An open letter to Flybe

Dear Sir or Madam

I recently booked tickets from Southampton to Bergerac via your website. I decided to book these using my Flybe Mastercard, as using the card gives me points towards a free flight. The flights, including insurance, came to £202.01. Imagine my surprise, and indignation, when I realised that there would be an £11.00 surcharge for using the Mastercard, especially since it is a Flybe card.

I am aware that as a budget airline, Flybe tries very hard to give its customers the best value for money, ensuring that customers only pay for what they use and that no hidden costs are passed on to them. I am therefore very concerned that Mastercard may be overcharging you and that you are having to pass this cost on to your customers. I think you should contact Mastercard and see if you can renegotiate your contract with them, as clearly in this instance you are unable to give your customers the best value for money. I know that as a company you are fully committed to doing this and that this news must be disturbing for you.

I have therefore undertaken some investigations on your behalf so that you can compare Flybe’s charges with those of other organisations. First, I booked some train tickets with First Great Western. They did not charge me for using my Mastercard. This leads me to believe that either they are being charged much less for administering the card than you are, or that they are being charged a similar amount but simply add it on to the cost of train tickets. I am undecided as to which it might be. If the latter, it would certainly go some way to explaining why we are charged so much by rail companies for such a shoddy service.

Next, I paid for a service provided by my local city council. They charge 1.5% for using a credit card. If you had a similar contract to theirs, the charge on a £202.01 ticket would be 202.01/100 * 1.5 = £3.03. Or to put it another way, in order to warrant a charge of £11 I would have to buy a ticket that cost 11/1.5 * 100= £733.33.

I used the card with the fashion retailer La Redoute. Imagine my joy at finding that they too, do not charge £11 per transaction. I expect they have realised that were they to do so, fewer people would buy clothes from them. Indeed they do not charge anything for using credit cards. Then I purchased a new bike at my rather lovely local bikeshop, reasoning that if flight charges continue to increase I might need a really good bike. The Bike Shed did not charge me a penny for using your Flybe Mastercard. It seems odd then that the people who charge the most for using the card are in fact you, Flybe.

The good news, if I can call it that, is that by using my Flybe card I can gain Rewards4all points. I get 1 reward point for every £250 I spend, plus other points for the flights I take. After 16 points, or a spend of £4000 I get a free flight, not including taxes or taking into account points given for flying. If I were to use my Flybe Card to buy flights and spend £4000 to get a free flight, that would be 20 flights which, if I booked them separately, would mean £220 in card charges. To get a free flight.

In conclusion, I will not be using my Flybe card to book flights with you as the £11 charge is completely and utterly unreasonable. The money I save I might, or might not, spend with Flybe. On balance, I think not. This is the problem with being greedy, grasping and unreasonable. It means you lose customer goodwill. I leave you to work out the impact this might have on your business.

Yours faithfully

Dr H. Blackman

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2 thoughts on “An open letter to Flybe

  1. Sadly, they’ve probably already worked out the impact it might have on their business: precious little. Folks like thee and me pretty certainly aren’t their main target customer base, and even we end up using them after calculating the overall costs of the various alternatives.
    I don’t like making the implication I’m making here about their main target customer base, but sadly it does seem to be an inescapable reality.

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