16th November 2018
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Success! Campaigners welcome new compassionate fare

Loganair has announced a new compassionate travel policy to give passengers access to 50 per cent discounted fare in times of a family emergency.

How the Facebook campaign greeted the news.

How the Facebook campaign greeted the news.

The compassionate fare, which will apply to all 19 Loganair Scottish routes, has been developed in partnership with the Facebook campaign page established by Shetland-based Scott Preston and James Stewart. It will offer the reduced rate flights and flexibility to customers who need to make bookings at short notice on compassionate grounds.

Both Loganair and the campaign’s volunteers have worked together to agree the terms, conditions and process of the policy – believed to be the first of its kind for a UK commercial airline. The new scheme will be available to customers who need to travel throughout Scotland at short notice for the following reasons:

• The bereavement of an immediate family member;
• Cases of critical and unexpected illness involving an immediate family member;
• An immediate family member is receiving in-patient treatment.

The new policy will also include increased flexibility without charge when bookings are required to be amended or even cancelled.

Mr Preston, who is the founder of the Facebook campaign group and a former funeral director, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have made such significant progress with the campaign. When the campaign launched, members told us that one issue they wanted to see resolved was a possibility for a bereavement fare. As a result of our work with Loganair we have not only met that demand but we have also expanded on it to include situations of emergency and critical care.

Scott Preston

Campaigner: Scott Preston

“This is a monumental change, the first enhancement for air travel to all the isles since 2006 and its introduction shows the power that local people have in changing their communities for the better.”

The scheme was conceived, considered and implemented in three months, and, according to Mr Preston, it is “worth us considering why change through political channels takes so long when we have clearly demonstrated what can be achieved in such a short space of time.”

He added: “We’re very grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and has helped our united voice become a strong, passionate force for change.

“Loganair deserve credit for being open to discussing this matter and many others, as well as for having the courage to remedy a problem for their customers.

“The remaining objective of the campaign is to address overall fare prices and we look forward to working with the Scottish government, HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airports Limited) and Loganair in continuing to address the fares we have little choice but to pay.

“Today’s announcement builds on the momentum of the campaign and we are looking forward to announcing further improvements very soon.”

Loganair chief executive Stewart Adams said: “With the introduction of this policy we believe Loganair is now offering a comprehensive compassionate fare unique in the UK airline industry.

“More importantly, we are confident the reduced fares will be of great benefit to our customers in circumstances of bereavement and critical illness – the very times they need assistance most.

“The compassionate fare policy is the direct result of weeks of constructive collaboration between the airline, Scott Preston and the volunteers of the Facebook page campaign.

“It will ensure eligible customers receive a 50 per cent discount on flights and offers increased flexibility when bookings are required to be made during understandably difficult times.”

The airline and the campaign group have produced a short application form available to download from Loganair’s website.

Reservations can be made via Loganair’s Air Discount Scheme call centre on 0344 800 2855 and through booking partners, travel counsellor Michelle Wishart in Shetland and Scapa Travel in Orkney. The compassionate travel policy is available on Loganair-operated routes only.

The introduction of Loganair’s new compassionate fare policy has also been backed by the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD).

The organisation’s chief executive officer, Alan Slater MBE, said: “The National Association of Funeral Directors welcomes any initiative which assists bereaved families and so congratulates Loganair on the launch of the new compassionate fare.

“We will make sure that our members across Scotland are aware of the new fare and how they can ensure bereaved families in their care are able to benefit from it.”

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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20 comments

  1. John Jamieson

    An excellent development and well deserved congratulations to all who worked to get this settlement.
    Is there any explanation as to why the local MSP was unwilling or unable to include the NHS or this scheme when the fares were introduced in 2006 ?

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      The NHS along with business travel was included when Tavish introduced the scheme, it was the snp that removed the NHS and business when they revised it. Maybe Danus can answer that one.

      Reply
      • John Jamieson

        National Health Service funded trips were specifically excluded when the scheme was introduced in 2006 as you will find if you check the history of the Air Discount Scheme, available on line.

      • Ali Inkster

        I stand corrected John it was only businesses in the isles that the snp attacked when they reduced the scope of the ADS. No doubt there will be some bribe from them in time for the election.

    • John Tulloch

      @John Jamieson,

      Because he was a minister for the Liberals who were a very junior coalition partner with Central Belt Labour at the time. So he actually did very well to bring something positive to the isles, who have only seen the opposite, since the SNP came to power.

      The SNP have done much to advance the cause of Scottish independence but given the major differences between Shetland’s best interests and those of Scotland/UK, it’s well past high time that Shetland (and Orkney) were awarded self-governing powers in line with those of Faroe, Isle of Man, Falkland Islands, etc.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        What exactly is “Central belt Labour”? Do you mean London Labour? There is NO such political party registered as “Scottish Labour” and [to my knowledge] also no party called “Central belt Labour”, There is only ONE Labour party in the UK.

        I also feel it is rather disingenuous of you not to give a little credit to the SNP for continuing with the 40% fare reduction through the air discount scheme [ADS] which they have guaranteed to do until 2019. Therefore your comment “we have only seen the opposite, since the SNP came to power”, is nonsense.

        As far as your last comment goes, which brings us [once again] to your cry for more self governing powers in line with Faroe, Isle of Man, Falkland Islands, etc. It strikes me as rather odd that you’d like this for S&O but NOT for Scotland?….Bizarre!!

      • John Jamieson

        Excuses and blaming the SNP again.
        In spite of its LibDem content the coalition didn’t appear to be all that keen on granting additional powers to the northern and western isles.
        The Scottish Executive certainly didn’t make the public aware that it should expect differing outcomes to any given situation depending on the coalition government minister’s political party.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson, as you well know “Central Belt Labour” refers to the group of Scottish Labour MPs who ran the government in Holyrood at the time. They were no more interested in helping Shetland than is the SNP.

        It matters nought to me whether they are London- or Edinburgh-based, Shetland’s interests are not the same as Holyrood’s or Westminster’s and it’s “well past high time” that self-governing powers were awarded to Shetland (and Orkney), in line with those enjoyed by, among others, Faroe, the Isle of Man and the Falkland Islands.

        If we’re such a burden with your wonderful ADS scheme, then cut us loose and we’ll subsidise our own Air Discount Scheme.

      • John Tulloch

        @John Jamieson,

        You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that I am a fan of Westminster. I am not.

        My point was, simply, that Tavish Scott introduced support for the isles transport system where none had existed, previously, in the face of the “pork-barreling horde” of Central Belt Labour MSPs. That is to his great credit.

        What we have seen, since, during the SNP reign, has been NHS Shetland under-funded by a total of £10 million from 2010 to 2015, the £2.3million per year housing support grant stopped and Shetland’s education system under-funded by, at least, £10 million per year, since 2008.

      • Duncan Simpson

        Robin the SNP has continued the ADS but they have let us down overall in providing reliable, affordable transport to the Isles. The RET has been denied to us, the airline service has only gotten more expensive and less reliable and the whole Serco Northlink situation is a nightmare.

        Of course we would like more powers for Shetland, the people who live here are the only people who truly have Shetland’s interests at heart. We are fed up of unfair treatment and the pillaging of our natural resources. The SNP are determined for an independent Scotland to remain in the EU which means if we stay with Scotland we will never get our fishing grounds back. The more power we have locally the less scope there is for “one size fits all” policies in Brussels/Westminster/Hollyrood damaging our fragile island communities.

      • AliInkster

        John Jamieson when the ADS scheme was curtailed it was to the severe detriment of Shetland businesses that trade with the mainland (pretty much all of us) Personally it cost me thousands of pounds a year. There was no need to reduce the scope of the ADS in fact if they wanted they could of increased the scope to include the NHS, but they chose not to, But if you would rather somehow blame Tavish for getting us something we did not have and praise the SSnp for taking it away then I will leave others to work out your motivation.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Duncan

        RET for long distance overnight journeys doesn’t benefit anyone, both Alistair Carmichael and Tavish Scott keep banging on about how “Unfair” it is, simply because neither of them seem capable of doing their sums?

        The answer is that if RET were applied to the Northern Isles ferries over which the Scottish government has any control – the NorthLink services – then the costs would go up. Transport Scotland is explicitly clear about this.

        “The Scottish government has no intention of misapplying the principles of RET, designed to moderate the very high mile-for-mile ferry rates in the west [of Scotland] so as to disadvantage the Northern Isles.”

        IF air prices are getting more expensive, the Scottish government will continue to meet the cost to the tune of 40%, [ADS] however, they are NOT the ones in control of dictating what theses independent airlines choose to charge the customer.

        We have yet to find out which ferry company will win the next contract, but by European law, it HAS to be put out to tender.

        Your “pillaged resources” have always/are being collected by Westminster NOT by the Scottish government. [The Scottish Government doesn’t collect Oil and gas revenue]

      • Johan Adamson

        Well said Duncan Simpson. Our transport is a mess and too expensive. Why is it prohibitive for anyone to travel to Orkney and Shetland? If it were cheaper you would get more people travelling, plus you would be supporting NHS patients and students whom you are paying anyway to travel.

        Ali the ADS scheme was never supposed to support business, just individuals. I was told it was never within the scheme for individuals to give their employers their card numbers to book them cheap flights and that if you were caught you would have your card taken away.

      • Duncan Simpson

        Robin who said I was speaking about the Northlink ferries when I mentioned RET? I was actually meaning the inter-island ferries which many Shetlanders use daily. In my opinion the SNP has used the fact that RET might not work for the Northlink as an excuse to give us nothing anywhere else.

        The airline receives funding from the tax payer for being a life line service, this makes them somewhat accountable in my opinion. Flybe/Loganair have a monopoly, something Governments are supposed to protect us against.

        The last ferry contract was supposedly put out to tender but then the previous operator had their bid returned without even being opened. The tender process only works if it is transparent and honest.

        Regarding our resources you have again missed my point. SNP supporters are obsessed with “Scotlands Oil” but what I was mainly referring to is our historic fishing grounds which ARE being pillaged by European fishing boats. The seafood sector is hugely important to Shetland which is why we want control of our own waters and an exit from the EU.

  2. Robin Stevenson

    Duncan

    I take it you are aware that Shetlands Ro/ro ferry services are owned and operated by SIC? I further take it you aware that pensioners and those under the age of 19 travel for £1 return [£5.30 for a 20 journey ticket] RET is based on the road equivalent Tariff, have you worked out the cost of how much it would be in petrol to drive the same distance? Would it be less or more than £1?….

    Governments cannot “force” other airlines to tender for a contract Duncan.

    Let’s hope that Cal Mac get their tendering presented properly and on time in 2018 this time.

    As you said “We are fed up of unfair treatment and the pillaging of our natural resources”, Was I supposed to guess you were referring to fishing and NOT Oil and gas?

    IF the UK decide to leave the EU then your wish will be granted Duncan, however, IF that leads to a successful Indyref2 and Scotland does become an independent nation, then staying within the EU will continue to benefit thousands of businesses, and hundreds of thousands of Scots, OR is it a case of just “Bugger them?”

    Reply
    • JohnTulloch

      @Robin Stevenson, you write:

      “IF… Scotland does become an independent nation, then staying within the EU will continue to benefit thousands of businesses, and hundreds of thousands of Scots, OR is it a case of just “Bugger them?”

      Certainly not. However, while, rightly, advocating self-determination for Scots, you deny the same privilege to Shetlanders, whose interests differ markedly from those of Scots and are damaged by Shetland remaining in the EU.

      Reply
    • Duncan Simpson

      Robin,

      Of course I am aware. Yes it is cheap for pensioners and young people as foot passengers but for a vehicle it is £12.80 return (£10.20 for a motorbike) or £83.20 for a 10 journey ticket. For anyone who has to commute this adds up to a significant cost. If the RET applied this would be much cheaper, as I am unable to find out exactly how RET is calculated I can’t put a figure on it but it is only 5.4 miles from Laxo to Symbister. My point being that the SNP have made an effort to make ferries cheaper for the Western Isles but have done nothing to help the SIC.

      I never said the Government should force other airlines to do anything.

      You made an assumption and I corrected it. Natural resources refer to more than just oil.

      That is exactly my point Robin, remaining in the EU may benefit Scots but it WON’T benefit Shetland. Our interests are incompatible. If your independent Scotland will be happy and prosperous in the EU then good on you, you can surely manage without us!

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Duncan

        You said ” as I am unable to find out exactly how RET is calculated I can’t put a figure on it”,….Says it all really….. Perhaps you could ask Alistair or Tavish? They too, obviously have no clue how it works either?

        You add “I never said the Government should force other airlines to do anything”. And yet you said “Flybe/Loganair have a monopoly, something Governments are supposed to protect us against”….. Just how, exactly, do you propose that the Scottish Gov somehow “protect you?” …From what?….From lack of competition?….Sure, they can try to speak to the airline and ask them nicely to lower their fares, [which I believe is what is intended], but, that aside, it is entirely at the discretion of the airline.

        I have “natural resources” where I live Duncan, take a guess which one I’d like to talk about?…But,…IF you make the wrong guess, I’ll have to correct you for failing to get it right…

        You go on to say “Our interests are incompatible, you can surely manage without us!” I wonder if this is the view of the majority of S&O residents? How many votes did Mr Hill receive?

  3. iantinkler

    Scotland Independant? With the latest projection of oil at $20 a barrel not very probable. With the EU on the very edge of meltdown, socially and financially all may become a bit academic. Batten down the hatches for a bit, may be an idea.

    Reply
  4. Duncan Simpson

    Robin.

    I didn’t say I have no clue how it works I said I couldn’t put a figure on it because the transport scotland website doesn’t tell you how it is calculated only that there is a fixed element and a rate per mile. Living nowhere near any of the routes and with such scant information of course I couldn’t put a figure on it.

    The airline is subsidised by the Government, if the route is so uneconomical that the fares go through the roof then maybe that subsidy should be increased.

    Nonsense Robin, you have me at a disadvantage as I have no idea where you live. If I knew where you lived I could easily find out which natural resources are near you. Anyway if you are not from Shetland why are you so interested in our air fares or our lack of autonomy?

    You might well wonder, you might well find out that it is more than you think. Not supporting Stuart Hills antics does not automatically translate to not supporting more autonomy for our islands.

    Reply

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