Jet Airways among top fliers, but smallest airline takes all

June 19th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 19 (IANS) India’s Jet Airways is considered among the top carrier brands, according to a consumer survey, but the real winner is a single-plane airline of the UK. Well-known consumer-watch organisation Watch? short-listed the top brands after checking out major airlines in terms of quality of service, leg space, punctuality and safety.

Singapore Airlines won the top prize, but the runner-up, ahead of Jet Airways and Air New Zealand is little-known Palmair of the UK. It beat off tougher brands like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic — thanks to its very personal service.

Palmair has just one plane, an ageing Boeing 737, which flies to 14 European destinations from Bournemouth airport.

According to Watch?, the service of Palmair is so personal that the single member of staff greets every passenger to make sure the seating plan she drew up on her kitchen table the night before suits everyone. And fresh flowers every day, reports The Guardian.

David Skillicorn, managing director of Palmair, said: “We are just little Palmair with a little Boeing 737 yet we beat off the likes of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Singapore Airlines has on board massages and a choice of DVDs. All we can offer is the choice of tea or coffee.”

Palmair was founded by businessman Peter Bath in 1957 when the company leased an aircraft to take passengers to Mallorca. It bought its own plane and now flies to Spain, Tenerife, Portugal and Croatia.

Bath used to make sure he was in the departure lounge for each flight to greet the passengers. When Bath died longstanding employee Teresia Rossello took over the role. She draws out the seating plan on her kitchen table the night before flights.

Palmair employs 25 cabin crew and 25 back-office staff. The plane flies twice a day in the summer and once a day in winter.

Which? asked 30,000 consumers about experiences on airlines. They were asked to rate factors such as the cleanliness of the planes, the amount of legroom, the quality of the in-flight meal and the helpfulness of the cabin staff.

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