Has British Airways thrown in the Towel?Back to Forum
Another day of travelling with our beloved BA and another confirmation of steady and constant decline. In Sicily they say the fish stinks from its head. And they are right the fish being Alex Cruz the magnificent BA CEO. In the last 3 years he has been able to damage this great airlines in a way it will take ages to repair, another Brexit type decision.
Yesterday I was left at the mercy of BA ground staff at Heathrow which were not only useless but also lied openly to our face.
My original flight was delayed according to many independent websites but not for BA who told me that the flight was on time and should not rely on such unreliable sources! Once finally BA decided to confirm the delay it was too late for me to use the benefit of my flexible ticket and switch onto a flight only ten minutes far from my original departure time. But I could not because of the dispatch manager who apparently has the same power of the Pope within the Vatican: note that I had no luggage and the gate was 2 minutes from the first class lounge whilst the flight was not yet closed.
After insisting with the customer service Representative in First Class lounge I was referred to the duty lounge manager who was only able to repeat the same message without offering any solution or advise.
When I saw the flight was still not ready for boarding 40 minutes before the delayed departure time I asked the same lady at customer service to put me on another flight leaving at the same time of my delayed one. Another lie: do not worry Mr , the flight is now boarding and will leave swiftly ahead of the one you wanted to be moved to.
Guess What? It was not the case and my plane was delayed another hour and half.
Now moving to the captain. Would suggest to invest in a bit of empty and communication training or, if not available, just avoid mentioning untruth information.
He literally said that de-icing would take an handful of minutes and we will be on the move in max 10 minutes…and in the end it was 1.30 hours. And to add to the frustration upon arrival with almost 3 hours delayed he wished us a great rest of the evening at 9.40pm…..
When I tried to call the BA gold line I was not able to communicate due to intense workload, thus I was unable to resolve any of my problem. Oh yes but there was the snow?? That is the excuse BA hide behind
In the first class lounge there was only one customer service Representative to handle our request: perhaps a few more would start making a difference and impact
I expect a very well worded email from BA apologising and making up perfectly written excuses but the substance is not changing.
BA is bound to a very trouble future if such big issue are not addresses swiftly and with the right management
Good luck BA from a gold member now moving onto SkyTeam and Virgin.1 Mar 2018
British Airways has sunk to third rate status due to Cruz’s aggressive and often petty cost-cutting. I have great sympathy for those who have to work for him, and I understand he is detested throughout the organisation. The number of people working for BA is diminishing as more and more functions are outsourced, which is a recipe for disaster as he dehumanises the experience by replacing people with badly designed machines.
In fairness to BA’s customer facing staff, they do not always get the full information from higher up, and they generally do a good job.
The circumstances of the last few days were exceptional and maybe it is unfair to judge the staff too harshly. BA’s flights between LON and CPT over the last few days appear to have operated with only minor disruptions.
As for the fish rotting from the head, you are correct. Cruz should go.2 Mar 2018
The reason why you couldn’t be moved (even on a flexible ticket) is that whomever the bright-spark 22 year old designer of the FLY System is, he/she never travels or understands the needs of travellers and staff, especially when it comes to fast action. What used to be a few key-strokes to move someone from one flight to another now takes quite a few minutes, and is far from intuitive, so I have been told. Front-line staff are so frustrated with the system that it is easier to tell people NO rather than help them by moving flights. I know it sounds crazy, but more than one counter / gate agent has told me this. If they do it for you, they fear the whole plane will ask for it, so say no from the start and voila, you have no worries.
In times of disruption, gate staff are not necessarily the first to know. Often delays are posted on systems that take a while to filter to BA. It sounds absurd, and it is, but it seems to be the way it works. Plus, de-icing at LHR is a total joke. The airline blames the airport, the airport says the problem lies with the airline. JFK has a drive-thru tent for de-icing, just near the runway, so planes are de-iced and shortly afterwards fly out safely. CDG has large gantry rigs to do the same. LHR has the old trucks, and not enough of them to ensure a fast service. Once they start, it isn’t long for them to spray, but it is just getting them to help you when you’re ready to go.
The whole thing is shambolic. Each and every time we have disruption, everyone chants that we will learn from this experience and change. It never happens.
The only thing that does is the relentless drive by Mr. Cruz to turn BA into Vueling, the only thing he seems to know. Why just last week he announced BA will have HBO fares across the Atlantic, to compete with Norwegian. And then he says “BA will always be a premium airline”. Honestly, he does more to drive business to Norwegian than he does to compete with it. He is following the AA motto of 1995…let’s chase after the lowest possible fare. I say leave BA to those who wish to pay more for a better experience. It is why we have luxury hotels as well as budget ones…not everyone wants IBIS Airlines.5 Mar 2018
If BA is so bad, why does everyone keep flying them? Vote with you feet. Their planes are full, the share price is doing well and they are profitable. I stopped with BA some years ago, and out of maybe my last 100+ flights have only flown them twice out of necessity. There are alternatives and the alternatives are great. So why I ask are they doing so well?7 Mar 2018
If BA is so bad, why does everyone keep flying them? Vote with you feet. Their planes are full, the share price is doing well and they are profitable. I stopped with BA some years ago, and out of maybe my last 100+ flights have only flown them twice out of necessity. There are alternatives and the alternatives are great. So why I ask are they doing so well?
Where are you based, LP? 😉7 Mar 2018
e) a large number of corporations that pay top dollar for their employees to fly certain business heavy routes.
A company I know regularly pays £2,500 for flexible PE return LHR-BOS and £4,500-£5,000 for PE out J back on the same route. BA’s dominant position (4 daily) ensures they are really the only option8 Mar 2018
For most people based in the London area flying longhaul, BA is an ‘obvious’ choice. I used to manage the travel account of a high net worth individual and his family and as much of their travel was between LON and CPT, BA, having no competition, was a logistically good choice. They thus acquired ‘status’ and the various perks that entailed and felt ‘locked into’ BA despite its very third rate hard product. Eventually even they switched loyalty after an incident which BA handled very badly indeed (court case pending) when they could have come out of it with some grace.
I am also involved in travel procurement for a London based company with about 80 employees who fly worldwide on often fairly complex itineraries, and for them too, BA is a logistically good choice.
As LP said : ” I stopped with BA some years ago, and out of maybe my last 100+ flights have only flown them twice out of necessity.” This pretty much applies to me. When I can find a seriously cheap BA C class fare to CPT I will use them if it suits me, and a from time to time when my wife travels BA, for she likes them as much as I don’t, we will travel together, having done so a few weeks ago on a s/h route as it was easier for us both to fly out of LHR than for me to drop her and then go to LGW for an EZY flight.
Those are the reasons BA fill their flights. I am not sure that yields are good, I note that recently when I look for flights they are often the cheapest apart from carriers based in third world countries, whom I won’t use. That said, they are rarely cheap enough to entice me.8 Mar 2018
Where are you based, LP? 😉
Lugano, but I also use Malpensa, so I always have to change planes somewhere. I book and pay my own tickets and used to use BA and Swiss, but have dropped BA for all the above reasons, not to mention the nightmare of LHR. I find LX/LH and EK offer a much better product from start to finish. It’s a shame because there is still some nostalgic sentimental loyalty towards BA, but not enough to entice me to board their planes – unless I really have to.
I fully understand the ease and convenience for people based in London of a non-stop flight, but even when I lived in Holland (in the 80’s) I’d use UTA (remember them?) and Swiss (or rather Swissair then) as well as BA for the better product and service. Sure it added a couple of hours to the journey but that never (and still doesn’t) bothered me. For me it was the comfort and service which were and still is, more important on a long haul stretch.8 Mar 2018
I remember UTA with some fondness. Despite being French, they were an excellent airline and embodied everything that French service and quality should be, but isn’t. Diametrically opposite to Air France, who swallowed them up.8 Mar 2018