Calle Lanzarote

Posts Tagged ‘spanair’

Spanair “improve” their in-flight service

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The June 2009 edition of the Spanair in-flight magazine “Spanorama” announces an “improvement” in the airline’s in-flight service.

“To improve the service and satisfaction of all its passengers, Spanair offers a new menu to purchase on board […]”

Or to put it another way, you now have to pay for your own food and drink in economy class, just as Iberia started doing a few years ago.

However, unlike the last menu that I saw for Iberia, the prices are slightly lower.  A cup of coffee or a 0.33l  can of soft drink costs 2€ and a muffin costs 1.50€.  The bacon rolls and sandwiches are a bit pricey at 5€.  The best offer appears to be the 9€ “menu” – a warm meal with a drink, roll and dessert – available on flights longer than 2 hours.

This can cause angry scenes, as I recently discovered on a flight to Madrid, as many passengers who have booked their flights several months in advance only become aware of the new menu once they are in their seats on the aircraft.  However, complaints on my flight fell on deaf ears with the cabin crew, and the passengers were all the more confused when sandwiches and drinks were then served – free of charge – once airborne.

It appeared that the catering service in Frankfurt had loaded the wrong trolleys, but a closer inspection of the Spanair website has since revealed that flights between Germany and Spain are exempt from the new menu, meaning that for the moment I can still expect a sandwich and a drink on the way to Madrid, but will have to reach into my pocket for the connecting flight to Lanzarote.

And don’t think that you can take your own food on board that easily.  Not only are, of course, liquids banned in hand luggage, but in Madrid I witnessed passengers being forced to try every sandwich that had been detected by the x-ray scanners.

So I guess in future, the over-priced food and drink is going to be a part of flying on any economy ticket, not just with budget airlines.  Is it a way of making money out of the current security regulations?  Or is it helping keep the ticket prices low?

Either way, I wish the airlines would be honest with their passengers, and not try to sell it as an “improvement”.



Booking flights can be complicated

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I have been booking flights to Lanzarote recently, and it was not an easy thing to do.

Firstly, of course, I have to explain that I want flights from Frankfurt am Main in Germany, so my search was concentrated on German sites.  I am also booking several months in advance.  It is amazing what price difference there is at the moment, and what sort of strange options I was being offered.

As is often the case, flights during the school holidays tend to be more expensive than during term time.  I started by looking at Expedia.de, which offered me a selection of flights ranging from 290EUR to 1478EUR per person.

Flights with Iberia tended to be the cheapest, and I have flown with them on previous trips, only to disappointed with the on-board serivce.  Normally flying with them means changing planes in Madrid.  This time I was being offered flights that would take me to Madrid, then on to Las Palmas, and finally a short hop with Binter Canarias to Arrecife.  A few days later, the same search did not show this option, but instead a wait of 14 hours (overnight) in Madrid.

The most expensive option was with KLM (codesharing with Air Europa), changing in Madrid and Amsterdam!

So I decided to search online for alternatives.  After going through various search engines and travel agents, only to discover that even direct flights with charter airlines were not going make much difference to the price, I finally settled for an offer from SpanAir – booked directly via their website.  I flew with them last year to Madrid, and although the crews did not speak much English on board, the rest of the onboard service was better.  Plus, the price was good and the times were approximately what were were looking for.  There was also the additional bonus of changing planes in Terminal 2 in Madrid, thus avoiding the long walk and underground ride between Terminals 4 and 4S.

I booked the flights and was ready to pay for them online with my credit card, as I had done previously and would expect to do on other booking sites.  But no!  At the last stage of the booking, I had to fill out a form with my credit card details and fax it to a Spanish number.  Then I either had to call the SpanAir call centre (in Spain) to confirm them or go in person to a SpanAir agent in Germany within 24 hours.  And this was Saturday night at 11pm.

As I didn’t really want to have to find an agent on Sunday morning – probably at Frankfurt airport – I decided to call the call centre (yes, at 11pm on a Saturday night).  For such international calls I usually use Skype, but Skype would not let me call the number.  So I had to resort to using a normal land line – something I had not done for international calls for a long time.

I told the agent in my best Spanish why I was calling, and she answered in good English!  The whole call lasted only a few minutes, and by the end of it I had my eTickets in my Inbox!

I have to admit to being a little bit annoyed, that I wasn’t told in advance that I was going to have to do this.  But I have to admit that the call centre agent was efficient.  Actually, I think she spoke better English than a  lot of the cabin crews!



A chance to compare Spanair with Iberia

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

A while ago I wrote about my experiences flying to Lanzarote with Iberia. Well, last weekend I had the chance to compare those experiences with Spanair when I flew to Madrid for the Great Madrid Escape.

Actually there is not much to choose between them in many areas – particularly in German language skills. Spanair cabin crews made the same sort of mistakes that the Iberia ones did, ie. they spoke in English far too fast for non-native speakers to understand, and on flights between Frankfurt and Madrid there are not too many of those!

But the real difference was that the Spanair flights included food. OK, so it was a couple of sandwiches and a small bar of chocolate, but soft drinks were included as were tea and coffee. This, for me, is what makes a big difference over the Iberia flights. I could rely on getting something to eat and it didn’t cost me an unreasonable amount to buy – it was included in the price of the ticket.

The ticket, by the way, was very good value for money!



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