Where BA First class has gone?

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This topic contains 39 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  IanMcIntosh 30 Mar 2017
at 11:49
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)

  • Swissdiver
    Participant

    Flew BA first class lately. While of course the canapés are gone, as announced here, I was wondering what was left…
    – Impeccable service? Yes, definitively.
    – Good seat? Yes
    – Anything else? Well, not really. And this is where the trouble is!

    The food was hardly edible. Of course, food never was a BA strength. But first class was speared. Well, no more, I am afraid. And the wine list offers nothing spectacular. The nice blankets? Only upon request. The toiletry bag? Well stil there, for now. Bathroom? Barely business class. Screen? Barely business class. Not to mention there is no escort to the plane or any other features competitors are offering.

    Paying for this? Well even with miles, I now doubt it is worth it. What a pity…


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    It’s been cruzified.


    Alex_F.
    Participant

    It’s an excellent business class product masked as first class.

    If comparing to say, Qatar Airways J class in their 1-2-1 config, there is nothing substantive that BA First offers that Qatar J doesn’t except PJs and some extra Ff points. And the J class food on airlines such as Turkish surpasses BA F.

    London’s position at the western tip of Europe and the fact BA have no competition in F across the Atlantic are largely to blame. UA and AA First are average and DL and VS don’t offer First. If fact BA First’s biggest competitor is probably AA Business. UA’s new Polaris may also have an impact if the hype is to be believed.

    This has all been said before on here by others more qualified than I to comment. BA have little incentive to up their game whilst ever their main market is trans Atlantic.


    esselle
    Participant

    I flew BA F the other week for a two day trip to Mumbai. CCR was fine, goodish wines and OK food but service was at Little Chef levels.

    Onboard outbound was typical BA; mediocrity at every turn. Hot towels like a little grey rag, crumbs on the seat from the previous pax etc, but I managed a few hours sleep.

    Inbound was equally OK, pretty reasonable food and wines were interesting. Overall, nothing to complain about EXCEPT that the whole package was underwhelming and did not deliver anything which you could describe as a premium experience. Thankfully, somebody else paid for the ticket.

    Earlier this week I did a quick visit to DXB on EK A380’s in J. Overall, I would rate service better, food and wine equal to, and seat only marginally less generous, when compared to BA. From the A concourse you board the gate directly from the lounge, and then they throw in a car at either end.

    So I agree with those who,describe BA F as a good J class product sold as F, and I find that faintly disappointing.


    Henryp1
    Participant

    Our flights last week to AUH and DXB were fine, catering average and adequate for the flight length. The hard product in the Dreamliner to AUH is an improvement and remains functional rather than luxury. I prefer First over the Club cabins as I appreciate the enhanced service, smaller cabin and additional privacy gained. On the return from DXB out of 14 seats there were 11 upgrades, hardly a premium cabin being maintained, but a way to maximise customer revenue at any cost.

    Service was good and I only needed to ask for the items I required which meant a less cluttered seat area on boarding. Unfortunately it does feel as though First is time limited on BA which would be a disappointment.


    seasonedtraveller
    Participant

    I have recently flown 1st with BA & LH.

    There is NO comparison whatsoever – LH wins by a country mile in fact, SAS business (to PVG) was better than BA 1st.

    Due to use of a Gold upgrade voucher, I will be in BA 1st again (to BOM) early November…… I won’t be holding my breath.
    Speaking as a close friend of an ex BA Captain & several crew, I am deeply saddened to see what has become of BA over the past few years.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I still don’t see the need for 2 classes of flat beds, both of which are extremely dated and second rate, when compared to their competitor’s offerings. It has the feel of “Reggie Perrin” – falling apart.

    Surely, when the time comes to modernise, thought should be given to one decent “front end class”… combining J and F….

    I don’t think BA has ONE element of their top end offering that sets them apart from their competitors.

    Yet, like so many, I still fly them for reasons I have said on many occasions…


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I still don’t see the need for 2 classes of flat beds, both of which are extremely dated and second rate, when compared to their competitor’s offerings. It has the feel of “Reggie Perrin” – falling apart.

    Surely, when the time comes to modernise, thought should be given to one decent “front end class”… combining J and F….

    I don’t think BA has ONE element of their top end offering that sets them apart from their competitors.

    Yet, like so many, I still fly them for reasons I have said on many occasions…

    As a short term profit maximisation approach, it makes sense.


    openfly
    Participant

    BA First will always be with us. It is where all the BA managers and their families sit when going on holiday, on their “free” staff tickets!
    Sometimes there is space for fare paying passengers….


    JohnHarper
    Participant

    Oh, how I want to laugh.

    I and others made the same points the OP is now making several years ago pointing out for instance that BA first class has the same seating density as Virgin Upper Class in the nose of the 747 and many more things besides. The devaluation of the BA premium products has been going on for years but the arch apologists including at the time the OP have denied it and maintained the offering was excellent and competitive with LH and AF which it is not and has not been for at least ten years.

    Just a few comparisons:

    LH F check in at the F terminal, have your own PA for the duration of your stay and be driven to the car in a Porsche
    BA F join the scrum in T5 including security and then walk to the Concorde Room then make your own way to the plane maybe from a C gate enjoying the transit experience

    LH Sit in a cabin of maximum 8 seats in a newly designed seat consistent across the fleet and be served a multi course menu including caviar and have your first choice including goose at Christmas
    BA Sit in a cabin of usually 14 seats configured like other airlines’ business class, maybe get your first choice of meal but expect things to run out at some point in the flight

    I could go on…

    BA First – not quite Business Class on other airlines

    BA Club World – not like Business Class on other airlines at all

    I’m delighted other people are waking up, better late than never I suppose.


    Alex_F.
    Participant

    Sadly, even BA have a history of devaluing their product by continuously offering these Free upgrade to First promotions.

    BA’s First is a very nice product and on the very few occasions I have flown them, it’s been a positive experience. Unfortunately, they have all been through upgrades. Even though it’s a step up from Club World on board, as others have said, the ground experience is underwhelming. There isn’t that feeling of experiencing a truly premium product. No ‘wow’ factor – so Club World usually seems sufficient in circumstances where I wish to fly with BA.

    In short, I personally don’t think BA believe in their First cabin enough and it shows.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    The free upgrade to First promotions seems to last year round (or at least 6 months of the year – and TMC fares are often better anyway than the UG offer). It should be called a free upgrade to what your Business Class product should be like promotion. If you’re lucky – half your trip will be “business” and the other half will be “sub-business”


    Squalorqueen
    Participant

    I have travelled in BA First 3 times. Using Miles and only once from choice. On the other two occasions Club World was not available.
    I have to agree with other contributors that what is offered is not first class.
    My husband took his seat and found a (well) used ear plug on his table. Nice.

    The evening meal was, frankly, poor. Breakfast was average, though my husband had to go and find someone to ask if he could have this meal, having woken up, stood in the aisle folding all his bedding up and then waiting some time in the hope that a crew member would have noticed this!
    Service was notable by its absence, the toilet was small and altogether it was a disappointing experience.

    We often fly Qatar. Totally different.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I ahve to agree with most of the negative comments above. Travelling F with LH or LX I’m made to feel like a prince. Outbound they will collect me from the plane with a car if the plane is at a remote stand, take me close to the F lounge from where I’ll be taken direct to the plane by car. On arrival there is someone to assist you with immigration and baggage and will accompany you to the next flight using security channels reserved for Diplomats.

    Inbound I’m escorted to the lounge then collected. Admittedly no car on the way home but an escort that avoids the queues so you go straight on board without having to join the scrum. On arrival in FRA or ZRH you go straight to the lounge and again they take you to the plane with a car.

    BA’s idea of a premium line is to let you avoid the queue, but then push you into the same line going down the pier with everyone else. Not at all professional IMO. As to the seat, it feels cramped and simply can’t compare with the spaciousness and comfort of the LH/LX seat.

    As to the bathroom, it’s shared with Business, so no exclusivity there and with LH on the 380 it’s so large you could hold a party in there, which makes it very comfortable for changing into the pyjamas. It’s also the only time I’ve seen a urinal on a plane!

    Unless I’m desperate BA F will not see me again!


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    John,

    BA First a couple of years ago wasn’t yet what it became. And as other mentioned, it is sad.

    Now I continue to believe BA CW is among the best business class products among the European airlines. LH new seat is a joke. AF starts only now to realise there is a thing called flat bed. LX’s coffin is OK, but no more.

    And I am not a fan of the Middle Eastern. I’ll be in a couple of days in the QR B787. Let’s see what the latest product looks like.

    Oh, how I want to laugh.

    I and others made the same points the OP is now making several years ago pointing out for instance that BA first class has the same seating density as Virgin Upper Class in the nose of the 747 and many more things besides. The devaluation of the BA premium products has been going on for years but the arch apologists including at the time the OP have denied it and maintained the offering was excellent and competitive with LH and AF which it is not and has not been for at least ten years.

    Just a few comparisons:

    LH F check in at the F terminal, have your own PA for the duration of your stay and be driven to the car in a Porsche
    BA F join the scrum in T5 including security and then walk to the Concorde Room then make your own way to the plane maybe from a C gate enjoying the transit experience

    LH Sit in a cabin of maximum 8 seats in a newly designed seat consistent across the fleet and be served a multi course menu including caviar and have your first choice including goose at Christmas
    BA Sit in a cabin of usually 14 seats configured like other airlines’ business class, maybe get your first choice of meal but expect things to run out at some point in the flight

    I could go on…

    BA First – not quite Business Class on other airlines

    BA Club World – not like Business Class on other airlines at all

    I’m delighted other people are waking up, better late than never I suppose.

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