Thursday, 5 June 2008


An open letter to Mr. Constanti.

Dear Sir,

My other half and I had just return from our holidays from Spain through one of your packaged holidays.

We had a good time there. We were pleasantly surprise with the quality of the hotel which was beyond our expectations. The only down side was the noise coming from the Discobar at night due to patrons leaving the Discobar door open to the patio.

We were also very pleased with how efficient and friendly your cabin crew was.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the ground crew.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon when we checked in at Glasgow airport. However, it was obvious that the check-in assistant clearly wished she wasn’t there, behind the counter. She was neither friendly nor cheerful. We were just glad that the necessary was done and continued looking forward to our holidays.

Our return flight experience was not the most pleasant either.

Noting that your travel information informed that 'check-in counter opens three hour before departure', we made our way for check-in just slightly earlier than three hours. We were about third in queue when we were informed that check-in has been revised to two hours before departure.

Preferring not to stand in the queue for an hour, my other half and I sat at a couple of the comfortable seats available.

We were very thankful for Malaga airport for the comfortable seats that we even caught forth winks there!

The queue for check-in continued to grow, within the hour a crowd gathered neatly in queue. Three queues for Glasgow (the longer queue in the picture) and another four for Manchester.

Not long, the crowd swelled and it looked like a scene of ‘last flight out of Malaga’, since check-in for both flights was pushed back to two hours before check-in.

However, check-in did not commence as shown on the screen. Although it commenced slightly less than two hours before departure, the queue didn’t seemed to clear.
My other half and I decided to continue waiting seated.

About 75 minutes before departure, we joined the queue, which by now has decreased a little.

Sadly, when we were standing in queue, it hardly moved. We even changed queues three times!

We were finally checked-in about half an hour before departure, leaving a small crowd still waiting to be checked-in on teh Glasgow bound flight. Bear in mind, all passengers should have been at the boarding gate 15 minutes ago, 45 minutes as stated on the travel information.

When we were next in queue to the check-in desk, I couldn’t resist asking one of your holiday rep, who was asking security questions on behalf of the check-in assistant, what was the cause for the delay.

To our disappointment, his reason for the delay was ‘coach strike, people were trickling in’!

Just to re-cap, we were at the airport more than three hours before check-in!

And we know that holiday reps at the hotels had arranged for taxis to transfer passengers from their hotel to the airport instead of the coach. This, I must say, was a good call on the holiday rep’s part.

Also, would the check-in area be swamped with passengers, if they were ‘trickling in’?

After the long check in process, we all had to be crammed into the transfer bus ferrying us from the boarding gate to the air plane.

Do you know how glad us passengers were when we finally see the smiling faces of the cabin crew and were seated nicely in our seats?

It was quite interesting to hear an announcement made saying ‘Good evening and welcome, I would normally say I am your captain, but, I am not. Your captain is in the plane on your left that has just landed.

Due to operational reasons, the cabin crew in that plane which has just arrived from Glasgow will swap over with us and you will be on your way soon.

We have decided to have you seated so to avoid any further delays.

I guess we just have to face it that in this day and age of credit crunch and economy uncertainties, we have to be understanding that ‘operational reasons’ will supersede ‘customer satisfaction’.

Will we be patronising your services again? Sadly, us consumers will not heed ‘once bitten twice shy’ until something seriously drastic happens.

Thankfully the initial cabin crew were fantastic, taking their time treating us as we were in their care all the way. Equally, the assigned cabin crew deserved praises for their professionalism as well.

Having just touch down after a three hour flight and completing their post flight duties, walking across the tarmac and continue their duties for the next three hours, with enthusiasm and broad smiles, was very professional of them. They deserve every praises.

Our flight was delayed by an hour in total. Only saving grace is that the pilot and his team managed to catch up precious flying time, all fifteen minutes of it!

Perhaps on hour doesn't seemed long but the bad experience did leave some bitter taste.

I am very curious to know what your feedback on this matter is, if ‘customer satisfaction’ is still on the company’s agenda.

Yours sincerely,

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