You get what you pay for

Media went after SAS in a big way recently, during an industrial conflict, not so much the company itself, but the pilots. Media, being mainly influenced by Swedish industry, which hate disruption in transportation, went all out. Fake news about demanded pay raise and average monthly pay took precedence over what the conflict was really all about; keeping jobs in Scandinavia, caring about the SAS trade mark – and not having to sit in the cockpit for 14-16 hours, trying to do a really god job at the end of that period. (See previous article about fighting fatigue)

If it was realizing the unfairness or not, media has now stated extremely encouraging news about the old prestigious airline. Surprising to some people, possibly, but not so much to company employees. SAS is a top ranking airline. Number 4 on a list of 72 (topped by Qatar Airways). Its major competitor on the Scandinavian market, Norwegian Airlines, is found at the very bottom at number 67. Ryanair to no ones surprise (shouldn’t be?) came number 68.

The rating was made measuring punctuality, service and passenger care-taking in the event of delayed or cancelled flights. Regarding that kind of passenger handling, SAS came out on top of the list. Hence the headline of this article. Normally you don’t buy a ticket from one special airline just to be well compensated, if the flight is cancelled. You buy a ticket to get transported in a system, where the airline is honor – and sometimes legally bound to get you where you want to go, no matter what. A low cost airline is of course – in order to stay low cost – not keen on dishing out a lot of money in any kind compensation, and some just flatly refuse.

The price you pay for a regular airline, such as SAS, might very well be higher than a budget competitor, but the add-ons (charges for telephone calls, to have a printed boarding pass, for all kinds of luggage, for choosing a seat, everything to eat and drink onboard – so far not for restroom usage – ), might very well end up higher still. Now, when you are sitting up there at 35.000 feet doing in excess of 500 mph, having forgotten the cost for all the adds-on, and just enjoying your extremely cheap fare, are you interested in what else this low-cost operator didn’t want to pay more for, than absolute minimum (such as fuel reserves, maintenance, crew training, replacement crews etc.)? Do they have a pilots union to cover a pilots behind if he doesn’t want to fly sick or tired or with a plane that in his opinion is in no condition to fly.

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