NTarrant, you are perfectly right. The initial greeting, the use of your name and the welcome smile makes the whole flight so much better. As GoonerLondon says, it is very difficult to get right consistently, but you always tend to feel that on BA it is genuine.
Isn’t this coming down to the point that it is the crew that makes the biggest difference to any flight? Broken seat mechanisms, poor food, they can always happen, but how it is dealt with tempers your response and your future feelings for the particular airline. I should hate this present dispute to mar the passenger /crew relationship which I have experienced generally.