Blue Air – How cheap can an airline be?

Blue Air is a low cost airline based in Romania, with flights from Bucharest to a large number of European destinations. As any other low cost airline, they are trying to maximize revenue by selling optional services. RyanAir does this by continuously bombarding passengers with sales announcements during the flight, so that one stands no chance whatsoever of sleeping during the flight. EasyJet has a complex ticket purchase procedure that makes customers select their car and hotel as if these were part of the ticket purchase. But Blue Air, in addition to having the smallest cabin baggage allowance of only 7 kg, found yet another way of making flying with them an unpleasant experience unless you pay for the optionals.

First of all, you should know that Blue Air have always assigned seats during check-in, even though this has proven to be one of the slowest boarding procedures. A few years ago, they introduced the “choose your seat” optional service, at the cost of 3 EURO/seat/flight for a regular seat and 10 EURO/seat/flight for an extra legroom seat. But apparently nobody was interested in buying their seats.

Given that the company was not able to encourage passengers to pay in order to choose their seats on the plane, they decided to force passengers to buy this useless service by making flying a bad experience. So when a group of passengers who have made one reservation for more tickets and who are obviously traveling together make the online check-in, Blue Air assigns them random seats. For example, one seat is on the 11th row and another one on the 15th row. This way, they can not travel next to each other, which is very unpleasant. BlueAir probably hopes that passengers will pay at least 3 EURO each, in order to choose 2 seats that are next to each other.

Imagine how it is for a family of 3 to travel in randomly-assigned seats. The mother on the 6th row, the father on the 12th row and their 5 year old son on the 20th row. Would they enjoy this flight?

Blue Air – an airline that already has bad reviews – is making the flight as unpleasant as it can be, in an attempt to gain 3 EURO per passenger. How cheap can they be in order to do this? How long will it take passengers to start saying NO to this airline and abandon it?

Latest update (13/12/2011): We have just come back from the above mentioned trips. Before the first 2 flights we went to the check-in desk and explained the problem. The airport employees were aware of the problem and simply assigned us new seats, next to each other, for free. We really appreciated this. As far as the third flight was concerned, we boarded the airplane with our original online boarding passes and we were able to change seats on the airplane and to sit next to each other. On board of all 3 Blue Air flights there were many people who were traveling together and who had the same problem with their seats. Most of them switched places inside the aircrafts.

Despite the fact that Blue Air assigns seats randomly, we managed to travel together. The fact that many passengers had to switch places once they got on board of the airplane considerably slowed down the boarding process. This means that Blue Air is losing important time (and money) because of this procedure. Let’s hope they will realize this and change the boarding system and/or the seat assignment software in the near future!

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