Where has the Club World service gone?

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This topic contains 108 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by  MrMichael 19 Jan 2015
at 20:26
.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 109 total)

  • GoonerLondon
    Participant

    AllOverTheGaff: i guess thats the problem with a general comment – “Does he mean me”.

    Of course, as someone positive about BA I tend to post comments that reflect it. But Im not saying the same thing constantly. As you’ve seen, my posts have been about a variety of topics.

    I wasn’t really criticising – and it wasn’t really about the OP anyway. But there is a definite Deja Vu about the way this thread has evolved, both in topic, energy, posts, points and observations.


    thebigseats
    Participant

    This is starting to sound scarily like the BA Forum on Flyertalk – (a place I actively avoid) If this forum ends up like that it will not be a good thing IME. Sigh.


    openfly
    Participant

    Is VK back? Sounds like it….


    SimonS1
    Participant

    MrMichael – I think your strategy works if you have the time and inclination to put in the positioning flights required.

    However it doesn’t work for all people – if you live in the north for example it can turn getting to Australia from a 2 flight trip to a 5 flight one. Fine if you enjoy the inside of planes and airports but not always practical from a time perspective.

    If you look at a straight comparison London to Sydney it is quite rare that BA are cheapest.


    rferguson
    Participant

    What I find interesting about all of this is when looking at other more ‘universal’ forums such as Flyertalk the same kind of conversation is happening around the world with nearly every airline.

    In the Cathay Pacific forum CX regulars are complaining about the cost cutting and downgrading of J class catering.

    Likewise on the Singapore Airlines forum SQ regulars complain of a general ‘decline in service levels’.

    People’s expectations of an airline will largely be based on the area of the world they live, what their home airline offers and what the main competition offers. In Asia, CX and SQ have always been at each other to be top dog – throw into the basket TG/JL/MH/NH all airlines with exceptionally high standards and levels of catering on regional flights that we could only dream of in europe. It is funny to read in the CX thread the disgust of Y class passengers on the HKG-MNL route (two hours duration) no longer receiving a hot meal, instead getting only a sandwich. In europe, people seem thankful for a drink and a bag of nuts on a similar length flight.

    Cathay is probably my favourite airline to fly with overall – although I must admit with an earlier poster in that perhaps their weakest point is their onboard catering. No choice of starter and the mains are generally pretty poor too. Like BA they just heat up everything together instead of ‘plating’ the items in the galley. The way they deliver the service however far surpasses BA.

    One thing I believe though is that if SQ stood still – so would CX et al. However, competitive forces in that region keep things moving. Although they are both obviously feeling the pinch of the ME3 carriers hoovering up a lot of their traditional europe – oz traffic and are having to respond by reducing costs (and fares) also.

    Fortunately for BA their primary market has always been London to North America. The competition historically offered a lot less and was a lot slower to enhance. The US carriers, Air France, LH, KL….most of which didn’t even have a fully flat bed until recently. However, the tide is now turning. Nearly all these carriers offer a product better than BA’s. However, their weak point (for the short term) is it is still very much a gamble on whether the aircraft you will fly with on say AA or AF will be a nice new one with a fully flat bed and direct aisle access – or an old angle flat seat configured seven abreast on a 777.

    It is no coincidence that BA did not launch new J products on the A380’s or 787’s which many (including myself) would have thought an ideal time to do so. They have their time frame mapped out – once the likes of AF/LH/AA have the majority of their fleet kitted out with new products BA will reveal their own new product and so the gazzumping game will begin in europe/US. It’s just that it happens a lot less often and a lot slower than in Asia.

    Where the asian carriers will ALWAYS have the upper hand in terms of service versus BA is consistency. BA’s own ‘mystery shoppers’ have highlighted this time and time again – they have experienced among their very best flights ever with BA, as well as the very worst.


    KarlMarx
    Participant

    thebigseats – 09/01/2015 04:12 GMT

    +1 – Flyertalk BA forum makes a good substitute for the Coliseum, far too gladiatorial, with ridiculous over expectations of what an airline should provide and many ‘one eyed’ apologists who see no wrong in BA.

    As a result, many threads degenerate into rabid polemic.


    KarlMarx
    Participant

    rferguson – 09/01/2015 08:54 GMT

    IMHO, BA, by historical fortune acquired the majority of slots at an airport that has been a licence to print money for the last 20-30 years due to its position/connection possibilities and this provides a barrier to entry for competitors. Most business people will prefer to take as direct a route as possible and this has served BA very well.

    I’m not an airline expert, so I do not know how long this position is likely to last and whether potential substitutes like Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt are likely to be able to steal much market share.

    BA obviously employs some very bright people and I am sure they have a well thought through strategy based on their analysis of the market.

    I guess the question is whether there are any (business) environmental factors or disruptors that could impact on their strategy and damage it.

    Having seen the changes in Club Europe, I have moved to Swiss as I no longer rate the product as being worth the price tag, but it will take some time to assess whether the increase in density will be a good business move or a faux pas.


    esselle
    Participant

    My big years of flying were in the 90’s and 00’s. I spent a lot of time in the BA First, and occassionally CW. Now, most of my flying is paid for by others around the world who I am acting as a kind of mentor to.

    If I compare BA then and BA now, I think the primary difference is that, historically, what they said in their blurb was pretty much what you could expect to get on board. In fact when they launched their “new” first “demi cabins” (was it 1994 or 1995?), it was an absolute game changer for the industry. Sadly, today (although I have not flown CW for several years), their marketing blurb is still telling the same story as it used to, but what you now get on board bears no likeness to that blurb at all. My recent flights in F (on both 380’s and 773’s) have been shockingly poor, both for the inconsistent levels of service, and the paucity of choice/quality in the catering.

    So for me, the problem is not so much how good BA are/are not compared to their peers, but how far short the actual experience falls compared to their hype.

    I will be flying CX to Australia next week in their “newish” J class and, having not flown them for a few years, am quite interested to see how they perform.


    rferguson
    Participant

    KM I agree with you to a degree re LHR. However this is also a double edged sword for BA – as it limits it to how much it can expand unlike say KL at AMS or AF at CDG. Hence the need to buy other airlines for their slots.

    This however does not seem to have stifled competition at all and I definitely do not see a barrier to entrants. EK operates FIVE A380’s per day from LHR to DXB direct. Significantly more frequencies than from any other european airport to DXB. And yet, BA still manages to fill 2-3 aircraft per day to DXB. In fact, despite the huge number of EK/EY/QR flights to LHR again dwarfing any of these airlines operations to other cities european or otherwise, BA has not withdrawn from one middle eastern route.

    It’s the same with other direct flights too. Take two other routes with the creme de la creme on them – HKG and SIN. There is a choice for anyone wanting to fly LHR-HKG direct. In fact CX are flying the route up to four times a day. Again, more than CX serves and other european city. Singapore Airlines also flies to it’s hub from LHR four times per day – yet BA has held it’s own on the same route nicely.

    It’s the same with BKK, PEK, PVG, ICN, SYD, JNB, NRT, JFK, LAX, BOS, ORD, MIA…well you get the picture. The overwhelming majority of routes that BA flies from LHR competes with another airline that also flies nonstop on the same route. And in many cases more than one other airline.

    Now personally, i’d prefer to fly CX or SQ or EY any day over BA. Yet, obviously there are people out there be it because of price or schedule or whatever else that are filling up BA aircraft.


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    rferguson – 09/01/2015 12:33 GMT
    This however does not seem to have stifled competition at all and I definitely do not see a barrier to entrants. EK operates FIVE A380’s per day from LHR to DXB direct. Significantly more frequencies than from any other european airport to DXB. And yet, BA still manages to fill 2-3 aircraft per day to DXB. In fact, despite the huge number of EK/EY/QR flights to LHR again dwarfing any of these airlines operations to other cities european or otherwise, BA has not withdrawn from one middle eastern route.

    That might be part of the issue though, albeit we’re drifting a wee bit from the BA not being up to snuff thread.

    In addition to EK’s 5 x LHR to DXB flights, you must also factor in the below:

    GLA – DXB x 2 daily
    NCL – DXB – 1 daily
    MAN – DXB – 2 daily (A380’s)
    BHX – DXB – 1 daily
    LGW – DXB – 3 daily (one A380)

    Makes 9 aircraft going to Dubai on a daily basis in addition to the 5 from LHR, if you are prepared to travel some 40 minutes to Dublin, as I have in the past, there are 2 further flights.

    So, that makes at least 14 daily returns to Dubai from the UK that BA (and other airlines) do not compete with. So, “holding one’s own” at LHR is fine and dandy, but then the other airlines have come in to ‘regional’ airports and taken huge swathes of business, from my neck of the woods I can also fly direct to the USA twice a day, to Doah with Qatar and to Abu Dhabi with Etihad. I know Qatar & Etihad also feature from many of the aforementioned airports too. Karl Marx’s point about BA being far too London-centric rings true with me, and not being from that part of the world, it makes no difference to me that they have strong routes and schedules – however – due to the density of the population in London, and BA’s dominant position, it is easy to see why they are filling planes.

    I accept your point entirely about people still choosing to fly with BA and that their planes are full, indeed it is clear to see that BA’s profits are also on the up. None of that detracts from the poor service one receives on board though. It is my opinion (and one I note shared by you) that practically every other major airline, and many smaller ones too offer a far superior service and hard product, BA won my last transatlantic routing due to a particularly competitive fare, I suspect a lot of these full flights are with passengers who also enjoy these ‘sales’. BA are in danger of becoming the DFS of airlines with sales every other week, but, these sales are genuine and they do lead to big savings.

    Lastly, there will be many, like me, who don’t really care about when BA finally enter this millennium and offer better seating – we’ll all have moved away, have loyalty cards with other airlines and be more loyal to those airlines by the time BA has caught up….there have been an awful lot of ‘false starts’ with BA and how they are back on the ascendancy, at this stage, for me personally, new seating won’t tempt me back to BA it’d take an awful lot more than that.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.


    rferguson
    Participant

    AOTG I agree with you. Simply put if spending my own money BA would not be at the top of my list of carriers. I do not agree however that BA has a hold over LHR and restricts competition.

    It will be interesting to see what the future will bring. I can remember working flights in the late stages of BA’s operations from T4. 50% of flights arriving onto remote stands, waiting an hour plus for a bus to transport the passengers, losing bags left right and centre. It absolutely baffled me why passengers put up with it.


    Poshgirl58
    Participant

    AOTG – sorry to correct you but it’s currently 2 daily from BHX, with third starting 1 August. Would be nice to see one as A380. BA’s appearances these days are confined to diversions and occasional charters.

    I see that lots of carriers are updating fleet at the moment. Having not flown with BA for a number of years, I won’t be in any hurry to change that given the comments on BT.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Hi RFerguson

    CX are now 5 times day to HKG from LHR (and 4 times weekly from MAN) so they have a massive schedule yet as you say – when I look at GDS BA flights are busy and often selling higher yield tickets. And quoting on routes where they do have competition it is amazing how many times people do take BA over cheaper alternative options which have nothing to do with route deals – all down to choice and the Power of Avios.

    Interestingly DL to the US used to be a lot cheaper with UA than BA or VS. But since the tie up with VS, VS is now in charge of pricing for VS and DL and the Premium fares have gone up dramatically, leaving UA as the cheapest option now on many routes. Just a case then of not getting the Old UA 777 on a route in Business!

    I did fly to SFO with BA in 62B (CW) back in September 11 and whilst the hard product is what it is – the service was very good. They had no qualms in offering an extra cheese plate (I had said not to worry if someone else needed / wanted it as I was on an free upgraded ticket so to make sure anyone else is properly catered for first). It wasn’t a problem and crew were very friendly and had a chat for 90 minutes with them in the galley which was illuminating. I do feel for the likes of rferguson who work ruddy hard and have such a poor environment to work in. When the days comes that BA does upgrade its product then I can service improving as morale might improve and finally cabin crew might hopefully have something to be proud of.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Some really balanced comments.

    Rferguson’s point about home market passengers being more critical is as relevant and balanced as why BA continually win BT awards.

    KarlMarx makes a valid point about diminishing product levels in CE and BA’s tolerance to him jumping ship to Swiss, balanced against continuing usage by others.

    Eselle’s hype versus actual delivery versus value for money is a conundrum that all companies face, and you have to say BA manages this expertly .

    To me, all the above contributions are linked. I think the BA bashers are driven by frustration, and the sense that, as an organization our national carrier could be doing so much more to deliver and properly compete. Yet , if you’re business orientated you must congratulate BA’s team on delivering a profitable airline into the chaotic IAG family.

    For me, BA’s management team are managing a precarious fine line between profit and loss whilst juggling/spinning many plates involving eselles/KM’s and other BTer’s expectations. The trouble is I firmly believe there is an over confidence in their leadership team and if the consequences of dropping those plates come to the fore I’m not sure they’ll have the nuance or skill to recover from their high risk business model.


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Poshgirl58 – 09/01/2015 13:20 GMT
    AOTG – sorry to correct you but it’s currently 2 daily from BHX, with third starting 1 August. Would be nice to see one as A380. BA’s appearances these days are confined to diversions and occasional charters.

    No problem! EK’s own website not as up-to-date as the posters on this forum! 😉

    So, corrected figures:

    GLA – DXB x 2 daily
    NCL – DXB – 1 daily
    MAN – DXB – 3 daily (2 x A380’s)
    BHX – DXB – 3 daily (soon)
    LGW – DXB – 3 daily (one A380)

    12 flights per day + 5 LHR’s + 2 DUB’s = 19 flights daily to Dubai. I’m sure if I did the same exercise with Etihad and Qatar I’d find another 15+ planes going to the Middle East and beyond.

    Interesting.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.

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