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Brussels Airlines: Airline from the EU
Brussels is the de-facto capital of the European Union. Brussels is a lively city with full of friendly people. That made our expectations for Brussels Airlines high but unfortunately we got disappointed. However, it is good to remember that the airline itself has nothing to do with the EU, only thing that it happens to come from Brussels.
Brussels Airlines is the flag carrier of Belgium, replacing the country's former national carrier Sabena which collapsed in 2001. The country needed a new national airline. This was finally realized when private investors and governments together founded a new company. The Brussels Airlines was founded then in 2006 and its operations began a year after.
Brussels Airlines is a medium size airline. It is flying mainly inside Europe with its short-haul fleet. The airline has only a few long-haul destinations.
Brussels Airport is the hub of the Brussels Airlines. The airline has about 90 destinations that are located mainly inside the Europe. There are also a few destination in United States. Because the Brussels Airlines has only 3 wide-body aircraft, the number of long-haul destinations is limited. The airline has a good code-share network with well-known big airlines.
Brussels Airlines belongs to the Star Alliance that is the biggest airline alliance in the world. Together with the alliance, this medium sized airline can be competitive in the global market.
Loyalty Programs of Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines has two different loyalty programs. You can collect points to Miles&More that is an airline mile program managed by Brussel Airline's parent company Lufthansa. Another option is to collect points to Brussels Airlines own program called LOOP. It differs from traditional airlines' bonus systems.
Because we flew with a low-fare ticket, we were not entitled to any Miles&More points. LOOP program was not useful for us either because we are not flying with Brussels Airlines often. That is why we didn't analyse benefits of these program better. You can read more about them from Brussels Airlines' own web page.
Our Flight with Brussels Airlines
We flew from Copenhagen to Brussels in April 2018. Because Brussels Airlines is not flying directly from Helsinki, we first took Norwegian's flight from Helsinki to Copenhagen and then continued with Brussels Airlines to the final destination. This route was the best option for us since we didn't want to book an expensive Finnair's direct flight from Helsinki to Brussels and obviously with our wants to try flying with an unfamiliar airline for us.
Unfortunately, everything didn't go as smooth as we had planned. Brussels Airlines broke our plans and and they were quite unwilling to co-operate in solving them.
Booking the Flight
Like always, we compared flight prices on Skyscanner*. We decided to book two separate flights. One from Helsinki to Copenhagen with Norwegian and one from Copenhagen to Brussels with Brussels Airlines. We made an estimate that there is enough time to connect between the flights because we were planning to travel only with a hand luggage. We also had our private travel insurances in case that we had missed the connection.
Tip: Always have a travel insurance when travelling to limit unexpected costs.
The booking process itself went smoothly. Skyscanner directed us to the airline's web page where we finished the booking.
Flight Cancellation and Its Consequences
Problems started a few weeks after our booking that was still many weeks before the actual travel date. Brussels Airlines suddenly contacted us that they had cancelled our flight and we should fly from Copenhagen to Brussels 4 hours earlier as it was originally scheduled. It is the first time in our travel history when an airline cancels a flight and expects us to fly much earlier than we had booked.
We contacted Brussels Airlines and told that we can't fly earlier but the only option is to fly later. Finally they proposed us to fly next day but told that we should pay our hotel in Copenhagen ourselves. The customer service was unfriendly and not helpful at all.
Finally, we rebooked our outbound flight with Norwegian Airlines to Copenhagen just to be able to make the earlier flight of Brussels Arilines. We had to pay all extra costs ourselves. This airline didn't take their responsibility. According to our communication with the European Consumer Centre, Brussels Airlines did wrong. While we were trying to solve the problem, the airline's way of communication became more and more unfriendlier.
When the day of flying came, we made the check-in online. It went smoothly without any problems. We flew to Copenhagen by Norwegian and at the Copenhagen Airport we just proceeded to the gate because we had only our hand-luggage. Brussels's Airlines cheapest economy ticket does not include luggage to the hold on short-haul flights. The seat selection was free during the online check-in.
The Aircraft of Our Flight
Our flight was operated by Airbus A320. It departed from Copenhagen a little late but that wasn't a big issue. The plane was clean and in good condition. We were not expecting anything more so we were happy with the aircraft.
Brussels Airlines is not offering any complimentary in-flight meal on short-haul flights in the economy class. Unexpectedly, we were offered a cute piece of chocolate.
Our Brussels Airlines Rating
Customer Service and Professional Skills
This is the first time we give only 1 star for the customer service. Brussels Airlines was quite unwilling to solve problems and their replies were unfriendly. They didn't take their responsibility.
Cabin of the Planes
The cabin was clean and in good condition. There was not any in-flight entertainment systems though we did not expect such.
Our fare was surprisingly low. It seems that Brussels Airlines can't anymore offer good quality when the fares have gone too down. We would have wanted to pay a little more for our flight tickets to get better customer service.
Price to Quality Ratio
The price was low but so was the responsibility level of the airline. Price to quality ratio is at the moderate level. Brussels Airlines acts as a low-cost airline.
The flight itself went well and everything was like we expected during the flight. Also the flying crew were friendly. However, if the airline is not serving its customers well nor taking its responsibility, it can't be rated good. The lack of good customer service gives Brussels Airlines an overall low rating.
Would we fly with Brussels Airlines again? Probably yes. Based on our experiences, their responsibility level is quite low but that is typical for low-cost airlines. The only difference is that Brussels Airlines is not a low-cost airline but the flag carrier of Belgium.
Flying with Brussels Airlines is a good enough choice, but don't pay too much for the ticket. You may end up getting low-cost service level.