A new online booking system which will allow passengers to book tickets further in advance was one of the central announcements made by Loganair chief Jonathan Hinkles as he discussed the airline’s plans for life after Flybe.
A bumper crowd attended a public meeting of the external transport forum on Thursday to hear Loganair’s managing director speak at length about the imminent changes the airline will be making in the run up to the end of its franchise agreement with Flybe on 1st September.
The first change the airline’s passengers are likely to notice is the new reservations system which will be introduced from 22nd March.
The new ‘Videcom’ system will allow passengers to reserve tickets ten months in advance, he said, with passengers no longer having to wait for the airline to release a block of tickets when announcing a summer or winter schedule.
Air Discount Scheme tickets will also be available through the new Videcom system.
Attendees at the meeting who were hoping to hear about a major reduction in fares were left disappointed but Mr Hinkles did promise that on the routes to Aberdeen (where smaller but more regular planes are to be used) there would be the same quantity of cheap seats.
The airline had no intentions of allocating cheap seats as a percentage of the total on an aircraft, he said.
Also changing, in what Mr Hinkles jokingly branded “frexit”, is the quantity of flights connecting Sumburgh and Kirkwall.
Mr Hinkes said that this was the area in which Loganair had seen “the highest level of growth” and so all flights to Inverness would now be stopping in Kirkwall to capitalise on this demand.
Online customers will no longer have to pay a credit card surcharge and online check-in is to be extended to four or five days ahead of travel.
The unaccompanied minor scheme, for children aged between five and eleven, will be brought to a close.
This was because it had become “incredibly difficult” in an era of people being “quite rightly concerned for child welfare”, Mr Hinkles said.
Now, instead of airline staff effectively becoming responsible for young children the airline plans to introduce a “child drop-off” ticket. This ticket will mean that any parent dropping off or picking up a child from the mainland will be able to receive a heavily reduced fare.
Another ticket based change is that certain tiers of tickets will now have a “get me home” option. This means that passengers who arrive at the airport early may be able to get on an earlier flight if seats are available.
After the agreement with Flybe comes to an end the colour purple will be purged from all planes and staff outfits, with Mr Hinkles claiming he “never really liked purple anyway”.
The livery of the aircraft will now carry Loganair’s “Scotland’s Airline” slogan and tartan will feature in future re-painting work.
While Mr Hinkles could not speak to the exact nature of any future relationship with Flybe he said that “constructive dialogue” remained ongoing.
- For more see next Friday’s Shetland Times.