Is BA really THAT bad?

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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 110 total)

  • FDOS
    Participant

    Saying that, some of the things that are important to you – the availability of cognac for example – is of zero importance to me (along with any form of alcohol)

    Actually, having multple brandy options is not important to me – my point was that I’d expect a full service long haul airline to offer one brandy in J as part of the service and BA does not. More important to me, when settling in my seat, is not to find crumbs, stains, sticky patches in and around – this happened too often on BA.

    Your point about consistency is also well made.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    Harboard1 wrote: “It is all to do with the culture at Virgin. When hiring Virgin are looking for people with a positive and happy demeanour. Then when new crew members join they see and feel the upbeat and can-do attitude of their longer-serving colleagues and mostly adopt similar behaviours. This makes for happy passengers which in turn makes a day’s work more of a pleasure for the crew. It is not perfect on every flight – but generally speaking the VAA crews are excellent.

    I really don’t take issue with this, or RF2’s similar comment yesterday. However, I haven’t flown Virgin for over 20 years, so have no recent on-board experience to comment.

    However, I am currently in my regular (annual) hotel in the Caribbean, where two sets of BA crew and one Virgin set also stay – the former daily.

    The BA crews mix socially but keep a very low profile, so are unobtrusive. The Virgin crew are loud, and take over the swimming pool and bar, whilst they are staying here, so nobody is in any doubt who they are. Just saying ……………


    stilllovethejumbo
    Participant

    @Harbord1 – I couldn’t agree more – it is 100% culture and it starts top down. I have had multiple interaction with Shai himself as a Wings member and he is so involved and responsive its unbelievable. My first response came when I was just gold and had multiple issues with their IT not getting fixed and I e-mailed him cold after getting nowhere with Customer Affairs – he responded within minutes and the executive office was all over fixing it.

    And it’s the little things that count – like being asked when boarding how the clubhouse was, or being welcomed with a hand written note on almost every flight as a gold / wings member, or that my favorite beverage is remembered and waiting for me, or that I always have an extra pillow on a night flight because I asked for it once and it got added to my profile. The attention to detail, care and genuine positive attitude is quite something – I always leave a Virgin aircraft smiling – even if things haven’t gone to perfection.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    Hi RF2,

    An interesting post. I must say that I do not find be to be that bad, but probably not ahead of US and EU competitors as they used to be in the 90s.

    In 1990 I started travelling to HKG. I remember the cost of my first business class fare clearly, as I had to pay it out to go to be interviewed. In late 1990 it was £2,400. Uplifted for inflation that is about £5,000 now for a return LHR>HKG. The fare stayed at ~ £2400 throughout the 90s then dipped in the 20teens.

    In 1990 we sat in a reclining chair which was little bigger than todays PE seats but with perhaps a little more recline and leg room. Yes, I think that service was “happier” with better meal choice, and you always got your choice as they over catered. Wines were probably better and you had a choice of gins:-) You also had Grand Marnier! Inflight entertainment was a big screen at the front in the middle and the big projector which crew lowered so that it could project to the screen.

    In 2020 we have lie flat beds and more IFE than anyone can use. I agree that staff often seem tired on the return flights, and that catering is not as good, nor wine, nor spirits. However, we have space to sleep, and excellent lounges to relax in pre-flight.

    To add to my comparisons: In December 2019 I bought a ticket FAO>LON>HKG return and it cost €2,013 / £1,714. In October 2023 I bought the same itinerary €5,463 / £4,760. This means that todays fares are about what they could expect to be given inflation and extra space taken up with beds. I think that prices will continue to soften as competition and capacity increase so, overall, I prefer 2024 to 1989.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I remember those days well FaroFlyer.

    I wonder how many readers remember that it was BA in year 2000 who introduced the first fully lie-flat beds for long-haul business class ?

    Yes around the same time VS also introduced fully lie-flat beds but the (initial) VS seat product was not a success.

    BA was well ahead of other long-haul business class rivals in those days.

    I remember talking to other European carriers at that time and they either wondered how BA could offer the space or they would maintain there was “no demand” and that their angled lie-flat seats were sufficient.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FDOS
    Participant

    I wonder how many readers remember that it was BA in year 2000 who introduced the first fully lie-flat beds for long-haul business class ?

    I was consulting to BA around that time and sat next to the Sunset project manager in the Compass Centre.

    Feels llike another time 😉

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    summerfly
    Participant

    I like Ba. The executive club works for me especially within OW. I generally like the crew and ground staff, they seem to have the charisma & charm other airline staff lack – especially from US. The club suite is an excellent improvement. I’m reluctant to say this but I’ve never had a major issue with Ba in 20 years of flying with them ( 14 sectors+ pa) maybe I’ve just been lucky.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    FDOS
    Participant

    I’m reluctant to say this but I’ve never had a major issue with Ba in 20 years of flying with them ( 14 sectors+ pa) maybe I’ve just been lucky.

    I’ve come to realise that even frequent travellers experience what is a small sample size. It’s good that you have good flights and you should not be reluctant to share your lived experience.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    openfly
    Participant

    Yes….

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AJDC
    Participant

    Yes, I find BA that bad.

    In early December 2023, I flew BA from London to JFK in business class. The airline had recently promoted its holiday turkey main dish for this route. Despite being seated in row 9 out of 34, when the crew finally reached me to take my meal order, the turkey option was already exhausted. My only alternatives were lamb or a vegetarian dish, neither of which appealed to me. This oversight seemed particularly baffling given that the flight was bound for New York City, a land where eating turkey is popular. The crew expressed their sincere apologies, admitting they had raised concerns about this issue previously, but to no avail. To compound matters, the dessert and afternoon tea offerings were largely unpalatable.

    The lounges at LHR were over crowded with passable food.

    This marked my first experience flying with BA since 1998, and unless their prices significantly undercut those of their competitors by at least 40%, it’s unlikely I’ll consider them for future travels anytime soon.


    AJDC
    Participant

    I remember that first VS seat. It wasn’t successful because the seat was angled flat.


    scott1nthesky
    Participant

    My experiences with BA recently (long haul and short haul, 90% in Club) are just that staff either don’t care or would like to care but don’t have the support to do so. Cabin crew can’t access ground info. Pilots can’t reach turnaround managers. They’ve removed ticketing staff from T5 so even staff in the Gold/First area can’t reach anyone. This afternoon I spent 2 hours in total in this area trying to rebook a short haul that had been canx due to IT failures. Check in staff were loudly (but articulately) announcing to everyone that no managers were available “…because they disappear at times like this” along with “they need to bring back ticketing staff, we’re not trained.” The agent trying to help me sat in a phone queue for 75 minutes trying to reach an agent – they all had the queue messages on loudspeaker for us to hear – my agent was cut off three times “due to exceptional demand”. The BA app crashed for the same reason, as did the website. I’m now on standby in the lounge with no info despite being at -40… the guest assistance desk team are singularly unhelpful.

    8 users thanked author for this post.

    Rferguson2
    Participant

    @Scott1nthesky – you are so right. BA seems to have the staff in terms of simple numbers – there are always plenty of staff around in T5 – but it is the lack of staff with high levels of skillset that is dire. Like you say, most seem to be trained to a level of queue combing and directing passengers to self help ticket machines. I don’t say that in any way to take a dig at the staff, it must be frustrating for them to not be able to help as well.

    And the IT, jeez. Just awful, especially when things don’t go to plan. Say what you want about United but their APP is WOW. I flew with them to Salt Lake via Chicago and was delayed inbound to Chicago and missed my connection. Firstly, I had a myriad of options available to me in the app to manage my own onward journey. I decided to push my luck and request something a little more obscure and used the in-APP ‘live chat’ feature. Fully expecting to be connected to some AI BOT within five minutes I was chatting with a live reservation agent who with zero issues accommodated my obscure request, re-issued my ticket and off I went. All without visiting a single airport desk or calling a number.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    LondonAndy70
    Participant

    I fly about 50 sectors a year, and about 40 are with BA. Yes, I’ve got niggles, and it’s the inconsistencies that get me the most – the staff on-board are really variable. Also lack of training/awareness of policies – just one example I was flying from JFK as GGL in Club, and the BA uniformed staff member said I wasn’t allowed in to Chelsea. When I pointed out the GGL on the boarding pass he said “they print so many things on the boarding pass I couldn’t see it”!

    However, they fly to most of the places I want them to fly, and the CCR is a nice enough place to wait for your flight. Therefore I’ll probably stick with them (but they REALLY need to get the IT sorted out!).


    timirvine1977
    Participant

    100% agree. If there’s a Virgin and BA flight on the same route across the Atlantic, I’ll always take the Virgin option. I really like your description of it being a ‘happier’ environment – I think this is spot on, and a big part of why I’ll fly VS if I can.

    Not a big fan of any of the other transatlantic options. Flown transatlantic routes on BA a bunch of times, mainly East coast routes. Better than AA / Delta / UA, but not by much…

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