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Expect delays

There was a rather stupid letter in SCMP on Monday (Hidden cost of budget airlines - subscription required) about the recent problem Oasis had with a flight delay. 

Here they go again - "Flat tyre takes the wind out of Oasis Flight" (April 8). The airline's inaugural flight last October was delayed for 24 hours because of problems getting clearance from Russian authorities.

In October a tow-bar snapped on a vehicle towing the plane on the tarmac at London's Gatwick Airport. By the time the aircraft taxied out to the runway, the airport's curfew hour had arrived and it had to close for the night. Oasis missed it by one minute.

Oasis' general manager of sales and marketing, Raymond Ng To-wing, said he was waiting for the report on why it took hours to fix a flat tyre.  In Apple Daily one passenger said the captain informed them the landing gear had problems, then blamed it on a flat tyre and later claimed that the aircraft wings had a problem.

Legislator Howard Young, representing the tourism sector, said it was not unusual for new airlines to run into technical problems, but it was important to have enough planes to provide a good quality service. I agree.

If travellers choose budget airlines such as Oasis to get from A to B, they should be prepared not to arrive at their destination on time.

Eugene Li, Deep Water Bay

This drew a couple of responses from passengers on full fare airlines, who had also experienced problems of their own (one with mislaid luggage on a BA flight, another with a delay):

Eugene Li, "Hidden cost of budget airlines" (April 23), seems to feel that those who pay budget airfares should not complain when they arrive late.

Perhaps he may want to explain why hundreds of people paying full first-class fares, business-class fares, economy-class and discounted economy are still arriving late on full-fare airlines that apparently have planes to spare? Except, of course, when one gets a technical hitch that strands passengers in London because there is no spare plane available. Having paid HK$70,000 for this inconvenience recently, I would be much happier being late for HK$16,000!

Mark Peaker, The Peak

No airline is perfect.  On two recent flights I took on Cathay, the entertainment system was suffering from a "software problem" that meant that none of the advertised movies were shown, and on another occasion they excelled themselves by sending me an SMS announcing that my flight would be two and a half hours late - the catch being that actually it left on time.  Good trick - nearly caught me out with that one... 

Nothing remarkable in any of that, and the only reason for mentioning it is that I can't help feeling that if Oasis suffered any of those problems then they would be on the TV news and in the newspapers.  Or in stupid letters to the SCMP.   

Meanwhile, Oasis seems to have dropped Oakland as its next destination in favour of Vancouver (Oasis Airlines to Fly to Canada in June), which does sound like a more attractive option.  So far they are only selling tickets through travel agents in Hong Kong (they cannot be purchased online or in Canada), which seems to indicate that this has all been arranged in rather a rush. 

Comments

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doug

Mr. Li seems to have never flown to Beijing or Shanghai on any major airline, or to any number of southeast Asian countries on any airline whatsoever. What an arrogant poseur.

In the past few months, every time I've been in China or in Taiwan or Philippines, the flight was delayed. Airlines are largely serving the will of air traffic control and the weather.

NOt many people complain on these flights because delays, especially in highly-trafficked Beijing, are for the norm. That being said, I was recently on a China Eastern flight -- not exactly an Oasis kind of airline -- whene we sat on the runway for two hours. At the end of it, the only people making any audible complaints (and loudly) were two Chinese women who were saying that at least someone could explain why we were delayd and let them take a piss. Te flight attendant had no joy for them.

fumier

I am surprised at this post, as I have noticed a huge improvement in the quality of the letters in the SCuM Post recently.

Chris

I have arranged for the SCMP to be delivered to my residence each morning so that I do not miss any more of these pearls of wisdom.

Another Chris

We've booked flights on Oasis's Vancouver service this summer. With their two-for-one deal, business class is about HK$23,000 for two people, about 1/4 of Cathay's rate. When the price difference is that large, it's hard to say no.

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