. Nicoletta Presacco

    I’m sure you find this story of no interest but to me, as owner of a tiny cottage in Shetland with a dependent canine, the possibility to take my dog with me makes a huge difference. It’s already very difficult and expensive travelling to Shetland, if I have to do it by car/ferry it’ll be close to impossible.

    Reply

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.