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I feel like a prisoner because of air fares – Alderney woman

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HIGH air fares can make islanders feel like prisoners, according to one passenger who was flying out of the island yesterday.

On their way to Paris via Southampton were the Le Sauvage sisters. Left to right, Charlotte, 17, Celeste, 11, and Eve, 15. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 25444619)

The woman was one of several air travellers spoken to by the Guernsey Press, who all echoed the findings of a recent survey of local travellers that air fares from Guernsey are too high.

The survey by Island Global Research covered Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Air travel was the most popular means of transport off Guernsey, but there was a high level of dissatisfaction with the cost.

‘I feel like a prisoner,’ said a woman from Alderney, who asked not be to be named and was flying to Stansted with her son.

‘It’s very expensive. We’re flying on to Prague and we can get flights there for £22 return from Stansted.’

She and her son had travelled by ferry from Alderney, and she said that if they had not done so and had not managed to get cheap flights to Prague, they could have been looking at paying some £500 each in total, compared to about half that by taking the boat to Guernsey.

‘This is the first time in four years I’ve been off Alderney because of the cost,’ she said.

The trip to Prague was to visit her son and attend his wedding: ‘If I lived in England I could fly there every week,’ she said.

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Sarah Le Sauvage was flying to Southampton with her husband and three daughters: ‘We’re going on to Paris,’ she said, bemoaning the lack of direct flights to France from Guernsey.

With youngsters still in school, she said that in the past they have travelled during the school term to keep costs down: ‘It’s horrendous in the school holidays,’ she said.

Flying to Southampton to get the Paris connection was nevertheless cheaper than going to Gatwick first.

‘We’re going to fly to Paris and hire a car,’ said Mrs Le Sauvage. ‘But we’ll get the boat back.’

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John Axton and his three children were returning to the UK after visiting family in Sark, but having arrived from Gatwick they were flying back to Stansted: ‘I’ve flown with both Flybe and Aurigny but I like Aurigny very much,’ he said. ‘Flybe’s a great airline but they are very expensive with luggage costs.’

On this occasion the family had avoided having to pay for luggage by each member filling up a rucksack to take in the cabin.

‘The airlines are friendly, timely and very convenient. If you could get free luggage allowance you’d get a lot more people.’

Richard and Anne Lyne visit Guernsey regularly to see their daughter: ‘We come twice a year,’ said Mr Lyne. ‘This time we’re flying Flybe for the first time because it’s cheaper than Aurigny and we’re going to Heathrow.’

Living north of the Thames, he said that the Heathrow route was very convenient for them, and Mrs Lyne said their locally resident daughter had welcomed the route when it started up again.

But Mr Lyne said the costs did not seem to have increased dramatically over the years.

And while coming to the island by boat might be the cheaper option, when forced to take that option one year due to Mr Lyne having had an eye operation and being unable to fly, the fact that the couple had booked to come on the Liberation but ended up on the Clipper when the fast ferry was cancelled did not improve their view of sea travel.

The IGR survey reported that a majority of Guernsey travellers – 60 – were dissatisfied with the reliability of sea travel, compared to only 20% of air travellers.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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