This was originally posted on Facebook, and sent to Jet2, who did respond with a generic "Sorry, we look forward to welcoming you on board again" type message. I had tried to be mildly humourous too :(
EDI to OLB... via LBA
Firstly the operator billed the service as a direct flight from Edinburgh Turnhouse to Olbia so I was somewhat surprised to discover the stop in Leeds when checking the flight information before departing to the airport, this is the fault of the tour operator though as it's clear on Jet2.com that the flight is via Leeds. I've been on flights which have stopped en-route to collect passengers before and it's usually nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Jet2.com however did seem to manage to turn it into a considerable ordeal :P
Downsides of using a passenger plane as a freighter too
On boarding the Boeing 737-300QC there were a few things which suggest poor maintenance. Not mechanically, I appreciate the plane is mechanically sound, but cosmetically. These included; 4 non-functioning cabin lights, one flickering cabin light which was headache-inducing(!), two non-functioning no smoking lights, at least two (from the seats we were allocated) damaged and non-functioning centre air vents, poorly patched cabin ceiling where it appears some previous operator's in-flight TV screens may have been situated, and a tray table that falls open and does not lock securely in the upright position (Final Destination, anyone?)
The flight to Leeds Bradford was pleasant and uneventful, the lack of in-flight service was understandable on a 40 minute flight.
On arrival at Leeds the problems began as it emerged at least 4 rows of passengers had been allocated seats assigned to Edinburgh passengers (myself included) - The words "race condition" obviously didn't mean much to the Jet2 software developers ;)
The cabin crew handling of this situation was less than ideal. The displaced Leeds passengers were shuffled about the a/c, before eventually being moved to the rear galley until seats could be found for them... they weren't best pleased
A pleasant flight to Olbia followed, disturbed occasionally by the row with the falling tray table, and the passenger seated in that seat jumping occasionally.
I wasn't too impressed with Jet2.com at this point, The flight home would be better - or not ;)
Who's on this flight? We have no idea.
We arrived at Olbia airport early, with the intention of checking in and then eating before the flight, and were first in line when the check in desk opened (late) only to find that they could not find our reservation. As a second desk was opened another passenger approached and this reservation could also not be found - worse still they'd actually CHECKED IN online but they still had no way of depositing their bag. After 20 minutes of the queues not moving at all we were informed that all record of the Edinburgh pax had been lost (but we overheard in conversation that they knew there was 41 of us - how it's possible to know how many people are missing from a list without actually having a list of them I have no idea)
At this point there was considerable dissatisfaction amongst the queuing passengers as check in staff opened a seperate desk for Leeds only and informed Edinburgh passengers they would be checked in afterwards (which could have posed a considerable issue where people wanted seats together - later we discovered they didn't really distribute the Leeds/Edinburgh pax very well either!)
Eventually someone appeared with a printed list and the check-in operator keyed EVERY name on the list manually before allowing any of us to check in (surely it would have been more sensible to manually enter names as we arrived ?
One hour after arriving at the check in desk we have a boarding pass The flight itself was late due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft.
I noticed boarding the airport that the usual passenger distribution of Leeds and Edinburgh passengers had not worked quite as intended (there were far too many grouped together, not the alternating rows we had on the way out) but regardless we were on the (same poor internal condition) aircraft and it appeared everyone had a seat.
The crew on the return flight seemed a little less... well... a little less ;) Firstly much of their announcements were unintelligable either by speaking too quickly, inserting pauses in completely inappropriate places or possibly holding the microphone far too close to them when speaking. I had at first thought perhaps the PA system had gone the way of the cabin lighting but any announcements from the flight deck were crystal clear.
My fear that it was in fact lack of attention by the crew was confirmed when they announced that "The use of mobile phones for calls, text messages and internet ... pause ... access is not .. shorter pause .. prohibited on board" - great, that means we can use them (!) - errors like that are careless and unprofessional. Had it been only once then that'd be acceptable however it was consistent - every announcement made by this crew member either had odd hesitation, pauses or repetition.
What did you want again? *chime*
During the flight they adopted the single most annoying method I've ever seen for bar service. The flight attendant at the front of the aircraft would press the call button to attract attention of the crew at the back before using hand signals to try and indicate what they wanted (e.g. forming the letter T with their hands, or writing out J2O in the air!) - unfortunately this method resulted in the use of the call button over 20 times by the time they reached row 6, with the inevitable reaction of all passengers each time to see what the seatbelt sign was doing (as it's the same chime) - I started to ignore the chime after 5 minutes or so of the repeated chiming so had the pilot actually operated the seat belt sign I would have had absolutely no knowledge of it.
Light switches, who knew they could be so complicated?
Speaking of cabin lighting, they seemed to have considerable difficulties operating it! They explained that it was normal procedure to dim the lights for landing when operating at night then proceeded to turn them entirely off, followed by the upper lights only, followed by the whole cabin. I can't remember the exact configuration we ended up in but we definitely either landed or took off with full cabin lights (and on landing - no cabin lights although the seatbelt and working no-smoking signs did provide some illumination ;)
By this point I must admit I had somewhat lost confidence in the cabin crew, but the final incident that absolutely cemented my opinion of them was on landing and the wonderful announcement of "Cabin crew, doors to Automatic and cross check". Thankfully the other two crew members knew what they were supposed to do - as opposed to actually doing what they were told to do by the head crew-member, which would have resulted in the ground crew getting quite a fright and the passengers getting an impromptu demonstration of how an escape slide inflates... which would, I admit, have made for a fun disembark.
This was my first experience flying with Jet2.com... and whilst it offered some amusement in parts I'm sure you can understand why I amn't likely to be looking at jet2.com as my first choice for my next getaway.
(The holiday itself was fantastic, but Jet2 had nothing to do with that)