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In a world of non apologies and semantics to avoid ever directly addressing an issue, I felt a real breath of fresh air in my inbox today. The email wasn’t personal and  I’m not even sure it had my name anywhere at all, but it said one thing that no other airline has ever formally said: sorry. Better yet, I hadn’t even ask for an apology. Dimitris Gerogiannis, the CEO of Aegean Airlines, the major Greek airline emailed passengers today to say sorry – and in today’s world, that’s news.

Aegean has been plagued by delayed flights and cancellations in recent month, a move the airline blames partly on congested airspace and challenging weather. But with that caveat thrown in, the airlines CEO emailed all members of its Miles + Bonus program to express his apologies and commit to doing better again. When was the last time a CEO did that?

In his letter to customers, Mr. Gerogiannis remarked…

Dear member,

Improving your travel experience and fulfilling your needs at each step of your journey is at the heart of our daily efforts throughout our 20 years of operation.

After all, the quality of the services we provide is one of our main values and behind every investment we make in training, in our people’s culture and in our fleet. Our consistent high performance in on-time flight departures has been a key element towards this direction over time.

However, during the last 2 months we haven’t been able to meet expectations as we frequently face delays, sometimes with significant duration. So, we feel the need to apologize, because your trust in us deserves much better.

At the same time, we need to point out that the vast majority of flight delays is caused by the limited capacity of the air traffic, which gradually gets more stressed during the day and results in chain delays that affect more the afternoon and evening flights.

Obviously, the air traffic control is beyond our responsibility. But we put the best of our efforts to cooperate with the relevant authorities to resolve the problem the soonest possible.

Moreover, we strictly apply the European regulation for passenger compensation and, in addition, we follow our company’s policy for free tickets. Yet we know that sometimes this is not enough.

The sole purpose of this communication is to sincerely thank you once again for the trust you have shown to us and for your kind understanding during this difficult period.

Of course, we will keep working intensively and investing in our people and fleet, so as to continue to be your first choice.

Sincerely,

Dimitris Gerogiannis
Chief Executive Officer

If you’re looking for bigger news, we must apologise – there is none. The fact than an airline CEO sent a letter saying that his airline must and will do better is the only news, because it’s just hard to think of a time where anyone ever took accountability for the goings on of an airline.

Connecting to Greece from other parts of Europe, Aegean is often one of the better flight options and usually at reasonable prices too. Even if you rarely fly the airline, the program offers one of the better paths to Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status, and has a juicy points program worth investigating. Cheers for the note Dimitris, you just won a fan.

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