My big years of flying were in the 90’s and 00’s. I spent a lot of time in the BA First, and occassionally CW. Now, most of my flying is paid for by others around the world who I am acting as a kind of mentor to.
If I compare BA then and BA now, I think the primary difference is that, historically, what they said in their blurb was pretty much what you could expect to get on board. In fact when they launched their “new” first “demi cabins” (was it 1994 or 1995?), it was an absolute game changer for the industry. Sadly, today (although I have not flown CW for several years), their marketing blurb is still telling the same story as it used to, but what you now get on board bears no likeness to that blurb at all. My recent flights in F (on both 380’s and 773’s) have been shockingly poor, both for the inconsistent levels of service, and the paucity of choice/quality in the catering.
So for me, the problem is not so much how good BA are/are not compared to their peers, but how far short the actual experience falls compared to their hype.
I will be flying CX to Australia next week in their “newish” J class and, having not flown them for a few years, am quite interested to see how they perform.