Should Club Europe GoBack to Forum
Anonymous19 May 2014
Catering or lack of now my biggest concern. Hot food only between 12 midday until 2pm, then only after 5pm . Hot breakfast now ends at 9.30.
Recent 2 hour flight after the midday watershed only salad offered no hot option.
Quote BA – salad or hot dish offered on flights after midday .
This and the soon to be implemented legroom reduction and NO policing of economy pax plonking their bags in the forward bins make this service a poor value option – or do you have another opinion ?19 May 2014
The topic of whether or not business class within Europe has a future was covered here with much useful comment and feedback:
http://www.businesstraveller.com/discussion/topic/Alex-on…-the-future-for-business-class-within-Europe19 May 2014
Your comment is timely as BA is currently undertaking a wholesale review of the LHR shorthaul business including the CE offering. I do believe however that CE will be retained.
BA’s cost per seat are 70% higher than easyjet and double that of Ryanair. These are also BA’s two main competitors in the shorthaul market.
BA have said that Club Europe remains an important offering for two main reasons – consistency in longhaul to shorthaul transfer product and also it is an important revenue stream. BA accepts that hardly no-one buys Business Class short haul fares anymore. In fact nearly all companies prohibit their employees doing so. What a lot of people do opt for however is the upgrade ‘offers’ usually about £60-£80 per sector offered a few weeks before departure on MMB. The rest of the passengers in CE tend to be transfer traffic.
The main focus of the review is to make Eurofleet turn a profit in it’s own right (it currently just breaks even).
Productivity of aircraft and crews are obviously a focus. BA wants their aircraft (and crews) in the air more than they currently are. An example of this is the Edinburgh to Ibiza night flights where the aircraft would normally be on the ground and taking advantage of seasonal demand to destinations like Mykonos and Santorini.
The other focus is operational performance with the fact remaining that punctuality remains #1 in terms of customer wants on a shorthaul flight.
The company is also looking at how revenue is shared between longhaul and shorthaul on say a ATH-LHR-JFK ticket. How much revenue of that flight should go to each? Does it need re-jigging.
New fare types are also on the horizon. This will follow in the footsteps on the handbaggage only and daytripper return fares already launched.19 May 2014
Thanks RF – Have been avid supporter for many years of CE mainly for the extra sideways space – no one in middle starboard and small gap portside especially with companion – most of my CE trips are almost 3 hours so catering quality essential – recent flight had CE PAX bringing their own Plane Food – first time ii have seen this !19 May 2014
I was struck by RF’s comment that most direct bookings for CE these are MMB upgrades. This is exactly what I did last year for a trip to IST and I was very pleased with it. However, I wonder if the problem lies with the title of this thread “Should CE Go?”. I think the real question is “Should CE be renamed?” to something like Main Cabin Extra or Premium Economy? This is a far more accurate description of the offering which only really justifies a small premium in price.
The big issue with this though is the transfer passenger flying on a J ticket who will feel short changed if their transfer is not a true business class. It feels like BA is caught between two stools here and unable to decide which way to go. Obviously the US carriers have solved this by having both a First class and a Main Cabin Extra on their planes and it would be wonderful to see BA try to do the same but that obviously is not going to happen.19 May 2014
I guess in terms of benefits you need to look at the passenger travelling in Club Europe. For example, if you are an Emerald and booked in economy and you accept an offer to upgrade for a nominal amount the only ‘extras’ you will get is more tier points, an upgraded meal experience, champagne and the middle seat blocked off.
But say you are Mr and Mrs Smith with no FF status going on a romantic weekend away to Prague. You are booked in economy and given the option to upgrade to Club Europe for £57 each. In return you will get all of the above plus: Club Check in, Fast Track, Lounge access, priority boarding, priority baggage. All the perks you get as a top tier travelling in Y anyway. But for some people it would be well worth a small premium.
In terms of renaming the product, I don’t think that would be a good move. I think CE is pretty comparable to other european airlines J offering in terms of the usual middle-seat-blocked-off. Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Alitalia, KLM, Iberia all retain the ‘Business Class’ label to maintain a degree of consistency for transfer traffic. I’d doubt BA would deviate from this.19 May 2014
Given the amount of premium transfer traffic that BA seem to generate I would have thought that removing the C cabin on short haul was a mistake.
LH have shown the sense to retain their routes to FRA and MUC with a differentiated product while handing the rest of their services to 4U. AF have done something similar with the routes they have handed to HOP.
Where BA differs is that I think just about all their services start or finish in London so the option of a differentiated product does not really exist. If they choose to remove C then others will no doubt be only too happy to take up the slack in the market. I understand that LH have seen a significant reduction in revenue on the LHR-TXL route since handing it to 4U and are now considering a reversal as the premium passengers have simply moved away rather than try 4U.
Then again with Walsh in charge perhaps C will be gone by the end of the month. Or perhaps instead he ought to take heed of his mate O’Liary and the drop in profits at FR which might suggest that people are done with cheap and nasty.19 May 2014
My thoughts on this align somewhat with Bath_VIP’s but go a step further. I think they should go three-class. A *proper* business class with different seats. That would help with the transfer-to-long-haul market, and, of course, the people-prepared-to-pay market. I can’t help thinking the floor-space to have 2×2 wouldn’t be much different to the current 3×3-with-one-blocked-off. Then economy seating with extra legroom, for a fee. Then economy.
If they really don’t want to introduce specific seating, then for heaven’s sake don’t reduce legroom throughout as has been touted. Rather, keep the current seating and retain the flexibility to “move the curtain”: market as three-class – CE (middle seat blocked, extra legroom), something like AA’s Main Cabin Extra (3×3, extra legroom) and economy. That way they can eke extra cash out of economy passengers for the rows with extra legroom, but retain that quality for premium pax (because frankly, an extra seat beside you is nice, but when the seat in front of you in your face/lap, it isn’t much of an advantage)19 May 2014
Have to agree with RFergusons analysis , I have used CE for short haul travel and found it worth the money with the perks and service received , if using for leisure you then compare the costs to the likes of Thomson and Monarch and another perk is free hold luggage , I have a CE flight booked to ACE which at the time of booking was only slightly more than Thomson was charging once luggage was included and ex legroom added , but I still have a bit more room , lounge access , free food and drink so its a good all in deal . I would like BA to maintain that level and hope it doesn’t dilute CE so there is very little difference between it and other UK based options .
It will be interesting to see how my upcoming flight goes and I will report a detailed review of the flight19 May 2014
I feel the question that needs to be asked is
“DOES BA HAVE A FUTURE RUNNING SHORT HAUL SERVICES?”
To be clear, should Vueling assume the operation of BA (and Iberia) short haul services, using their low cost base to increase competitivity.
My GF and I used Vueling last year and were impressed by the experience, including paying £35 each, each way, to keep the middle seat free in row 2 – it was very nearly as good as CE, given the comments in the OP.19 May 2014
KM a good question – and one that I believe has been used to leverage proposed changes in productivity and work rules within the LHR shorthaul operation. The ‘Inflight Customer Experience Manager’ has stated that the department and it’s staff need to bring the shorthaul business into profit to the tune of £105M by end of 2015 and that at the moment the shorthaul staff can shape their own destiny. And if they fail to do so, IAG will shape it for them. Which as you say could involve using Vueling on some routes.
The problem any LOCO (actually I believe the Vueling CEO prefers the term ‘new generation airline’ to LOCO) would have at LHR though is in maintaining the same productivity they have at other airports. Airlines like Vueling are successful from a financial perspective because their aircraft are pretty much constantly in the air and turnaround time on the ground are scheduled at around 25 minutes. This would never be achievable at a congested airport like LHR, certainly not on a large scale anyway.19 May 2014
rferguson – 19/05/2014 17:13 GMT
You are right, Heathrow is unproductive (for us pax, too), but on the same basis as creating the mixed fleet we hear so much about, then the attraction of reducing labour rates must be known to the management team.19 May 2014
I also agree with Bath_VIP, that it can affect transfer passengers. I transfer through LHR and default to CE because of my onward J booking. Our travel system does not like “premium economy” so instead of just saying that the cabin class is not available, it will instead re route you to another airline with business. I then end up via Frankfurt etc and paying a lot more.
I don’t think the CE product is so bad for short haul, although agree with everyone that losing leg room is not the way to go. If you fly Brussels airlines b.business, then you will see really poor value for money.
Just like rfurguson states, when I started to travel again with BA, I had no one world status, so I would not have had lounge access on my first two returns until Silver arrived. This means four legs with no lounge and a wait of three hours or more in T5.
Not so bad in some places as I have priority pass free from the credit card, but of no use in T5. I think the reasonable price charged is ok for what they offer (although I take the breakfast flight, so no salads so far!!).19 May 2014