I had the misfortune to use the Air Wales ATR service from Cardiff to Newcastle the other day. We were given no information regarding delays, there did not appear to be any air wales representatives at Cardiff Int., Eventually I managed to discover from one of the lounge staff that the aircraft would be about 50 mins late as it had not arrived in Plymouth. Then she dicovered actually it would be about 2 hours late because it hadn't left Cork to get to Plymouth.
She shrugged her shoulders and told me that unfortunately this is typical of Air Wales. Apparently the scheduling is heroically over-optimistic, and almost never achieved.
Departingf two hours late, and having paid £90 one way, I was then dismayed on a steaming hot day, to be asked to purchase a drink. You would have thought the least they could do would have been to offer a complimentary.
Next time I'll try Easy from Bristol, more choice of service, far cheaper, and then I don't mond paying for the drink!!
Suspect this airline will be a short-lived affair unless it dramatically improves its performance and customer relations.
1) Have a schedule that is realsistic and gives adequate turn around so that punctuality within 15 minutes is the norm.
2) Make sure accurate and honest and timely information is available when delays do occur.
3) Consider carefully which market you are targetting. If you are competing with the full service carriers like BA for business trade, then offer a full service, including lounge access and complimetary refreshments.
If you are aiming at low cost then be explicit, and charge competetive prices. At the moment the price is nearer to full service apex type costs.
If things do go wrong empower staff to try and make it better, e.g. in the example cited to offer free refershment (cost a few pence), most people will forgive most things if the airline appears to care and tries to go out of its way to make passengers feel they are trying. In the example cited above the cabin attendant agreed with me that it was mean of the company not to allow the staff to give a free drink when there were delays, which makes their life difficult as well.
If I am correct , the reason for the delay was the weather prevented the aircraft from landing at Plymouth, leading to a diversion to Exeter and the subsequent busing of passengers to Exeter etc. As an aside have you actually formally written to Air Wales with your complaint, it may get more action than a post on a website.
Unfortunately the Red Dragon does tend to suffer at the hands of the weather. However, the overall situation isn't improved by an Ops dept who don't seem to know what is going on. Very recently, we had numerous telexes at NCL ops to tell us the morning flight was delayed due poor weather and to inform the pax. Upon attempting to clarify the estimated departure time for the flight from CWL (confusion as to whether it was 1000 local or zulu), we were informed that it would be airborne in 10 minutes and therefore more or less on time. Yet only 2 minutes before we had spoken to them on the phone and told to check our telex messages and to inform the pax of the delay.
Charlie32 have to disagree with you about the scheduling being heroically over-optimistic, and almost never achieved.
When I flew for Air Wales I was not often late if I was it was either due to weather at Plymouth causing the aircraft to divert or ATC slot delays which unfortunatly do have knock on delays.
You mention having adequate turn around time it's 30 minutes which is the same as most airlines and I now work for EZY and on domestics flights we do 20 min turn around and that is for a 737, so 30 min is plenty for a ATR.
Problem with the ABZ service is that during the winter months we had some very strong headwind components going from LPL to ABZ, I remember having a ground speed of just 130 kts it took just over 2 hours to get to ABZ. Another problem is the handling at LPL with Serviceair, I do not recall once in the many time I have flown into LPL were I have pulled up onto stand and there is someone to meet us. When I had asked the dispatcher when he finally turned up were are the bagage handlers I'm told they are having a coffee break so we sat there for over an hour waiting and then just to repeat the performance when we arrive back from ABZ into LPL. I'm pleased to report that the quality of handling in LPL for EZY is just has appaling when I worked out of there for a few days the other week.
Try to go easy on the crews of Air Wales, the cabin crew work long days and they get just as frustrated as the pax do. Often when my other half comes home after she has been delayed majority of the time she has been shouted at by pax.
With the comment of this airline being a short lived affair, well it's been going now for over 5 years must be doing something right and BMIbaby would not have given them a load of routes if they were not reliable!
Have not known many airlines offer complimentary drinks for weather delays, usually only offered for airline related delays such as technical, crew etc. Weather is classed as force majeure. And fares are bound to be higher on a 40+ seat ATR than a 148-seat 737, simple economics. But I do agree that more information for delayed passengers is vital, explaining the weather problems and the results is much better than leaving them in the dark.
Ezy is fine they have treated me rather well, I have much more days off than I did at Air Wales and the 737 is a fab machine plus lots of crew meals and snacks on board so can't complain.
I'm not sure if I like being in the cruise for over 2 hours doing nothing I get a bit bored sometimes, my last 2 days in LTN has me doing Athens 3 hrs and 40 min flight time each way (have to buy lots of FHM's) and LTN is such a large base it is difficult to get to know anyone, so I will hold judgement till I'm in BRS in a couple of weeks were I hear it is a good base and everyone knows everybody and is a bit of a laugh.
I do miss flying low and slow in the ATR think the flying is much more fun plus we always had a laugh. Seen the Duchess in Paris last week and taxied passed them and a part of me wished I was still on it.
Spoke to Mr Excel the other day now he is working hard, 11 pm report and finish at 11:30am gee no thanks.
I appreciate it must get boring. Lets put it into perspective. 737, easy hours(long days I understand but in this case youre going to have to just say it!!). compare that to....well, you know what/who we're up against.
Did not have a good day today, got called in from standby to do ABZ so I drive from Cardiff all the way to LTN get there down on the stand and the aircraft diverted to EMA and then was cancelled, bummer!
Met some good crews from other bases and they all say get out of LTN it's the worst base since it's the HQ.
Who could you possibly mean by who your up against?!!
Well if any of the boys or girls from the Dragon want a recommendation for EZY I'll put one in, not sure how much use it will be.