FLYDUBAI ECONOMY CLASS FLIGHT REVIEW BASICS:
Airline flydubai is one of the fastest growing low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Middle Eastern region. Since commencement of operations in 2009, flydubai’s network has grown considerably and today they operate to over 83 destinations with a fleet of more than 45 Boeing 737-800s.
Flights to Prague commenced in December 2014 and, at present, Prague is the furtherest destination that flydubai operates. I decided to book my next trip to the UAE with flydubai, as their fare was by far the cheapest. Fares on the Prague-Dubai route start at US$230 for a round-trip (including checked luggage and a meal).
As this was an LCC and a relatively long flight on the 737, I decided to pay the extra US$20 each way for an exit row seat, which was well worth it. One criticism I have is that at present, flydubai only offers on-line check-in on flights originating from Dubai; this means I had to check-in at the airport, something I have not done in a very long time.
There was a two-hour delay to the flight due to the weather in Dubai (fog), something that is quite a common occurrence this time of year. During boarding, I was surprised to note that the meals for the return flight to Dubai are not loaded in Prague, but rather they are carried in the hold from Dubai on dry-ice; I guess this is a further cost-cutting measure.
As our load was only 62 passengers, boarding was completed very quickly and we were soon underway. I must say that first impressions of the cabin were very positive. All flydubai aircraft are fitted with the Boeing Sky Interior (BSI), which further enhances passenger comfort.
Furthermore, the design of the seats and cabin divider is a welcome change from the somewhat mundane interiors of other LCC’s. As I was in an over-wing exit, legroom was not an issue for me. My only criticism with the seat design was that the recline is very limited, but I guess after all it is an LCC.
All seats are equipped with in-seat personal entertainment. This is a paid service, but the airshow feature is complimentary. The IFE screen also gives you the possibility to order meals and drinks directly from your seat and pay for them with a simple swipe of your credit card.
The complimentary meal was served approximately one hour after departure. There were two options available: vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The meal itself was okay, and was served with complimentary water, juice, tea, or coffee. In addition to the meal, there was a wide range of snacks and drinks available for purchase, at very reasonable prices (Coke was approximately US$2).
Flydubai, unlike other LCCs, provides a business class cabin on their aircraft. I had an opportunity to view this product and I must say that it was far more impressive than the business class cabins I have seen on some classic full-service carriers’ 737s. On both my flights, the business cabin was empty and it is not hard to see why; the price was in excess of US$1,000 each way, which is about the same as you would pay on Emirates. If flydubai wants to make the business cabin work on these longer routes, they will have to lower their prices or offer more incentives (such as chauffeur transfer, etc).
Upon arrival at Dubai, we disembarked to Terminal 2. This was my first time using this terminal and I must say I was impressed. I was out of the terminal with my bag and in a taxi within 20 minutes.
Overall, I was mostly satisfied with the product and experience offered on flydubai. If the price is right, I will not hesitate to fly them again. There is some room for improvement with their catering and check-in experience, but other than this they are a very solid low-cost carrier.