BA is clearly one of the greatest airlines ever. The passenger experience remains exceptional, and one wonders how in this age of cost-cutting, FAs still convey an enthusiasm and spirit that should make any organization proud. I do remember in the late 70s or so when BA
had become quite mediocre, but the turnaround into World's Best was quite remarkable - was it privatization, perhaps?
I like BA
, despite their Executive Club program, because the customer experience is predictably excellent. Now, fans of VS
,CX and others will no doubt feel the same about their favorites. However, in terms of claiming greatness, a pedigree reaching back to the early days of aviation is a must. Contenders like TWA and PanAm have bit the dust, KLM (BA's arch rival from the Imperial Airways days) is just surviving, and once-great AI
is not so great anymore. For sake of completeness, VARIG and Qantas also deserve honorable mention. In this regard, BA
was able to exploit its history - it reached into its collective memory, and provide the graciousness past times to modern day mass travel.
The more interesting question is who will be the contenders for greatness in this century? Flying has become mass transportation much like train or bus travel, and greatness will be elusive to define. Will it be VS
transporting us into space perhaps? The age of Flying Boats, Comets and Concordes has given way to twin-engined tubes stuck in stratospheric subsonic flight - but supremely safe. So air travel becomes a commodity, but as long as you have hospitable FAs to help you on your journeys across the globe, and you can peek out of the window at the world and skies outside, it will always be a very special experience.