DENNIS SEID: Silver, airport must hope fliers will be understanding

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Consumers don’t have a lot of patience, for the most part. If we want something, we want it now; there’s no waiting because it’s out of stock (unless you’re an iPhone 5 customer).
Explanations and excuses only go so far before we give up and go elsewhere. So let’s talk about Silver Airways.
Let me first say this: Everybody should want Silver to succeed, not only in Tupelo, but in the other cities where it provides air service. After all, it’s our tax dollars helping with a federal subsidy. We would be idiots to want something we’re paying for to fail.
By now you know last week’s inaugural flight was very much delayed. It was raining, the weather was rough from here to Atlanta. Delays happened. Could Silver have flown in with the weather? I don’t know.
But how many times were Delta and Northwest flights delayed or canceled due to weather?
Needless to say, there’s still a lot of uncertainty from the general public about Silver, and you really can’t blame them.
Silver promised a “seamless transition” when it took over service. With an agreement with Delta in place, passengers could go to Delta’s website and book a flight from Tupelo to Atlanta (and beyond if they wanted).
Well, that hasn’t happened yet. But Silver is crossing its wings that it happens soon. Maybe by November.
It’s natural tendency for many to go to an airline’s website to book a flight. Or a travel website. Right now, Expedia is the one that’s working well with Silver. The others, not so much.
Mickey Bowman, Silver’s vice president of essential air service, said Silver actually had pushed back its service start in Tupelo at Delta’s request. He said the expectation was for Delta’s website to be working along with Silver’s. It’s still a work in progress.
The good news is you can buy a round-trip, unrestricted ticket to Atlanta for $236 plus tax. Where you go beyond Atlanta is up to you. If you’re a loyal Delta customer, and when its website is working seamlessly with Silver’s reservation system, you’ll be able to book a flight through Delta, fly on Silver to Atlanta, switch to a Delta plane and go anywhere in the world. Check your bags and go through security in Tupelo, land in Atlanta, then hop on your next Delta flight. That’s how it should be working.
It’s working like that now if you book through Expedia, by the way.
The Saab planes Silver is using are among the last to roll off the line and are more comfortable and more quiet, Bowman said. White-noise canceling is used to accomplish the latter, he said.
And as for the schedule – three daily flights Monday through Friday, one on Saturday and two on Sunday – it can be tweaked. The schedule isn’t set in stone and can be adjusted.
So, they’re trying to make things work.
Maybe potential passengers will be patient and understanding. But they won’t wait too long.
Contact Business Editor Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.