via freedigitalphotos.net/Kittikun Atsawintarangkul
It is good to have two more aviation companies in the market, not particularly because they are Qatar Airways and Gulf Air, a Lalaland Airways would be sufficient; it is just because we have choices beside Saudi Airlines.
And let me be clear here, we do not hate Saudia, OK may be some of us do, the company insisted on putting us all down the dumps for so long. It has always acted as an arrogant patient who refuses his doctors’ advises without any apparent justifications. Saudia is, unfortunately, a classical example of a good company gone bad, very bad.
Despite all this, it is not the time to be jumping for joy yet. The licenses have just been awarded and the image is yet far from clear. At the moment, there are tremendous differences between the licensed companies. Saudia, as we said, is bad, very bad. NAS, a low cost carrier, nothing special, it has not been able to build a group of loyalists. Gulf Air, honestly, it was a surprise seeing this company wining the license, shadows of bankruptcy have always been hovering over its head! Qatar Airways, the five stars airlines of 2011 & 2012, I wonder if they will keep the same level of service in the local market, between me and you, I doubt it!
How are these companies going to compete? Will the government keep supporting Saudia especially in fuel prices? There are a lot of questions, yet few answers.
Anyhow, let’s be positive, these are the things I am expecting from the new airlines:
- Smile: Your staff, ground and air crews, should understand this: smiling does not make you a bad person. Yeah, it is obvious I know, but let me tell you, we have had enough of frowny faces. You cannot compete with the current operators in frowning even if you want to, they have gone pro!
- Serve us like you mean it: Flash news, you do not do us any favor by allowing us to board a plane and fly, we did pay for the trip from our own pockets you know. So ask your ground staff to be helpful and friendly, your air crew to stop doing faces whenever someone asks for a cup of water.
- Be on time: I know that this may sounds surprising and all, but there are Saudis who actually care about their time. If the take off is at 9:00, you better not start boarding at 8:55??
- Say no to ‘wasta’: No, I do not need to know anyone working in your company to book a seat for me nor to confirm my flight. I need no one sending me to a supervisor shouting in a walkie-talkie and have no time to address my problem. I have booked a ticket, chosen my seat online, I better find the reservation and find the seat. And no, I will not change my window-seat because some woman happens to be sitting next to me, last time I checked, I do not bite!