BA’s July 4th double celebrationBack to Forum
@ AllOverTheGaff – 14/06/2013 13:29 GMT
For those who are not living within the London Airways catchment area, you’ve got a point about connections. How does T5 compare with elsewhere in your experience?14 Jun 2013
Blimey, don’t get me started on LHR…..you think I moan a lot about BA? 😉
I’ve stopped all flights via LHR unless I absolutely have no choice. To the point I’ve been to London 6 times this year and taken the train each time, have another 2 London jaunts soon and will be train again. In fairly quick succession I had two interactions with their security goons and after the 2nd episode decided I’d have no more. My latter crime? I’d not taken my iPad out of my carry-on, had debagged the laptop but the iPad was under the cloak of the case. Fair enough, my mistake (albeit the rules on tablets seem to change with the wind) so I waited for the bag to come to me for searching. Took over an hour to resolve. Their “Fast Track” should be fined under trades description, I’ve never been through “fast”…ever.
I never was a big fan of the BA lounges either – that being said, I know a lot of people spend a lot of time discussing lounges but they aren’t one of my hotspots. The lounge EK use in Glasgow is awful, so bad that I think I might just miss it entirely on my next flight.
The comparison for me would be DXB. I don’t like the whole bus thing when you land, but then who does? But, they have a dedicated 1st class bus, they get me to the terminal within 15 minutes and I then get through a proper fast track security. The airport is then always mobbed and I head to the lounges. Having said what I said about lounges not being a hotspot, the lounges in DXB are wonderful, their 1st lounge especially, the space, the peace, great restaurant food and vast selection of good wine. Then it’s normally a dodge through the crowd to the gate and on-board.
So, my synopsis is that DXB is better all round once you get to the haven of the lounges, looking forward to their new A380 terminal on my next flight with them to see what’s in store.
As far as T5 goes? I’d rather not.
AOTG.14 Jun 2013
brilliant post rferguson!!
A classic example of where BA doesnt work is for leisure travellers in the CW cabin for example JFK-LHR (IMHO)
They saved and paid a lot of money to be told to eat in the lounge…Many leisure travellers are used to this concept and expect to eat onboard. When they get onboard they have a very limited option to eat on a sleeper service flight. At breakfast time they are presented with a measly (and in my opinion) embarrassing half tray with a plastic tub of fruit!?!?
They are invited to use the arrivals lounge facilities.. but again not really a concept leisure travellers are in to.
On the other hand… this works perfect for our business travellers.14 Jun 2013
rferguson, as always an insightful and interesting post. I would like to add something to one of your comments, though:
“But for all of those who question why BA didn’t come up with a new product in J or F for the A380/787 there is a very simple answer. Because the current one works. It remains popular. And with BA linking the financial centre of London to other major centres of the world they have no problem filling the seats at a decent yield. And by sticking with the same seat and the same configuration they can get more seats into the same area. Simple.”
I do see the validity of this comment, and that because of the revenue-sharing arrangement with AA, they need not hold much fear of AA sucking revenue away with their much-improved J class offering on their key transatlantic routes. At the moment, then, BA’s position may be relatively secure in relation to J-class revenue. However, it is quite clear that competition on the seat front is hotting up. More and more airlines are introducing newer and (from the passenger perspective) better seats. Just as BA innovated and started the trend towards the flat-bed J class seat, so more and more airlines have followed suit (and now taken a lead), and I think it is fair to say that now, while we are not yet quite in a position where people “expect” a flat bed seat in long-haul J, that day is not far off. And once flat beds become the norm, so that BA’s former advantage in that area is gone, how will BA continue to compete?
Given that BA are painfully slow in updating their seats generally, and even slower at rolling them out (more than three years after New First was announced and it still isn’t finished – contrast CX who announced new business class a year later and who have completed the retrofit already), most of the initial comments on this board about the A380 and B787 were expressing disappointment not just at the fact that no new seat had been rolled out, but also that the logical conclusion is that the existing seats will be with us for (I am guessing here, I confess) at least five years and quite possibly the next decade. While this can only be a matter of conjecture and opinion, it is my view that by that time the limitations of the seat will be seen as a significant drawback when compared with competitors who have continued to innovate – an idea that BA seems to have rather given up on. And I for one, as a patriotic Brit* (albeit an emigrant!) think that is a shame, not least because I think it will hurt BA in the long run. BA seem to me (and I am happy to bow to the greater knowledge of other contributors if I am wrong, but would welcome any comment) to be losing out on market share for Asia due to competition from Gulf and Asian carriers, they are losing market share on the Kangaroo route (particularly with the QF/Emirates tie-up), they are losing market share for long-haul traffic from the UK regions because connections are more convenient from Gulf carriers or through AMS… Although at the moment they are holding their own, I truly wonder how long the current model is sustainable. And, as we all know, faced with those sorts of pressures a failure to innovate is a recipe for failure. What is the answer? To go downmarket (to chase volume), to go upmarket (to boost prices), or to go “boutique” and offer something different (a USP). Which of these is BA doing? As I see it (again only my own personal observations), a little bit of the first (hand-luggage only fares, for example), not much of the second, and not much of the third (although I would note here the relentless flood of e-mails I receive for each BA flight urging me to buy hotel rooms, rent cars, buy extra luggage, upgrade classes – they certainly are innovating by trying to gouge passengers for money at every opportunity while still maintaining the facade of being an “all-inclusive” carrier)
Finally, to your last point – I recently had occasion on a different thread to look at the seat maps for BA’s and CX’s 744s. CX only have the old “coffin class” seating on their 744s (because they are going to be retired, so they will not be retrofitted). Since I believe the 744s have the same upper deck size it is one of the few places one can draw a direct comparison between airlines and seat density. And guess what? BA’s yin-yang – 20 seats. CX’s old coffin class? 22…. Interesting.,. Not terribly relevant, though, I grant you, since that is CX’s old offering, and it is abundantly clear that their new offering takes up a much larger footprint than BA’s, but I think it does demonstrate that although the yin-yang configuration seems space-efficient, and it certainly minimises the personal space every passenger receives, it isn’t necessarily that efficient overall!
* EDITED TO ADD Further to the post above about affiliations, I am not employed in the travel industry, nor do I have any financial stake in any travel company (save in the form of unused tickets and air miles,which I suppose do represent an indirect financial interest!).17 Jun 2013
esselle – 17/06/2013 10:19 GMT
Pity the usual thread manipulation, as esselle’s post was at the top of the page when I first looked. Now pushed back due to a deletion of an old post by the usual suspect methinks.
Edit – Plus another delete and repost of VK’s post initially prior to this below – spoiling continuity.17 Jun 2013
As the above three posts typically add no value whatsoever, and are not about business travel, which is the subject of this site, I will re-iterate my earlier on topic post:
“But for all of those who question why BA didn’t come up with a new product in J or F for the A380/787 there is a very simple answer. Because the current one works. It remains popular.
And with BA linking the financial centre of London to other major centres of the world they have no problem filling the seats at a decent yield. And by sticking with the same seat and the same configuration they can get more seats into the same area. Simple.”
Quite right, rferguson.
The cabins remain popular, and the traffic stats show positive trends despite the fragile economic news.
In fact, quite apart from the usual criticisms, BA did intend to roll out its new cabins on the A380; it was the A380 delivery which was delayed, not the development of BA’s new cabins, which can be seen below:
WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS:
The above cabins were rolled out on the 777-300ER in 2010 and will feature in BAs 777-300, 787 and A380 deliveries. We remain in anticipation of what will be installed onboard the A350s.
Cue usual non-added value anti-BA post below:17 Jun 2013
VintageKrug – 17/06/2013 10:15 GMT : In fact, quite apart from the usual criticisms, BA did intend to roll out its new cabins on the A380; it was the A380 delivery which was delayed, not the development of BA’s new cabins… [links to pages about new First, new WT+ and new WT] … The above cabins were rolled out on the 777-300ER in 2010
Nonetheless, VK, as noted many times on these pages, “New” First wasn’t a game-changer. I won’t comment on WT+ or WT as I have no recent experience of them or their competitors, and have no intention of doing so. However, I do feel qualified to comment on CW – and that cabin is notably absent from your list of “new” cabins, and is the cabin with which so much of this thread has been occupied.
Slice it or dice it how you will, the fact remains that there has been no significant change in the business class cabin for quite a few years, and it doesn’t seem as though there will be one for quite a few more years to come. BA missed an opportunity – even with the extra time they were given because of the delays in delivery! – to jump ahead of the competition as they did so many years ago. As a result, they will increasingly (IMHO) fall behind, particularly on key routes. Significantly better business class seats (which I understand to be the main revenue generator) are now being offered by, for example, AA for transatlantic, CX/SQ/MH for Asia etc. (I am sure there are many other examples besides), and the reality is that this trend is not going to change unless BA do something about it. Only they didn’t…17 Jun 2013
In December 2010 traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, fell by 8.3 per cent. Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was down 7.7 per cent on December 2009. This resulted in a passenger load factor decrease of 0.4 points versus last year, to 76.4 per cent.17 Jun 2013
How can anybody suggest that the BA Club World product with 8 seats across is good? The middle seats are appalling with no divider between you and someone you really do not want to sleep with. Climbing over some hideous body, nowhere to put a bottle of water, uncomfortable beds, the crew banging into the aisle seats as you try to sleep, the footstool part of the ‘bed’ collapsing as you move. All this is not conducive to a modern Business Class product…whatever we are told on BT.17 Jun 2013
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.17 Jun 2013
I wouldn’t say posts on here reflect any sort of tide whatsoever.
BA will have sophisticated revenue management tools which will give them good warning when yields are slipping, which is what will drive any changes.
BA’s Club World product was a true market innovation when first brought in. It has led the field for over a decade, in its various iterations, and remains competitive.
To have introduced a new cabin back in 2010 when it was far from certain what the competition would offer would have been premature, and not a good use of funds at a time when the airline was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
I foresee, for instance, massive savings in IFE as iPads are routinely offered instead of the fixed integrated systems/screens which add weight, are a potential fire risk, and inevitably become outdated over the life of the aircraft.
Far better for BA to have invested in the older F, WT+ and WT cabins, which is what happened.
Importantly, Club World also remains a consistent offering on the 777/747; there’s one thing people moan about on here it is the pace at which cabins are changed over as if it was as easy as changing one’s sofa in the Drawing room.
I can see BA exploring a new version of Club World, in the context of aircraft which don’t have an F cabin for those who need more space.
It should be noted improving Club World would no doubt result in fewer aircraft sporting a First cabin; we’ve seen Lufthansa removing F because it now has a fully flat product in J.
I can’t really see what I would improve about Club World; the IFE screens could be retina display, I’d like a proper spectacle holder. The catering has improved markedly in recent months.
So it’s only really addressing the less than 50% of seats without direct aisle access which is an issue, though one I feel which is rather overdone in these pages.
Hardly an issue on day flights when the footstool isn’t in use or flights with empty seats, and just not that hard to step over even for those of modest stature. Just a manufactured agenda-serving issue.
Personally I’m happy with the pricepoint and Club World service/product offered, and wouldn’t change it just yet.17 Jun 2013
When the final history of British Airways is written, I believe that the period 2000-2013 (and perhaps some) will be seen as a period of contraction, characterised by much less innovation than in the period 1990-1999 and a yielding of many routes to the competition.
I may be wrong, but this is how I think it will look.17 Jun 2013
VintageKrug – 17/06/2013 12:41 GMT
So many things in that post that I disagree with…
VK: I wouldn’t say posts on here reflect any sort of tide whatsoever.
Sorry, my reading of the posts marries up with rferguson’s view that loyal passengers are starting to say “enough”. The sheer volume of posts here criticising BA’s lack of innovation reflects that, and while we are each entitled to our own opinion, VK, you included, my opinion is that the “tide of opinion” on this forum is going against CW. And while I am prepared to accept that your opinion is a valid one for you to hold, I feel it is – frankly – wrong
VK: BA will have sophisticated revenue management tools which will give them good warning when yields are slipping, which is what will drive any changes.
See comment below
VK: BA’s Club World product was a true market innovation when first brought in. It has led the field for over a decade, in its various iterations, and remains competitive.
Do you see no irony in lauding the innovation of the seat and then pointing out that it has been around for a decade in a fast-moving (sorry) industry? You are also rather ignoring the point I made in my earlier post that while BA are still able to compete with the current product, I believe it will be overtaken as others innovate
VK: To have introduced a new cabin back in 2010 when it was far from certain what the competition would offer would have been premature, and not a good use of funds at a time when the airline was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
See comment above. Sophisticated revenue management. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
May I point out that AA introduced its new product while in bankruptcy protection? And before anyone starts bleating about Chapter 11, there are similar insolvency rules in the UK. It IS possible to innovate when in a financially precarious position, and I believe there are some that are prepared to argue that that is precisely what you should do – not stick with the products you had when your financial performance resulted in you (let’s just say it one more time) “teetering on the brink of bankruptcy”
VK: I foresee, for instance, massive savings in IFE as iPads are routinely offered instead of the fixed integrated systems/screens which add weight, are a potential fire risk, and inevitably become outdated over the life of the aircraft.
Fire risk? Really? Well, If you say so, although from what I can gather batteries are a rather bigger risk. Leaving that aside – yes, tablets may be the way forward. But again, do you not see the irony in referring to something becoming outdated over the life of the product in the same post as saying that the CW seat is still competitive after a decade in service?
VK: Importantly, Club World also remains a consistent offering on the 777/747; there’s one thing people moan about on here it is the pace at which cabins are changed over as if it was as easy as changing one’s sofa in the Drawing room.
A consistent offering. On two plane types. But not the other ones. Hmmmm… I don’t disagree with your point per se, don’t get me wrong. But predictability is an issue, and the product isn’t entirely consistent anyway – I was on a 777 last year and had no AVOD. The nub of the issue, though, is that BA’s consistency is based on having the same product for many many years. And I do understand that changing a cabin represents a huge investment in time and money. But it can be done. It is particularly easy to do when renewing a fleet. CX rolled out new business class very quickly helped enormously by introduction of new planes – but they still managed to retrofit all the planes which weren’t being retired in less than two years. And before anyone starts saying “oh but BA is much larger than CX” – sorry, that just doesn’t wash. Once you get past the point where having a single aircraft out of service cripples your operations, it becomes a matter of percentages. If you can have x% of your fleet out of service for maintenance/overhaul/refit, then it becomes pretty apparent that a retrofit of y number of planes need take no longer than z number of planes, so long as your suppliers can keep up
VK: I can see BA exploring a new version of Club World, in the context of aircraft which don’t have an F cabin for those who need more space. It should be noted improving Club World would no doubt result in fewer aircraft sporting a First cabin; we’ve seen Lufthansa removing F because it now has a fully flat product in J.
Fine. BA F, from what I read in here, is pretty devalued anyway. I will be flying NF next month. Normally I would be quite excited about flying long-haul first, something I used to do regularly but haven’t done for some years. But having read about NF on here? Mehhh…
VK: I can’t really see what I would improve about Club World; the IFE screens could be retina display, I’d like a proper spectacle holder. The catering has improved markedly in recent months.
Well, here are some suggestions for you and BA management. The seat could be long enough for tall people. It could have a bottle holder, an IFE screen four times the size, a USB port for charging, video ports for streaming your own content, a storage area you can use while the seat is reclined, a dimmable reading light, the certainty that BZZZZZT you wouldn’t BZZZZT be constantly BZZZZZT disturbed by a BZZZZZT divider, decent headphones, …. For other suggestions read other posts as there are so many things that could be improved I simply don’t have the energy to repeat them all
VK: So it’s only really addressing the less than 50% of seats without direct aisle access which is an issue, though one I feel which is rather overdone in these pages.
No it isn’t. See above. And the myriad of posters that see direct aisle access as being – um, where were we? – oh yes, an innovation that other airlines are making to be competitive. While BA aren’t
VK: Hardly an issue on day flights when the footstool isn’t in use or flights with empty seats, and just not that hard to step over even for those of modest stature. Just a manufactured agenda-serving issue.
Funnily enough, being a chap who likes his creature comforts – and whose memsahib had a pulmonary embolism – I prefer to keep my legs raised on long flights, daytime or night. Also, being of immodest stature (6’3″), let me tell you that when crouching to avoid nutting myself on the overhead bins, in darkness, stepping over a neighbour is harder than you suggest it to be. To suggest this is a “manufactured agenda-serving issue” is as insulting as it is inaccurate
VK: Personally I’m happy with the pricepoint and Club World service/product offered, and wouldn’t change it just yet.
Um. Yes. We got that. Sadly, it appears that many disagree with you.
On this, and virtually everything else in your post, we must agree to disagree and, I hope, respect each other’s opinions, even if mine is right and yours is wrong17 Jun 2013