SO EXCITED: I’m About To Fly A Nearly Empty Air Belgium Flight!

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

It has been a while since I’ve been this excited about a flight! I’m about to board an Air Belgium flight from Charleroi to Hong Kong (after the inaugural flight was canceled in late April), and am excited to the point that I just have to share that before departure.

Charleroi Airport is a total dump, though I have to give Air Belgium credit for their ground experience. Check-in was efficient, as you’d expect for an empty flight. 😉

Air Belgium has a private lounge that allows you direct boarding, which is pretty cool. The lounge is surprisingly nice, and given that I have it to myself (could I really be the only business class passenger?), I sort of feel like I’m flying private…

…because I sort of am. I’m told there are 25 other passengers on the flight today. That’s more than I was expecting, though that’s also somewhat concerning when you consider they’ve been flying for over a month (then again, they still don’t have any partnerships, and their tickets still aren’t bookable in the GDS).

I’m curious how much longer they can sustain this…

Stay tuned, I can’t wait to see what the onboard experience is like. And if you’d like to follow along live, here’s the Flightradar24 for the flight.

Unfortunately they don’t have wifi, or else I’d live blog.

Anyone want to wager a guess as to what the onboard experience will be like?

  1. Cool trip, looking forward to your impressions! Hard to believe that they are actually flying, really.

  2. Perhaps they’ve got some decent cargo contracts to contribute towards the cost of operating the flights? HKG is a big cargo market

  3. Lucky what constitutes an airport being a “total dump”? Having flown through it a couple times I would say it’s on par to regional USA airports or other small central/Eastern European airports.

  4. @Michael I doubt it. They are just taking a loss. If the cargo was so lucrative, they’d skip the seats and just put cargo in there also.

  5. Jim, not saying they’re making a profit, and there may not be sufficient demand for just cargo but it may be negating some of their losses.

    Emirates fly 77Ws to a lot of destinations instead of A389s because the 77W has a much higher cargo capacity. A decent cargo contract may have allowed them to commercially justify starting operations

  6. I sort of agree with Michael. They might have some short term cargo contracts for now, that might alleviate their losses. But I’m sure that they are still losing a lot of money

  7. Why are they still not in a GDS? Surely it’s one of the more simple parts of running an airline to organise!?

  8. @ CS – To showcase the cabin and review their service for our utility and entertainment. The point of your comment is?

  9. @Alvin

    I think CS may just have been asking what the point of the flight is in the first place, i.e, Charleroi to HK, not the review itself.

  10. Apparently flights won’t be sold out till 2021 at the earliest as the runway in Charleroi is too short for their planes to land when they’re full…

  11. Genuinely interested why they would number their flight KF 851 when they only have 1 flight to one destination. Why not KF001?

  12. @Alvin put your dick back in your pants. Whether @JDS is right or not, it’s a pointless flight since the airline will be out of business or not operating its own flights soon.

    That said, pointless flights are great and anything Lucky gets excited about he should do… still doesn’t mean there’s a point or logic behind it.

  13. Air Belgium has been leasing to Air France during their maintenance. As far as I understand their Lagos flight Air Belgium has a fleet of 3 I guess they make more money leasing than operating a scheduled flight which is 90 % empty. How about the inbound from Hong Kong ?

  14. That’s exactly what I was alluding to. An airline flying long-haul on an not-so-efficient aircraft with no passengers from a second rate airport of a small country to Hong Kong. It’s so obscenely pointless. I can’t even.

  15. Hello Lucky! You are currently over Kazakhstan! Have you memorized the names of the other 25 people on board yet?

  16. Pictures you shared don’t exactly scream “dump”. So I’m curious too why you think that?

  17. Ugh. How can you say Charleroi Airport is a “total dump” in your article? What makes it a “total dump” when the pictures show an airport that looks as nice as most U.S. airports. Moreover, the check-in area looks perfectly fine.

  18. So the airport advertises itself as “Brussels South”. 68 km by road. That’s 50% further than JFK to Manhattan, but still better than Stewart or Beauvais/Paris.

  19. Dump??? It looks fairly new and modern in your photos. And very clean. Maybe it’s a dump because it doesn’t have a Centurioun lounge???

  20. @Callum: In 1994, I helped a SEE Airline get into the GDSes and it required something like 5+ contracts at the time — each lengthy. Time-consuming is the short answer.

  21. how the hell is it a “dump”???? it looks clean modern and nice. i think ur just too spoiled…

  22. Charleroi airport is a disgrace.
    I regularly fly out of there and have to say I always wonder how many brains did it take to make sure that the passengers have the worst airport experience in their entire life… There’s not 1 single thing that is positive (from parking to boarding and vice-versa) about that airport and the only reason I fly out of there is because they have a direct flight to where I come from, which Brussels Airport doesn’t have :-/

  23. Not sure if it’s been mentioned above but these flights must be being operated purely to carry Cargo to/from HKG, can’t see why else they’d operate a flight with 20 or so PAX on board

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