rferguson

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  • rferguson
    Participant

    I think Qatar should have a little more luck with Meridiana than EY did with Alitalia.

    Alitalia was almost just an extension of the government and unions. It’s had more lives than a cat and I don’t think either the employees or the unions realistically feel threatened by going out of business as there always seems to be some emergency loan or silly airline willing to plough in millions.

    I feel sorry for the newer employees at Alitalia whom really do work hard and pretty much at market rate. I was pretty shocked to speak to one at the AZ crew hotel in Buenos Aires and hear that they stay only one night there (versus two for the AF/BA/IB crew whom all stay at the same hotel. The inefficiencies seem to be at a higher level – centring everything on Rome and leaving Malpensa which was designed to be their new hub (at the time) underutilised.

    And then there is the obvious that there are just too many airlines chasing too few passengers in Europe. Etihad, Emirates and Qatar fly direct from their hubs from Italian cities like Pisa and Venice.

    I think the case with Meridiana will be quite different. It is free of government interference. It will obviously relish the opportunity to grow. And on the limited longhaul front whilst it seems to have a terribly outdated hard product it has dedicated staff (some TR’s pasted – the amusing bit for me was the J class passenger that asks whether there is a row of three seats in economy to sleep in between the meal services). And Qatar can definitely help out on the hard product front!

    It will be interesting to see which strategy Qatar will shape with Meridiana – whether they will try to compete head to head with AZ on the busy longhaul routes from Rome and Milan or whether they will focus their longhaul network on launching flights to large cities westwards and Doha obviously eastwards from secondary cities.

    Review: Meridiana Business Class 767 Naples To New York


    rferguson
    Participant

    Slightly off topic but I recently had the opportunity to try the QR Al Safwa lounge in DOH as I was connecting onto another Gulf country in a ‘F’ designated cabin (short haul Business Class). Having visited the Al Mourjan lounge several times and been impressed with it I was like a kid waiting at the turnstile outside Disneyland when entering the Al Safwa lounge.

    I have to say, I was really underwhelmed. It felt sterile. Food was pretty average. The biggest shock was when I noticed they had a spa in the F lounge with slots available and got excited about having a treatment – until I realised that it is not a complimentary service and the charges were not cheap. Seemed a bit mean TBH.

    I actually spent about 45 minutes in the Al Safwa then went over to the Al Mourjan for the remaining hour.


    rferguson
    Participant

    So when flying out of LHR to Europe, I’m ok with any airline but when flying TO LHR, I’d pick BA as I get to use priority queue. Several short haul EU carriers don’t pay for fast track immigration

    As Star Gold members we get Gold Track when arriving at T2.
    And it’s a shame BA didn’t use the opportinity to impress.

    I was thinking exactly the same. You’d think this would be the kind of opportunity BA would be looking for – a customer from another airline rebooked onto BA. As you say, an opportunity to impress. Instead, they advise a potential new J class customer that there is no meal loaded for them and struggle to give a tea and biscuits in a timely manner.

    I understand that costs have to be controlled and catering wastage adds up. But surely loading an extra meal or two won’t put two much of a dent into the c£3b profits.

    ** Personal opinions only **


    rferguson
    Participant

    I think the biggest issues with the current seat are:
    – lack of direct aisle access.
    – lack of storage places for personal items.
    – inconsistency of seats. I really like the window seats when travelling solo. They are private. And I prefer seats where I don’t have to place my feet in cubby holes or footwells to sleeo. And I like the two middle seats when travelling with the other half. I’m still a sprightly young thing so stepping over someone when emerging from my seat is not ideal though not an issue either. In fact I prefer to ‘do’ the stepping than to be stepped over. However i’ve witnessed many other passengers struggle getting out which is unacceptable in this day and age. On the other hand the aisle seats have absolutely no privacy. And being sat next to someone you aren’t travelling with in those middle seats – savage.

    Will be interesting to see which design BA goes for in 2019. I feel it will be something similar to UA’s Polaris. With most of the other designs there is a loss of seat numbers. With Polaris UA was able to keep the exact same number of seats in the cabin as they did with their previous design due to the incredible space efficiency of the seat – music to BA’s ears. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Polaris though. Has anyone experienced it?


    rferguson
    Participant

    I like the First lounge, especially now with the First Wing access. However IMHO, I think BA should do itself a favour and at LHR and JFK they should rebrand F the lounge to the ‘Gold’ or ‘Emerald’ lounge or something similar. The fact is its a First class lounge without First Class passengers (whom are in the real First class Lounge) and simply a vast space for Gold Card holders/OWE’s not flying in First. Qatar in DOH is pretty much the same directing OWE’s not travelling F to the (even more underwhelming ‘First Class Lounge’ instead of the Al Safwa Lounge.

    Stick the BA F class lounge next to the likes of the LH Private Terminal, Swissair, QF or Air France F lounge, CX Pier etc and it would be a laughing stock. Although i’m not so very familiar with Star Alliance/SKyteam programs i’m pretty sure only very special levels of their frequent flyer programs get F Lounge access (if any)?

    The sheer numbers of BA Gold Card holders is evident whenever visiting the T5 F lounge and its obvious these numbers aren’t really replicated with many other airlines at their hubs. For example in SYD where the QF F Lounge is open to all OWE it is still never crowded. Can get busy, definitely. Same for CX in HKG. And Malaysia Airlines in KUL – they offer less that 30 F class seats a day departing KUL so obviously the F lounge is open to all OWE’s. You can find yourself the only person in the lounge for hours on end however! If BA made a Concorde Room at LHR to accommodate all OWE’s/Golds it would have to be massive – I guess the size of the current lounge plus CCR combined. Far far bigger than any of the other airlines F class facilities which I guess is just not feasible – especially when a good proportion of the customers in there are travelling to MAN or BRU in Eurotraveller (usually the case for yours truly).

    Is it an amazing lounge worthy of a luxurious wait prior to a long haul First Class flight? Absolutely not. Leave that to the CCR (although I know that could be up for debate also). Is it a good lounge to wait in prior to a flight in Y/J? In my opinion yes. It’s definitely no standout and I have my gripes. People have different priorities and I put food ahead of booze. For example the buffet is poor and I hate how difficult they make it to order food from the illusive menu (which unless you know of its existence you’d miss it). There are usually just a few in the whole lounge then you have to play ‘try make eye contact with a staff member’ to place your order.

    It’s like many things BA – manage your expectations. With the First Class wing and decent offerings I feel I am getting good value when travelling Economy on BA. I’d be peeved if it was what was offered before a First Class flight to LAX. But I wouldn’t be in there in that example.


    rferguson
    Participant

    Well hopefully MF will cope with the new service – little birds tell the new CW service will extend to ORD in Jan. As well as LAX.


    rferguson
    Participant

    Interesting stuff!

    I remember Willie Walsh saying previously when asked if BA were interested in more A380’s that they were but not at new prices and would consider the second hand market.

    Maybe SQ could do BA a favour and leave the 1-2-1 configuration in J! 🙂


    rferguson
    Participant

    I’ve not watched the video so apologies if a lot of this has already been included in that. But here is a few excerpts from an email from him ‘forging a stronger BA’.

    Competitive forces –
    Low cost short haul, low cost long haul, the big ME3 as well as US3.

    Where BA is at:
    – most punctual of the three big short haul carriers flying from London (does not say who the other two are nor what airports ‘london’ covers).
    – baggage performance over past year the best in a decade.
    – acknowledged BOB was not rolled out as smoothly as it could have.

    Looking ahead:
    – next year will be biggest route network ever.
    – on some aircraft (type not specified) increasing the size of the World Traveller Plus cabin due to demand.

    £4.5B investment over next five years including:
    – 72 new aircraft including four new types (A350/787-10/A320/321 NEO)
    – refurbish the cabins of 128 existing aircraft so they ‘feel like new’. Including the ‘mid J 747’ which was previously not going to be refurbished.
    – install at seat power at all seats in all cabins
    – WIFI on all aircraft in all cabins
    – upgrading economy catering on long haul reintroducing the full second meal (from JAN ’18).
    – new CW seat with direct aisle access from 2019.


    rferguson
    Participant

    As others have said the ‘offical’ way is to serve via the divider (Elf and safety).

    For me personally when serving it depends on a number of factors – if the passenger sat in the aisle seat the row behind the window/middle seat (if that makes sense) is not laying down I go around the aisle seat instead of via the divider. If i’m serving lets say 4A and 5B has their seat fully reclined there is no way I can do this. I think the key when serving via the divider is to acknowledge the customer sat in the aisle – apologise for leaning over them – return divider.

    As most regular travellers know the divider screens have to be down for the safety demo (in order for all passengers to be able to see a crew member point out an exit). When I am securing the cabin I always ask passengers if they are travelling with their neighbour and if not raise the divider for them. I know sometimes the customer themself feels awkward doing this – and for a lot of people not familar with the seat they don’t know how to raise the divider.


    rferguson
    Participant

    In many cases you are right SimonS1. In the UK you can get fairly cheep booze in high street retail stores. In many countries (including Australia) it’s quite expensive (and highly taxed) and DF definitely represents a good saving.

    Cigs are the same – in BKK for example it’s cheaper to go into 7-11 in town and buy 200 Malboros than at the airport Duty Free.

    in reply to: Bangkok Airport Scams

    rferguson
    Participant

    Edskii – SO true. Or possibly to protect the interest of the one Duty Free chain that sells duty free on arrival in all the major ports. They must make a mint.

    Ironically, there are no liquid restrictions at ALL on Australian domestic routes. Yet they go OTT on the international front.

    I was peeved when flying HKG-SYD. I was aware of the 100ML rule and secondary check at the boarding gate. I puchased one of the little travel coffret set of fragrances as a gidt for a friend which was beautifully packaged (5 x different frgrances of 10ML each). The duty free staff insisted it would be fine to take on board as they were under 100ml each. What they didn’t tell me was at the secondary inspection i’d have to unseal all the packaging, remove each small fragrance and place it in a clear plastic bag.
    The presentation was kind of ruined.

    in reply to: Bangkok Airport Scams

    rferguson
    Participant

    Just to re-interate…this was NOT a scam. You are not able to take any liquid items over 100ML on any aircraft departing to Australia from any airport outside Australia. The same would have happened to the OP whether it had been HKG SIN or LAX. This is an Australian imposed regulation. Clear sealed plastic bag from airside Duty Free or not the ‘normal’ rules do not apply for flights to Australia.

    in reply to: Bangkok Airport Scams

    rferguson
    Participant

    Thuky – although there are many reported scams at BKK airport the one you encountered is not one of them.

    On flights to Australia the liquids requirement still applies even to goods purchased airside or onboard (although QF has some exception to this as their aircraft are considered a ‘sterile zone’ – roll eyes emoji). In other words whatever liquids you purchase airside need to be under 100ml and placed into a clear plastic bag for secondary screening at the gate.

    Unfortunately the Duty Free shop staff should have clocked the destination on your boarding pass which you would have presented when purchasing the scotch and advised you of the requirement.

    Of course you can still by Duty Free on arrival at the maga shops in Australia before passport control (at inflated prices – go figure).

    in reply to: Bangkok Airport Scams

    rferguson
    Participant

    @ donkeyasia
    Respectfully, I am not running a travel consultancy service from this forum. I nabbed a great deal and simply passed on the fact that Qatar is having a sale to other forum users.

    I included all the pivotal information in my opening post – the fact it’s 2-4-1, the fact it is only from some european countries, some examples of city pairs and the time the deal is on offer to.

    There is absolutely no point in me detailing a fare between certain city pairs on certain dates. It would have been out of date within hours. Many of the availability was being snapped up rapidly and fares were changing hour by hour.

    If you want to find a deal I suggest you do as I did – read the blogs (Ft Premium Fare deals etc) and then sit yourself in front of the search engines (kayak, google flights, ITA matrix although Kayak is my personal favourite) and play around with dates and routes.

    Happy searching.

    in reply to: Good QR 2-4-1 J sale.

    rferguson
    Participant

    Cabin Crew are safety and service providers. I don’t see the relevance of cabin crew name tags including a surname. For identification purposes a passenger can always ask the crew member for their surname and explain why they need it (ie to write in a compliment etc). The crew member can provide it at their discretion. In any case, if there is a serious need to identify a crew member there are other ways of achieving this, such as their ID card.

    Hi Alex. Actually even if writing a compliment/complaint letter about a crew member you wouldn’t need a surname. On each flight the Senior Cabin Crew member completes an ‘onboard form’ on the iPad and enters where on the aircraft all the crew are working. Which cabin, which aisle etc. So theoretically even if you had no name at all and sent a letter with your seat number Customer Relations would notify the crew member/members working in that aisle or part of the aircraft. I guess there could be a situation where you might have two ‘Janes’ working in First Class or on a short haul airbus and if you really wanted to recognise one of them it would be necessary to ask for a name.

    Personally, I choose to have my full name on my name badge. No social media stalkers so far (sigh). Lol.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 1,734 total)
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