I have flown many airlines in my life. I never considered which would be my favourite (maybe TAP) but now I unanimously have a least favourite – Peach Aviation.
Oh my God.
Now, before anyone jumps in with “It’s a low-cost airline!” I know. I’ve flown with low-cost carriers before and was expecting the whole print-your-boarding-pass, pay-for-checked-bags, no-cabin-service business. What I wasn’t prepared for is a service fee to pay for my ticket. Literally, I HAD to pay by credit card and I HAD to pay a credit card service fee. What. The. Hell.
The week before my flight I get an email inviting me to “check in”. I figure that it’s weird to have an email so soon but I click through and find that “check in” isn’t so much “checking into the flight” as it is “please pay us extra so that we can reserve the seat you want”. I declined and figured I’d take my chances with the seats that were left.
The day of I go to check in but, silly me, Peach Aviation doesn’t have online check-in. I wonder to myself how this can possibly be with a low-cost carrier. Why would they pay people to stand at the airport and check us in? I head to the airport and find that there are no self-serve check-in kiosks and that I must wait for the check-in desk to open. I wait and wait and am the 5th person in line. Finally, it’s my turn!
“Did you book on mobile?” “No” “Why not?” “I like booking on an actual computer” “If you had booked on mobile you could use the app as a boarding pass” “It’s ok” “You should book on mobile” “Alright, but I didn’t” “Well, next time, you should book on mobile” “Sure, ok, next time”. Why. Why are we having useless conversations?
I got a window seat! Hooray for me and my love of window seats! I board the plane to find that someone is in my seat. I try to explain the situation but she understands NO English and can’t figure out why I’m pointing to her seat and my ticket. We call the Peach Aviation flight attendant over and she says “It’s ok, just sit here instead”. What. THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS. (To add insult to injury, she closed the shade immediately after the engine started).
Given that the flight is so short, I know that I’ll have to act quickly to buy my sim card. I press the bell as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off and am ignored. I try to flag down the attendant and she says “one minute”. The women across the aisle get serves and receive their train tickets and I try to buy a sim card. She tells me to wait and that she’ll be back soon. Finally the intercom says that the on-board store is closed and when I ding the bell to ask what the hell, she tells me that she can’t process sales after the store is closed. I’m upset now because I wanted to put the sim card on my visa since I had so few won. Alas, when I arrived at the airport and was able to buy a sim card, I had to pay cash :/
On the way back to Korea, I used the Peach Aviation self-serve kiosk, and everything went smoothly. When it was time to board we all lined up like obedient travelers and waited. And waited. And waited. 20 minutes after our flight was due to depart, the tiniest employee came over to tell us that the flight was delayed and that they would start boarding soon. She said that they were going to board the window seats first. She then proceeded to enforce this rule in no way, shape or form.
As people tried to board she checked their tickets and either said “ok” or “only window seats” and waved her sign around. Half the people listened to her and half decided “you know what? Too bad” and pushed past her. If there were families or couples, she split them up. At one point, she argued with a mother that only her son could board because she was a middle seat. It was absolute chaos. Finally the window seats were boarded and we wait. And waited. And waited. I asked if we could go because she seemed alright with picking and choosing which rules to follow. She said no. We waited some more. Finally, a good hour after we were meant to take-off, the middle and aisle seats were allowed to board.
Here’s a fun fact – do you know what happens when you let random people board the airplane under a guise of controlled boarding? It fucks everything up. A whole bunch of window seats were empty because of people who wouldn’t board without their middle-seated friend and there were aisle seats which were occupied because of people pushing through.
We’re finally all boarded and there’s not enough overhead bin space. I’m forced to sit with both of my bags between my legs for the entire flight while squashed into a space-maximizing low-cost airline seat. I ask the move to the empty emergency row behind me and she tells me that it’s against the law. Yes, I’m aware of that but SOMEHOW a week ago I was told to “just sit here instead”. The exit row remained empty (something that I’m pretty sure is against safety regulations edit: it’s not! How interesting) for the entire flight.