Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gulf Air black-listed

Due to the nature of my business, for the last 15 years I have always been a frequent traveler especially within the GCC. Since 2001 Gulf Air has always held the # 1 spot on my black-list for being the worst airline to fly with (within GCC).

Don’t get me wrong, Gulf Air on the long-haul flights are pretty good, competitive in service and price, and have won awards on an international level. From time to time, at least twice a year I fly the BAH-LHR route and no complaints, except the odd late take-off which is always blamed on the ATC (Air Traffic Control).

My frustration comes on the regional routes between the GCC states. The reason why I refuse to use GF is because they always mess up my schedule on both inward and outward journeys. Some of the typical mishaps:

  • late take-off
  • over-booking
  • wrong seating allocation
  • old aircraft
  • unfriendly crew member (only to Asian passengers in economy)
  • price
  • duty-free items not being available

We all know that Gulf Air is going through a management phase, you could compare it to adolescence. There is confusion all over, alleged corruption, embezzlement, high turnover of staff, cut-backs, complaints, and the media has had the spot-light of our national carrier for past few weeks.

My last trip to Dubai was arranged by a client, and due to the last-minute decisions, I had to get there faster than ASAP.. My Alternatives???
Air Arabia (lands in Sharjah, and I just didn't have the time to do the Sharjah to Dubai journey)
Emirates (full flight, besides I needed a late flight back)
Other airlines did the home-base transit as a must (inconvenient for me)

Well Guess what… the only option was Gulf Air, the ticket cost BD93, and I had no other choice but for once to take Gulf Air off my list and give them another try. The result was not impressive, on both the outward/inward flights, my findings:

Outward (BAH-DXB)

  1. We were boarded on board 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
  2. Sat on the flight for 25 minutes before take-off.
  3. Besides the refurbishment of the old plane (new carpet/seat covers), it was still tatty and everything has that broken look to it (typical wear and tear).
  4. The food tray lock was worn and kept releasing the tray (from vibration).
  5. The flight attendant mentioned Abu-Dhabi rather than Dubai as our destination.
  6. The in-flight refreshments improved from a small box to a medium sized box full of goodies (rock hard roll, cold hummos, fruit salad literally frozen and a little cup of water). As a matter of fact, food is not a rating factor on short flights (less than an 90 minutes) for me. By the way the stewards had difficulty collecting and storing food boxes in their trolley (obviously a flaw in the box design).
  7. The majority of passengers came from Asia, yet no one could speak their languages. The announced languages on board were Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Tagalog. I did look around, but no looked like they could speak any European languages.
  8. The takeoff made the plane rattle with vibrations, landing the beast was like the wild west rodeo.. yeeee-haaaa !!!!

Inward (DXB-BAH)

  1. All the above points, plus..
  2. Air-conditioning was terrible, on and off warm air before the actually push-back. A good 45 minutes was spent sweating on board. Mind you, GF did bribe us with a cold can of sprite.

I still refuse to travel on Gulf-Air for the time being until they decide to improve their services to be competitive in service, and in price. I remember Gulf Air in the 80’s as being the bird in the sky, the Golden Falcon that could spread it's wings. What has happened? Smaller and new regional airlines are emerging fast and are capitalizing on Gulf Air’s incompetence to hold on a market she has created. Gulf Air should not forget that the Gulf sector has and will always be a good source of revenue for them, it’s time she (GF) got this mess properly addressed and sorted out permanently in a proper and logical manner, it has been lingering for far too long.

I always remember my friend (who loves creating acronyms/abbreviations out of names), when I asked what GULF AIR stands for..

He replied “Get Used-to Late Flights Always In Repair”.

Have fabulous and wonderful a nice weekend (I know I will).


That's the way it is…
23/8/2007 Capt. Arab

25 comments:

Ammar456 said...

go bahrains national airline, woohoow!

Manaf Almuhandis said...

Capt.
I TOTALLY agree with you.
I hate everything that is Gulf Air now.
It soaked in the Bahrain culture of give back as little as possible and show it off as a huge achievement.

Anonymous said...

I have recently had the WORSE experience ever with Gulf Air.

To cut a long story short, it involves them cancelling my ticket, yet never refunding me the cash. I also experienced the most horrendus level of customer service in my life, it was almost comedic!

They are rubbish!

Rajan Arya said...

CR/KM/XXXXXXX
27 October, 2008


Mr. Rajan Arya

KUWAIT

E-mail: XXXXXXXX.com



Dear Mr. Arya,

Thank you (hate you) for your correspondence (Gulf Air bashing) and at the outset, I would (not) like to apologise for the lapse in service (we wanted to give you a much harder time) you may have experienced. (We certainly had fun in tormenting you)

We have initiated an investigation (not really; too damn tired and care shitless for our customers) and will (make that never) revert to you upon its conclusion (wishful dreaming buster). We appreciate (kidding) your patience, as such investigations (jokes, which we play very often) may (most effin’ certainly) take time to complete (never allow them to see the light of day).

In the meantime, we assure you of our commitment to serve (fuck you in the ass again) you well.

Sincerely, (We don’t know the meaning of this word: Darn it; where is the Webster when you need one??!!??)




Kavita S. Al Jassim
Head of Customer Care & Service Monitoring

I shall send this letter to a travel blog site! The black font was the original email from Gulf Air… the red italicized ones are my comments to make out the real intentions of Gulf Air!!!

etihad complaints said...

If you think Gulf Air is bad, the government of Abu Dhabi, now states Etihad Airways is the official airline of The UAE. Etihad airways seems to have taken off from where Gulf Air service has ended up- rude cabin crew, flight delays of around 24 hours in my case, broken inflight entertainment screens, and so on. Emirates is the only decent airline in the UAE,so be warned - Ignore all the Etihad airline PR agents... the real experience is very different in a number of cases

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Anonymous said...

I agree a zillion times. Gulf Air is the worst. I did the same. I use to serve and work for 4yrs and 4month exactly with GF. I myself stopped flying with GF but the same it was my last option. Even working with GF, buying full fare, i sat on jumpseat, ID50 sat on jumpseat. leaving GF i was refused border because they closed the gate 10mins early when i was there 7mins before. The love i had for GF, i hate it now hearing the name. I did complain letters for a month and had to agree with alot of customers. Gulf really don't care. the staff had enough with the office and i don't blame them. yes they give hard time with pax but pax know the game with GF so they play back,.

Anonymous said...

I agree a zillion times. Gulf Air is the worst. I did the same. I use to serve and work for 4yrs and 4month exactly with GF. I myself stopped flying with GF but the same it was my last option. Even working with GF, buying full fare, i sat on jumpseat, ID50 sat on jumpseat. leaving GF i was refused border because they closed the gate 10mins early when i was there 7mins before. The love i had for GF, i hate it now hearing the name. I did complain letters for a month and had to agree with alot of customers. Gulf really don't care. the staff had enough with the office and i don't blame them. yes they give hard time with pax but pax know the game with GF so they play back,.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Anonymous said...

now its sameer majali's turn to screw GULF AIR

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