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Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Torremolinos, Spain
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Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Like many people I scour the net for the best fares before I go but two recent experiences have made me think again. Recently I returned from Jordan. I needed to catch an onward but not linked flight at Madrid to Malaga. Because of heavy snow in Amman we were two hours late taking off and so arrived at Madrid after the gate closed for our flight on Iberia to Malaga. We had expected to lose the flight, have to buy another one and spend some time getting details for the travel insurance but Iberia simply checked us on to the next available flight. No cost, no fuss, no problem. Wonderful service.

Second story is ongoing. Air Berlin is the low cost airline for this flight. As many of us do, I went back to the web page this week to see how much the flight I had booked in January was now. I was confused to find the flight had a time two hours before the time I had on my confirmation. So I sent Air Berlin an e mail. I assume that low cost means don't bother replying to e mails because they haven't. So I phoned Air Berlin and was told that yes the flight time had changed but that they had told me. Since I hadn't received the email and they had sent the previous confirmation to the correct address I was a little cynical about this but, no matter, they would send it again. They haven't. The point though is this, what would have happened if I had arrived at the airport to find that the gate had closed two hours before? What if my plans didn't have a built in two hour contingency and they don't often?

I know that Ryanair is famous for its 'customer service' but maybe the other low cost airlines are taking the same approach. I shall think very carefully about the price difference between Iberia (our local 'normal' carrier) and the low cost airlines in the future.

London, United...
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1. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

I usually prefer the "established" airlines like BA or Lufthansa over the low cost carriers while travelling in Europe or Germany. In my case BA was even cheaper than all those "cheap" airlines on my flights to London. I experienced the Ryan Air Service once when cancelling a flight to Barcelona. They were like "Hey, we don't care if you turn up or not!" Also the on-flight service is way better with the "established" ones and the price difference isn't that much.

Worthing, United...
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2. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Hi

I have found the opposite to be true. Ryanair have changed three of the flight times on which I had reservations and immediately informed me. The first they even rang to make sure I had received the email. The second two were about five hours difference so I cancelled and received a full refund immediately.

After an accident which made walking difficult I contacted Sky Europe by email to ask for assistance for a forthcoming trip, they rang me in the UK from Bratislava to make sure that whatever I needed was in place.

I also had flights booked with Easyjet after my accident and was able to add the need for assistance using their website without having to contact anyone.

Estonian Air are not exactly a low cost carrier, although their early booked fares do compare very well with the budgets, and they do not offer free meals or drinks but their customer service is second to none.

British Airways on the other hand will do anything rather than offer a basic customer service. If their staff are not threatening strike action then their food suppliers are withdrawing meals, meantime their check-in staff seem to aim for having the longest queues in Gatwick with the least friendly faces I have ever seen. I thought the days of queueing for over an hour to be greeted by, "I'm closing rejoin the queue" were long over, but that is exactly what was said to me by one of the 'delightful' BA check in girls.

Jackie

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3. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

I agree with the previous poster (and fellow Worthing resident!). Although I occasionally moan about Easyjet on the forum, I have to say that, for nearly every time, the flights all depart on time, the crews are friendly, the customer service is good and they text me with flight info, whereas every time I've flown with BA the flights have been delayed, food has either not been available through caterers' strike or it has run out during the flight, they've run out of registration cards and the sat nav info and flight entertainment hasn't been working.

Travelling The World
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4. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Unlike Jackie, I have never received exceptional customer service from Ryanair, and in fact have had examples of exactly the opposite, although most of the time it has been OK. BA on the other hand has always provided good to excellent customer service, including one time in Manchester when I was late (entirely my fault) and arrived at the check-in desk at the precise moment that the gate was supposed to close. The flight was delayed by a few minutes, and not only did they get me on it, my suitcase made it too. Anyone ever had that experience with Ryanair? Thought not!

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

<Anyone ever had that experience with Ryanair? Thought not!>

No but I have recently enjoyed it with flyBe due late incoming at LHR. Actually was to be seen running in stocking feet (security, sheesh!) through LGW whilst being urged on by the Tannoy "Mrs & Mr.M. Gate 14 NOW!"

To those folk I knocked over in my dash! sorry!

Worthing, United...
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6. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Hi

Believe it or not we have checked in late for a Ryanair flight. It was our first and we were going to Malmo. I had misjudged how long it would take to fly to Stansted and we arrived with only minutes to spare. The woman in front of me was checking in the entire contents on her home and while we waited it was announced that the check-in was closed.

We got to the gate about 5 minutes after it was supposed to be closed but they were keeping it open just for us.

I've also made Jet2 just as they were closing and they were fine too. That was definitely my fault as I had read the flight time wrong.

Jackie

Worthing, United...
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7. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

Hi

Typo error, "Drive to Stansted"

Jackie

Travelling The World
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8. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

I do believe you Jackie, but the fact remains that you were at the Ryanair check in in time, only that you weren't processed. (Poor service on the part of FR I would have said. Why didn't another member of staff process you? Easyjet has a special desk for people who are about to miss the cut-off). But had you arrived at check-in as I did for the BA flight just as the gate was supposed to be closing, I doubt you would have made the flight. Thousands of people have missed FR flights having checked in well on time because of the security shambles at Stansted. FR certainly doesn't hold planes these days for any reason.

9. Re: Scheduled versus low cost. Two experiences

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