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Anonymous8 Jan 2011
I have just flown SFO – LHR in First Class.
I appreciate the cabin crew can make a difference to the flight, but some aspects of a ‘product’ should be consistent.
BA’s old First Class cabin is looking tired & even the new cabin which I flew on on December 26 could have been vastly improved.
The meal service is mediocre when compared to other carriers such as ANA & Cathay Pacific.
Priority delivery of luggage for First Class passengers at LHR, the home hub is nigh on useless.
My advice to BA .. If you can not offer a proper First Class product on a consistent basis, follow the lead of airlines like Air NZ & offer an excellent Business Class product. IMHO the herringbone layout offered by VS, AC & NZ beats that of the cramped feeling that I get in the 8 abreast Club World cabin. Yes the Upper deck on the 747 is better, but when will BA order the new 747 – 8 .. ?8 Jan 2011
Bullfrog: May be you should compare BA FC service with other North American carriers and you might feel less discontented.
Pointless even to compared BA with top Asian carriers as the standards are too differrent.8 Jan 2011
I accept that First Class by Cathay & ANA are in a different league.
As regards a comparison to US carriers, I take your point that BA First is still a notch or two above the products offered by United & American.
The disappointment for me is when I can whole heartedly say that Virgin’s seat product & that of Air NZ is becoming my preference over BA’s First.
I had the fortunate pleasure of flying Premiere with Air France recently … their Paris lounge and on board seat is pretty spectacular.8 Jan 2011
The reason you are leaning towards to VS and NZ Business Class product is they go above your expectation where as BA failed to deliver consistancy with their FC services whereas hype promoted by their PR machinery has created a huge expectation by their frequent travellers.
Other airlines are stepping up their effort to improve their FC product and services and BA will really have to move fast to keep apace with it’s rivals!8 Jan 2011
I could not agree more with Bullfrog.
I just flew LHR-LAX on the old First Class. No need to dwell on the inadequacies of the seat and in flight entertainment. What really gets to me is the fact that both the seat area and bathrooms now look worn out and dirty.
My crew was average at best. Metronomic but no warmth.
Lunch was served and then a poor serving of cold sandwiches before landing. In my view inadequate for an 11 hour flight.
Despite flyingchinaman’s suggestion, I can’t but help compare BA first with EK and CX (both of which I have flown in F Class in the last 2 months) and whose product and service I rate far ahead of BA because of the fares BA Charges.
I recently secured a good deal with TG for a holiday in FEB, I would not compare it with CX but them I am paying half the fare. With BA the fare is usually higher and therefore a like for like comparison with EK/CX must be made.
Also agree with Bullfrog on new BA First. Nothing great. I am sure others will disagree.
Finally, I would never travel VS Business Class even if offered a free ticket. Last flight with them was a disaster. Uncomfortable seat (when in seat mode), inedible food and an amateurish crew.8 Jan 2011
With apologies for thread drift, BA has taken a lot of cost out of the business over the past couple of years and it is showing.
There is always a risk that cost reduction has a negative impact on brand reputation and can lead to severe problems down the line, unless you are a public sector body 😉
In other words, the P&L looks good after cost cutting and the ‘drag effect’ often leads to payback rather later. More than one ‘hero’ CEO has made their reputation by doctoring the P&L, then moving on to another role before the pigeons come home to roost. (NB: for the avoidance of doubt, this is not a sideswipe at Willie Walsh, who was in post for 5 years, before moving to a new holding company, see http://www.suite101.com/content/lessons-learned-from-ceo-chainsaw-al-dunlap-a262047 for one example.)
fclassflyer and Bullfrog have reservations about first and I have stopped flying club europe. See P.Sepkas’s comments and photo on the thread about BA’s cleaning ability.
To my mind, this is a very dangerous spiral and although BA has a strong user base and a great network, p*ssing off the premium customers is not a smart idea in a competitive market.
We shall see.8 Jan 2011
Bullfrog…In full agreement the cabins are tired and dirty, more over the service inconsistent and simply does not match the hype. The fares ex the UK are simply outrageous and BA load factor is now only achieved through deep discounts to corporate UK clients….. as much as 80% as well as a clear focus on the European market. Baggage delivery at LHR simply beggars belief.
FlyingChinaman….if we only compare BA to the utterly inept and overly protecetd US carriers plying the Pond, then even at their worst, they will be above them.
I for one think we should BA should be trying to emulate CX and others on hard product and have dedicated crew in First and Club across the fleets, they are (IMHO) relying far to heavily on past reputation, on dumping large numbers of miles on USA and European passengers and have quite clearly turned their backs on their home market. Their shorthaul CE product is simply awful, particularly over 2.5 hours.
They have T5, fabulous lounges and some great ideas but delivery is slow, whilst operational performance is poor ( this relates to both departure and arrival time as well as aircraft appearance etc) I have not departed on a shorthaul flight on time once in the tha last 13 months.
DisgustedofSwieqi…..I am going to upset VK even further. Nothing I have seen on board the new First will ever convince me that this is a new seat. It is a refurbishment / rehash of the old one. The cabin is smaller as the seat foot print is larger and this has lead to a discernable feeling of reduced personal space. Compare that to CX with just 9 on a 747.
I don’t fly as much as many of you but out of my last 5 long haul I have had 4 insurances claims, with 3 as a direct result of BAs incompetance and lack of care. My next trip to Asia is now on CX and another later on Finnair. I should be able to retain my silver card with a couple of UK domestic sectors but for the time being, and aside from a miles flight to the USA, BA has seen the last of this passenger for a while.8 Jan 2011
@Binman – agree re FC space. First time I entered the 747 NFC my immediate impression was “claustrophobia”. I felt I was always in danger of hitting my head on the overhead lockers. Otherwise the cabin in general looks much much fresher.8 Jan 2011
Recently flew from HKG to LHR in new First, what an improvement, nicer decor, better ambience, mood lighting and cool blinds and still a comfy bed. On my flight, the crew were excellent, attentive, engaging and treated me very well, and this was when overall they were 1 crew member short due to sickness and had to re-allocate the crew to different cabins. Ok it is not like Emirates but it is a solid premium product. The food on my flight was very good and service brilliant9 Jan 2011
Flew recently from LHR to Delhi and back on BA first. I fly BA all the time and have travelled in the old first previously, many times. I found the new first to be very nice in some ways and not so in others. The seats were comfortable, and the space around the seat seemed better, and they were certainly more private. However i found the cabin a bit gloomy and dark ……….with all that dark blue everywhere and i ……could not help but notice that this was an oversized club world cabin….not special…….and not exclusive anymore.That air of exclusivity that was very much noticeable in the past has vanished. The cabin crew were indifferent and seemed to treat us like we were all bunched in together in the same ‘class’……………that is not what you pay for………..The rope that divides club and first has gone…( a small thing …i know) but its the little touches that make the difference…also i was on the new 777-300 and the washrooms were……pityful to say the least…….exactly the same as an economy washroom on a 737…….The food was dissapointing ………..and the attitude of the crew was not good…….. I have flown club before on filghts with no first and have been treated like royalty………..but sadly not on this trip……..mind you , it did not help that most of our fellow passengers in first had been upgraded from first and were quite vocal in letting everyone know of their achievements………..certainly not BA gold card holders…………10 Mar 2011
Just flew Hong Kong to JFK and back in CX first. A stunning product and as a fellow one world member, the best, next to JAL. Seat, Food, Wines, TV screen, cabin temperature, crew. Just what first should be. Only downer for CX in my view is the lounge in Hong Kong…..BA has the best lounge in the world at T5 in my view. Shared BA/CX/QF first lounge in JFK small, tired, poor offerings and simply, more like a WTP lounge if you ask me.
Thank you CX, you are leading in my view on what the FIRST experience is all about11 Mar 2011