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XL Airways Passenger Reviews and XL Airways Customer Trip Reports


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Excel Airways - by Graham Fairclough
27 November 2006

Manchester to Gran Canaria return. It took 2.5 hours to serve breakfast, which cost 5 and arrived cold and tasting terrible. The crew seemed to be trying hard and were pleasant but gave the impression of poor training and inadequate experience. Information was confused and self- contradicting, such as airport screens saying check in would open in 30 minutes, yet wandering around I found it was open and I was the 49th person to check in 2 hours before the flight. The return journey was a shambles. I arrived two hours before the flight and found the desks had just opened. It took 90 minutes to reach the desk, as a serious fuss was being made each time somebody had 1kg above their 20kg luggage allowance, requiring people to go and stand in another queue to pay a supplement and cause further delay to them. I chose XL after reading the other comments on this website and was surprised how poor an experience it was. On the plus side, both flights left on time. I wonder if this meant some of the people behind me in the check-in queue missed their flight? They were calling last call as I was handed my boarding pass. Not good enough on just about every measure. I will only fly XL again if I can find absolutely no alternatives.

Excel Airways - by J Warmston
21 November 2006

Excel Caribbean Flights. Caribbean charter routes with specific long haul cabin layout, economy leg room is 32"-34" and Excel One is top quality and great value compared to schedule airlines offering a similar service. Excel short haul and Far East charters are not on the same level as the Caribbean charter and therefore should not be confused or compared to. I've had good experiences with Excel to the Caribbean in economy and Excel One as mentioned by S Brammall and M Hodgson. Would I recommend - yes.

Excel Airways - by Ken Wilkins
20 November 2006

Bristol - Sharm el Sheikh in Economy. Check in was quick, the (leather) seats were comfortable with just about enough leg room, (I'm 6 feet tall). Flight service was more than adequate from a very hard working and courteous bunch of cabin staff with a good hot meal and plenty of snacks and drinks, all at extra cost but this is a budget airline. We had a couple of films going out and one coming back all for the price of 2.50 for a headset. Flights both ways were on time, we were even half an hour early getting back. All in all I was pretty impressed so well done Excel!

Excel Airways - by Frederick Crowley
8 November 2006

Once again Excel Air failed to Excel!! Tickets for a flight to the Canaries on 30th November arrived on the 19th November. In the same post was a letter from Excel telling us to ignore the flight times on the ticket, as the flight had been put back by three hours! Nevertheless the flight out left on time (albeit 3 hours later than expected), and was reasonable. On the return flight we were informed that that our pre-paid meal would not be provided as Excel had discontinued the service as of the 1st November, we were however told that we could purchase a meal!! A guy behind us asked for a pillow and was told he could have one upon payment of 5.00, he could also have a blanket for another 5.00!! As far as we are concerned, enough is enough - goodbye Excel!!

Excel Airways - by Penny Platt
2 November 2006

Manchester to Sharm el Sheikh in Economy. Theflights were on time on both journeys in fact arrived back in the UK 15 mins early. We had pre- booked seats, we felt there was plenty of legroom and we are not the smallest of people, the food was typical airline food but to be fair it was edible and filled some time in. We couldn't fault the staff, they looked the part and were very pleasant. For the return journey as the four of us couldn't be seated together two of us were upgraded free of charge to extra legroom seats, our daughter was under 16 so was unable to have the seats in the exit otherwise we would have all been upgraded. As someone said in an earlier post people seem to write reviews only for complaining which I do understand. However, you also have to give credit where it's due and hopefully our positive experience will help to put peoples mind at rest that it isn't necessary all doom and gloom. I would definitely have no hesitation in flying with this airline again.

Excel Airways - by Sui Yip
27 October 2006

LGW to Paphos. Outward journey no major problems, but food was disgusting, my friend was charged for 4kg excess baggage (even though our hand luggage was almost empty and my luggage was below weight limit). Return leg was a nightmare. Queues for check-in the worse I've seen for years. Delay of 16 hours with no information. Jumbo 747 so around 400 passengers forced to stand for 2 1/2 hours waiting for info and not allowed into the gate. Finally sent to dismal hotels, where no food or drinks provided. A passenger phoned the airline who agreed finally to pay for drinks only. No drinks provided whilst at the airport and no provision for elderly or young passengers who I really felt sorry for. The main complaint is the lack of information to passengers and lack of food and drink provision - people had not eaten for most of the day. I've flown with many airlines and been delayed and Excel surpasses even my nightmares of poor service. The positives, well at least the crew and staff were apologetic and helpful. I'll never fly Excel again, it's a cheap airline who care nothing of its passengers.

Excel Airways - by John Bailey
27 October 2006

To Kos from Gatwick and the return. B757-200 both ways. Outbound check- in fine. Allocated seats were re-allocated to the very front of the plane at the departure gate. My (window seat) a bit uncomfortable (padding was poor) and there was a damp smell - quite unpleasant but I did not complain. The plane felt a little bit worn inside but by no means in a poor state. Flight ran ahead of time. Inbound - allocated seats towards the rear of the front cabin - these were more comfortable than the outbound flight - no complaints. Flight took off and arrived ahead of time but the advantage was lost due to slow baggage recovery at Gatwick which was poor. Both ways cabin crew were courteous, flight was smooth both for take off, cruising and landing and the flight crew kept us informed. Meals were typical airline food but not unpleasant. In flight magazine pretty good with a few interesting articles. Overall I was pretty happy and would be happy to fly with them again.

Excel Airways - by Susannah Mason
27 October 2006

We tend to use Excel where we can, last flights were GLW-ARE-GLW earlier this month. Outbound was on time but as we had row 14 and were unable to recline our seats we were a bit sore by the time we arrived. Coming back checkin was a nightmare and we were delayed but by pure luck were allocated seats in row 16 - thus we had a very comfortable flight home with loads of leg room. As always the crews each way were friendly and chatty. Food acceptable and overall excellent value for money flights. Excel are generally very good value.

Excel Airways - by Mike Kirk
22 October 2006

MAN-Arrecife-MAN. Check in at MAN was quick at dedicated desks. Outbound arrived 1 hour late. Return check in horrendous (as usual at Arrecife) arrived MAN 20 mins late. Seat comfort better than average, food and drinks dearer than average. Couldn't listen to good outbound film as there was a fault with my seat's socket, film on return was a cartoon. Overall quite satisfied bearing in mind ticket price and ideal flight times.

Excel Airways - by Duncan Whiting
15 October 2006

LGW-Dalaman return. B757 had been refurbished with nice leather seats, until I got to my section at the back (row 31 onwards ) that must have been the original seats from this ageing aircraft - uncomfortable and full of stains. I was given an exit row seat so had no complaints. No movie or IFE due to a circuit breaking after take-off. I declined the meal as I was under the impression you paid extra for the meal when booking the ticket (not so). Friendly cabin staff, regular updates from the captain and a smooth ( on time) flight so no complaints. Return leg I got another exit row seat on a fully refurbished 757. IFE was working and I tucked into a very satisfactory sausage and mash meal. Again, on time arrival into LGW

Excel Airways - by Frederick Crowley
10 October 2006

On the last two occasions that we have flown with Excel this year, we have had the same passenger announcement. Sorry ladies & gentlemen, we have not got enough meals for everyone. If anyone is prepared to forego their meal, we will give them a free drink. On the last flight, several of the overhead lockers came open as we took off from Gatwick, this was due entirely to the fact that the cabin attendants had failed to check them! We frequently travel with charter airlines, and we accept that generally we are going to be treated like cattle. However, Excel manage to turn this into an art form!!

Excel Airways - by Jo Davidson
10 October 2006

LGW - Dalaman 22nd September. Prebooked extra leg room seats on both legs only to find we did not get them either way. We arrived at Dalaman to have some else's luggage (later found out they had travelled to Egypt with ours). Airline have been completely unhelpful (that's putting it politely) about the whole situation and generally have just taken our money for both extra leg room and flight and now trying to get hold of someone who will take some sort of responsiblity is impossible. We tried to make the most of a week's holiday with just the clothes we flew in (thankfully we were able to buy some extra clothing but how those on a very tight budget would survive I am unsure). And I have spent the last week trying to get some type of response from the airline (you are only able to email their customer relations - so each time you get a different response and have to go through the whole thing again and again). At one point they told me that they had indeed found my case in Egypt and it was going to be flown back on Friday ... now they have changed their minds and have gone back to the "we don't have a clue" story. Appauled by them.

Excel Airways - by Martin Layton
5 October 2006

We flew to Parga return. We were more than happy with both flights. Check in took 10 minutes - using the new self check in option, security was very thorough, which we were pleased about. Excellent service on board. Very pleasant cabin crew and kept fully informed on the progress of our journey. On the return journey, check-in was a bit manic as they wanted to get everyone through as quick as possible, but this was check in Greek style. Again, the return journey was smooth and very acceptable. The seat on both journeys were leather - I am 6 foot 2 tall and 20 stone. I found the seats acceptable. The toilets are a little small, but aren't they all? I will be flying with this company again and will be more than pleased to do so.

Excel Airways - by Tom Collins
5 October 2006

BRS-MLA-BRS: Outbound flight was okay, although the interior of the 737-800 was looking rather worn. Flight on time and no real complaints on the outbound leg. Received a free breakfast which was tasty. The return flight posed some problems for us; we were traveling in a party of 4, and one of us is 6ft 5in tall. We arrived at Malta airport with over 3 hours to spare, in the hope of getting overwing exit seats for our friend. However, despite Excel saying they'd open check-in 3 hours prior to departure, they opened less than 2 hours prior. By this point the check-in area was heaving with passengers waiting to depart, and so even with eyes glued to the screens we were unable to get anywhere near the front of the queue in time. When we did get there, we were informed that each of us would have to pay 20 in order for us to take the row with the overwing exit. We found it shocking that revenues were put over and above health and safety considerations. Our friend is physically fit and would have been an ideal candidate for the operating of the overwing exit had there been an emergency.

Excel Airways - by Glad Wynne
25 September 2006

Manchester to Malaga. We were booked on 11.45 am flight. When we arrived at check-in we were told that we would be "dropping people off" at Faro, Portugal first with as quick a turn around as possible. We boarded the plane around 11.15 am. When we arrived at Faro not only were we dropping people off but people were also boarding for Manchester. We finally arrived at Malaga airport at 6.30 pm - not bad when you consider this should have been a 2 hour 15 mins flight. We then had to wait a further 1 hour 30 mins for our luggage to come through as the luggage handlers were busy loading up the same plane for the "quick turn around to Manchester". We have done this trip many times before with different airlines and never had any problems. The trouble is you are then worried all your holiday wondering what you have to face on the return flight.

Excel Airways - by Bob Turner
22 September 2006

MAN-SFB. Used this service for the second year running and once again paid extra for 'Sunshine First' which is worth every penny in my opinion. Outbound flight left MAN half hour late (which these days could be considered on time), but made up the time to arrive on schedule. Cabin crew were friendly and attentive, and the food and service were excellent. Return flight landed 35 minutes ahead of schedule on returning to MAN. Only gripe is that no amenity kit or hot towels were provided on the return flight. This carrier appears to have improved it's scheduling problems which it experienced last year.

Excel Airways - by Colin Barrett
16 September 2006

Agree with an earlier comment from another traveller that people seem to post to things when something goes wrong. Manchester to Kos return - flights were absolutely fine both ways. No frills, but cabin crew were competent and friendly. Only negative was that the in-flight entertainment was not working on either flight. I guess if you go with a charter carrier then if things go wrong they have fewer options to get you to your destination - hence all the bussing around and overnight delays that have been recorded in this forum. If you pay more for a scheduled flight with a big carrier (BA etc) then I suppose they have more options and resources for dealing with problems. I never thought of this until I'd read the comments of others on this forum, but I guess it is something I'll bear in mind when arranging holiday flights from now on.

Excel Airways - by Anne Hymers
13 September 2006

Newcastle- Zante. Two of the best flights I have had. Crew friendly and efficient, meals were quite good, movies quite entertaining - keeping my two teenage kids entertained for most of the flight. Most people only add comments when they have had a bad experience and I felt compelled to address this.

Excel Airways - by Scott Barker
13 September 2006

AGP-MAN-AGP. The check-in at Malaga was a breeze and we boarded with no problems. Seating as expected on a charter airline, seating upholstery is Blue leather. The aircraft on all sectors 737-800, looked a little tired. Cabin service is nothing different to any other carrier, you pay for everything, all over priced with a choice of two hot snacks - Baguette or Panini, both 3.50. Cabin staff all looked very smart and quite friendly.

Excel Airways - by Caroline Jones
11 September 2006

MAN-SSH-MAN. Very impressed with what we got. Return was delayed a little due to Egyptian Immigration holding 15 passengers for further questioning, although this is hardly the airline's fault. We were kept informed of the delay. Drink and snack prices are expensive. Overall, would fly with them again, although would take my own snacks!!

Excel Airways - by Pat Holden
9 September 2006

Manchester to Chania. Flights on time. 767 outbound with OK leg room (row 10). 757 inbound with less leg room (row 35) - fairly uncomfortable. Food OK, but not the best I've experienced. Overall a good service.

Excel Airways - by Graham Jones
6 September 2006

Manchester-Paphos. Two Excel flights joined to fill one elderly 747, looking at the aircraft from the tarmac it looked as though Excel had painted the tailplane that morning but missed other areas where bare metal could be seen. Onboard my wife and myself were seated in the old first class area that actually had new carpet. The video was out of action as was one of the front toilets. The senior FA reading of flight safety instructions descended into a farce when she could not stop laughing. Having paid in advance for a meal it seemed that everyone on board received one - at least it stopped the confusion that seems to have happened to passengers on other flights with Excel. Having to pay for drinks and snacks is bit of a shock, two gin and tonics plus a small Pringles came to 8.40 - to think we could have flown BA for the same price. Do not expect the same standard of service you get on many schedule carriers, and the sight of the cabin crew cleaning the toilets etc before landing is not good. The fact that Excel has won a charter award should alarm many would-be Excel passengers if the standard of the aircraft and onboard facilities that I experienced both out and back are typical of the airline in general. Excel need a more modern fleet and better staff training.

Excel Airways - by Marlene Hunt
6 September 2006

Swift check in with Excel One - equivalent to Business class, only disappointment were told that we could use the Business class suite to relax before our flight but then were told that we had to have a voucher to use it but we were not sent one in advance from the airline, after the misunderstanding we were allowed in. The flight was delayed for around 3 hours which was fairly understandable as this was due to the recent terrorist threats but we were not offered any refreshments for free. Once we were off we were welcomed with champagne and the flight was very pleasantly comfortable, leather seats recliners, with more than enough leg room. I think we had the best seats sitting in the front row. Three course meal - excellent and very tasty to my surprise. overall a very pleasant flight and the staff were more than welcoming. Would definitely fly with them again but maybe only in Business Class, economy did not look too inviting.

Excel Airways - by Colin Daulby
12 August 2006

Premium Economy from Gatwick - Tobago return. Flight out was good with dedicated check in meaning no delays and flight left on time. In flight service average although crew "disappeared" for nearly 2 hours at one stage. Return journey excellent with dedicated check in at Crown Point; travelling with my elderly mother the flight crew could not have been more helpful checking all the time that she was comfortable and had every thing she needed - even giving her copies of the magazines reserved for Excel One passengers! Having flown to the Caribbean with Virgin I would rate Excel as at least equal to that airline but would advise paying the extra to travel in premium economy

Excel Airways - by Liz Stowell
12 August 2006

Excel One - Gatwick to Tobago. Had an excellent first time trip with Excel Airways. VIP lounge at Gatwick, priority check in, and a 47" seat pitch. Lots of room to stretch out, good standard of inflight meals served on china. Staff efficient and friendly.

Excel Airways - by Sue Dudley
30 July 2006

Excel to Samos in Greece. We found Excel to be superb. The check in service on the way out was quick and efficient with no queuing whatsoever. The flight left on time and the meal on the plane for both journeys was the best we have ever had. The plane was nice and clean with leather seats which added to the comfort. There was ample leg room and I am 5' 8" tall. On the return flight we did endure a 4 hour delay due to technical errors but a meal voucher was provided and the captain flying the plane could not apologise enough. We have flew many times before with other more well known airlines.

Excel Airways - by Sandra Brammall
30 July 2006

Just returned from Barbados on 29th July. Flew from Manchester with Excel Airways, no complaints what soever. Flight was on time, lots of legroom, staff very friendly, food very nice. No delays at all, had read a lot of bad reviews about his airline but I honestly thought they were great.

Excel Airways - by Carol Sykes
30 July 2006

Manchester -Bodrum return with Excel. Efficient check-in, punctual boarding and departure. There wasn't much legroom. An enjoyable vegetarian meal served on both legs, as booked, with no quibbles. On the return leg we departed early as all passengers had boarded, and were back in Manchester well before the scheduled time. Crew on both legs were competent and pleasant without being patronising or effusive. Altogether a good experience, and we will use Excel again.

Excel Airways - by Bobbi Green
18 July 2006

Excel to Faro via Gatwick. The only problem at Gatwick was that the check in Agent was too Jobsworth. My Husband has Parkinsons. The disability service was excellent though and the flight was on time, the cabin crew were not too bad. What a difference on the flight back. The check in agent at Faro was so helpful and on the ball. My husband was given an excellent seat - he should have had the same one going out and the cabin crew could not have been better - shame they were not on the flight going out. The flight was on time and the service at Gatwick was excellent. If we book with the same travel company again we would probably fly this airline again.

Excel Airways - by Alan Mitchell
18 July 2006

GLA-TFS return on Excel. On outbound flight got 4E and F, which surprised my wife and I in terms of very ample legroom. Service was fine with a tasty breakfast served. On flight back however we were 7A and B which offered practically no leg room at all, with my wife feeling very claustrophobic indeed. Very few passengers had meal on return flight which took about 1/2 hour to serve to the 40 or so passengers sitting towards the front mainly because only 1 stewardess was dishing out meals. Impressed on way out but not on way back. Not cheap at 289 per person return.

Excel Airways - by Gillian Rodger
11 July 2006

Never again will we use Excel Airways. Went to Newcastle Airport at 4.00 am to check in for 7.25am. departure to Verona. Was told by check-in desk attendant 'You are not flying from here, you are going by bus to Manchester at 6.00am.' No apology whatsoever. 3 buses eventually arrived at 7.00 am. After a 3 hour drive to Manchester we arrived at the airport to find flight was not on the departures board and there was no indication as to where 150 people should check in. We were eventually directed by a cleaner to Excel check in area which was in a completely different area of the airport to where we were dropped off. We were given 8 in meal vouchers but the checkin clerks could not even tell us which departure gate we would be using. The flight eventually departed at 1.45p.m over 6 hours late ensuring we missed the first day of our holiday. If this was a one off it may be excused as any airline can have problems but we met a number of other holiday makers who had similar experiences including one couple who were returned to Gatwick instead of Bristol.

Excel Airways - by Martin Hodgson
1 July 2006

We flew to BGI in Excel's equivalent of business class - Excel One. At under 500 per person, the fares significantly undercut economy fares for every other airline flying between the UK and Barbados. While I didn't expect the refinement of BA, or the advanced product of Virgin, I was by no means disappointed. Arriving at Manchester, checkin was a breeze, with a priority checkin for Excel One passengers. We were allowed access to the Servisair lounge, with complimentary drinks and snacks, which helped pass the time until departure. At BGI there is no lounge access. At the gate, we were priority boarded (though at BGI it was a free-for-all), and took our seats in the 'One' cabin. The cabin holds 24 passengers, in a 2-2-2 layout. The seats have 50" pitch, and are very comfy! On our seats was an amenity kit, pillow and blanket, and some noise reducing headphones. We were served a preflight drink (champagne, bucks fizz or orange juice), and we were soon pushing back. The crew also offered a selection of newspapers and magazines. After departure, the crew got to work, taking drinks orders. In Excel One, all drinks are complimentary - several spirits are available, plus four wines and champagne. Menu's were distributed, and orders were taken. Crisps were passed around, presented in small dishes. In addition to the main screen entertainment, and audio channels, Excel One passengers have a PTV which slides from the armrest. The entertainment is an old video- based system, however the movies shown were reasonably modern (though disappointingly, the same movies were shown on the return), and there were some recent TV programmes following the films (including 'Extras' on the outbound, and 'Little Britain' on the inbound). There was also a moving map function, though this was disabled on the return. The food was excellent - it was served as a three-course meal, with individually served dishes. I was actually surprised at how nice it was - I was expecting little more than a glorified economy meal, but was pleasantly surprised! Cheese and biscuits are served with dessert and coffee. The crew themselves were good - not in the same league as BA or VS, but they were by no means bad! Based on the price we paid, I found Excel to be a superb airline - offering a proper business class service for an economy price! I would not hesitate to fly Excel One again, though I would be reluctant to fly in economy - which looked very cramped in comparison.

Excel Airways - by Paul Edwards
18 June 2006

Never again! Outbound flight from Manchester to Corfu delayed 45 minutes with absolutely no explanation. Irritating, but not the end of the world. Return flight back to Manchester delayed for 4.5 hours, with "technical difficulties" (seems to be a regular occurrence for this airline). When plane eventually turned up pilot gave long drawn out explanation a) first the plane needed fixing b) then a crew member became ill so they got delayed c) pilot was a replacement meant to be on his day off. Pilot's attitude seemed to be that we should be grateful the aircraft turned up at all. Cabin staff were (in fairness) friendly and polite but also utterly indifferent to the huge inconvenience caused. End result is got back to Manchester at midnight, too late to catch a connecting train home, had to pay 70 for a taxi having allready bought train tickets in advance. Eventually got home at 2a.m. after travelling since lunchtime. Excel pretty much ruined what had been a good holiday up to that point.

Excel Airways - by M Hicks
10 June 2006

Gatwick to Gran Canaria on May 8. Checked in on time - flight scheduled to leave approx 1530. Passengers were given a letter when checking in notifying us of problems with the aircraft causing a long delay, but Excel had found an alternative flight leaving approx 1445 but having to fly via Manchester! The aircraft was a 747 so it seemed that rather than fly it half empty down to Gran Canaria from Gatwick (a waste of money), someone at Excel had a brainwave and decided to fly the Gatwick passengers to Manchester and fill up the 747 with people and then fly down to Gran Canaria, therefore saving money at the expense of annoying those flying from Gatwick and Manchester who were delayed by 4 hours minimum. hat didn't help was that the 747 developed a fault just before take-off so had to taxi back to the gate for engineers to investigate. And at Manchester all those from Gatwick had to stay on the plane for an hour for refuelling and change of cabin crew. Passengers complained to the crew, and one of the stewardesses started raising her voice over the PA system basically shouting at us to stop complaining and be grateful for the crew accepting to work on their day off. How unprofessional. Fight back home - a smiling holiday rep gleefully informed us of at least a 7 hour delay,and that in 3.5 hours we would be taken to a hotel to be fed and watered and then brought back to the airport. Several disgruntled passengers told her that it was nothing to smile about. I complained to my holiday rep who managed to squeeze us on an Astraeus flight leaving within the hour. I don't think I will fly with Excel again. They certainly did not excel on this occasion. I wonder how they can justify the delays and expect people to keep flying with them.

Excel Airways - by David Taylor
1 June 2006

Just arrived back from Barbados after over a 27 hour delay. We were due to fly home direct to Manchester on Friday May 26th, and arrived at 6am on Saturday - we actually got to Manchester (via Gatwick)at 9.15 am on Sunday May 28th. The first excuse was crewing problems which later became technical problems and on the plane the captain blamed the airport staff who refused to work longer hours to check us in. A frequent flier told us that this happens all the time. It won't for us, it ruined our holiday. We won't be going again.

Excel Airways - by K Brooker
1 June 2006

We were due to fly back from Las Palmas at 19:30 on 29.04.06, so our party turned up at 17:00 to check in. After standing in line for approximately 45 mins, we reached the check in desk to find a photocopy of a fax informing all passengers that the flight was not due to leave until 01:00 on 30.04.06. Not one person communicated with any of the passengers and we were left with a €9 food voucher and a hell of a wait. The pilot gave us some rubbish of a fault. We then noticed that the front of the plane were being served the inflight meal (which we had paid for) - after about 1/2 hour we still hadn't received ours. After finding an attendant we enquired as to where our food was only to be told that we couldn't have paid for it. They checked their lists and surprise, surprise were our names! Apparently we were sat in the wrong part of the plane, and promptly had our food thrown at us. And to think they win awards for service!

Excel Airways - by Mark Murphy
29 May 2006

The worst airline I have had the misfortune of flying with. I have recently returned from Sharm-El-Sheikh and had nothing but problems with this airline. Outbound from Manchester- sat on tarmac for 2 hours - technical fault with plane. Left and returned to the stand twice. When we took off their priority was on trying to sell us anything they could - snacks, duty free, drinks, headphones instead of serving us the meal that was included in the flight. Return flight - delayed for 4 hours - same technical fault as outbound journey. Left in departure lounge with no information or organisation. Treated worse than cattle. Finally took off and all the pilot could say is "it's not our fault". 20 mins before landing the pilot breaks the news that they had flown too many hours so they wouldn't be taking us to Manchester - instead we were abandoned in Gatwick. My baby girl had been really ill on the flight - had to call on PA for nurse/doctor. I was asked to fill out a medical incident/accident form. We were offered a 5 hour coach transfer to Manchester which was unacceptable but no one was available to discuss the matter with. On the ground in Gatwick there was one Excel rep who was not interested in talking to anyone and in fact walked away and refused to talk to me. There were not enough coaches for all the passengers and I ended up hiring a car for nearly 200. My wife and I had to manage with our twin babies and a 3 year old, and despite us taking the pram to the plane, it was not there when we got off on either journey. Instead it was sent with the rest of the luggage to the carousel. This was a nightmare journey and I would strongly advise against travelling with this airline!

Excel Airways - by Paul Murphy
29 May 2006

This airline demonstrates the worst example of customer service I've seen. Having phoned the day before departure to confirm flight times from Faro to Gatwick we were advised that there would be a 4 hour delay and that the flight was being re routed via Malaga due to a technical problem. As soon as we landed at Malaga airport we were asked to leave the plane by the captain due to the smell of smoke in the cockpit. We remained in Malaga for a further 6 hours making an 11 hour delay so far and not a sign of an Excel rep to make arrangements for a replacement flight. 20 minutes after take off from Malaga we had to make an emergency landing at Madrid due to the same smoke problem. Still no sign of an Excel representative to explain anything. Exhausted Mothers with crying children, angry passengers who just want to get home as promised by their airline ticket. I could go on with this story but I'd still be writing about Excels appalling service to their passengers for the next 3 hours. Anyway, 30 hours later we arrived finally at Gatwick via Malaga and Madrid. I'm not directing this at the crew as the situation was out of their control but at excel themselves. If there's one thing that I've learned from this experience is that for the sake of saving a few pounds over a scheduled airline is that it just isn't worth it. Come on Excel just because your tickets are a little cheaper don't give your passengers a cheap service to go with it.

Excel Airways - by Isobel Hammond
29 May 2006

On 20 May we flew home from Faro suffering a 31 hour delay from Faro to Gatwick, Excel took the long route stopping off at Malaga and then Madrid due to smoke in the Cockpit. Zero communication to passengers, many had small children. We were left stranded in Faro, Malaga and also Madrid airports. The staff were very rude, crew had attitude problems and on our last flight from Madrid to Gatwick we did not even get offered a drink let alone food - apparently we were lucky to be on a flight at all, this sums up a shoddy airline.

Excel Airways - by Judith Siford
18 May 2006

I returned from Paphos on April 26, having flown out the week before. I am disabled and was more than pleased with the standard of care on Excel - the staff were charming, food reasonable and assistance was swift and delivered with a smile.

Excel Airways - by J Morris
13 May 2006

Sarah-Jane Howard's account of the trip to Barbados on 28 April - no 29 April -and back on 5/6 May is very detailed and largely accurate - although our late arrival at Manchester from Barbados was more like 9 hours than six. The most appalling things for us were the catalogue of no information / mis-information / bare-faced lies by Excel representatives and other staff at Manchester and Barbados airports (everybody else on the island was so helpful and friendly - what happens to people working in airports when things go wrong?) and the inability of people to say sorry. The Excel rep who met with about 80 angry passengers at the Manchester hotel was the only one who knew this word and did a great job of reassuring us all would go well the next morning. But it didn't, did it?!

Excel Airways - by Sarah-Jane Howard
9 May 2006

We were due to depart for Barbados from Gatwick at 09:15 on 28 April 2006. We arrived at the airport at a little before 06:00. When we arrived at the check-in desk there was nothing on the screen so we decided to walk and check back soon. A little while later an announcement was made over the loud speaker that passengers awaiting flight XL852 should arrive at the desk at 07:00 for further information. We went down to see what was happening straight away. Already there were a few distraught passengers and staff told us that there were ‘technical difficulties’ and that it looked as if we would be coached up to Manchester to catch the flight from there. I had researched Excel Airways after they failed to deliver my tickets and were unhelpful and lacking in any customer care skills; therefore, I had been warned due to a barrage of complaints online that ‘technical difficulties’ happened often and matters were not looking too promising. Upon arrival at 07:00 a long queue had formed and no staff members were visible. Eventually, people started approaching the desk and the queue went down. We were all handed a letter stating that we would be coached up to Manchester to meet the flight there at 14:00. I asked the member of staff to confirm that the flight would definitely wait for us and she replied that they certainly would as there was over 100 of us. We received a 5 food coupon each. As we reached the coach (we were to depart at half seven but left an hour later) we were beginning to wonder if we would all fit on. We asked the staff member this question and she said she hoped so as it held 80 people…?! This was the same lady that told us there were over 100 of us. Sure enough, we were further delayed as they arranged taxis for the overspill. We arrived by coach at Manchester airport 5 hours later, dead on 14:00. However, as we arrived there was a member of staff waiting to inform us that there never was a flight departing at 14:00, instead we would have to wait until 20:30! We were given another letter. They checked in our bags, although under the label of flight ‘Test’, and we were given a further 5 food coupon each. Manchester airport was very quiet. We were left wondering what had happened to all the passengers we were due to pick up, had there ever been a plane, or had they left without us, and would we definitely leave that night? When talking to Excel representatives all we received were lies and hostility, when we were behaving perfectly well under the circumstances. I phoned through to Excel headquarters and spoke to a supervisor called Danielle who informed me she was disgusted at how we had been treated and would call me back when she knew what was happening. However, when she called me back about 15 minutes later she was abrupt, citing technical difficulties, and said she knew no more. From the change of tone in her voice and manner I was left feeling as though she had been hushed up. Later that day we were told that we would be escorted to the Radisson SAS for dinner before returning to catch the flight later. The food was appalling and embarrassing, and once more no representatives could be found. Just gone 20:00 hours we were told over the airport loud speaker that we would not be flying that night and to report for check- in at the Radisson Hotel. The dismay was highly audible. Everyone descended on the customer information desk but all the Excel representatives had gone into hiding and were nowhere to be found. People were crying and screaming and to calm us down they sent in armed police!!! We were told to collect our bags (some of which they had managed to lose although no-one had ever left the terminal!) and go straight to the hotel where a representative would meet us at 22:00 hours. We checked in and went to meet the representative. It was chaos in the lobby, and the gentleman was very good at his job, but he told us that he could not account for what had happened earlier in the day as he was not on duty, but that Excel had paid Monarch to fly us out at 09:00 the next day. We were sent off to bed with another letter for another early start in the morning. Check in went well the next day and we received more coupons for breakfast. We boarded the plane no more than one hour later. However, the pilot soon informed us that they were having difficulties with their navigational equipment. We were sat on that plane for four hours before take off, with only a glass of water each. Excel representatives arrived but refused to speak to passengers and refused to give us their names. They hid in the cockpit talking to the cabin crew and got the hostesses to relay the information to us. They were cowards, so much so that they had police board the plane to escort them and keep us away! By this time we were all disgusted at their treatment of us. Just before the end of our wait the captain announced that if was looking as though they would have to cancel the flight and he would understand if most of us choose to abandon our journey. We were refused exit from the plane though by staff. Just as we were about to walk off the captain announced that we would be leaving. We took off at 13:00 that day, 28 hours late. Six days later, as we approached Grantley Adams Airport to make our return journey we told ourselves that nothing could possibly go wrong, but we were mistaken. We asked the representative when we could check-in as we were departing at 16:30 that evening. She told us ‘not now you’re not’, the flight had been delayed leaving England and we were looking at a 6 hour delay. We were dismayed. This time we were given a BDS$30 coupon each. Sure enough, the flight arrived six hours later. We took off at 22:30. We had been upgraded, but all that meant was a free drink, a bit more leg room, and some complimentary socks… not much to make up for losing a day of our holiday (when we were only going for a week), spending 40 hours waiting around in airports, and being treated appallingly. I will never fly Excel again, and I will ensure that everyone else I ever come into contact with never flies with them either.

Excel Airways - by A Munro
26 April 2006

Gatwick-Tobago return - one of the best flights I've had. I was very satisfied with the cabin service provided and value for money that Excel One gave. Minor grumbles were the choice of starter running out and headset problems which were resolved eventually. I would use Excel One again.

Excel Airways - by J Church
12 April 2006

Excel from Bristol to Las Palmas. I really can't fault the flight at all, although was expecting the worst! Leg room was better than I had expected, and both flights were on time. They had lost my order for a veggie meal option, but both ways had got a spare one so I got a bean bake and rice, which was quite edible. The meal pack also contained soft cheese and crackers, a brown roll, and a sweet pudding. Beforehand there was a snacks and drink service (peanuts, minute tins of coke etc) which had to be paid for. My only complaint was that there wasn't a drink with the meal, and on the way back I therefore bought water from the trolley when it came round first. Tea and coffee came round after the meal. The meat-eaters in the family had chicken and rice going out and sausage and mash coming back. Both were fine. There was a film both ways, but you had to buy the headsets, which of course are no use for any other purpose being a completely non-standard fitting! Baggage reclaim very quick at both ends, but had to pay for excess luggage (1Kg over the 20kg each) coming back, at 7.50E per Kg. Not charged this going out for the same cases. Would not hesitate to use Excel again.

Excel Airways - by Gary Lopategui
9 March 2006

Due to fly with travel city Gatwick to Florida on 11 Feb 2006.Travel city changed our airline to Excel. What a nightmare. Arrived at Gatwick at 7.30 due to fly at 11.40.On arrival noticed information board saying next announcement to made at 14.00.At 14.00 board changed said next info at 16.00.Went to find out what the problem was told there were technical problems with our plane. Eventually boarded at 17.00.Plane took off & circled for one hour, only to be told by the pilot that he had found a problem with the plane and had to return back to Gatwick. After retrieving our luggage we were told that we would not be flying and would be put up for the night at the Hilton Gatwick. We arrived at the hotel only to be told they had no family rooms and we would have to split the family up into two rooms. They supplied us with dinner & told us we would be flying on the 12th at 14.00. Told to be at checking at 9.00am eventually checked at 11.30am.Another good start.14.00 came & went so we went to inquire what was going on told that another plane they had got had technical problems & we had to wait till 15.00 that came and went to be told they had no crew to fly the plane. Finally at 18.00 we took off 30hrs&15min late good start to our holiday. On homeward bound journey had to do with a smaller plane because our original plane was in Barbados - guess what had technical problems. Left an hour late, no room on plane to move any part of your body.

Excel Airways - by James McCauley
5 March 2006

Gatwick to Tobago. Aircraft (767-300) had tatty interior but was otherwise comfortable, legroom not great but not terrible. Two free meals plus tea and coffee, everything else had to be paid for. Outbound flight left on time, inbound flight left on time and arrived an hour early. Cheap and fairly cheerful

Excel Airways - by J D Frew
28 February 2006

Flew Excel One to and from Tobago. Excellent all round performance; plane left on time both ways, food good, wine choice good for an airline - even if the wine and the wine list didn't quite match on the outward flight. Cabin crew very efficient and helpful. Check-in in Tobago a bit 'hit and miss' but otherwise fine. In-flight entertainment was good and the PEA system is just great.

Excel Airways - by J Page
26 February 2006

My wife and I were transferred to Excel Airways by charter firm Travel City Direct for a long haul flight to Florida on 4th February 2006 . We had specifically booked a Premium upgrade for more seat room. Assured that seats were the same as the advertised 38" pitch but on arrival at check-in were told that plane had been changed to one with all economy seating. Found narrow seats with a meagre 27" pitch! Furthermore the plane was not able to fly direct but stopped off at Ganda for refuelling. This was a very uncomfortable flight in a plane that was not suitable for long haul. We were extremely worried about the effect on health from many hours in a confined seating position.


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