Saturday 15 July 2017




A sad story of how to sell an airline and its service and the need for employees to be trained  in the rules of the service they are supplying--bad on Iceland Air and Finnair.

June 2017

As a One World Platinum Emerald traveller with all the credentials required, including nice manners, clean teeth and respectfully clad in an Italian jacket, pleated slacks, a French scarf and neatly combed hair, Italian Geox shoes one could say I was a dapper old dude despite my age and wrinkles. It was at Reykjavik Airport and the check in lady thought so, smiled a typical cool Icelandic smile reserved for Australians, and handed me a card with my name on it --Dear Old Jack you are invited to the BUSINESS Lounge as you see I was travelling on Finnair and had the emerald button on my frequent flyer card, and embedded electronically into my ticket and profile and had it been appropriate tattooed on my forehead. It was a short flight to Helsinki so on this occasion I was slumming and had an economy ticket, but as a fearless One World traveller, of course the Business Lounge and even the First Lounge, if available will open automatically and everyone will bow as I enter. Now in the terminal and with great anticipation headed for the Business Lounge anticipating there would be an even better First Lounge close by. Yes, the same Iceland smile from the pleasant (at this stage) woman who was equally well dressed  and failed to respond to my question where is the First Lounge.I think the words she was seeking were assnin pinn--you fool!

 She looked at me with cold blue eyes, and with an ice laced tongue said --"you cannot come in here as this is a business lounge only for superior people who have paid for a Business Class ticket." She did not say superior people but implied it and after some discussion as I explained in detail the One World policy expecting at any time to be frog-marched from the lounge  by the military with the women holding the Iceland Air flag high as they applied the chains and slammed the metal barred door closed in the dungeon reserved for itinerant economy travellers who dare to seek entrance to the Iceland Air Business Class lounge.Now being a mild mannered type and no phone booth in which I could change into an appropriate costume I stood my ground as she demanded to photo my Qantas Frequent Flyer card on her I phone and threats that she would take it further allowed your humble (and stubborn ) traveller into the lounge which had three or four others, all less fashionably dressed that Old Jack.

I did have a glass of water taken quietly from the refrigerator when no one was looking when in the lounge as I anticipated that if I touched the wine or the nuts it would be automatic rejection or worse. The staff were checking on me I am sure that I did not steal the plastic cutlery or a paper napkins. The cleaning lady did come by with a vacuum cleaner and vacuumed all around me for a longer period than normal (don't all airline lounges vacuum the floor in peak periods of travel?) but I expect this was to ensure I did not pollute their lounge.

Now sadly the charming, well dressed, elegant  Iceland Air lady employee, who I am sure was charming in real life although you can never tell as it is generally the nice ones who have three or four past husbands buried under the basement floor. She did a great job and  controlled who went in and also maybe who went out (in a body bag if you misbehaved) and was on the surface proud of HER lounge, the one she built brick by brick and managed minute by minute and kept it spotless  with a noisy Dyson vacuum cleaner and the place was neat and clean and probably the pride of Iceland Air because she kept out the rabble, such as me. It did not give me a whole lot of interest in travelling Iceland Air as on reflection, the check-in process was almost comical with the ten minutes it took to drop off two bags and the confusion between the Priority line and whether they were checking in Finnair or Air Canada. We used the automatic check-in and were shunted around from counter to counter to drop off the bags and then found that we had to wait as the drop off did not open before two hours before the flight (it was actually one hour and 50 minutes). In all of the service industry in Iceland everyone was great until we encountered Iceland Air and they destroyed the image totally. And I now wonder what has happened to the photo of my Qantas Frequent Flyer card with its brilliant emerald green button and whether it has been beamed around the world to all Business Class lounges to be aware of OLD JACK.

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