Browsing Tag: Medal

Southwest Airline's pilot hands out pizza. Awesome!

Southwest Airline's pilot hands out pizza. Awesome!

With all this talk about how airlines treat passengers horribly when they are stranded, good news comes from Southwest Airlines — which earns them an Awesome Medal!

A Southwest flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Denver, CO ran into some stormy weather and had to be diverted to Pueblo, CO. Anyone who has been on a diverted flight, knows it is not a fun experience.  But in this instance, the crew stepped up and got the passengers pizza.

I spoke with Chris Mainz, with Southwest, about this unique customer service experience. He pointed out that Pueblo is not an airport usually served by Southwest and it was a team effort between the flight crew and airport personal. I asked if Southwest had any policies regarding what the flight crew should do in these instances and he told me there are no written rules or policies and Southwest trusts their employees to do what is right.

You always hear people complaining about losing the “good ‘ol days of flying,” but dang, I don’t even think airlines of yesteryear did this.

Cheers to the flight crew, Southwest Airlines, and the Pueblo Memorial Airport  for providing this awesome service. This proves you still can have low fares and amazing (I didn’t want to use “awesome” again) customer service!

Source: WSBTV Orig Image: James Mino via WSBTV

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Ryanair out does themselves this time!

Ryanair out does themselves this time!

I love Ryanair. Personally I have never flown them, but I have absolute respect for what they are able to accomplish. They provide sub-par customer service (and are almost proud of it), charge for everything, fly to smaller airports, but are one of the most popular airlines in the world. They charge customers to call their customer service hotline and are well known for almost never giving refunds. Yet, they provide super low fares and passengers keep flying them. I talk over and over again how powerful this business model is and how someday it might come to the United States. Passengers complain about bad service and fees, but they keep dealing with it, as long as they get the cheapest fare. How can we hold Ryanair responsible if people are willing to pay? I can’t, but I sure can blog about their shenanigans.

Ryanair will announce crazy things and sit around while the world media talks about it and gives them free press. I know I am guilty of this as well, but they provide such great material. Trying to get a comment from them, especially as a blogger, is nearly impossible. I have tried to make contact with Ryanair on multiple occasions with no luck.

This is why I was so giddy to see an email from Stephen McNamara, Head of Communications for Ryanair, in my inbox this morning. Yes, it goes to insult my integrity as a blogger, but man oh man, it was a welcomed surprise. Ryanair was actually talking to me…something not many bloggers can say!

So where to start?

A while back I blogged about Ryanair ditching passengers at a wrong destination with no help. Looks like I might have been wrong and I for that. I stated that due to weather, the Ryanair flight was diverted to Fuerteventura and then took off leaving the passengers stranded. McNamara corrects me:

“Ryanair flight FR 6766 Bournemouth – Lanzarote (17 Feb) diverted to Fuerteventura due to bad weather in Lanzarote. Ferries between the islands, which are used for the onward transportation of passengers in such cases, were also affected by high winds so passengers were provided with EU261 information which outlines their entitlement to provide receipted hotel expenses to Ryanair, for refund. Ryanair arranged ferries to carry affected Ryanair passengers to Lanzarote free of charge when ferries recommenced the following morning. Ryanair apologises to passengers for any inconvenience caused but can never put passenger convenience before passenger safety.”

No problem! I have recently heard from other sources that it seems there was one very unhappy passenger that turned this small story into Ryanair bashing. I have updated my blog, but in my defense, major news organizations were covering this, like the BBC for example.

Ok enough of the background information, let’s get to the fun parts of the blog. McNamara actually didn’t email me directly at first, but wrote to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, where my blog is syndicated. The syndication just pulls my RSS feed and they have no responsibility for my content, so passed the message on to me. In his first email McNamara states, “This blogger clearly likes to express his opinion without undertaking any research (to the detriment of professional bloggers who research their pieces and do not simply type the first stupid idea that comes into their head) I ask that this blog be removed.” Haha, that’s right, he said, “stupid idea,” man I love Ryanair. You know, writing about stupid and crazy ideas like charging for bathrooms, talking about “BJ’s” on flights, letting passengers smoke, making passengers stand to fly, and many more.

If I got this email from any other airline I would be horrified. I always try to keep positive when talking about airlines and have a professional relationships with the airlines I work with. Getting this from Ryanair is a total compliment in my mind. They are the elusive airline, that any blogger would love to have communication with. They are well known for brushing off bloggers as a waste of time. To know that McNamara is actually reading my blog and enough to write two emails responding to it… all I can say is, how awesome.

The Seattle PI, very professionally let McNamara know that they have no control over my content and since I am an independent blogger, he needs to write me directly. McNamara’s didn’t like that so much and wrote to both of us. His reply is so priceless, I just have to post the whole thing:

“Your answer is less than satisfactory and it is a damming indictment of the Seattlepi.com that you would allow clearly incorrect and biased information appear and remain on your site – brushing this off as an issue for the publisher is simply rubbish – it is on your site, you are the publisher.

If you were contacted by a reader over an article which contained racist or foul language for example, I am sure you would have the power to remove or edit the piece. Far from this simply being an issue for the independent publisher it is also your responsibility, as the site hosting the information. You are responsible for what appears on you site – David simply writes his opinions, as he is entitled to do – your site allows that opinion to be broadcast to the world.

I have cc’d this to David as instructed – however this underlines how irresponsible blogging and irresponsible hosting of such blogs, which fail to look at facts but simply provide biased opinion, undermines the worth of all blogs – to the detriment of those bloggers who display journalistic integrity and provide balance.

Regards

Stephen McNamara
Head of Communications”

Classic :). What is great is there is no comment about any of my other Ryanair posts or my Crazier Than Ryanair Medal, which I have plenty. I am hoping this means McNamara is open for me emailing him directly to “research” any future blogs I write about Ryanair — I am good with that.

Orig Image: Gerry Hill

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Congrats! Cimber Sterling earns the "Crazier Than Ryanair" medal.

Congrats! Cimber Sterling earns the "Crazier Than Ryanair" medal.

I created the “Crazier Than Ryanair” medal quite a long time ago and have only been able to give it to one airline, before taking it back again. Reader Daniel asked if Cimber Sterling might be deserving of the medal due to their recent actions of buying cheap tickets from a competitor, so passengers could not.

Oh yes. That is for sure crazier than Ryanair…or at least equal enough to their craziness for Cimber Sterling to earn the “Crazier Than Ryanair” medal. Congrats!

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Orig Image: davidrogonza
Congratulations pilots! You win the first ever AirlineReporter.com AWESOME Medal!

Congratulations pilots! You win the first ever AirlineReporter.com AWESOME Medal!

Commercial airline pilots haven’t been getting good press recently. I am reading a lot in the “mainstream” media about how this is an epidemic and how pilots are now so unprofessional. Most of these folks like big headlines, but offer little content or support.

Sure, they do have some valid material to work with. We have the Qantas pilots who forgot the landing gear, we have the pilot asking passengers to pray, we have the pilots who overshot an airport, and most recently a United Airlines pilot got arrested for being too drunk.

Yes, all these incidents are not professional, inappropriate, and dangerous. These pilots should be dealt with appropriately. But this is NOT an epidemic, this is not going to be an on-going trend, and most importantly these actions do not represent the huge majority of pilots out flying today.

Pilots don’t always have it easy. With pay cuts, increased hours, time away from family, it can be a difficult job. But most pilots are not doing it for the free airline tickets or a fancy pilot’s hat. They do it because they have a passion for flying and absolutely love their jobs.

On any given day in the United States there are about 87,000 flights. About 30,000 of which are commercial airline flights.  Those are a lot of flights flown by professional pilots who safely get their passengers, cargo, and themselves to their destination safely each and everyday.

I just want people to be aware and do not discriminate against a whole profession, just from a few bad apples!

So, to celebrate the 99.9% of wonderful pilots out there, I give my first ever AirlineReporter.com AWESOME medal to all those great pilots out there, who help to make an airline industry exciting!

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Image: Orig from American Airlines