It would seem that cheap flight tickets with complimentary food on board would do the trick in attracting customers. However, none of these play a role when paired with bad service.
To start with, my original flight was cancelled, which I do understand, but the way it had been handled was really amateurish. I received an email that my flight on the 8th of January 2017!? had been cancelled and that they offer me a flight on the 9th instead. When I checked my itinerary, I saw that my flight was already scheduled on the 9th so I politely replied that this email does not apply to me. I received a reply that it is actually the flight on the 9th that had been cancelled and that they offer me to fly on the 8th. To make a long story short, we had to exchange several emails to clarify everything and the entire time I was receiving date options with year 2017! I am not sure what kind of employees reply to these emails but my 12 year old sister would not make that mistake, especially when I always suggested dates with the correct year 2018. Communicating incorrect information, not a very good start.
It is shockingly surprising that Smartwings does not have a special queuing line for online check ins at the check in / luggage drop off counters. Passengers who are already checked in only want to drop off their luggage and this process takes literally 30 seconds as per my experience today. Passengers who still need to be checked in take considerably longer time at the counter because of filling in personal data and choosing a seat. As a result, having to queue in the same line is unreasonable and only discourages online check ins, which save both time and cost for the airline.
Another issue is cleanliness of the aircraft. Considering that it is a morning flight, the crew should have enough time to properly clean the aircraft unlike on the way back to Prague when it has limited time before boarding new passengers after landing. However, I have not seen a plane this dirty before. The seat that I was supposed to be seated on looked very dirty and sticky so I wiped it with a wet wipe that turned completely black after just few strokes. This really makes you feel sick from your stomach when you imagine how the bathrooms must look like if even the seat is this disgusting. When I approached the crew regarding this, I was met with blank expression and they even refused to touch the tissue with their dirt on it! The foldable table tray was also dirty and sticky and the white head rest sheet that should be changed after every flight looked like it has encountered a few heads before.
As per the crew, their arrogance extends so far that they simply assume everyone speaks Czech without even confirming first. They just went on explaining something in Czech until the passenger finally replied if she can explain in English even though it was obvious from the face expression that the passenger does not understand the language. It seems that some of the staff does not even speak English because another time you could see a confused expression on the face of the flight attendant when spoken to in English.
Although all this could be expected from a low-cost airline, it is certainly not a sustainable approach for securing loyal customers. It seems that Smartwings should look for inspiration elsewhere and learn from other airlines.