La Tania Flight Guide - Ultimate and Complete
All the Ski Flights information you will ever need...
Carriers and routes change all the time - Thomas Cook Airlines, BMI Regional, Monarch, BMI, Darwin, Bmibaby, SnowJet, Go, Buzz, Duo, EUJet, BA Connect, MyTravelLite, ThomsonFly, British European, Excel (XL) and FlyGlobespan have all now disappeared. Note that many routes only operate in peak Winter season too.
all old enough to realise that schedules change frequently. This is just a guide to assist you and focuses on flights during the main part of the Winter season - many routes don't run in Summer at all and some don't get going fully until January with additional flights at peak holiday times.
Usually you're going to fly in to either Geneva, Lyon, Chambéry or Grenoble airports.
Turin Airport at 3.5 hours drive and through the expensive Fréjus tunnel is not really an option.
Annecy Airport no longer has scheduled flights to Paris and St. Etienne Airport is no longer used by Ryan Air for flights from the UK.
Air France have some innovative air/rail combined tickets via Paris to Lyon Railway Station where you could continue on to Moûtiers for your final transfer.
Helicopter Transfers to Courchevel Altiport or Méribel Altiport are available if you're seriously loaded and hate traffic! Prices start from around €2,200 one-way from Geneva for 6 passengers.
Alpine Airlines announced in June 2015 the restart of commercial "on demand" flights from Courchevel altiport. More here...
For further details of all the airports, their locations, travel times and transfer information including driving directions, car hire, private transfers, bus & rail links etc check out the La Tania Transfer Page.
The No Frills LCC Operators - Usually on sale from March/April for next Winter
are still leading the way with up to 76 flights per day from 15 airports across the UK to Geneva, Lyon & Grenoble for Winter 2019.
Autumn 2020 flights released Thursday 7 November 2019 for flights until 24/10/2020
Summer 2020 flights released Thursday 19 September 2019 for flights until 30/08/2020
Winter 2020 flights released Thursday 11 April 2019 for flights until 28/03/2020
Autumn 2019 flights released Thursday 15 November 2018 for flights until 26/10/2019
Geneva confirmed for Winter 2020 from Aberdeen (Sat), Belfast (Sat/Sun - no Wed/Thu in 2020), Bournemouth (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun), Birmingham (DAILY), Bristol (DAILY), Edinburgh (DAILY), Glasgow (Sat/Sun), Liverpool (DAILY), Manchester (DAILY), Newcastle (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun), Gatwick (DAILY), Luton (DAILY), Stansted (DAILY) Southampton (Tue/Thu/Sun) and (London) Southend (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun).
Also to Geneva from all over Europe including Alicante, Amsterdam,
Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Crete, Dubrovnik, Figari, Hamburg, Ibiza, Madrid, Mykonos, Nantes, Nice, Malaga, Lisbon, Olbia, Palermo, Paris, Palma, Prague, Pristina, Sharm El Sheikh, Copenhagen, Santorini, Stockholme, Tel Aviv, Toulouse and Rome (some of these seasonal).
Lyon confirmed for Winter 2020 from Belfast (Sat), Bristol (Sat and Thu is new in 2020), Edinburgh (Sat), Manchester (Sat), Gatwick (DAILY), Luton (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun - DAILY mid-Feb & March),
Stansted (Thu, Sun).
Also to Lyon from a whole host of European destinations including Agadir, Ajaccio, Barcelona, Bastia, Berlin, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Casablanca, Dubrovnik, Figari, Ibiza, Krakow, Lisbon, Madrid, Majorca, Marrakech, Nantes, Olbia, Palermo, Porto, Rome, Split, Toulouse and Venice (some of these seasonal).
Grenoble confirmed for Winter 2020 from Bristol (Sat/Sun), Edinburgh (Sat), Liverpool (Sat and new for 2020 are some Sun flights), Gatwick (Fri/Sat/Sun plus Mon at peak times), Luton (Sat/Sun) and Stansted (Sat/Sun).
Baggage limits, rules etc.
easyJet have a price promise in place - if the fare you pay for comes down in price due to one of their sales then they will refund the difference in the form of a voucher/credit for your next flight. Always worth checking a month before you fly - and it does work, we've done it a couple of times. easyJet Price Promise
On 12 Nov 2009 easyJet announced the original IATA sized hand baggage (56x45x25cm) up from 55x40x20cm and on-line check-in for those with hold baggage too. Note than in June 2015 IATA announced a new recommended cabin baggage standard of 55x35x20cm but this is still to be implemented across the industry.
In Summer 2013 they introduced optional advance seat reservations and speedy boarding to include a speedy check-in / bag drop off desk too.
Winter 2014 saw the introduction of a smaller hand baggage size of 50x40x20cm which is guaranteed to be taken in the cabin as you may get your standard size taken off you and placed in to the hold if the flight is busy but at no additional charge. Note however, that there is no weight limit on hand baggage as long as you can put it in the overhead locker yourself!
Spring 2015 saw the inclusion of Fastrack Security charge with the easyJet Plus membership (along with a membership price increase). Now available at most airports including Geneva and Lyon. An additional bag of 45x36x20cm is also allowed for easyJet Plus cardholders. Standard hold luggage limit remained at 20kg until Autumn 2017 - see below.
Autumn 2017 saw hold baggage options of 15kg or 23kg introduced.
They're also becoming a lot stricter on hand baggage and many bags are removed at the gate for the hold (free of charge) unless of the smaller under your seat type. Crew do now ask for smaller bags to be placed under the seat in front of you while trolley bags taking up much more space have to go in overhead lockers - if you get them on board in the first place of course! This does penalise people taking small bags on board - you have to squeeze them in next to your feet! Take a bigger bag and it goes above...
Flybe Winter routes for 2020 went on sale on 7 May 2019
Confirmed for Winter 2020 (Direct Services)
Isle of Man (Sat)
Cardiff dropped for Winter 2020
Cardiff dropped for Winter 2020
No Saturday flights for 2020 and Southend dropped
Note that non-direct routes with changes via Southampton, Paris etc are often quoted on their website and code shares exist with Air France (although usually much cheaper to book on the Flybe site). Additional Regional Airports include Norwich, Newcastle, Newquay, Doncaster, Inverness and Guernsey.
Baggage limits and possible ski length restrictions on certain flights
Flybe may use Bombardier Q400 (78-seat, twin-turboprops) and Embraer 195 planes (118-seat, twin-jet engine) so read the small print - they are sometimes limited in the number of sets of skis they can carry too so always pre-book sports equipment. Standard cabin baggage size is 55x40x23cm / 10kg and hold luggage 20kg.
Jet2 flights for Winter 2020 went on sale during April 2019
Jet2.com offer great-value flights & package holidays to exciting sun, snow and city destinations from nine UK bases: Leeds Bradford, Manchester, East Midlands, Newcastle, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London Stansted. Make the most of the low £60pp deposit, convenient flight times, 2 to 5* accommodation, and zero credit card fees.
Confirmed for Winter 2020
Birmingham (Sat/Sun & Thu from Feb) No Tue flights for Winter 2020
East Midlands (Sat)
Edinburgh (Sat) No Sun flights for Winter 2020
Leeds / Bradford (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun)
London Stansted (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun & some Mon flights)
Manchester (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun & some Mon flights)
Leeds / Bradford (Sat)
London Stansted (Sat)
East Midlands (Sat from 15 Feb) - New for Winter 2020
London Stansted (Sat)
Baggage limits etc.
Standard cabin baggage size is 56x45x25cm / 10kg and hold luggage 22kg.
Summer 2016 saw Jet2 restrict alcohol sales - From 8 Aug 2016 no alcohol will be sold on board before 08:00.
Ryanair now have 3 options to Grenoble.
Confirmed for Winter 2020
Grenoble from Stansted (Sat/Tue) from £16 one-way!
Grenoble from Dublin (Sat)
Grenoble from Bristol (Sat) - New for Winter 2020
Stansted to Dole (a two hours drive North of Lyon or Geneva) with Saturday flights in 2020 is another possibilty but obviously a long transfer and a hire car probably the only option available.
Get in early and they still do have some real bargains but of course beware all the extras. They also fly Malta to Geneva now...
Baggage Limits and Charges
Hand baggage has a 10kg limit last time we checked and they do get stroppy about exact cabin bag size, which is a smaller 55x40x20cm size than many airlines. Since 2015 they have got a little better and allow a small handbag too of 35x20x20cm plus reserved seats etc. Hold baggage is charged at 15kg or 20kg amounts.
Playing the game by their rules, we did manage a GBL - EMA on the No Taxes promotion. €3.75 ALL IN (hand baggage only, on-line check-in, Ryanair Cash Passport etc) on a Saturday in 2009. Understand the rules, accept what you're getting and some great prices are available.
Turin from Stansted could be an
option if you're desperate - it's a 4 hour drive via the Fréjus tunnel (about another €30 each way if we remember rightly).
Jun 2015 Cabin Baggage Rules
At the airport at peak times (like Christmas) 1st 20kg Bag £60, 2nd 15kg Bag (boots!) £50, Skis £45. Now that's each-way, per person so for 4 return that would be a massive £1240 extra you'd be charged at check-in...
Jan 2018 Cabin Baggage Rules
If you have not purchased Priority & 2 Cabin Bags, you are only permitted to bring 1 small bag on board. Your second 10kg bag will be tagged at the gate and put into the hold free of charge.
Nov 2018 Cabin Baggage Rules
Unless you pay at least £6 for priority boarding, you'll only be able to take one handbag-sized bag (to fit under the seat in front of you) into the cabin on flights from 1st November 2018.
May 2019 Baggage Prices Example
4 Adults with Skis (£50), a 20kg Bag (£50) and 10kg Boot Bag (£12) at Christmas checked in the hold would now cost (at the airport or after initial booking) a total return of £896.
Use ski bags fully and get some clothes in there too. Get boots in main case and always pre-book bags and skis on-line (or hire when you get there - latest skis, fully maintained and no hassles...).
Etihad Regional Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline (who took over Baboo after their ill-fated Oxford- Geneva service) have now become Etihad Regional and used Cambridge Airport as its base in the UK.
Their 50-seat Saab 2000s used to fly to Geneva 3 times a week on Tue/Thu/Sat from £190 return but
this has now been dropped.
They have several options from Spain and Italy in to Geneva. Winter 2016 saw Inghams Charters flying Saturdays from Cambridge to Chambéry but this has also been dropped.
Wizz Air is Central and Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline which started flying in May 2004. They now have seasonal flights to Grenoble, Lyon and Geneva.
To Lyon from Warsaw.
To Grenoble from Warsaw, Gdansk and Vilnius.
To Geneva from Sofia and Bucharest.
Luton to Grenoble on Saturdays starting at £8.99 - New for Winter 2020
Transavia.com LCC set up by Air France and KLM.
August 2012 saw the announcement of the return of the Paris – Chambéry route after an absence of 11 years but it looks like this route has been dropped despite The 3 Valleys and Chambéry Airport helping to finance and promote it. Chambéry is under 3 hours from Paris on the fastest TGV trains however.
To Chambéry from Rotterdam/The Hague & Amsterdam (both Sat) from €49 one-way.
To Grenoble from Rotterdam/The Hague (Sat) from €39.
To Geneva from Rotterdam/The Hague (Sat) from €39.
Also to Lyon during the Summer from tourist destinations across Greece, Spain etc.
In 2018 Transavia started flying to Paris Orly from Edinburgh & Dublin. No UK to The Alps routes for Winter 2020.
Hop! Air France LCC
Should be included here as Hop! are another LCC now incorporated under the Air France banner with flights from all across France to Lyon plus some from Bologne, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Milan, Nuremberg, Prague, Rome and Venice.
They also fly to Geneva from Biarritz and and Calvi in Corsica but still no flights from the UK for Winter 2020.
Blue Air are another LCC we should mention - this one from Romania and flying over 5 million passengers in 2017. They fly in to Lyon from destinations in Romania plus Bucharest, Catania, Larnaca, Stockholm and Tel Aviv. No UK to Lyon options for Winter 2020 though.
Thomson Flights which merged with First Choice Flights now really focus on charter flights. They had scheduled ThomsonFly services to Grenoble from Bournemouth and to Geneva from Doncaster and Coventry but basically they only fly to the Med, Canaries and Red Sea now.
There are lots of Thomson packaged charters under the TUI banner (mainly Crystal Ski) going in to Chambéry and flight only fares are sometimes made available - see below.
Hapag-Lloyd Express - fly to Geneva from Cologne/Bonn. They fly to Cologne/Bonn from Manchester or possibilities exist to use in conjunction with GermanWings from Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh or Air Berlin from other parts of Europe.
With all of the budget airlines you've got to get in quick to get the cheap fares! Occasionally there are sales and remember easyJet will refund any difference if their fare does come down in price nearer to the departure date.
"Full Service" Scheduled Airlines - Usually bookable about a year in advance
Although now they all seem to be starting to charge for bags and in-flight booze...
British Airways the national carrier, still with a free bar but the snacks are hardly worthwhile. Ski carriage, baggage charges & seat reservation charges are all being phased in too. Lead-in prices often hand baggage only now.
Geneva for Winter 2020 from Heathrow (up to 12 x daily), Gatwick (up to 7 x daily) and London City Airport (up to 2 x daily) with Winter 2020 prices starting from £34 one-way including taxes.
Lyon for Winter 2020 from Heathrow (up to 4 x daily)
Grenoble for Winter 2020 from Heathrow (Sat) and Gatwick (Sat/Sun)
Chambéry for Winter 2020 from London City (Sat/Sun), Stansted (Sat/Sun) and Manchester (Sat)
The Friday night service from London City to Chambéry has been dropped for Winter 2020
Baggage Limits and Charges
Can often be cheaper that the no frills lot
when booking at short notice or for flights on Saturdays a year in advance. Charges are now being made for seat reservations, credit cards, hold baggage plus skis & snowboards. Standard cabin baggage size is 56x45x25cm plus personal bag 45x36x20cm & hold luggage 23kg (short haul).
SWISS International have prices for Gatwick to Geneva in Winter 2020 starting from £40 one-way.
Geneva from London Heathrow (daily up to 5 a day).
Geneva from London City (daily up to 3 a day).
Geneva from Gatwick (Sat & peak Sun).
Also routes from (for example) Birmingham or Manchester via Zurich from £63 each-way.
Baggage Limits and Charges
Always worth checking out their prices plus skis, poles & boots (or snowboard & boots) still always go free but lead in prices are hand baggage only! Standard cabin baggage is 55x40x23 / 8kg and hold luggage 23kg.
Air France UK are still operating nearly old school style with free drinks, food and hold baggage (and certain single fares are more expensive than returns - remember Apex rules?), code share options with Flybe are usually cheaper on the Flybe site. The direct services to Lyon from Heathrow and Gatwick have now been dropped.
The Lyon from Birmingham Flybe codeshare does not seem to be bookable via Air France anymore and it looks like direct flights from the UK to Lyon have ceased all together. Plenty of options via Paris or their KLM partners via Amsterdam from £61 one-way.
Decent fares also available via Paris (or using KLM via Amsterdam) from many other regional UK airports from £66 one-way.
A combined rail/air ticket using the fast Paris/Lyon rail connection is sometimes available too.
Prices, Baggage Limits etc.
Generally Air France domestic flights purchased in advance are a good deal (Paris - Lyon from £40 each way even on Saturdays for example). However not so competitive internationally - can be worth a cheap easyJet to Paris and then onwards via Air France for a good deal. Standard cabin baggage is 55x35x25 / 12kg and hold luggage 23kg.
Blue Islands serve the Channel Islands and are now part of FlyBe
See Flybe section above.
Lufthansa - to Geneva via Berlin, Munich
or Frankfurt from Birmingham and London. Flexible fares can be good value.
Etihad, Emirates & Qatar Airlines
All these middle-east airlines are now flying from all around Australia & Auckland to Geneva via Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Doha and are very useful for all our Aussie & Kiwi friends who now don't have to make that extra European connecting flight.
Alpine Airlines announced the restart of commercial "on demand" flights from Courchevel altiport on 22 June 2015.
Tariffs are not released publicly but their plane is 30% quicker than a helicopter, takes 5 passengers and with more luggage space too.
Routes from Courchevel include transfer options from Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble, Chambéry, Annecy & Valence or direct services from Paris, Nice/Cannes/St Tropez, Marseilles, London & Turin.
Holiday Site, Travel Agents and Others
Thomson Holidays / TUI - offer package ski holidays (brands include Crystal & Flexiski) with charter flights from local airports to all the main ski resort destinations. Lots of flights now go in to Chambéry, the nearest airport to La Tania - they even pay Lyon airport a retainer so ground crew & baggage handlers are on standby ready for any closure of Chambéry airport in bad weather.
Charter Flight Only Deals
There are flight only deals with the holiday charter companies as well (nearly always on a Saturday -
the main transfer day). The main holiday companies all come to La Tania. Transfers on their coaches are sometimes available for a
surcharge too - bribing the reps for a lift doesn't seem to work however these days...
Crystal have their last minute Super Deals and are often hard to beat and occasionally flight only deals have been made available (or via parent company TUI) but their super cheap packages to La Tania in the Grand Bois apartments are no longer available for Winter 2020.
More expensive Christiana Apartment packages are available from Crystal but the Grand Bois apartments have been taken over by Skimania - a French company established in 1992, who have 50,000 clients skiing every Winter. They run regular coach services from Lyon for day trips and specialise in weekends too - in fact looking at their website only 4 night stays are available...
Titan Airways (who took over Snowjet) based at Stansted, run charters for many ski operators as well as Premier League football teams and VIPs. Ski operators include including Nielson, TUI and Hotel plan as well as supporting Jet2, easyJet, BA, Vuelling, Aer Lingus etc when needed.
Helicopter or Plane Transfer
From Geneva or Lyon direct
to the Altiport at Courchevel 1850 or Méribel.
Possible from SAF on +33 479 080091 or WhiteTracks but is always dependent on weather conditions.
Old Routes and Airlines no longer operating
Thomas Cook along with Thomas Cook Airlines ceased trading on 23 September 2019. Thomas Cook, whose roots go back to 1841, employed 22,000 people worldwide, 9,000 of them in the UK. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) repatriation was the biggest in peacetime with 45 jets chartered to bring customers home. Temporarily, it was the UK's 5th biggest Airline. Ski companies including Neilson and Inghams used some of these flights and will be re-booked to other operators in time for Winter 2020.
Monarch ceased trading on 2 October 2017 with all associated companies (running their holidays and engineering division) going into administration and the loss of 2,500 jobs. They had trouble in 2016 and were only given their CAA licence after an emergency week extension and more capital injection - this time however, they went under with some 110,000 customer already abroad and an estimated 400,000 future bookings affected.
BMI Regional (flyBMI) - left over from the sale of BMI to BA, they operated fairly competitive flights from Manchester and Birmingham to Lyon in 2014. These routes were discontinued after a few years though and they finally went in to administration on 16 February 2019.
Darwin Airline (who took over Baboo) from December 2013 are now Etihad Regional and operated flights from Cambridge to Geneva for Winter 2014.
BMI were bought by British Airways and their routes merged in to BA / IAG Group from 28 October 2012.
Inghams introduced a new package only route from Cambridge Airport to Chambéry for Winter 2016 with Eastern Airways but this only lasted the one season.
Bmibaby - Ceased to exist from 9 September 2012. In Winter 2012 Bmibaby flew to Geneva from East Midlands, Birmingham and Belfast City plus To Chambéry on from East Midlands. Jet2 have stepped in at East Midlands, see above.
Became a charter only operation on behalf of tour ops including Club Med, Crystal Ski, Esprit Holidays, First Choice Ski, Inghams, Skiworld, Ski Total and Thomson Ski. Had useful Chambéry flights in 2012 and was then bought by Titan Airways the specialist charter airline.
Baboo flew from London City to Geneva in 2010 but now withdrawn. They also tried to get a route up and running from Oxford Airport (just off the A34 to the North of Oxford) to Geneva but it didn't last long. They were taken over by Darwin Airline who are starting up a Cambridge - Geneva service for Winter 2014 (and then subsequently taken over as Jihad Regional - see above).
easyJet dropped East Midlands as a base in December 2009 and bmibaby got a lot of press saying they would add extra flights to Geneva etc. - They didn't and only ran Sat/Sun flights rather than the
previous daily service. Bmibaby closed on 9 September 2012 following BA owners taking over BMI.
Flybe has grown out of British European.
FlyGlobespan Scotland's low cost airline flew to Geneva from Edinburgh but went in to Administration on 17 December 2009.
MyTravelLite flew from Birmingham International to Geneva with some very cheap mid-week deals in 2002/3 but didn't run this the following year and was bought by Thomas Cook (who went bust in September 2019)
Matair used to fly (very
small planes!) direct from Southend to Courchevel 1850 Altiport until around 2000/2001 season - it wasn't too mad a price if you filled the plane too. Their London taxi transfer vehicle was parked in 1850 for many seasons following this but the service quietly disappeared. Of course easyJet fly from Southend to Geneva now!
Duo flew from Birmingham to Lyon and Geneva and also daily from Edinburgh to Geneva during Winter 2003/4 - they went bust on 1st May 2004 allowing British Airways BA Connect service to take over the daily Birmingham - Lyon and Geneva routes. However , on 1st March 2007 BA (to be renamed London Airways perhaps as they only fly to/from London with the odd exception) gave just about all it's regional international flights to FlyBe (plus £130m). Flybe simple cherry picked the most profitable routes and immediately cancelled the daily Birmingham and Manchester flights to both Lyon and Geneva really messing peoples plans up for Easter 2007 - they only have to give 2 weeks notice of cancelling flights booked up to a year in advance, by which time of course prices are sky high. The compensation? Just your original money back... not good.
Excel Airways were re branded XL.com and used to fly to Geneva from Gatwick & Manchester on Sundays - they went bust on 11 September 2008.
Go who were bought by easyJet and took on their Stansted to Lyon route.
Buzz were bought by Ryan Air but didn't keep the routes to Grenoble, Lyon and Chambéry although Grenoble was eventually brought back from Stansted after St. Etienne was dropped on 6th June 2006.
EUjet flew to Geneva from Kent and Shannon during Winter 2005, they went bust on 26th July 2005.
Virgin Express flew to Geneva from Brussels which was their European hub but this disappeared in 2009.
Thomson Flights had scheduled ThomsonFly services to Grenoble from Bournemouth and to Geneva from Doncaster but these appear to have been dropped and sadly all ThomsonFly flights from the excellent tiny Coventry airport ended on 2nd November 2008. Now a charter operation but flight only fares may be available.
page last updated 20/01/20
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