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