I'm not sure whether this adds any fuel to the 'stalling' fire, but when at Thorpe Park 2 weeks ago, Saw was down all day as it had stalled on the overbank after the Immelman during testing that morning. I believe it's not the first time, and I'm still not sure how it's possible to stall there - but it was there all day, with another train held at the top of the vertical lift.
Seems to be a potential Gertslauer glitch...
As for Alton Towers and them advertising an opening date, well, I can totally understand people's frustration and anger. A lot of people travel long distances to visit Alton Towers, and will book hotels and days off work weeks and months in advance. Towers gave a clear opening date and there was no reason to suspect there would be major issues. Sure, some of us might anticipate some down-time, but for the coaster not to open at all 3 days after it's advertised opening date is a poor showing indeed. To be honest, even without the weather over winter, I can't see there being any way they could have ever opened for the start of season - they've always appeared to be a long way behind schedule with this project.
As for how they've handled it, reports from on park would suggest they have a lot of angry customers on their hands, and offering return tickets is not much compensation for people who've travelled long distances, booked time off work and incurred fuel costs etc. Customer service is the most important part of being in the service industry, and they've failed pretty badly on all counts here.
I understand why enthusiasts are defensive of Alton Towers, but the general public simply don't have your level of knowledge around theme parks, coasters and potential problems. They will see it advertised on the TV, the huge level of coverage in the national media over the last fortnight, and plan their visit. So I totally empathise with their situation.
Couldn't have summed it up better myself.
Hardly post here but I've been following this forum for the smiler construction.
Me and my friend booked a last minute trip down from Glasgow. Spent money on flights, trains, accommodation for 3 nights for 2 days at alton towers. Spent a fortune actually. And for absolutely NOTHING. We are going to write a letter to alton towers and complain because we booked to come down purely to ride The Smiler. We have a number of things to complain about as well as The Smiler because staff were extremely unhelpful, the rides were always breaking down and SO HELP ME GOD they closed off the bloody x-sector!! Which made queues even more unbearable and we couldn't ride oblivion. RAGGGGEEEE