Why do I keep returning to BA?Back to Forum
Anonymous10 Mar 2010
Compared to many, if not most, of the contributors here I am not a great traveller, clocking up maybe only 10 or 12 flights a year. However, I read these forums with great interest although I don’t always feel qualified to make an addition to them. A puzzle that comes to my mind is:- why is it that, even after some bad experiences, I always return to BA, checking their schedules and routes before others. I have had some excellent LH and KL flights, both F and J class. Recently on a IAD/LHR BA777 both 2A and 3A were broken making a move necessary (fortunately only 5 pax in F). Earlier in the year I chose 2newclubworld seats instead of 1 First so my wife could fly with me and met the hot and cold cabin crew – one who couldn’t be bothered whilst the other seemingly making up for her by being overly attentive.
Maybe I am lucky in as much as my “other carriers” flights have all been very good but, even so I return to the right hand end of T5 feeling comfortable and that I’ll be thoroughly looked after. Somehow the feeling is that if it’s BA it will be fine. Can’t quite put my finger on it.
Anyone else feel the same?10 Mar 2010
Perhaps its a feeling of comfort, a bit like an old blanket or a toy that one sucks at night (when was child of course) or a comfy pair of slippers! For me its the product and I am happy , in the main, with what I get. There is also the loyalty rewards which is easy to understand and easy to use (most of the time). Certainly my wife and I would probably not have had so many holidays further a field as we have had it not been for BAmiles and 2 for 1 amex vouchers.
From my wife’s perspective, she just does not want to go on airlines run by foreign companies. The suggestion of going to say Spain with Iberia is met with a frown. I did manage to get her on Qantas and Air New Zealand and they are now “fit for purpose”10 Mar 2010
For me its something thats ‘greater than the sum of its parts’. You can pick a hole in pretty much any of the elements, and compare something unfavourably to a competitor’s version. There is the cultural affinity too.
The reason this forum is so BA focused is because many feel the same, but also want it to be outstanding in all areas. Nothing wrong with that. But is it realistic?
I’ve just completed a return journey domestically with US Airways. I’d love to post some comments about it (utterly rude and disinterested gate staff, unfriendly lounge staff, tea in styrofoam cups (In 1st class!!!), shambolic transfer assistance) but would any readers care? With BA you get the occasionally member of staff who’s bit off (but anyone can have a bad day – except me obviously) – with US AIrways, I must have interacted directly with 10 different people, and not one of them came over as interested or engaged.
It certainly reminded me how lucky we are in the UK to have such a good choice of quality carriers.10 Mar 2010
You are spot on! While I am based in Sweden I still think our European airlines including BA is superior to any US airline. I also agree that US Airways is the armpit of air travel in the US of A. I have been in their “First” cabin about five times in the last three years and it is utter rubbish…. They make UA and CO look like best-in-class worldwide in comparison.
For me, BA, LX, and LH Italia have the best value for money with their in-expensive business/club offering of €350-500 just about anywhere in Europe ex.ARN.
There was an interesting post in this forum earlier this week regarding “air-rage” and passenger behaviour. In my 12 years as a frequent traveller (average 20 returns a year) I can count on one hand the times staff (onboard or ground) have been either rude or completely disinterested. The incidents have been down to poor command of language or someone perhaps having a bad day (or life). I for one, am always polite, courteous to staff and it is reciprocal in 99% of cases on all airlines excluding the above-mentioned US Airways and perhaps TK. I tend to find the BA staff very approachable… However, I am not the best judge on scale down of services on board as I tend to only fly BA ARN-LHR return.10 Mar 2010
I understand what you mean about the cultural affinity too, although I didn’t actually think about that side of it until you mentioned it. Stupid, I know, as it’s probably one of the most important factors.
There is also the question of your fellow passengers. I don’t want to make assumptions here but I do feel strangely more at ease with the passengers I encounter on a BA flight than perhaps the LH ones, and yes I do speak their language too.10 Mar 2010
Actually I love LH too, and AA and CO for that matter. Its the people that make the difference. But its the thing thats most difficult to get consistently right. If it becomes too enforced and formulaic then its not real or genuine.
Ultimately you want to feel you’re being taken care of.
“We’ll take good care of you”…Now there is a strap line.11 Mar 2010
As I reached the top of the steps as a boarded at JER for LGW, I was met with a friendly smile and a “Hello Sir” on checking my boarding pass it was “Thank you Mr Tarrant welcome back on board” the greeting is just as important as the service. Excellent cabin crew out and back in Club Europe today.
As GoonerLondon says the consistancy in getting it right is difficult, the crew today were genuine in thier appoach. Yes they took good care of me today.11 Mar 2010
NTarrant, you are perfectly right. The initial greeting, the use of your name and the welcome smile makes the whole flight so much better. As GoonerLondon says, it is very difficult to get right consistently, but you always tend to feel that on BA it is genuine.
Isn’t this coming down to the point that it is the crew that makes the biggest difference to any flight? Broken seat mechanisms, poor food, they can always happen, but how it is dealt with tempers your response and your future feelings for the particular airline. I should hate this present dispute to mar the passenger /crew relationship which I have experienced generally.11 Mar 2010
Interesting string of messages, I was totally committed to BA having been a super commuter between BRU and LHR/LGW for 5 years. I was able to choose my carrier when on business and always picked BA (when you have the choice of SABENA and its successors in all its guises, Air France etc – BA is the only choice.) After spending a week in CAI to get back on a BA aircraft was like coming home. I have tried our colonial cousins from across the pond but they have no sense of service – and please that phrase ‘have a nice day’ urggggghh and dont start me on with the ‘can i get’ from fellow passenges. However my partner and I have discovered the delights of QR and as all our travel is now for pleasure we tend to fly to QR destination always in F or J class.12 Mar 2010
As always I read the Forum comments with great interest, nodding, muttering and grunting agreement or disbelief as appropriate. But it was VintageKrug’s comment about the decent cup of tea which struck a chord strong enough to get me to the keyboard.
We travel United a lot (very good for frequent flyer mileage), but oh the apology for tea! I look at it in disbelief (even on a recent First Class trip): tepid, scummy and frankly not tea as we know it.
As I don’t drink coffee this is a tough call.12 Mar 2010
I hope BA are reading this thread – both management AND cabin crew.
There is unbelievable customer loyalty for BA from its regular flyers – even other airlines know it, and it is one of BA’s main assets (as I have said before on other posts). It has been hard won over the years, and by and large is well deserved. And it would be catastrophic to put it at risk, not least because once gone it may not be very easy to recreate.
For myself, I agree with nearly all the comments above, especially VK’s mention of tea! But if I was to name one thing above all others, it is when I am in some godforsaken airport at the end of a long trip, and there is something very important about seeing the BA plane waiting to take me home….12 Mar 2010
Clarkson had a good take on it:
“Unfortunately, it’s hard to find fault with something you love. And, strangely, one of the things I’ve loved most of all over the years is club class on British Airways. I love the way that when you’ve finished working in some godforsaken Third World fleapit you’re welcomed on board by a homosexual in grey flannel trousers and you think: “Aaaah. We haven’t even taken off but I’m home already.”
“I love their scones and clotted cream. I love the way they have back-up planes for when yours goes wrong. And I love the calmness of their pilots, all of whom have abbreviated Christian names and reassuring three-syllable surnames. “Welcome on board, ladies and gentlemen. Mike Richardson here on the flight deck . . .”
“Oh, they’ve done their best over the years to shoo me away, ditching the elegant grey and blue livery in favour of that terrible pre-Tony multiworld design on the tailfins, and then by buying the tedious and slothful 777 to replace the brilliant jumbos.
Even when I stopped flying quite so much and they demoted me from a card that entitled me to sit on the captain’s lap to a card that didn’t even get me into the economy class bogs, I still stayed loyal. And what happened when they ditched Concorde? Did I work myself into a frenzy of righteous indignation. Did I rant and rave? No. I blamed the French. “13 Mar 2010