European Airlines in complete denial

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  AMcWhirter 22 Dec 2013
at 12:51

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)

  • Anonymous


    I’ve been meaning to write something on this for a long time but I keep holding it off thinking maybe things will improve. After a recent horrible trip with Swiss I think it’s due.

    European airlines keep complaining on how the major Middle East carriers are heavily competing with them neck to neck but I don’t see the former doing anything on a passenger level to try and change this. Service and attention to detail continues to be incomparable and even when you look at elements like products including airport lounges and seats there really is no comparison.

    To add to all of this you don’t feel any direct and proper communication from European airlines. To them you are nothing more than an electronic ticket number or seat number as you are getting ready to board a flight.

    I strongly recommend that the CEO’s and senior executives of those European airlines take some time off their busy schedules and do some flying with the likes of Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Etihad etc and get a real feel of customer service.


    Hi Majid,

    I would think their complaints were due to the “unlimited” financial support from ME government that the middle east carriers have and its lower cost required in their respective bases compared to EU carriers.

    However I do agree with you, some EU carriers offer horrid service. BA for example, the pilot usually stated clearly at the beginning of the flight that “the cabin crews are here for your safety”, that really said it all. Also, I recently flew AF intercontinental in “Y” and their FAs were practical, they did their duties (served food and be presence… int he galley) with certain amount of friendliness, but that’s it. Having said that, their products such as meals’ quality and size and the new lounge at CDG has improved a lot.
    Haven’t flown LH/LX in ages as I am not a fans of Star alliance due to their arrogance towards their customers.

    But have you flown with KLM? I have found KLM overall services to be the best in the world, yes, I am serious. Especially in term of customer ease of communication and their customer service responsibility. They don’t just send that sad automatic letter that usually starts with “As our valued customers we…”, in my case whenever hiccups happened, KLM made an effort to call, asked what happened, apologise and give a solution. No other airlines do that, I repeat, no other airlines do that!
    The company is reachable 24/7 through social media and their onboard service are 90% of the time cheerful and friendly (a huge prised to their HRM or maybe just the way the Dutch are!) even in “Y”. And have you looked at KL’s new Business seat? It looks much better than EK and EY. =)

    So, to answer your question, some EU carriers have “up-ed” their games. Both, AF and KLM “Transform 2015” and “Best and Beyond” are there to bring both companies to a “5 stars” standard, and I can see that KLM is moving towards the right directions, AF is going there too, just slower… =)


    I too am a huge fan of KLM, they do seem to have a different approach and one that works. But then I’m a huge fan of the Dutch and the way they do things, so the two are linked, and one cannot deny that national stereotypes come into play here, however jingoistic it may seem to say so.

    Air France reflects the French attitude to customer service, take it or leave it, it’s not our fault, sullen and unhelpful.

    Iberia is perhaps an exception, what a thoroughly rotten to the core airline that is, although my partner has just done a trip to the US on IB in business class and said it was excellent, but then, she doesn’t fly as much as I do and also nothing went wrong, and that’s really when you see how truly dire their service is.

    As for the ME carriers, superficially they seem better but I don’t think they really are, it’s only a veneer on top that gives the impression. From choice I wouldn’t travel on any of them,and never on Emirates.


    Every coin has two sides. Yes, ME carriers can spend all the money in the world and offer luxurious airplanes and airports but do they really offer something else?
    Personally, I don’t want luxury when I fly, I want safety and quality. And -call me crazy but- I only feel feel safe when I fly certain airlines because I know their regulations. I do the same with ferry companies between the Greek islands.



    The ME airlines such as EK, EY, QR and WY have excellent safety records, better than some European carriers.


    MajdiAlAyed – 20/12/2013 03:43 GMT

    Let’s focus on premier classes, as economy will be limited on most airlines (although EK will provide better IFE), with the caveat that EK/EY/QR cram in 10 across in the 777, whilst BA only have 9 across, which is a big advantage on a long flight. Although I believe they may go to 10 one of these days, given the decision to go 9 across on the 787.

    I have some sympathy for your post, as I agree that some European airlines are more like sausage factories, than a good customer experience and a big differentiator between these airlines and ME airlines is the way they allow a free for all on deplaining, whereas the ME airlines holdback each class, until the higher class has left, which I find fair and reasonable, even if I’m travelling in Y – after all, premium passengers have paid substantially more and should have higher service levels.

    Having said that, there are also cultural differences to be taken into account, such as the preference of most Scandinavians/Finns to have an egalitarian society, where Middle Eastern service standards and styles would be considered over the top.


    I’m not talking about safety records. You can’t compare the safety records of a company that was founded in 1985 with the ones of a company that was founded in 1939…


    You cannot compare the safety obligations of 1939 and 2013..
    all Airlines can easily be comparable in terms of safety performance on a 25 years rolling basis.


    BA4ever – 20/12/2013 09:56 GMT

    Your point is not backed by facts, unfortunately, some airlines with long histories have poor safety records.



    I’ve also flown with KLM quite a bit this year (and a lot historically as I have a lifetime platinum card. I would agree that they have raised their game significantly in the last couple of years. I recall a period about three years ago when you couldn’t get an alcoholic drink of any sort in economy class which was less than good if you were on an evening flight.

    Every KLM plane I have been on this year has been immaculate. The crew have generally been highly engaged with the passengers (eg I was on a flight hit by lightning on approach to Schiphol and the captain immediately made a reassuring announcement on the tannoy and when we landed offered to meet any pax who wanted further reassurance – classy). The new biz class seat looks a compelling offering. Then if you add in free baggage for any FF punter it’s even more attractive.


    The lounges at Schiphol are still – at least in my opinion – not great. A huge amounts of comments have been made about BA “slop” this year but the only hot food I could find recently was some kind of stew (which you would realistically have to say was “slop” as well) or frighteningly addictive sausage rolls.

    Mileage awards and rewards are not particularly competitive, especially in terms of the allocation you receive for flying on a cheaper ticket.

    The food and drink offerings on shorter flights feel pretty limited – only beer or wine.

    However, I think KLM is getting there. Their staff nearly always get it right by doing simple things really well. It is definitely a better airline to fly with than it was 3 years ago.

    Finally Vertrek, KLM is clearly your preferred airline. Others may agree or disagree with you. In any case, whenever you post on here you do so in a polite and positive manner entirely in keeping with what should be the culture on a forum like this. Posters like you are what make this forum so entertaining and valuable.


    I haven’t had the opportunity to try KLM recently and hope this will change in 2014.

    They went through a rough period and were not very nice to fly on, e.g. Europe Select with 3 abreast in ‘business’, so it is good to read some upbeat reports suggesting that they are getting back to their former position of one of Europe’s best.


    “Vertrek – 20/12/2013 04:20 GMT
    I would think their complaints were due to the “unlimited” financial support from ME government that the middle east carriers have”

    Not that old chestnut – I don’t think in many cases it’s actually true.

    Reminds me of AnthonyDunn and his comments about “significantly lower borrowing costs”, Despite being challenged many times he never could produce anything to support it.

    In some ways it’s the luck of the draw. I haven’t yet found an airline that delivers 100% of the time.


    “In some ways it’s the luck of the draw. I haven’t yet found an airline that delivers 100% of the time.”

    +1 – apart from Ryanair, who promise nothing and deliver it consistently 🙂


    Agree with the Flying Blue comments…..

    Lost my accumulated points because I hadn’t flown with them for a while. Not raging, just a feeling of disappointment! Much preferred being a Flying Dutchman ! : )

    On the middle east carriers…..I have to agree with AD’s cynicism !!
    The rate of growth and continued growth defies most business models. Name a non Middle Eastern carrier that has successfully managed to privately fund rapid growth in the same manner?

    I will predict that Emirates collapse will be as meteoric as it’s rise, when the world decides to move onto the next “in place”

    Oh and at the same time Etihad can actually plough in through sponsorship the Man City squad !

    Poor old BA can’t even bus the English squad to Brazil.

    Edited to add….FDoS, totally spont on …FRightmare only ever exceeds my expectations : )

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