Dear Sir,

FLYING back to Majorca from Bristol seven days before Christmas, I had a relatively comfortable flight.   Although the aircraft was full, not a spare seat anywhere, and sitting in the centre seat between the aisle and the window, my unknown companions were, like myself, of average build and content to sit quietly and unobtrusively for the whole flight.   Consequently we filled our personal space without encroaching or disturbing each other.   The seats were set at a pitch of 29 inches which, for we of average height, was acceptable for the three hours or so on board.   This situation would however, have been uncomfortable on a longer flight.   One problem was caused by the young person sitting directly behind me who was constantly drumming his feet into the back of my seat; presumably his stature was such that his legs ideally matched the 29 inch pitch of the seats.   This I have found to be a common problem on many flights, especially in the tourist season.   Another problem, due to the aircraft being full, was caused by there being insufficient space in the overhead lockers for the cabin bags of all passengers.   Many of us were required to put our cabin bags in the aircraft hold to be collected from the baggage reclaim area after arrival at Palma.  
Taking a similar flight in the summer, with a full aircraft, with fellow passengers of more than average stature and many determined to enjoy themselves from the moment they arrive at the departure airport, can and frequently does, make the flight intolerable.   Hen parties and Stag parties on flights from the UK or those returning to the UK who have been deprived of sleep and sometimes deprived of bathing facilities, also add to the misery.   This is the price we pay for speedy and, at times, very cheap travel; other times it is just cheap travel with peak periods being not so cheap.   The airlines need to achieve a basic fare of about 90 Euros with the aircraft 85% full (85% load factor) to cover their operating costs,  but in the winter quiet periods they reduce the fare to around 35 Euros to attract passengers.   To make up this shortfall in fares they charge about 190 Euros at peak times whilst hoping to achieve a 95%  load factor.   They also offer extras, at an inflated price, in the form of hold luggage, speedy boarding, seat selection, extra leg room seats (first row seats up against the bulkhead and seats adjacent to over wing emergency exits which are required, by law, to provide access to these exits), flight changes and missed flight insurance.   All the extras combined, with the exception of hold luggage which everyone does not require, amount to some 75 Euros over and above the basic advertised fare.   Many airlines now offer fare packages which include some or all of the above extras for an increased fare.  These are marketed as Flxi Fare, Essentials Pack, Extra Pack or Business Class.   However none of these fares offer any extra space in the aircraft cabin apart from increased leg room which is of benefit only to those who are above average height (six feet and above).
It is possible however, for an airline to rearrange the seating in part of the cabin to accommodate a special or ‘super’ or ’premium’ class cabin of sixteen seats which can offer some or all the above mentioned extras, plus wider seats.   The layout would comprise of two seats either side of the aisle instead of the normal three giving a wider seat and a small table between the two seats.   This super class would offer sixteen seats in the area normally occupied by thirty seats thus allowing almost double the over head locker space available,  which in turn would give each super class passenger an extra, but smaller, cabin bag in addition to the usual cabin bag.   The super class would be located at the front of the aircraft allowing passengers to board last and leave the aircraft first.   Although a standard charge, the same as for normal passengers, would be made for hold luggage, the weight could be increased from the standard 20kgs to 25kgs and a dedicated bag drop desk would ensure that these bags were first on the carousel in the baggage reclaim on arrival at the destination airport.   Another bonus would be to offer a free change of flight up to twenty fours hour before departure.
How much will all this cost?   Well, considering that all the extras normally offered amount to about 75 Euros and the passenger is still packed into a small space with little room to move or to store bags, not very much.   Airlines could provide all the above benefits for as little as 80 Euros but no doubt this charge would vary with the varying basic fares.   Realistically the normally low season fare of 35Euros would become  95, the mid season 90 Euros would become 180 and the peak season 190 Euros would increase to 300.   In fact for a further increase of 10 Euros, the super class could have a dedicated stewardess and free newspapers.
Best regards,
 Tom Leeming

Open letter to Pedro Sanchez
Secretary General of The PSOE Socialist Party and Francina Armengol
Leader of the Socialist Party in the Balearics  PSOE Party
Dear Sir, Madam,
I read with interest in the columns of the Majorca Daily Bulletin  (via the internet in Scotland as there is currently no flights from Scotland or the North of England direct to Majorca) about your walk about in Palma recently and how you will be challenging the PP/Conservative party  in the forthcoming general election.
I wrote to Jose Ramon Bauza on 1 December 2014 and my letter was publicised in the Daily Bulletin on 7 December 2014 regarding how Majorca is regarded as closed for tourism in the winter months to the majority of British tourists.  I also pointed out how easy it is to get flights from Scotland and the North of England to the Algarve, Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona, Nice, Rome, Athens, Cyprus and Dubai yet you get nothing direct to Majorca.
I have enclosed for your information a copy of my letter to the President which I am still awaiting a reply.
Palma as a city is oozing with potential  for winter tourism. You have magnificent hotels along the Paseo Maritimo and a nice warm winter climate for walking, fantastic marinas, shopping , restuarants and a beautiful  Cathedral all of which in my opinion makes it an excellent destination for winter tourism yet the British travel agents consider MAJORCA TO BE CLOSED FOR THE WINTER  and there are simply no flights at all from the North of the UK and only a few from the South of the UK and I further understand that in Calvia the largest area for tourism in Majorca that at today’s date no hotels are open for tourists. This I consider quite shocking.
If your party is elected at the forthcoming elections in spring will you be doing anything to promote winter tourism which in turn will generate much needed employment in the Balearic Isles.   I look forwards to receiving a letter detailing your proposals which naturally I will pass on to Jason Moore at the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
Ian Rice
29 December 2014


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