View Full Version : Low cost carriers and customer service

14th Jun 2008, 11:04
I read with horror about incidents at airports with ‘customer service staff’ who have such a bad attitude towards fare paying customers. How on earth do people get jobs in the industry behaving the way they do? and more to the point they seem to get away with it, even after complaints have been made. To see a passenger with a 4 week old baby treated in this way fills me with disgust.

EasyJet to Bristol Sat 14 Jun
Mrs Inglebyboro flew on then above route earlier this morning, taking our 4 week old son. After check in she carried on through to the departure gate, taking the baby in the pushchair. At the gate, there was a load of steps to go down (which was not advised at check in - if so, she would have got rid of the pushchair then). She asked one of the staff at the gate if they could help her with the pushchair down the stairs, only to be told that they would NOT help her. My wife then asked how was she supposed to get the pushchair down the flight of stairs, to which the reply was "Its not our problem, but if you need help then you will have to ask another passenger"

She then had to wait at the top of the stairs, until she could find somebody to help, whilst the "customer service asssistants", or whatever they are called this week, looked on, with the occasional laugh, when the first few pax refused to help.

Why is it that low cost carriers seem to be obsessed with taking money at every point of the journey? Paying for check in, checking in hold luggage, charging to board first, charging for overwing exits. The list seems endless.

Does this mean that the standard of service has dropped to such a level that gone of the days of a ‘smile costs nothing’ Have the days of helping people now diminished to unpleasant experiences, where customers have to fend for themselves at airports? Or will the likes of these low cost carriers now charge for a smile and for being polite and helpful?

14th Jun 2008, 11:30
In my experience unless a carrier is self handling it can make little difference. At my local airport everyone is handled by one Pax agent and while airline policies (LRV's etc) vary, the same staff will be handling everybody from FR through the charters to KL and other full service carriers. I think the scenario described above is more a matter of generic staff shortage and unwillingness than rudeness due to the fact that the agents are representing a Loco at that time. The idea that the same staff would have helped a the passenger if they were with another airline is not realistic in my view.

As an aside, despite all being from one company with us EZY have their own dedicated handling agent staff and in my experience they are possibly a little more useful than the mainline staff. This may be due to them being able to focus on one airline rather than having to represent different ones all the time. I do agree that you may come across rude and unhelpful pax handling staff, but this is not limited to LOCO's by any means.

15th Jun 2008, 07:14
I disagree with the generalisation implied in the headline to this thread, "Low cost carriers and customer service". I fly over 60 sectors per year, mainly with "low cost" carriers, but also from time-to-time with "legacy" carriers, sometimes long-haul in business class. I have noticed no particular pattern when it comes to poor customer service and would not single out "low cost" airlines as being particularly bad. For example, although the boarding process for "low cost" flights can be very chaotic and disorganised (easyJet can be particularly poor in this regard) I have had similar experiences travelling Club World with British Airways.

18th Jun 2008, 07:35
As a frequent traveller, I don't think this is an airline/LCC thing, it is more of a country-of-origin thing. There are places under the sun where the concept of being helpful is unknown, it varies with time, used to be like that in the good old USSR and is increasingly like that now in the not-so-ole UK and USA too.

And then again, there are exceptions to the rule, so maybe it comes down to whether people learnt the difference between service and servitude - or just helping the elderly as well as those with infants.

18th Jun 2008, 07:53
Don't complain about the service of LCCs cause there ain't any service at all to complain about!

18th Jun 2008, 09:41
I had my first experience of a low cost carrier last night. Flew on Fly Baboo from Nice to Geneva. Started by asking the BA desk for a lounge invitation as I have a Gold card. No problem. Lounge very quiet, staffed by Servisair, no problems, lots of choice. Bussed out to this very clean Embraer 190, wider seats than BA Club Europe (a 2+2 arrangement), more space between them. I was in Row 6; the front 5 rows had even more space between seats. Free refreshments of water, a beef roll and a small tiramisu - all this on a 50 minute flight. Had to wait 15 minutes for bags, but it only cost €45. It wasn't very full, but there were 3 cabin crew, who were polite and attentive.

On the basis of that flight, I'll try Fly Baboo again, although if they don't get better load factors, I don't know how long they will last.

Justin Cyder-Belvoir
18th Jun 2008, 10:30

sounds a bit like Duo who had CRJs out of BHX.

I flew with them once BHX - LYS and thought the service was terrific; unfortunately they didn't last long enough for me to me them twice!

18th Jun 2008, 19:02
Particularly in Europe it often makes little difference whether you fly by "full service " or " low cost " carrier as they both have the same handling agent. The checkin queues for the low costs tend to move faster as the transactions are simpler and do not involve multi sector through checkins. On the spot supervision by the legacy carriers is often non existent and the low costs tend to be faster on the turnaround because their crews are more pro-active in chasing up the handling agent and of course cabin crew do the cabin cleaning themselves.

19th Jun 2008, 09:46
It's not a LoCo problem its a problem with Society......As the OP said, even the first few pax refused to help.
I find most people to be friendly and helpful in the industry. But the numbers of rude could not care less people is I am afraid growing

19th Jun 2008, 12:14
Maybe people wouldn't help because they had a fear of being sued if anything went wrong.