View Full Version : The clue was in the name...

07-21-2015, 01:39 PM
Found this little gem on a complaints website recently.

'Really disappointed with this company-they screwed up the flight paperwork,customer service was awful.I will never fly Cheapo Airways again'


07-21-2015, 03:10 PM
Cheap doesn't mean it's ok to give bad service.

07-21-2015, 11:02 PM
No, but there is that expectation that for really great service, you have to pay more. And if you don't, well....you get what you pay for. It's not always the case, and it's definitely not ok, but it is a thing unfortunately.

07-22-2015, 12:17 AM
No, but it is (or should be) common knowledge that any company whose "unique selling proposition" boils down to "we're cheaper than the others" are going to cut corners wherever they can get away with it. You're not choosing them for the service; you're choosing them for the price.

I think I've told this story before:

A number of years ago, I was returning from England to Finland during what happened to be an unusually snowy holiday season. This involved taking a train across the Pennines, and then a flight from Manchester via Copenhagen.

Knowing that delays were possible and even likely, I took an earlier train than strictly necessary. This proved to be a very wise move - the train's brakes froze up and dragged several times, so we had to stop to get that fixed; we were then diverted onto the slow line for a significant distance (probably to reduce disruption to other trains if it happened again), and progress was generally slowed due to the likelihood of poor adhesion and thus lengthened braking distances. Upon reaching Manchester Piccadilly, we were all unceremoniously turfed out and told to take a local train to the airport, instead of being able to stay on that one as planned.

Still, I did get to the airport in time for check-in. It could have been worse.

Now, if there was enough snow falling to cause that much trouble to trains, you can imagine what it was doing to the airport's runways. Scandinavian airports often have heated runways to deal with snow more effectively, but that sort of equipment isn't installed at British airports; there usually isn't enough snow to justify it. Instead, snowploughs were working nonstop to get each runway in turn clear enough for a half-hour window of operation before it had to be closed again.

I was flying with... let's call them Commando Air. They are relatively inexpensive as "flag carriers" go, but they do still take proper care of their customers. The queues at the check-in desks weren't any worse than usual. When I got to the head of the queue, though, I was told that due to flight disruption, I'd need to talk to the ticketing desk opposite first; they'd then give me priority to bypass the queue the second time around. Okay, fine.

The Commando Air ticketing clerk was engaged in discussion with a gent who, it turned out, was a Simpleton customer. Or rather, he had been until a few minutes ago, since Simpleton (being a well-known budget airline) had thrown their hands up and cancelled all their flights for the day, issuing refunds all round to meet their legal obligations.

"I need to get home," he whined.

"Sure, but we're taking care of our own customers first. We're seeing a lot of Simpleton customers tonight. So if you could move aside for a moment, I'll talk to you again after this gentleman."

I was holding my itinerary up with the Commando logo visible, so she waved me forward. Cue a swift rebooking for a flight later that evening via Stockholm. That's fine, I'm not picky about the time as long as I can get to work tomorrow.

Of course, further delays were possible and even probable, but I had a boarding card in my hand a few minutes later, so I knew I was being taken care of. Unlike all those Simpleton customers, who had to scramble to see whether any of the more responsible airlines had any seats left - at exorbitant walk-up prices, which their refunds would only cover a fraction of.

There were indeed further delays. As well as delaying outbound flights directly, capacity was restricted for receiving inbound flights, whose aircraft would then be turned around to form further outbound flights. Eventually we were all given meal vouchers and descended upon the departure lounge's fast-food joints, practically cleaning them out, and remarkably shortly thereafter were called for boarding.

To save time, they conducted boarding while still refuelling the aircraft - so there were announcements to say we should leave our seatbelts *unfastened* until instructed otherwise. Of course, several passengers around me failed to pay attention to this, so I (and passing flight attendants) had to remind them. Nothing new there. So I sat there with my belt ready but unfastened, munching my way through the rest of my burger-joint meal, while the general chaos of the general public boarding an aircraft went on all around me.

It was by then sufficiently late that there were no more connecting flights out of Stockholm that evening. Cue a free (if very short) stay in a Commando Hotel a short journey from the airport, and a second re-booking on the first flight of the following morning. This also neatly solved the problem of finding reasonably priced public transport on arrival after midnight.

The moral of the story is that while Simpleton - and their fellow budget airlines - might be cheaper when everything happens to go right, booking with a more reputable airline will save you both money and hassle on those occasions when lumi happens.