Train operator calls in police after Flybe poaches rail travellers

By John Glenday | Reporter

October 29, 2014 | 1 min read

A train operator has called in the police after over a marketing stunt by the budget airline Flybe, which saw it dispatch staff to Exeter station in a bid to tempt travellers from rail to air with free coffee and promotional flights.

Nonplussed First Great Western staff were furious after spying representatives of the budget airline exhorting people to switch its newly launched direct service between the historic city and the capital which has return flights for just £70.

A resulting altercation saw British Transport Police called in after rail workers complained that Flybe did not have permission to picket and were causing a disruption.

First Great Western previously enjoyed a monopoly on the London service which will now come under pressure from the above, with flights clocking in at over an hour quicker at just 80 minutes versus 159 minutes by train.

Flybe’s director of communications, Andrew McConnell, said: “It is regrettable that in a commercial free market, First Great Western felt it necessary to contact the police to try and protect themselves from Flybe’s offer of free coffee in a public space.”

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