The Curious Mystery Of The £3 Banquet…

You may remember that earlier this year whilst travelling back from Scotland there was something of a kerfuffle, caused partly by ‘She Who Must…’ accidentally booking tickets for the wrong day … twice.

The resultant to-ings and fro-ings left us with flights ‘in credit’ to use up – which came in handy for our visit to the ‘Royal Scottish Show’ the other weekend. It was excellent and I’ll delve a little deeper into what I saw there in a later Lowedown, but this week I really need to address the issue of the return flight…

Now, I really shouldn’t mention the name of the airline, but I will mention in passing that their jets are the same colour as a certain president. The thing I will mention though, is the inventive but not altogether wholesome way they manage to avoid compensating customers when things don’t go to plan.

To avoid having to give the customer a meal if the plane’s departure is delayed more than 3 hours, this airline will sometimes declare a plane is ’boarding’ just before the deadline. This happens even if a quick glance out of the window will tell you the plane in question hasn’t even arrived from its previous destination yet, let alone be ready to receive more passengers…

Another dodge is to get everybody onboard so they can say the  flight has ‘departed’, proceed to taxi a few yards up the runway,  then stop to clean the plane and do those fiddly no-essential things like refuel…

Anyway, on this occasion they could not wheedle out of it so, after having to produce all manner of ID we were grudgingly given a ‘meal’ voucher for … £3. Now, I’ve never tried to buy anything at an airport for less than £3, let alone a meal but I suspect it’s something of a feat.

I expect they get away with it because in some long forgotten corner of a fridge somewhere in one of the airport shops there is a solitary, rather limp, forlorn looking egg and cress sandwich languishing away with a £2.99 price tag on it. You certainly couldn’t have got anything as substantial as that from this particular airline, who happen to charge £4.50 for the most meagre of baguettes.

Normally I would have enquired further, but it’s not that this bunch are bad at dealing with their customers, it seems they actually don’t care. It wasn’t about the money, I’m sure most people could easily do what I did and put the voucher toward a coffee, but the sheer reluctance on the part of the airline even to do the bare minimum for their customers shows an attitude that borders on contempt.

So, rather than waste my time taking them to task, I’ve decided to vote with my feet and go elsewhere in future.

I shouldn’t really need to go into what the message is here, but I will underline it by stressing that, if you really, honestly do mess up something for a customer (and it’s not just somebody ‘crying wolf’ and causing a scene in an attempt to get something for nothing) then you need to make it up to them, and not fob them off with the least you can possibly get away with.

Everybody makes mistakes, and when you do, this is your opportunity to show a customer how much you value them, and prove why they should stay with you in the long term…

Until next time, 

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Tim Lowe