More About Palmair

A couple months ago, I wrote about the Which? magazine survey that ranked single-airplane Palmair one of the top airlines in the world. While the survey results aren’t exactly helpful for 99% of the people in the world (and therefore not a great survey), the more I’ve learned about Palmair since then, I’d say it’s hard to disagree that these guys do a great job.

It was with great surprise that I received a comment on the blog from Teresia Rossello, the woman who lays out Palmair’s seating plan on her kitchen table every night. She kindly offered to send me a copy of the Which? magazine with the survey results in it as well as a copy of the Palmair inflight magazine. When it arrived, I couldn’t put it down.
08_07_28 palmairroutesIf you didn’t read the previous article, Palmair is based in Bournemouth on the Southern coast of England. Palmair is primarily a tour company that happens to run an airline to transport the ghostly white Brits down to warm sun destinations. You can see all the cities to which they fly on the Palmair website or at left. (They also have a bunch of cool looking day trips scattered throughout the year.)

The airline itself is set up in a very unique way, and it’s exactly how I would set up an airline if I started from scratch today. The aircraft, a 737-200, is operated by European Aviation. As far as I can tell, the plane is a dedicated Palmair aircraft, but it is operated by European Aviation pilots. In the inflight magazine (which is good for the summer season), there are pictures and biographies of all the pilots. Some of these guys have some pretty cool experience. For example:

[Captain] Haydn [Crenshaw] started flying with BEA initially on Vanguards progressing through the BAC 1-11 Boeing 737 fleets and ultimately flying Boeing 777′s for British Airways. Together with his wife Marcia, and five children, his adventurous family have skied in the USA, walked in the Grand Canyon and been diving in the Gulf of Thailand.

It’s a different story with the flight attendant, er, stewardesses. Yup, they insist on calling them stewardesses, and while they may employ men from time to time, they don’t have any this year. And yes, they are employed by Palmair unlike the pilots. I’ve always thought that employing the customer-facing employees directly and outsourcing the rest would be the ideal way to set up an airline.

Interviews are actually held at the house of the founders. Peter Bath is now deceased, but his wife Elizabeth still holds court. The stewardesses really are a blast from the past. How about this biography on Holly Jenkins:

Bournemouth born and bred, Holly studied A Levels in Art, Textiles and English Literature at St Peter’s Sixth Form before going on to Bournemouth Arts Institute. She enjoys dressmaking, painting flowers and making home made cards. Holly loves the beach, especially Mudeford.

Ok, so they aren’t all like that, but they all do have pretty interesting and strong backgrounds. Reading through the magazine, and having emailed with Teresia, you really do get the feeling that this is an airline with a lot of happy people working for it.

So I look at this airline and I see a very small company that’s dedicated to extremely personal service during all aspects of the trip. You can’t even book online because they want to speak to you in person. One of my readers, Simon, commented on the last post that

Bournemouth and the area around it is full of retired people – the sort of people who have time to write to these surveys and also “can’t be doing with that British Airways” largely because they would only be happy if BA made Bournemouth their hub.

If that’s the case, then Palmair is doing everything right in targeting those elderly travelers. Travel among retirees is a booming business, and they tend to want and need extra care in their travels. If I lived in this area, I would certainly pay more to travel with Palmair knowing that I’d be taken care of every step of the way.

Palmair appears to know its target market well, and while it’ll never be a huge airline, it can do a great job of serving its small target market. Now, I haven’t seen any financial information, but I’ll assume that since this is primarily packaged with tours, they can run a profitable venture. I just wish I had the chance to try them out for myself.

13 Responses to More About Palmair

  1. Brian Lusk says:

    Do ya think they need a blog?

  2. CF says:

    Brian Lusk – I would say so, but then again, with an elderly clientele, who would read it? ;)

  3. Simon says:

    Cranky, thanks for using my quote. If anyone thinks I’m being cruel about old people in southern England then I’d like to say in my defence that my mother is one (and gets Which? magazine, etc.) so I knew the target of my satire. (Totally off topic, but since moving house in January my Mum’s turned into a plane spotter and now sits in her garden (about 20 miles south of LGW) trying to work out where the planes (even those at high altitude) are going to and from… shame there isn’t a UK version of the flightrackers that you can use in the US)

  4. TonyH says:

    Simon – try http://lgw.webtrak-lochard.com/template/index.html – it’s not live, but it does show the last five days.

  5. Dr Dave says:

    Simon, buy her a cheap laptop and an SBS-1 virtual radar (see http://www.kinetic-avionics.co.uk/sbs-1.php ). This uses Mode S broadcasts from the aircraft to provide a real time radar display. Almost all aircraft in UK airspace broadcast this data, so she’ll pick up essentially everything. It includes aircraft type, flight number, airline, height, speed, etc. It is an amazing and fascinating piece of kit, well worth the rather steep price tag!

  6. jim sack says:

    Dear Cranky,

    I am not a fan of Northwest, but yesterday’s flight to Schipol from Detroit was excellent. The cabin crew were very friendly, helpful and quick. I was greatly surprised and very happy. I am a regular critic of NW, so I wish to pass on kudos for this flight, at least. By the by, they board by herd method, everbody all together, none of the old “row 65 to 47″ stuff. What a mess. Istanbul’s Ataturk has a hellacious visa and entry process.

    Jim

  7. Teresia Rossello says:

    Dear Cranky,

    I was delighted to see your recent write up on Palmair, thanks a lot. Last Saturday, 25th Oct, was exactly 50 years to the day (and almost the hour) that our first flight from Bournemouth to Palma (Mallorca) took off – giving us the name Palmair. It was a very special flight for us and I guess the passengers enjoyed it too – it was free champagne all the way in both directions!

    Our new winter Whispers comes out on 1st Nov so will get one in the post to you.

    Best regards, Teresia

  8. Norbert says:

    What a load of horses tails about Palmair. Cannot believe that people actually still support this airline. The day trips by the way have ceased, due to lack of support, I and my wife have been on a couple of day trips, and thought they were a licence for Palmair to print money! as for the price of approx over $500.00 US dolars, for a day (8 hours in, say Venice) you could have one week with another company.

  9. David says:

    Palmair used European Aviation Air Charter to do the actual flying. Alas EAAC are going into administration on Tuesday 2 December 2008, telling staff not to report for work. Jet2 have been brought in to do the flying instead

  10. Andrew Burton says:

    Well we flew with Palmair today on the new plane supplied by Jet2. We received the usual wonderful personal greeting at the airport from Teresia. We were a little apprehensive about Jet2 but it was great. The stewardesses were delightful. The food was the usual Palmair offering which is good simple tasty uk food. (Cottage Pie and Cheesecake this time). The plane had been ‘branded’ internally with Palmair headrests and it even had Palmairs usual touch of fresh flowers in the toilets! A very nice flight. It’s certainly tough times but I hope Palmair comes through it ok. Thanks Teresia!!

  11. Teresia Rossello says:

    Thank you Mr. Burton, I’m so pleased you enjoyed your flight with Palmair/Jet2.
    The Stewardesses are nice and all the ones I have spoken to are enjoying the Palmair flights, it is more relaxed and they have time to serve food and interact with passengers. However, the majority of our stewardesses are on a Jet2 training course at the moment and when that is complete hopefully they will be putting their red uniforms on and again flying as Palmair crew. Quite of few of the pilots are from the Bournemouth area so they have enjoyed being back again on “home ground”. We will do our best to maintain the high standard of personal service that we are known for..

  12. jeff smith says:

    Just like to say myself and my wife have traveled with palmair and they are brilliant, The whole set up is great even tho they did fly old planes (me being a nervous flyer ) they were fantastic all the staff were exellent must be even better with the new plane . hopefully will be flying with them soon

  13. alan says:

    Hi,
    Palmair are one of the many leisure activity providers in the Dorset region that we feature on the web pages of http://www.allaboutgoingout.com . As regular travellers from Bournemouth airport we have experienced and enjoyed holiday flights with them over many years. While it is generally true that their prices are a little higher than their competitors, it really is worth the extra for the service and attention they give . A really feelgood experience.

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