Review of Brussels Airlines flight Frankfurt Brussels in Economy

Airline Brussels Airlines
Flight SN2608
Class Economy
Seat 14A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:05
Take-off 02 Oct 21, 09:20
Arrival at 02 Oct 21, 10:25
SN   #68 out of 72 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 215 reviews
ThomasDutch
By SILVER 312
Published on 9th October 2021

Hi all,

Given that I finished my duty early in the morning I was allowed by my company to position myself to home by either train or flight. I opted to return by flight via Brussels, which was about the same price as a train ride home and would really just increase my travel times by an additional 30 minutes. It also gave me an opportunity to try Brussels Airlines for the first ever time.

On the day of travel I finished my duty roughly around 6.30 AM and ordered a taxi with my colleague from the General Aviation apron of Frankfurt am Main airport and it took about 30 minutes to reach the correct terminal of departure as we had to drop off my colleague at the hotel we used to stay. The terminal of Lufthansa was pretty chaos with the main spot being the self check-in kiosks as Lufthansa pretty much forced anyone to use them. It took about 45 minutes for me to find an available one only to be noticed that I could not check-in myself due to the fact that I had an onward ticket with an international train Lufthansa had no agreement with. Also there was no respect for any Covid-19 guidelines here.

I eventually moved myself to the bag drop off section with my online boarding card only to be notified once again that I would need to proceed to a manned check-in station, which was really hard to find with only one counter being open somewhere in the corner. The lady explained to me the situation as I said above that the system would not allow me to do so due to that train connection and informed me that I would need to pick up my luggage in Brussels before jumping on the train. 


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The friendly lady behind the check-in counter who checked my bag also instructed me to proceed to the B gates via a long corridor in which most shops but a few restaurants were closed. Whether the were closed due to the early timings or due to Covid-19 is yet a mystery to me.

Security was pretty busy too with only a few security counters being open and another one being closed during the long line, which I could not understand either, so it took me about 20 minutes to clear. Staff was rather rude in the way instructions were given to us. 


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So far I haven't been asked for any documents yet in Frankfurt. No vaccination, no PCR, No PLF form and so on. I bought myself a coffee and a sandwich as I haven't had any breakfast yet with a pretty booming terminal. There is literally nothing to do in the B-section for Schengen departures as there are only two duty free shops and two coffeeshops with long waiting times. Luckily enough after I got myself a coffee, I managed to find myself a decent seat with an excellent view over the apron. 

Frankfurt blocks every seat adjacent to you due to covid-19 regulation, but it significantly reduces the seating capacity and it is currently not working as people are collecting in different spots with no social distancing at all. I think it may be an idea to finally stop blocking these seats and allow people to be seated. 


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About 50 minutes later the section cleared up when the Condor was ready for boarding after a delay of an hour due to shortage of staff. The captain checked in about 40 minutes earlier explaining the situation that they were short on staff and that they only could start boarding when the flight that was currently boarding was finished. 


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The aircraft eventually arrived at gate B10 with a short delay of ten minutes due to a late departure out of Brussels. The return flight (ours) would be performed by OO-SNL, which is an 18,6 year old Airbus A320 that was delived to My Travel Airways in April 2003. During those times it was regularly leased for shorter winter operations to Canadian SkyService before My Travel Airways was merged into Thomas Cook UK where it continued it's life with the same lease agreements to SkyService. It was eventually stored in November 2013 to be picked up by Air Berlin in April 2014 till October 2017. In March 2018, Brussels Airlines decided to give it another chance for life and so far it has been flying with them for more than three years.

The aircraft is powered by two CFM56 engines and can carry up to 180 passengers in an European Business/Economy configuration. The weird part about Brussels Airlines is that it does not place a divider between Business and Economy class like most major European airlines do. 


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During it's arrival, the ground attendants called a few people (mostly those with an African destination) to report to Gate B10 for a verification of their documents. One of the ground attendants was clearly annoyed by the fact that a few people did not appear yet and called about 20 minutes later in a rude tone to those passengers to report immediately to gate B10 otherwise they would be denied boarding.

Boarding was called about 30 minutes late and did not have any structure. No significant lines were established and everyone just tried to push forward as you can see in the photo below.  Boarding was done again via scanning and I was not checked for any document once again.


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A photo of a Boeing 767 of Condor from the jetbridge with a sunnier destination than mine.


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I positioned myself to my seat 14A with a view of the wing. I also was quite lucky as I still managed to put my luggage in one of the bins above, but it was pretty clear that there was not a chance for many passengers to stow it due to the fact that most people with an African destination took way more than was advertised according to Brussels Airlines guidelines. It was also the start of a puzzle of one of the flight attendant to position a lot of passengers in the correct seat as many just took a seat that was not assigned to them and it was clearly getting to him due to the fact that they did not really listen to him.


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The legroom was ok for such a short flight and became better near the end of boarding when the lady in the middle seat decided to leave her seat and sit with one of their companions in the aft that had yet a free seat available. The captain also checked in with us saying that we would depart as soon as possible, but that they would depart 20 minutes past our original departure. The cockpit crew did not check in with us anymore to provide us with more up to date details, but we departed eventually 61 minutes late from stand.


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For an 18,6 year old the cabin was in a pretty good shape and well-maintained.


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As Brussels Airlines is a BoB, the only literature you can find in your seat pocket was a sickbag, safety card and their BoB service which did not appear in this flight given it's short flying distance.


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The BoB menu offers a limited amount of products as you can see in the following three pictures.


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The aircraft is also equipped with an individual air vent, reading light and a call button.


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A Lufthansa A350.


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An Air India Boeing 787 was boarding from a remote stand to a destination in India.


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Today's departure would be from Runway 18 with a quick right turn to proceed directly to Brussels Airport.


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In cruise to Brussels


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While BoB did not appear in flight, everyone received a hand disinfection wipe to be used to clean your hands, table or for whatever purpose you wanted to use it for.


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The headrest covers were of fabric and showed Brussels Airlines in the logo. A disappearing feature as most airliners do not require them in newer planes due to the refurbishments of their cabin.


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About 30 minutes past our departure we were already in approach to runway 25R


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We touched down at 11:00 am exactly which meant a total flying time of 39 minutes tops.


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An Airbus of Brussels Airlines in it's Bruegel Livery, which used to be a famous Belgian painter from the 16th century. The livery serves as an ode to him.


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An A330 of Brussels Airlines in a pretty sad livery.


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And another Airbus A320 of Brussels with a Smurfs livery. I guess this one does not need any explanation as to what it refers to.


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Disembarking was suppose to be done by row and row as instructed by flight attendants. Most passengers disobeyed those orders and the flight attendants tried to instruct them to be seated, but the majority did not obey to those instructions. Disembarking was a total chaos and took very long as passengers who were seated in one of the front rows tried to reach rows behind them pushing people back to get their back first instead of patiently waiting…. While I was seated in Row 14, it took a maginificent 20 minutes for me to be even out of the plane and the cabin was not even halfway empty. Upon exiting the jetbridge, a guy was pointing those with a connecting flight to their gate. The terminal itself was far from busy in Brussels.


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While I was connecting by train, I just had to walk to baggage claim, check in for my train ride via a special link and pick up my luggage at the baggage claim. Baggage claim is quite a distant walk from the A-section in Brussels and upon getting to my luggage, Belgian border control was checking for PLF forms and asked them to be shown prior to getting your bags. If not filled, you would need to fill them upon arrival.

While the aircraft arrived with a delay of 35 minutes, I had yet a comfortable transfer time to my train of approx. a hour. That comfort disappeared rather quickly when the luggage was not on belt about 20 minutes to my train ride. Eventually 15 minutes to my train departure, the baggage did appear and when I found my luggage, I had 10 minutes left to catch my train.


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With only a minute to departure, I eventually jumped on the train with destination Rotterdam Centraal.


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Verdict

Brussels Airlines

5.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering4.0

Frankfurt - FRA

6.0/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.0
Services4.5
Cleanliness7.0

Brussels - BRU

5.6/10
Efficiency3.5
Access6.5
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Would have expected better, but performance of Brussels Airlines was poor and I doubt it whether I would choose them again if there was a better choice. Ryanair does a much better job with cheaper prices for the same. The lack of information given by flight crew, the poor boarding area in Frankfurt and the huge delay of luggage in Brussels Airlines contributed to a negative rating.

Information on the route Frankfurt (FRA) Brussels (BRU)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 14 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Frankfurt (FRA) → Brussels (BRU).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 0 hours and 52 minutes.

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