FTI Touristik, SmartLynx Airline and the „crew toilet“ of flight 6Y601

The trouble with the budget airline SmartLynx continues: FTI Touristik holidaymakers complained massively about the flight with the flight number 6Y601 on 9 October 2021 from Berlin to Hurghada in Egypt, which was operated by the Latvian SmartLynx Airline SIA. A concerned passenger reported that a flight attendant of SmartLynx Airline said during the flight „in an unpleasant tone of voice that the front on-board toilet was the crew toilet and that all passengers had to use the rear toilets.

A toilet reserved solely for use by the crew was previously unknown to FTI Touristik holidaymakers on any flight, either to Asia or the USA, with FTI holidaymakers saying: „…we also find this behaviour by SmartLynx Airline simply outrageous from FTI Touristik GmbH!“

In the case of a severely disabled toddler on board the FTI flight, the SmartLynx Airline crew only opened the front toilet after multiple requests.

A statement from the crew of FTI flight 6Y601 on 09 October 2021, confirms that the father of the severely disabled child had to be specially unlocked the front aircraft toilet by the crew first. The front on-board toilet was therefore not freely accessible to the passengers. Such a procedure is morally completely incomprehensible to the editorial team, not only with regard to the child with multiple disabilities.

Especially in times of the coronavirus, when contacts should be avoided as much as possible, it is, in the opinion of DEUTSCHE TAGESZEITUNG, extremely questionable why SmartLynx Airline makes the holidaymakers of FTI Touristik GmbH walk through the entire aircraft so that they can reach the rear toilets of the aircraft. It is simply incomprehensible why over 200 passengers on board an Airbus 321 have to walk through the entire aircraft on their way to the rear toilets, just so that the 6 – 8 crew members of the SmartLynx on-board personnel have their „own crew toilet“.

So far, although this case was made public by e-mail from FTI and SmartLynx, neither FTI Touristik GmbH Managing Director Ralph Schiller, nor the Managing Director of the Latvian SmartLynx Airline SIA, Zygimantas Surintas, have commented on this incident.

The headlines surrounding SmartLynx are thus not diminishing: For example, the renowned Swiss newspaper „Blick“ already ran the following headline about the Latvian low-cost airline SmartLynx in the summer of 2021: „Latvian Mishap Airline Says Sorry“. In September, „Blick“ then said: „Horrendous trip from Gran Canaria to Basel – Smartlynx passengers had to spend the night on the tarmac in Nuremberg“ and in October, FTI Touristik holidaymakers demanded that the „Latvian budget airline SmartLynx should have its landing rights for Germany revoked“.

DEUTSCHE TAGESZEITUNG discovered massive flights of the Latvian SmartLynx SIA within the last three days alone (Friday, 15.10. to Monday, 18.10. 2021), some of which were delayed by many hours, including flights with FTI Touristik holidaymakers – the flight data were photographed and can be proven:
– 2N7013 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMC) from Riga to Colombo
– 6Y832 (aircraft registration: YL-LCU) from Rhodes to Saarbr?cken
– 2N9907 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMA) from Riga to Hong Kong
– 6Y3574 (aircraft registration: YL-LCU) from Rhodes to Saarbr?cken
– 2N9907 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMA) from Riga to Hong Kong
– 2N7013 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMC) from Riga to Colombo
– 6Y9512 (aircraft registration: YL-LCV) from Leipzig to Berlin
– 6Y252 (aircraft registration: YL-LCX) from Antalya to Riga
– 6Y7015 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMC) from New York to Riga
– MYX537 (aircraft registration: 9H-SLH) from Tallinn to Antalya
– 2N9201 (aircraft registration: 9H-SLK) from Riga to Luqa
– N9141 (aircraft registration: YL-LCX( from Copenhagen to Fuerteventura
– 2N7016 (aircraft registration: 9H-SMC) from Riga to Colombo

That is 13 flights with delays in 3 days, the delays of all SmartLynx flights in the last three days amounted to 50 percent – which means that every second flight of SmartLynx was delayed in the last 3 days, as mentioned above partly by many hours.
Whether the holidaymakers of FTI Touristik GmbH or also TUI AG, who let their holidaymakers fly with aeroplanes of the Latvian low-cost airline SmartLynx, think this is a good thing, cannot be evaluated at present, but is currently being examined in an opinion poll by DEUTSCHE TAGESZEITUNG and will be reported later.

Moreover, tourists must bear in mind when concluding travel contracts with FTI Touristik GmbH that the validity of German law is excluded when booking through FTI-Touristik and being transported by an aircraft of the Latvian SmartLynx Airline. Instead, Latvian law applies, which the airline points out in the event of claims being asserted: „According to the terms and conditions of our client (…) Latvian law applies to the contract of carriage.“

According to the DEUTSCHE TAGESZEITUNG, travellers of FTI Touristik GmbH feel that they are being „treated down“ by SmartLynx Airline SIA when the airline has its lawyers point out: „Our client* is calmly awaiting the judicial assertion of alleged claims (…) that you have announced.“
*Editor’s note: „Client“ is SmartLynx Airline SIA.

In the coming weeks, our investigative research team will repeatedly take a close journalistic look at flights operated by SmartLynx Airline SIA and report week by week on any complaints and possible delays by SmartLynx Airline SIA, just as it is the task of the press under press law to criticise where appropriate and also to inform travellers about possible abuses.
We will also report on a case in which armed police officers boarded FTI flight 6Y601, which is currently the subject of a criminal complaint.

At the same time, FTI holidaymakers have informed DEUTSCHE TAGESZEITUNG that they will report the incidents on board the SmartLynx aircraft with the registration of FTI flight 6Y601 of 9 October 2021 to the Federal Aviation Authority in Braunschweig as well as the Health Authority of the Dahme-Spreewald district (responsible for BER Airport).

Keywords:FTI, TUI, SmartLynx, crew toilet, SmartLynx Airline SIA, TUI AG, FTI Touristik GmbH, Ralph Schiller, Zygimantas Surintas, 6Y601, flight 6Y601, Hurghada, BER, crew, Blick, Federal Aviation Authority

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