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My favourite airline strikes again !

By Mr Grumpy - Sat 3rd Oct 2009

It seems that flying economy now means that you waive all rights to be treated with courtesy and to expect a decent standard of cutomer service. Nor should you expect that you should be able to take any luggage or even sit down apparently – according to latest reports of how one particular economy airline is expected to evolve over the next few months.

My particular favourite economy airline (# Sarcasm Alert #) last week announced that with immediate effect they would be ceasing to provide any check in desks at their airports. Instead, they report, passengers should check in on-line and take no more than the stipulated 10 kilos hand luggage. If they require to take any additional luggage (Gasp !) then this would need to be checked into the hold, via the special luggage drop desk, and pay a 30 pounds sterling surcharge for the privelege of doing this. Furthermore – if the passenger forgot to check themselves in online (or failing that, did not have access to the internet),then they would also need to use the same special check in desk to do this – and be penalised a further 40 Pound sterling for doing this.

If, for any reason, the passenger had a querie or question that could not be answered on-line (Such as "Can I book an extra bag into the hold on just the Inbound leg of a return flight?") then you have to call a customer service call center, be placed on hold for 15 minutes and pay 10 pence per minute (40 cents if you are calling from Spain) - only to be be told No! - What a money-spinner !

One of my earlier blogs mentioned that the same airline is also charging to retrieve left luggage and even use the toilet !

To get back on point – it seems that by charging fines, penalties, surcharges and numerous other “extras“, that there will be no such thing as a cheap flight any more. Even if this said airline does advertise a flight for “ Free “ , then the additional taxes and charges will snowball and when everything is totalled it will cost roughly the same as a similar ticket from a premium airline. That's putting aside the fact that in many cases the airport of your chosen destiniation is usually a disused potato field in a rural backwater town - miles away from anywhere : Their “ Barcelona “, for example, is listed as an airport, when in fact it is actually situated in a town called Reus and is infact located 109 kms outside of Barcelona itself. The true Barcelona (Ref BAR) is a totally different Airport to their "Barcelona" (Ref BCN)- so you need to factor transfer cost into your ticket fees aswell !

The same airline expects to net over 650 Million Euros in 2009 on these "Hidden Charges" alone, and if their current request with the Irish Aviation Federation is approved, they may increase capacity on their short-haul flights (Such as UK > Spain) by over 50% by introducing new "Bar Stool" type seats instead of the traditional recliners !

So who do you trust and respect ? - An airline who is upfront and honest about the cost that you should pay for a ticket and the quality of service that you can respect in return, or an airline that will only advertise the initial cost for the ticket – leaving you to find out the true cost as the various surcharges come to light. An airline who seems to place cost above value ?

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Comment on this Blog

Excerpt from the Belfast Telegraph : " A Ryanair passenger has been arrested after he complained about the quality of a sandwich. The man was detained by police when his flight landed after crew complained he had become disruptive. But Henrik Ulven (52), from Oslo, said he merely asked for a refund after he bought a sandwich and was unhappy with its quality. He was shocked when arrested upon arrival at Rygge Airport near Oslo on Tuesday. Mr Ulven was travelling from Berlin to Oslo when he complained to a stewardess about the sandwich. He told the Irish Independent: "I first ordered a hot meal which they didn't have and then I asked for a second hot meal which they didn't have either. "I asked the girl what they actually had and I ordered a 'chicken premium sandwich', which cost €4.50 and was supposed to have been 'freshly made'. My money was in my jacket in the overhead locker so I told her I would pay her when I was able to get up again. "The sandwich looked nice and healthy but when I tasted it, it was soft and rubbery and nothing at all like it looked in the photo. I called the girl and said I was not paying for that." Mr Ulven claims the cabin crew member then said she would have to report him to the authorities."
Simon Kidman - Fri, 23rd Jul 2010
Airlines like described above will only have their place in the market for as long as the general public choose to put cost over value. As soon as everybody catches on to these so-called scams and votes with their feet, then they will be forced to re-think their whole business model.
Margaret - Sat, 24th Oct 2009

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