Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince should resign his position or be fired. The Fairford Air Tattoo has never been cancelled in its 38 years history, yet on this sunny day Saturday July 12th, they have cancelled it because of “a sustained period of heavy rainfall that has resulted in waterlogged conditions not only in the public car parks but also on the airfield itself.”
I am not in a position to judge as to whether this was the right decision or not – I have not seen the airfield.
What I am furious about is that no significant effort was made to contact people who have bought tickets and travelled – in some cases a long way at great financial expense – to attend the show.
I checked the website on Saturday morning before leaving London, actually to see if the aircraft participation list had been updated. Not surprisingly, I missed the tiny note on the page stating that the show was cancelled today. This is absurd in the extreme. With something as major as cancelling the event (for half the participants) WHY is it not SPLASHED across the page in red to avoid anyone not seeing it??? Instead the graphics still stated 12th & 13th July.
Its incompetent in the extreme.
I booked a ticket online. RIAT and Ticketmaster have my email address. Did I receive an email telling me it was cancelled? No. Only a moron would not consider sending out an email to all those who bought Saturday or Saturday/Sunday tickets – its cost-free, instant and effective.
Instead I wasted my day, wasted £100 on train tickets and cannot even book for Sunday if I want to.
Other sensible measures would have been to WARN people as the airfield was getting water logged, that cancellation might be a possibility and to put signs (easy to print on any laser or inkjet printer) at major travel hubs (London, Edinburgh, Birmingham) stating that the show was cancelled.
I’m furious and disappointed and other than providing a refund (to take 8 weeks!) for my tickets, RIAT has provided no further compensation – I don’t expect them to pay for my train tickets, that would be naive; but having failed completely to make any effort to inform people who may attend (there was not even a sign at Swindon Station, I had to be told by a bus driver whom I asked) the least RIAT could do is offer a token discount for next years event – one which I doubt I shall be supporting after this years debacle.
In summary, Tim Prince and his colleagues should have:
- Informed all Saturday or Sat/Sun ticket holders on Friday that there were potential problems with water logged fields
- Informed all Saturday or Sat/Sun ticket purchases by email that the show is cancelled as soon as they knew
- Put a very obvious banner in red on the RIAT homepage and Air Tattoo homepage
- Put a simple sign up at Swindon train station
- Put a simple sign up at major transport hubs