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Over the last two years, I have flown with Buzz on several occasions, and in that time their website has improved immeasurably. At the outset, it provided quite a basic service, just detailing destinations and flight times and allowing you to book online, with very few frills. This was all well and good, but there weren’t really any incentives, any hooks that made me think of using buzzaway.com as my first stop when looking for flights. However, that has all changed in recent months, as the site has been given a complete overhaul and the addition of many new features, together with the general improvement in site reliability, has given the budget airline a far more professional online presence.
The homepage now provides a concise overview of all routes, special offers and airline/airport news, as well as a user-friendly interface that allows you check flight availability or discover more information about various destinations without having to click through layers of pages. The whole site is presented in the blue and yellow Buzz livery – and although this sounds like quite a bright, almost violent combination, the colours work pretty well.
You can select your preferred language by using the links in the top right hand corner – choose from English, German, French, Spanish and Dutch. You are able to check on flight availability with the quick search function on the left of the screen – just enter your details (dates, destination, number of passengers, and so on), and this takes you to the main booking screen, where you can select your desired flights from a list matching your criteria. This is where you see one of the main benefits of booking your flight through the website, as you are shown the regular ticket price, next to the discounted web fare – normally a saving of €6 per ticket. The prices shown are excluding airport taxes, but I recently bought a ticket from Stansted to Frankfurt (Main), for the princely sum of 21 pounds, so even after taxes have been added, Buzz still lives up to it’s tag of being a ‘low-cost airline’.
The actual purchasing procedure now seems to be a lot more secure – in the early days, the site fell over during booking on quite a regular basis, meaning that you were sometimes unsure of whether you had actually paid for a ticket or not. However, the reliability has been improved, meaning that while the pages in this area do sometimes load slowly, your payment information no longer goes missing in action! Be warned though, if you book with a credit card, you will be subject to an extra processing fee of 3 pounds per transaction. If there are any problems, Buzz customer services contact you promptly (via email or telephone) to sort it out, which came as a welcome surprise to me.
Back on the main page, one of the best new features is the clickable map of Western Europe, which allows you to select any one of the 20+ destinations served by Buzz, in Spain, France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland. You can also click on the ‘Destinations’ link in the menu bar at the top of the screen; both options take you to the appropriate city/airport page. From here, you can find out more about car hire, rail links, sightseeing, restaurants and hotels in the respective destinations, as well as viewing a calendar of upcoming cultural events. Here’s a list of the cities that Buzz flies to: Amsterdam, Bergerac, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen, Dijon, Girona, Murcia, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Grenoble, Jerez, La Rochelle, Limoges, Marseilles, Paris, Poitiers, Rouen, Tours, Toulon.
The main page also has details of any special offers that Buzz happens to be running, and a comprehensive information service about Stansted, which is the airline’s central operating hub. You can find out about roadworks and any problems the express train service (and if you have a Buzz booking reference, you can click through to the Stansted Express website and pre-order tickets with a discount of 2 pounds), and even pre-order any on-board drinks and snacks you fancy for your flight.
The menu bar also contains links to pages allowing you to ask questions, give feedback on the website, purchase travel insurance and book hotel rooms or self-catering accommodation with recommended Buzz holiday partners. You have the option of pre-booking rail tickets from European destination, and you can also get a preferential rate with Budget rent-a-car, providing you can enter your Buzz flight number.
Another good feature is the Buzzmail service – this allows you to set personal preferences regarding the type of flights you make, when you like to book, and so on, and you then receive automated emails with flight offers from Buzz, tailored to your requirements. This system has been in place for some time now, but the link to it is now prominently placed in the centre of the main page, thus ensuring that many more people can make use of this admittedly quite handy feature – I get regular mails detailing internet deals on flights from Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.
All in all, this website gets a big thumbs-up – the reliability problems that plagued it have been ironed out, and the site as a whole has been refined and redesigned to make it much more attractive and easy to use. The special offers and useful information pages are much more easy to find, the whole site is very user-friendly and if something does go wrong, the customer service (in my experience) can’t be faulted. Oh, and the flights are cheap as well, even more so if you book online, which is another reason to visit buzzaway.com if you’re looking for a cheap weekend away in Europe. Recommended.