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Rant: The disappearing BD64/BD65 LHR-EDI / EDI-LHR thread

Rant: The disappearing BD64/BD65 LHR-EDI / EDI-LHR thread

Old Feb 16, 10, 10:55 am
  #1  
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Angry The disappearing BD64/BD65 LHR-EDI / EDI-LHR thread

This is doing my head in.

Similar to Autumn last year, BMI seem to be randomly dropping the BD64/BD65 from it's timetable. By the looks of things, the BD64/BD65 rotation will stop for a 2 week holiday after Friday 5th March, with it's glorious return on Monday 21st March.
Which would be annoying enough as it is, if it didn't then disappear again for another 4 weeks from the 1st of May... only to reappear again on Monday 31st May.
And they wonder why BMI are losing money hand over fist?
Oh well, back to the last flight leaving at ~1850 again.
Better for business?
Looks like it's deja vu all over again...

BD14 / BD18 LHR - GLA Cancelled? General winter cancellations discussion

Last edited by Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo; Mar 3, 10 at 3:14 pm
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Old Feb 16, 10, 11:59 am
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Argghhh - here we go again! Worth emailing to see what totally bland & unconvincing answer Donnington Hall come up with to explain this?

More money for BA from EDI-based flyers again then.
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Old Feb 17, 10, 8:37 pm
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The same is happening with the Glasgow flights. BD15 missing on multiple Sundays that I checked but there on others.

As the Monday morning BD1 is always expensive then BA would be the most sensible option. There Monday morning flights are more reasonably priced and there's a choice of London airports.
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Old Mar 3, 10, 3:28 pm
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Response from BMI

Here is there first response to my complaint:

Dear Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo,

Thank you for your recent communication.

I was sorry to learn of the changes that have been made to our flights between Edinburgh and Heathrow and appreciate the inconvenience and annoyance this has and may continue to cause you.

Having spoken to our Current Scheduling Manager on this issue, he has advised that BD64 will operate at Heathrow on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays only, during Summer 2010 (28Mar-30Oct). However, during Winter 2010 (31Oct10-26Mar11) this may again suffer some cancellations, if it operates at all.

The sad fact is that under Lufthansa ownership we have had to cut back on everything that was losing the most money (routes and flights). The last flights of the day BD64 and BD65 are a rotation that lose a lot of money and so have suffered cutbacks, hence only a Monday-Thursday summer operation. The same applies to the last flights on the Glasgow route.

Whilst I am sorry for any inconvenience personally caused to you, I am sure you will appreciate that we must always endeavour to maintain a viable operation.

On behalf of bmi, I would like to extend to you our very sincere apologies for the inconvenience and annoyance caused over this issue. I do very much hope that we may continue to be of service to you.

Yours sincerely


Customer Relations Executive


My Response:

Dear BMI,

Thank you for your reply to my initial complaint. Whilst I understand the economic constraints that BMI, and all airlines, have to operate under I still do not understand the specific problem with the BD64. Although you say that on the summer timetable the BD64 will operate from Monday-Thursday, the BD64 does not appear at all on the BMI booking engine for the month of May. The date I am looking to fly is Tuesday 11th May, and when I check the BMI website the last flight to Edinburgh is the BD62 LHR 19:00 - EDI 20:25. I am not clear if this is because the BD64 flight is not operating during May or if the flights have not been loaded onto the booking engine. When I check during April the BD64 exists, as it does for June. Im sure you can appreciate the frustration this inconsistency is causing and I would appreciate it if you could clarify what the issue is.

Thanks, JJJJS

And their further response:

Dear JJJJS,

Unfortunately, since I spoke with our Scheduling Manager, there have been some further cancellations.

Basically the last flights, BD64/65, are uneconomic to operate at present. If we cancel them completely we lose the slots at Heathrow forever but the hope is when the economy improves, we can operate these flights again profitably. Therefore, we need to keep the slots and operate the minimum possible to retain them. This being the reason why, flights throughout May have unfortunately, been cancelled.

According to the rules set down by the slot regulators, airlines have to operate in 5 week blocks which enables them to then cancel 4 week blocks. This is not ideal for either us or the customer but were basically managing the best we can within the guidelines/rules we have to adhere to. Therefore, I can only apologise once again for the personal inconvenience this will cause you.

Regards,


BMI


So LH are doing the minimum necessary to stop BAA removing their landing slots. At least they are being honest, though it isn't doing much for my brand loyalty.

Though, to be fair this isn't the first time BMI have deployed this tactic:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tra...cle4340518.ece

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Old Mar 3, 10, 3:34 pm
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Wow - I never dreamt it would be anything quite as confusing (?devious ) as this! So they basically have to put fake flights in then cancel them, all to maintain slots? Brilliant - keep the slots, but s***w the customers, eh!
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Old Mar 3, 10, 3:46 pm
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Should what looks like such commercially sensitive information be (left) posted here? I'm surprised that they were quite so open with you.
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Old Mar 3, 10, 3:46 pm
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I was speaking to one of the crew on my last BD64 and he basically said it's effectively month on, month off for the BD64/65.

They crew themselves though didn't seem to be concerned about the way things were going at the moment and seemed happy with the new direction the company was taking.

I also asked about regional and there was no news on that either.
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Old Mar 3, 10, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo View Post
So LH are doing the minimum necessary to stop BAA removing their landing slots. At least they are being honest, though it isn't doing much for my brand loyalty.
Slot allocation has nothing to do with BAA, at least not directly. At congested airports (i.e. those where the demand for slots far exceeds the supply), slot allocation is in the hand of a dedicated body (in the UK the body is ACL).

Originally Posted by alanjrobertson View Post
Wow - I never dreamt it would be anything quite as confusing (?devious ) as this! So they basically have to put fake flights in then cancel them, all to maintain slots? Brilliant - keep the slots, but s***w the customers, eh!
No that would not work. The flights have to be operated for them to count towards slot utilisation. In an ideal world, BD would prefer not to operate BD64/65 at all. However, they have to operate a minimum of times in each IATA season in order to retain the slots, so they are operating the flights to the minimum required to retain the slots. This means that, within a IATA season, the flight will sometimes operate and sometimes not.

I must say that I am impressed by the detailed answer of CR. Compared to the cut-and-paste job, bland formulaic and empty speech that one encounters in most CR communications, the replies from BD CR are exceptionally candid. This tallies with my own experience in the past but I wondered whether this was still true. Glad to see it still is.
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Old Mar 3, 10, 4:37 pm
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Thanks for the extra info, NickB, always good to learn new things I agree the reply was impressively non-boilerplate (more than can be said for the pretty bog standard Flex Y reply I recieved) - just wish there had been a happier outcome!

Now if only I could get such a clear answer on my ongoing iGUV question...
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Old Mar 3, 10, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I must say that I am impressed by the detailed answer of CR. Compared to the cut-and-paste job, bland formulaic and empty speech that one encounters in most CR communications, the replies from BD CR are exceptionally candid. This tallies with my own experience in the past but I wondered whether this was still true. Glad to see it still is.
Indeed, although they seem to have been rather more candid here than necessary!

Two things concern me about the substance of the reply: first, that bmi has a scheduling manager at all (for some reason I keep thinking of the character in Pushing Tin who was so stressed he just sat in the car park and cried all day); second, that the economics of one rotation are analysed in isolation from the rest of the route. Every route will always have a flight that makes the least money, but if you remove it you end up with a thinner schedule that is less attractive to customers and makes less money overall (see DUB). LH surely knows that, so the explanation is just a big fib.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I must say that I am impressed by the detailed answer of CR. Compared to the cut-and-paste job, bland formulaic and empty speech that one encounters in most CR communications, the replies from BD CR are exceptionally candid.
+1. However, the fact that such scheduling seriously forms part of their commercial strategy makes you wonder for how much longer they'll be around.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by ajamieson View Post
Indeed, although they seem to have been rather more candid here than necessary!

Two things concern me about the substance of the reply: first, that bmi has a scheduling manager at all (for some reason I keep thinking of the character in Pushing Tin who was so stressed he just sat in the car park and cried all day); second, that the economics of one rotation are analysed in isolation from the rest of the route. Every route will always have a flight that makes the least money, but if you remove it you end up with a thinner schedule that is less attractive to customers and makes less money overall (see DUB). LH surely knows that, so the explanation is just a big fib.
I'm sure they do analyse it in such details - each flight is a revenue stream of which some will bring in more revenue than others. Every business knows where it's money comes from so I'm sure they know exactly which flights bring in the bucks. Judging by the last few times I've flown on BD65, I can well believe what they say is true - 25% full at best.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 6:29 am
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Absolutely, I agree about the loads. But what about the yields? Those two dozen people on the 65 might be full fares that only chose a return trip on bmi because the late flight home existed. Take the 65 away, and suddenly the 50 has fewer pax. The BD56/BD59 is probably one of the consistently busiest flights, but it is packed full of Asian tour groups on connecting fares, leisure passengers on T, N or E fares and positioning crew; I can't believe that puts any money in the till. Your faith in the good sense of management is touching
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Old Mar 4, 10, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by ajamieson View Post
Absolutely, I agree about the loads. But what about the yields? Those two dozen people on the 65 might be full fares that only chose a return trip on bmi because the late flight home existed. Take the 65 away, and suddenly the 50 has fewer pax.
True but those two dozens could equally be TNE fare type fliers who could not get a seat on BD62 at comparable price. The story put forward by CR has a ring of plausibility about, which does not, however, mean that it is necessarily true. Without insider knowledge it is impossible to determine which is which (but perhaps you do have access to information that enables you to come to a more informed conclusion... ).

Your faith in the good sense of management is touching
indeed... yet I would have slightly more confidence in the good sense of LH management although I am sure that LH's overall agenda would be a higher consideration than BD's own interest proper (but then, was the same not true before, i.e. the interest of the owners of BD taking priority over BD's own interest itself... A330 leases, anyone? ).
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Old Mar 4, 10, 7:24 am
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A tidbit from the DUB lounge dragons "LH is cancelling the middle of the day DUB flights because they want to route the connecting traffic through FRA and there aren't enough point to point pax to keep the flights open. That and LH want the slots for something else in LHR. Meanwhile, they've reduced DUB to a carpark".
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