Adria Airways’ Response To My Bad Flight Explains Everything

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

Several days ago I shared my experience flying Adria Airways from Munich to Ljubljana. Even though intra-Europe business class is nothing to get excited about, I was looking forward to flying with them, given that they were one of the last Star Alliance airlines I hadn’t flown.

I won’t recount everything here, but I found the flight to be comically bad. The legroom was awful, the seat I was assigned was broken, the crew was rude, and more.

Anyway, a few people brought my review to Adria’s attention, and their response was as follows:

We appreciate every given opinion, because in this way we can even more improve our services. Unfortunately, the chair is broken, yes. The order of the spare part was done, but the delivery period is significantly longer than planned. We are happy to read also more positive stories from passengers, travelling in the business class ( ). Not everything is black and white …

Alrighty then….

So my complaint wasn’t that a seat was broken — that can happen on any airline — but how the crew wasn’t proactive about it, and about how they were downright rude (among other things). But clearly they missed that.

Also, it’s kind of sad that the “positive story” they choose to point to regarding Adria concludes the following about the flight:

Overall the experience with Adria was ok. Crew was nice and service was acceptable for this short trip.

I guess “ok” and “acceptable” is what they’re aiming for.

When someone responded to them, they said the following:

Dear Dragan, we never said we are perfect; we know we have room for improvement. We take this kind of reports very seriously and actions will follow. Unfortunately social media does not care of good and positive stories. And there are many. And we know that we do good as well. 🙂

Alrighty then…

I understand they probably don’t understand how this blog works, but “social media” absolutely does care about “good and positive stories.” I get they’re a small regional airline, but I’ve written extremely positive reviews of my flight in economy on an old Air North 737 from Whitehorse to Vancouver. I love finding little airlines that are hidden gems.

I wrote about my flight not because it was bad, but because I wrote about all flights I take on new airlines.

I also wrote about my next flight on Adria from Ljubljana to Skopje, where I had a great flight attendant, and I too would describe the flight as “ok” and “acceptable.” The cleanliness of the cabin was a different story, though…

But I guess their response explains everything we need to know about how invested management is in the passenger experience…

  1. Back in the day, Adria was above average in the region at least, and also quite respected for quality and timely service. In the last few years, after German 4K took over, it has become obvious, that they don’t have a clue how to run an airline, which is evident from the space. One day they day-dream to order 15 Suhkoi jets and blackmail Russians to invest 10 mio EUR into the company, then again they set up 8 new routes and abandon them few months later, then they wet-lease four planes to *A airlines, then they invest into Swiss Darwin airline… crazy.

  2. Avoid Adria like the plague. They overbooked my flight and failed to pay compensation despite several requests to do so within the prescribed timeframe. I now have to take the case to court. I am based in Ljubljana, so I have little choice, but I will sometimes fly out of Trieste, Graz, even Zagreb or Venice, just to avoid this terrible airline.

  3. Adria’s tone that you’re a) somehow making unreasonable complaints and b) are biased simply because you’re a blogger who never writes anything positive is bizarre and just factually untrue.

  4. Do you still agree with Gary Leff that PIA (Pakistan Airlines) is the worst airline you have reviewed? He brings it up every few months on his blog!

  5. When they talk about social media, they’re obviously talking about….. Social media, not your blog. Why you’ve instead decided they just don’t understand what social media means or how your blog works I have no idea.

  6. Simply avoid them if possible, they always found some explanation and not change anything. Also their tickets are expensive and they even dont offer free small snack as others.

  7. Fly Adria often , not a bad airline and usually use as a connection between Chicago and Ljubljana.
    Adria will always get my vote….some years ago was traveling through Paris from Chicago when security in Paris decided that I couldnt carry on my 6 piece fly rod ( already carried on board from Chicago to Paris). Flight was closing, choices were miss the flight or leave my fly rod.
    Our Adria pilot was also passing through security, intervened and offered to carry my fly rod personally through security.
    Thank you Adria, wonderful country, great fishing and a not a bad airline too….with at least one fly fishing pilot !

  8. I always wonder the maintenance situation is when so much is going wrong with the operation.

  9. The perfect example of bad comunication with customers. Never tell a customer who complains that others are happy with the service you offer. They really need to review both customer experience and communication. By the way, it could be positive if we could publish your articles or trip reports on LinkedIn. Is it something you’re thinking about?

  10. Thanks Howard! Your random experience with a pilot is great, and gives us all confidence that we should fly Adria.

  11. They could have chosen to use any review, but they picked one that pretty much summed up the flight as “OK.” Awesome, good work Adria, someone should make this blog post known to them as well. And I wonder where all the defenders of that airline in your last blog post are?

  12. I had the problem of the broken seat in front of me on a nine hour American flight from Miami to London. My mum had been injured and I needed to get back straight away. I spent 9 hours with basically a man’s head in my crotch who gave me dirty looks every time I brushed against his seat. However the flight was fully booked so I had no choice but to sit there and take it. The second he stood up I ate my meal off of his headrest.

    That was one of the worst flights I’ve ever had.

  13. and y’all piled up on me when I called Slovenia a third world country. they may have some money but look at the attitude…

  14. That doesn’t look like a cleanliness problem, it’s torn and missing carpet. It is both a trip and fire hazard and the airline should be grounded as a result.

  15. If I went onto the page of a twitter user named “All Briefs” I probably wouldn’t be expecting flight reviews.

  16. They need to fire their social media team.

    What they should do is apologize not blame supplier for slow parts. Referring straight to other reviews is purely directing readers to propaganda.

  17. Probably too long but here goes…

    As a small business owner (in relative speak smaller than Adria but in context perhaps the same when compared to their rank in the airline industry) I can understand the frustration at times that comes from these posts. While Ben may have been fair, and I think he was more than polite and fair, the comments after tend to be the dagger in the heart for the owners. Why? Because few ever notice the positive or the fact that Ben said something to the idea that this may have been isolated. The general trend is to zoom in on the negative and base their opinions on just that. I am as much to blame as anyone in that regard and this reminded me that the attraction of drama and sensational in social media comes with a price…people’s livelihoods and work – when in fact it may not be deserved.

    The fact that they cared enough to defend and respond says two things: they are trying and they are sensitive. Sure, it was perhaps a bit defensive and oddly personal, but still, they are a small company and probably without the corporate response team that Lufthansa or other large carriers have. As well they have the difficulty in conveying the message in a non-native language that might be lost in translation.

    What is the consequence of bloggers and posts like Ben’s? Well, nothing, if people actually take from his experience within the right context. That is that he fairly identified that this may not be reflective of the company as a whole. But people don’t. The result is that small companies like this that may be trying (not all…some) are heavily impacted for what may be one mistake or a small culture issue that they are trying to work on.

    Do American and Delta deserve to be called out? Absolutely. The 800lb gorilla must always be kept in check or we end up with what we are currently getting in air travel now in the U.S. But does a tiny airline that is trying to exist in a small country deserve the same? Probably not. They at least deserve a chance. They at least deserve context as to what they are, I hope, trying to do. With social media do we even give them that chance?

    Sure, some will argue that this is the checks and balances. It might be. But as much as Ben and others scream bloody murder (rightfully so) about Bonvoy and American it does nothing. Because in the end they are too big to affect and, just like Ben at the Marriott Skopje, you go anyway. So under the same microscope we put a small airline that may be trying to be special, but might be suffering some growing pains, and end up affecting perception, and later complain that “wow, there are only three airlines in the U.S. (as an example) that we can fly and they are screwing us.” I guess it’s like bullying. It’s much easier to pick on the little guy. And everyone will join along. In the end we just end up with bullies.

    Bloggers like Ben carry a powerful message. Perhaps more than they imagine. While they can defend and help us fight the behemoth’s like American and Marriott from the constant switch and bait – they can also destroy smaller more vulnerable entities like Adria. The same smaller companies that might help to keep a certain level of competition and fairness to an industry.

    Ben’s is a not a responsibility I would want. People’s work and lives are at stake. And despite how fair he might be there might be questions as to his knowing full well the finality of even a “fair” report on an airline that could turn poorly in the context of how its readers decide to take it.

  18. It’s a bit sad also how few of you reacted now and saying it’s third world country etc.,.. It’s just a company that is quite struggling (google would probably tell you so) and in the old days they were employing too much people they would personally know wich ends up in bad staff like in many places, America is no exception 😉

  19. I’m using this as an example to our airline social media team of exactly how NOT to handle a passenger issue.

    Rule #3 of airline social media – NEVER EVER engage publicly in a discussion about a complaint, or a situation that may turn negative. Take it to private messages. Regardless who may be right, your brand will wind up with egg on the face while the complainant can just walk away.

  20. Sounds like they need a new social media manager who doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder. She’s causing more damage to the brand by replying. Just shut-up woman. Better.

  21. @ben Please try Garuda Indonesia. It is consistently enlisted in the top ten, even got the best cabin crew awards for several years. You will more attentive service.

  22. How the hell such airline can survive in Star Alliance? They are joke in comparison to services that other airlines offer in this alliance, just compare it to another small European airline – Aegean.

  23. Yeah, Matt, nice try, but Adria Airways having a moron manage their social media account still doesn’t make Slovenia a third-world country.

  24. Hahaha… You pissed regarding their response? Every once in a while you were treated as common people, not the usual king and prince with dom and krug. Live with it! Hahahaha….

    Then again, I’m sure most of Adria’s target market didn’t care what was written in this blog. And those who comment shall avoid Adria, probably never left USA. Hahaha….

  25. And Matt turned up to show himself to be a third world moron once again. He may have an opinion but look at the attitude…

  26. @Stuart

    I feel you as a entrepreneur, but disagree you need special treatment.

    (From here, “you” refers to companies that suck, regardless of size)
    Companies, small or big, if poorly managed are wasting resources and should be shut down. If you suck, then do humanity a last favor and shut yourself down.

    Big companies survive because they have efficiency. New comers found new ways to be better than incumbents. New comers who can’t do better than incumbents should just stop.

    You spend more resources (money, time, labor, materials etc.) for the same output. Society is better off spending less resources for the same.

    What makes it worse, you borrow money that can be invested else where. Once you default on loan, nobody wins. Same goes with those too big to fail, they should fail. Their competitors should pick up the good pieces and trash the rest.

    This has been the case for employees since forever, if you suck at your job you get fired so the company doesn’t waste time and money on you. Why should company owner be treated differently if thier company sucks.

    I do support small business that doesn’t suck. I use my wallet to vote, bug or small business. That is why UA never made any money from me for years. That is why I don’t drive a BMW i3.

  27. @Eskimo. Of course, any business that is clearly flagrant and irresponsible on a regular basis…or provides a consistently horrific service should be called out. I get that. But I think in many cases, perhaps even the Adria review here, though fair, gets twisted into a narrative by readers in comments as being a total picture of the entire company.

    This in turn could have a detrimental effect on their business that may not be totally justified. That is, larger companies can easily absorb these things (I mean, clearly Dr. Dao had no long term affect on United) whereby smaller companies like Adria – a sample of two flights reviewed by one of the most read bloggers in the travel world – could prove to have lasting and real consequences that extends far beyond “noise around the edges.” Smaller companies are far more vulnerable to social media and perception.

    Everyone screws up. Everyone has growing pains. No company is perfect. But we have created an environment on the interwebs that favors the larger company in that an 800lb gorilla can easily brush aside the poor reviews and bad PR.

    It’s something for Ben to consider is all I am saying and for him to perhaps reflect on whether the review of one of these smaller companies, unless completely over the top and consistently bad over a larger sample than one or two flights – or if something so horrific that occurred that deserves to have attention – he might give them a bit of a pass on the public side and perhaps communicate with them directly and privately, giving them a chance to see what he experienced, until he is able to determine if this really is a total and complete picture of a poorly run company that should then be publicly called out. One needs to only look at the many privately run hotels and restaurants that have been hugely impacted by bloggers and reviews. Some justified. Many not. In the end what we have in the U.S. as a result are three Mega airlines, Mega restaurant chains, and three Mega hotel brands. And then we complain about it. But in reality we are to blame for many of the failures as small privately held consumer businesses can’t call it “noise around the edges’ like Marriott. It is destructive and dangerous to small companies that already find it hard enough to compete against the larger ones.

  28. It’s funny how some of you think that Adria Airways is this small innocent company that just needs a chance. Lol. When this is the only fricking airport that gets you around Europe from Ljubljana it means they need to get their stuff in order. People that work there carry themselves af if they’re gods instead of just doing they’re job and responding like that on twitter is embarrasing. What else can you expect when this country is so damn corrupt…On the other hand people in these comments saying Slovenia is an eastern european country….go back to elementary school. I personally liked your review very much amd it’s what this country needs to do better. Greetings from LJ;)

  29. Adria hasnt been Slovenian in years, so it basically has nothing to do with Slovenia, besides taking off and landing in Brnik. Unfortunately the catch of Brnik airport is small, as there are many bigger airports around with larger/better airlines, hence not enough people to support the airline, but it all really went downhill when the jokesters of 4K group took over. They are draining the company, the cashflow and liquidity is a joke. Say all you want about Adria(most of it is true), but dont embarass yourself by saying stupid stuff about Slovenia,they are not eastern european, they are far from being a third world country and AGAIN they(Adria Airways) have nothing to do with the country of Slovenia. Few facts for you Matt, not even gonna go into geographical mistakes you made, but, one of the safest countries in the world(11. in 2018), first “green” country in the world, one of the best places to live in the world, and with Norway voted as the best place in the world for children to live in, Michael Moore wanted to “invade” Slovenias school system (in a docu called where to invade next), etc, far from your stupid statements, so once again refrain from using Slovenia and Adria Airways in the same sentence, and complain to Z Germans about it..

  30. But you said the crew only passed through the cabin once- when did they have time to be rude then? And you did complain about the seat… or have you forgotten that too?
    Woooow some people just need attention in anyway they can get it… even if by making stuff up and creating bad publicity. Anythig to sell themselves…

  31. That`s a Slovenian way of responding to complaints, since they think they are superior and without mistakes. But the reality is opposite, they are rude selfish socialists.

  32. Adria Airways is one of the worst airlines in Europe but generalizing this experience to the whole country is just plain stupid. You can get bad experience in every country. For example, no part of Ljubljana looks as shitty as East London does. So should we say that Great Britain is a third world country? May soon be (for other reasons) but definitely not because some person had a bad experience.

    Looks like internet anonymity brings only the best out of people from superior first-world countries, right? 😀

  33. Hello Clark, you managed to write a really witty comment. And mixed AA and Slovenia once again.

    Might I ask where you’re from?

    Because if you’re from anywhere near by, I’d like to invite you to Slovenia to have a beer with me. Maybe, I might be successful in convincing you that Slovenia is not a 3rd class country after all.

    Cheers mate!

  34. As a Slovenian with over 150 flights with Adria I am saddened and ashamed by your experience – especially the response from JP is so amateur and unprofessional that it makes me want to vomit.

    As mentioned in the comments before me, Adria Airways used to be a nice regional airline with realiable service, but a hard time to be profitable. Once it was sold to the german 4K Invest it all went downhill fast. A bunch of shady business practices, delays, cancellations, combining different flights, not enough crew…

    I once wrote a complain in March after I missed my business meetings because of their cancellation and impossible rebooking route which forced me to miss my connection and I have received a reply in November. After that I have given up on them and only use them in rare cases, otherwise I use other airlines from LJU or drive to TRS/VCE.

    I really hope they can get their act together, because the staff has always been nice and professional, but I do not have a lot of faith in the new managment. I do hope they prove me wrong and wish them all the best.

  35. Ben, your post became news in Slovenia ( and even got airtime on TV. When it comes to Adria’s response it shows classic bamboozling tactics that you can regularly experience in service industries across Slovenia. For example, the article above says that the stewardess greeted you in Slovenian and you probably just didn’t understand her (why even speak Slovenian on international flights?) and that the seat was broken, but they already ordered and were waiting for new ones when this occurred (what does that have to do with customers not being able to sit?). It’s all about saving face and concocting some narrative that tries to keep the brand neutral and portray customers as being overly negative or rigid to their proposed “solutions”. You bought the ticket and if they don’t deliver what they sell (and even have foresight to know it!) they should go head over heels to accommodate you in a different way or comp you. End of story.

    Most Slovenians don’t even use Adria because of their exorbitant pricing and recent horror stories of canceling flights, stranding passengers or diverting flights. I’d guess that a major part of their customer base is government officials traveling to Brussels or business customers who can’t spare time to depart from Zagreb, Venice or Graz (which are all within two hour drive radius from Ljubljana airport).

  36. If only you would share the negative tweet of someone who is not an over-complainer. Dragan’s negative comments are certainly not limited to JP or LJU, he also complains about and to all the other non-aviation related companies that didn’t reach his ‘standards’ and you have plenty of other tweets and comments to choose from that might have more merit, because finding his was a super easy job.

  37. A native Slovenian here, living abroad for a very long time. I visit family in LJU quite often and thus, I do fly Adria reasonably frequently. Flying Adria always had an emotional connection with my home town and for that reason I was forgiving on a number of fronts when encountering their service shortfalls. I won’t spend too much effort commenting on Adria’s hard product; it’s obviously tired and outdated. As to the business class product, it’s undeserving of that name which unfortunately is intra-European standard. In addition, the regional jets as mostly flown by Adria with configuration of 2-2 abreast shouldn’t be allowed to call that product business class. I have noticed however in the recent years that, in the business class section, the neighbouring seat is being regularly blocked off as a way of compensating for the substandard seat size. Quality of inflight meals in business class leaves a lot to be desired but as I always connect onto Adria flights from a long-haul intercontinental flight, I am not hungry and without expectation decline inflight service. In relation to the cabin crew’s rudeness as it has been commented on, I’d like to offer my personal perspective, which is just that, my personal take and my personal experience, which may not be everybody’s view and experience. Whilst I appreciate one writer’s comment that Adria and Slovenia should not be used in the same sentence, I respectfully disagree. Irrespective of who owns the airline nowadays, and where it flies to or from, it is crewed by Slovenians and that justifyingly makes it Slovenian as far as the customer is concerned. For those who know Slovenians, as I do, they are direct in the way they express themselves, could be seen as abrupt even, but I would stop short of labelling them rude as a general rule. The Slovenian way is not that of tact and diplomacy, which is what can be detected in the response from Adria’s customer relations person. Do I endorse it? But of course not, I just happen to understand where they are with their thinking. I.e. they are stating facts, those being that not all reviews are bad, and that they don’t intentionally fly with broken seats, and that some people are happy with their service, etc. All true but contextually inappropriate as it doesn’t represent a client focused style of communication, which I am accustomed to receiving from other carriers I fly with. I must say though, not in defence of Adria, it’s not uniformed standard to be customer focused even amongst some of the best known world carriers, which is again a reflection of their corporate standard, combined with the national cultural norms or traditions which comes out in the communication style. I have flown countless of airlines in my time and only use but a handful now who have consistently proved their quality of service and its sustainability of standard, not only measured by the hard product offering. So given that I fly only but a few carriers nowadays selected on the basis of their superior soft product in-flight, on the ground and over the phone, why do I still fly Adria, you may ask? The answer is very simple – I mostly have no choice if I want to fly directly into LJU, and directly I want to fly given that it takes me some 24 hours flying time to get to Europe from the place where I live. In summary, by the time I get onto Adria flight, I am so tired from travelling that I actually don’t care what I get from them, so long as they get me to my family in LJU safely and (hopefully) on time. But if asked if there is something I would change at Adria, my answer would be those safety announcements which are completely illegible in all languages the crew make them in, including the native Slovenian! God help those who in the event of emergency relied on understanding those safety instructions. There simply is no logical reason why this should be so, if the crew took some pride in the work they do by putting a little effort into making the announcements purposeful as opposed to just ticking the safety compliance box.

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