Yet another not so great moment for TAP's CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener. Image by António Cotrim/ Lusa

TAP CEO admits: “We are not offering quality service”

Warns ‘constraints’ will persist for coming weeks

In a letter to clients on TAP’s official website, CEO Christine Ourmiêres-Widener has today admitted that the airline benefitting from €3.2 billion in State loans is “not offering the excellent service that we planned”.

Notwithstanding that this is almost certainly an understatement, she adds that, due to the “crisis that air transport is going through”, constraints on TAP’s less than excellent service will continue for the coming weeks.

“For all this, we offer you our most sincere apologies”.

The letter appears to suggest that the nightmare weekend experienced by thousands in Lisbon was tackled with the “best possible service” – something information received by this newspaper has not borne out.

Indeed, Ms Ourmières-Widener’s letter describes the “commitment and effort” by TAP teams – again, our information was thateveryone from TAP just ran away” when they saw people approaching them for help.

This weekend was not easy for TAP due to various constraints”, the letter continues – failing to acknowledge that it was also not easy for the hundreds of passengers left without information, food and drink for hours – only to discover finally that their luggage was missing …

“The last two years have been very difficult for all of us, especially for the commercial aviation sector, extremely penalized due to the pandemic”, the letter began (…) There is nothing we all want more than taking Portugal to the world and bringing the world to Portugal this summer. This is our reason for existing and it is to fulfill this objective that we have all been working in recent months”.

 “We guarantee that TAP and all our teams are committed, at this moment, to minimizing as much as possible any inconvenience that may arise during your journey with us, hoping to have a more robust, functional and articulated air transport in the summer of 2023”, the letter continued, having glossed over the fact that “the most recent forecasts” do not see the crisis in air transport improving “in the coming weeks” (ie during the summer of 2022).

“On behalf of all our employees, I hope you feel very welcome on board after this long break in air travel, which we have been looking forward to”, the letter continues.

“We thank you, as always, for your loyalty and we hope to count on your understanding if your trip has not yet met your expectations.

“We are doing our best to provide you with the quality, punctuality, and confidence you can expect and surely deserve from TAP Air Portugal as soon as possible.

“Hope to see you aboard soon!

“Thank you!”

Comments on TAP’s Twitter feed are worth reading. Here are a few:

@tapairportugal lost my luggage and never send-me a e-mail, a call phone, NOTHING! Its just like im NOT exist on earth to @tapairportugal ! Wheres my lugagge TAP? My best clothes its lost, my national official Championship 2021 T-Shirt lost too? @tapairportugal where my luggage??

It took you 84+h to draft this message? @OurmieresChris this issue started Thu 30 Jun and only today we get this message? I hope you had a great weekend off while you workers did 12h + shifts and your clients lived in the mud

Unfortunately the company is terrible and they don’t respect their customers. In Brazil the service is humiliating and you have to beg to add hold luggage and they still don’t respond.

@tapairportugal needs to go. What a tone deaf statement to make. This is not an “inconvenience”…this is thousands of people still in crisis and stranded despite your “ongoing efforts” & “commitment to service”. There is still time to make this right. COMMUNICATE WITH US. HELP US

Dear Christine, I found a typo in your letter: where you wrote “this weekend” you wanted to say “this past years”. Best regards and I also hope to see myself on board.

And last but not least, from “Customers Wronged by TAP Air Portugal”: Absolutely laughable! @tapairportugal is doing far worse than all other airlines in the world. They are a disgrace and their CEO is a disgrace.

And so it goes on.

Sometimes letters of apology can actually make things even worse…