The story of Buzz! dates back to 2000. KLM set up a low cost airline spin-off, similar to that of GoFly by British Airways in 1998. The Dutch airline set up this British subsidiary with a base at London Stansted (STN) alongside their KLMuk operation, which itself was the culmination of the airline buying Air UK, an independent UK airline based at London STN. The airline existed until 2004, by then KLMuk was folded into KLM Cityhopper, the regional airline branch of KLM. The airline was sold onto Ryanair- who merged the airline into their operations, increasing their presence at their biggest base London Stansted. This UK Buzz operated the Boeing 737-300 & BAe-146.
Buzz! in its current form was formed in 2014 as Ryanair Sun.
Another decade passes and 2014 arrives. During this year, Ryanair- now the largest Low Cost Airline in Europe, sets up a Polish spin off based in Warsaw. This new airline is named Ryanair Sun- the airline being a Polished based holiday and charter airline. Eventually Ryanair starts sending some of their Irish Boeing 737-800 fleet to the Polish register.
Ryanair Boeing 737-8200 (B737-8MAX) departing Bournemouth Hurn for Krakow in August 2021.
2019 comes and with new Boeing 737-8MAX (737-8200) due to arrive- the airline rebrands Ryanair Sun as BUZZ!, reviving the once long dead airline brand for their Polish spin off. Around this time, Ryanair also starts off Malta Air and Ryanair UK and purchases Austrian based Laudamotion (now LAUDA) forming the Ryanair group. Both Buzz and Malta Air get their own brandings.
The Boeing 737-800 across all the Ryanair Group airlines all wear the basic Ryanair livery, only the Boeing 737-MAX wear the unique liveries for BUZZ and Malta Air.
Whilst the Boeing 737-800 fleets for the time being still wear Ryanair liveries with either Polish or Maltese registrations, the new Boeing 737-MAX fleets begin to arrive wearing bright yellow/grey and red/grey liveries representing the new identities.
Whilst Buzz! is predominately based in Poland at various bases, the airline also now has bases in Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia. The airline is slowly making its mark alongside its parent company.
Its been about eight months since my last trip from Bournemouth Hurn. During 2021 I flew twice from there on the easyJet domestic flights that were being offered during the summer that year due to international restrictions due to the Pandemic.
To see how things compared there, feel free to take a look:
Bournemouth Hurn offers drop off for 30 minutes at £3. Drop off fees are pretty much the standard now in the UK, even London Heathrow is on the "band wagon" charging £5 for 15 minutes…
Bournemouth Hurn doesn't see a lot of passenger air travel compare to other airports, but it does get a lot of General Aviation and recently a small Cargo hub.
Landside at Bournemouth is one café in the entrance as well as the usual customer service desk and check in/bag drop area. A big Ryanair advert had been added since my last visit in August 2021.
Regional & City Airports (R&CA) now owns Bournemouth Hurn, having bought it off Manchester Airport Group (MAG).
Passing through security, which was about a 10 minute wait as I arrived alongside most of the other travellers on this flight. I noticed that Duty Free was finally reopen for business, which is nice to see. Things are getting back to normal. Also in UK airports, you don't require to wear a facemask- which I was ok with as it meant I could stretch the use of my masks on the flights.
Ryanair offers routes from Bournemouth to Spain, Portugal, Greece, France, Ireland, Poland and Croatia.
I was really happy to see the Navigator bar and restaurant was now reopened, so I went in and ordered a drink and opted for a "side", just for a cheap snack before my flight to enjoy the reopened establishment.
BOH is starting to look and feel more like it was during my first visit in April 2019, which was the inaugural Ryanair flight to Dublin.
I opted to order a Doombar beer, which is a local Dorset brand (where I live) and the side was of a Cheesey Garlic pizza bread. It cost me about £7.50p and I wasn't expecting to get a huge pizza sized garlic bread, especially as it was a "Side"! Tell you what, I won't complain at the value for the amount I got- given how some Airport prices can be!!!
As I finished off the final bites, the boarding began to happen, despite the aircraft being a good 10 minutes out of BOH. Either way, I joined the que…
Boarding the plane was quite a wait. We had all been cleared to fly by the boarding gate staff, and after passing into a covered walkway, we had a wait to be allowed onto the aircraft, the wait lasted a good ten minutes, but once we started filing on- the que began to die down.
It was amazing to see the brightly coloured Buzz Boeing 737-MAX on stand, my first time getting up close to one of these! I had seen various MAX generation 737s before the groundings in mid-2019. But after 6 years since their introduction, I was to fly on one. I had originally booked a B737-MAX flight with Southwest on my first US Tour in January 2018, but it swapped to a Boeing 737-800.
It was dull, cloudy and drizzling with a light rain, so the Buzz 737 really stood out!
My aircraft for today was Boeing 737-8200 (737-MAX) SP-RZB. Delivered new from Boeing in October 2021, the plane was only 5 months old at the time of flying.
Getting inside the aircraft and heading for my seat on this flight- the dreaded Seat 11A… I noticed the main difference between the Buzz and Ryanair 737s was the fact the seats were grey/yellow as opposed to blue/yellow, I'll post a comparison bellow.
The interior of the Buzz Boeing 737-8MAX (above) and the same interior on an Irish Boeing 737-800 (bellow)
Now on the Boeing 737-800, the Seat 11A is known for not having a window seat, however it turns out on the Boeing 737-MAX series, the missing window aligns on Seat 12A. The joys of having a newer denser cabin on this aircraft! I personally had plenty of legroom on this seat, though I think it was a slightly better legroom seat anyway.
I had a really great view of the Boeing 737-MAX wing and engine on this seat, so if you do get a Boeing 737-MAX on a Ryanair/Buzz flight- I can recommend Seat 11A highly!
We pushed back a few minutes behind schedule, but we had a clear run to the Runway from the taxiway and we did a quick bolt to the end of the Runway to do a 180 turn facing the right way and with little effort from the two engines- the flight, which was just shy of full- powered up and rocketed out of Bournemouth headed for Krakow and powering through the heavy cloud over the south of England.
During the take off and climb out the crew had on the iconic Boeing 737 Sky Interior mood lighting, which really added to the ambiance of the cabin. As you can see at the front of the cabin- the airline has a grey bulkhead with a cartoon bee alongside the BUZZ logo.
As we cruised over Belgium and Germany headed for Poland, the crew started off the on-board Getaway Cafe service. I made an order for a Cappuccino coffee alongside a Kit Kat chocolate bar. Nothing fancy this time… I think the two items came to about 4EUR.
Ryanair and its airlines don't accept cash anymore on flights, all payments need to be made by card only. They offer all prices in Euro, but local currencies can be offered if you insert your card- in my case it offered me an option in GBP, I assume PLN was also offered.
Compare to some airlines in Europe- Ryanair still offers an extensive range on their Buy-on-board product.
The flight cruised along nice and smoothly, it was quite uneventful. I didn't participate in the buying of the Ryanair scratch cards or the Duty Free. As has been in place since the pandemic started- Ryanair doesn't want anyone cueing for the toilet, so most people went up one or two at a time- Row 1 wasn't in use, so people used it to sit for a when waiting their turn, which is probably safer in case of sudden turbulence.
We eventually started off our decent into Krakow, we lowered into another heavy cloud cover for a few minutes as we closed in on our destination.
We finally landed into a cloudy and dull Krakow, though unlike Bournemouth, it wasn't raining. Passing down the runway I noticed a small military apron which was full of Polish Air Force CASA transporters and a single Soviet era Helicopter. As we taxied back I saw a KLM Cityhopper ERJ-175 take off and a Ryanair 737-800 arriving.
Just to the right of the image, you can just about make out some of the Polish Air Force CASA aircraft, the Terminal and ATC is down the far end of the Airport, where we touched down.
Taxiing down to the Terminal, I knew we would be on a remote stand, as we are on a Ryanair flight. I noticed a few aircraft around the airport including an LOT Polish Airlines Dash 8 Q-400, a few more Ryanair Boeing 737s, a single Wizzair Airbus A321 and an Austrian ERJ.
We parked up and the crew began to prepare for disembarkation. They had another tight turn around as the plane would be off to Eindhoven in the Netherlands next. One person even had the audacity to stand up to get his bag as we were still moving to our parking stand…
The passengers eventually got given the all clear to start leaving, I held back to allow the main rush of people to leave. I used the time to grab a few final cabin shots, with the seats now unoccupied.
I left the aircraft, saying thank you to the cabin crew. Given the cockpit door was shut, and not sure of Polish regulations, I didn't ask to visit the flight deck- I'll probably catch up with a B737-MAX flight deck on a later flight.
In case I didn't see the aircraft later on or at BOH for a while, I grabbed one last photo of my aircraft as I walked over to the entrance to the Airport Terminal.
Passing through the Terminal into the passport control check, the Polish boarder insists UK passport holders to use the "Other Passport" lane, some European countries still allow UK passport holders to use the EU lane as they are biometric passports. It was cool to get a passport stamp for my first visit to Poland. There wasn't a que by the time I got to the ladies doing the checks, I only got asked whether I was here for leisure or business- it was leisure, and away I went.
Buzz was a nice airline, though not much different from Ryanair, the Boeing 737-MAX was a nice modern aircraft which was enjoyable to fly on.
Bournemouth was a lot better now than it was in 2021, lovely to see things getting back to pre-2020 operations.
Krakow was quite efficient at the arrivals, but I can't say how it would be on a busier day, I was probably one of a few British citizens on the flight, which could explain the lack of que in the non-EUR lane.