I think you are spot on in regards to BA needing to be concerned about products the competition are introducing into their premium cabins.
As I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread I think the tipping point will be the likes of Delta and United offering much improved J class products on BA’s bread-and-butter routes from London to the US. Especially in the case of Delta which is becoming a force to be reckoned with across the atlantic. Once it’s JV with VS is approved it will have huge clout in the transatlantic arena.
I think while BA recognises that the gulf carriers have taken a proportion of it’s traffic from those either price sensitive or who have to travel via LHR anyway they don’t believe they have eaten too much into their share of south east UK passengers that need non-stop flights to Asia. A competitor offering a plethora of daily non-stop flights to BA’s most lucrative route though (DL and VS have announced they plan a ‘shuttle’ like timetable LHR-JFK once they receive JV approval) and the ball game will change. To think Delta had ZERO presence at LHR only five years ago.
I agree, I think it would have been a great opportunity to launch a new F/J product on the A380/787. I would imagine the decision NOT to do this was not taken lightly and that there was a large debate at leadership level. For whatever reason, the current product prevailed.
Saying that, it doesn’t mean that BA will not launch new J class products in the near future. I guess for all of us here it would seem logical to just launch new products on a new aircraft type.
But take the example of Lufthansa. They chose not to launch their new J product when they started flying the A380 although the design had been decided. They chose instead to launch it on their new 747’s and then retrofit the rest of the fleet. Sometimes I think that there may be more reasons to a particular decision that we may be aware of on here.
One thing that BA has always relied on is the goodwill of it’s longstanding Executive Club F & J class passengers. Rightly or wrongly. It is clearly evident from many that post on here that perhaps the tide has turned and former Golds and Silvers have said ‘enough!’ and walked. I can remember the bad old days of working long haul flights from Terminal Four, when it was nearing it’s end as BA’s home. What a disgrace. 30%+ of flights arriving at ‘remote’ stands where it wasn’t uncommon to wait an hour or more for the busses to take passengers to arrivals. Even larger waits for their baggage once they finally made it to arrivals. If I was a regular user of BA I would have walked, without a doubt to a competitor. BA’s mantra was ‘everything will be different when we move to T5’. And passengers put up with the crap until we did move to T5. Where after a dire opening week the terminal did end up living to expectations pretty much and turning BA from LHR’s very worst time keeper to one of the best. Today, I see the same thing happening with our products. Old CW on a 767 for example. ‘Oh but a shiny new 787 will fly this route soon’ our loyal passengers are told. Soon it will no doubt be ‘oh a new J class design is on the cards’. Does enough goodwill still exist? Only time will tell I guess.