cedarjet
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Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:09 pm

British Airways have a great heritage with Imperial Airways, flying boats, BOAC, VC-tenderness, Concorde, posh English accents, all that. Even in recent years they have been at the forefront of innovation, being the first airline to offer lie-flat in business class. They remain by far the biggest operator of the 747, and are the only European airline to serve six continents. No sign of going 10 abreast on the 777. I personally have a very favourable impression of them because I have top tier status with them so enjoy the first class lounge, have a res number to call which picks up after a few rings, get greeted personally at my seat by the purser, and when I fly economy they'll sneak me business class amenity kits or a glass of bubbly. Additionally I have never experienced a cancellation or even a substantial delay so I don't know what the dark side even looks like.

However there's no doubt they are not top of the pile for food offerings (I like the catering in premium cabins but god the tray is looking more and more bare down the back). I have seen and heard anecdotal evidence that when things go wrong, they can be pretty unhelpful. Sometimes on my way to immigration the line of transit pax waiting to clear security before their onward flight looks woeful. Those lovely 747s are getting old. They are famous for being mean* with reward seats in the Exec Club programme.

Because my gold card means I generally experience the best of what BA have to offer, plus I am slightly inclined to want to think only the best of my hometown carrier, I don't think I'm objective. (Well, I think I am -- I see them as being the top of the middle tier of airlines. They aren't Cathay, that's for sure.) Anyway how do you perceive BA in the world marketplace of airlines? I am especially curious to hear from people who don't fly them much, or have never flown them. Is this an airline you think of as "good"? Would you go out of your way to fly them? Would you go out of your way to avoid them?

* which I think is unfair, fact is they have a city as a hub which is the most visited place on earth, and many of their destinations are desirable too, so with somewhere between two and nine million Exec Club members plus god knows how many million other One World flyers, it is not surprising that it is hard to get a free ticket from London to San Francisco in school holidays -- for all I know, they are very generous with reward seats but even if every damn seat was available for redemption, it wouldn't be enough! So I always quick to defend BA on this point.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:21 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
Sometimes on my way to immigration the line of transit pax waiting to clear security before their onward flight looks woeful

This is recognised by BA, and there is a concerted effort to change the rules, so that some pax can bypass security. Why do all pax need to go through transit security? There are many airports where this is not the case, and BA is trying to get this changed at LHR.
 
SonomaFlyer
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:28 pm

Remember that the good 'ole US of A has "special" rules that require a complete rescreening of transiting passengers. It doesn't matter for example that you board in GVA (as we did) and then transfer at LHR, you go through the questioning and screening process all over again and only then can you go into the transit lounge after again going through the tsa style process.

Given the volume of passengers BA moves to America from LHR, this is something they cannot control.
 
seansasLCY
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:30 pm

I'm BA silver but flew for the first time in the new Club Europe and have decided I won't pay for Club Europe from now on. The only difference is lounge access. If I maintain silver from long haul flying I'll get it anyway but in no way does BA justify the extra cost with the terrible leg room (I've had more space on Easyjet - I was on a BA A319) and the poor food. Afternoon Tea was three small sandwiches, a scone and a packaged cake. That doesn't even cost £5 in Tesco.

I don't have any trouble getting a reward seat and have done many shorthaul reward flights and often found availability for long hauls when looking.

I've never had a problem with BA Y and actually thought it was very good when I flew LHR-BAH-DOH but I find the premium experience is becoming a lot less premium and you notice the cost cutting a lot more - like running out of alcohol on flights - LCY-JFK they ran out of champagne and the new cheap champagne in CE.
 
cedarjet
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:40 pm

Quoting seansasLCY (Reply 3):
I won't pay for Club Europe from now on. The only difference is lounge access.

I should have added this to my second para in the OP when I was listing the possible shortcomings of BA. Club Europe is a pile of crap, I suppose one could only say in it's defence that it's the same at most or all European carriers. The seat etc is exactly the same. I have had a couple of nice meals on CE, lovely swordfish steak going down to Milan one time last year. But it's not a premium product, it's economy with a hot meal.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
seansasLCY
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:50 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 4):
But it's not a premium product, it's economy with a hot meal.

Its not even that if you get "brunch" or "afternoon tea".
 
B2707SST
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:42 pm

I flew my first intercontinental trip on BA back in 2000 . The service was solidly above the US carriers, there's an undeniable mystique about flying a 747, and my whole family got hooked on Club World after we were upgraded from Y+ on another trip a few years later. I have been a loyal BA customer for my European flights ever since, but am reconsidering:

- Service seems to be slipping: the food is so-so, amenity kits are being steadily pared back, and F/A attitude has been inconsistent. My only experience in First three years ago was largely spoiled by a very indifferent cabin crew on both legs.

- The companion voucher earned via the BA credit card used to be a great deal, but the UK has jacked up their taxes and fees to absurd levels. If they're trying to kill LHR's appeal as a global hub, they're doing a good job.

- Premium award availability (at least out of SEA) is very difficult if you don't book about a year in advance. The first available Club World seats this year are in October, November for First. This kind of lead time isn't an option for business travel and is tough for vacations, so I feel like I'm accumulating miles I can't use.

I'm strongly considering cutting up my BA credit card at the end of the year and switching to AS' partner network, which has many more options to get to Europe. DL in particular seems to have really stepped up their product. I want to give BA my business, but I'll never fly on them enough to earn elite status, and they're becoming more and more difficult to rationalize for my 1-2 European trips per year.
Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.
 
jetwet1
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:52 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
it is not surprising that it is hard to get a free ticket from London to San Francisco in school holidays -- for all I know, they are very generous with reward seats but even if every damn seat was available for redemption, it wouldn't be enough!

BA is far better than VS in this regard, with a little planning you should be ok, but yes, avoid the British school holidays like the plague.

Quoting seansasLCY (Reply 3):
I won't pay for Club Europe from now on.

It really is a sad joke now, I understand they want the flexibility in the cabin, but I don't care, there is no way I could justify the price difference.

Being US based I don't get to fly on BA that much, however I have a close friend that flies LHR-PVG in paid first every week, he has had enough of them, so many stupid small issues that as a first class passenger you shouldn't have to deal with, such as "I'm sorry sir, your meal choice isn't available" he is switching to CX.
 
cedarjet
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:06 pm

Quoting seansasLCY (Reply 3):
I won't pay for Club Europe from now on.

Not only is it not worth paying for, I'm not even sure it's worth being upgraded to -- when I had the nice swordfish on the way to Milan, I was actually booked in Y and got moved to 1A when I was boarding (new boarding pass printed at the gate) and I actually thought, I hope they don't count how often gold cards get involuntary upgrades to spread it around, and when I'm on an overbooked jumbo to Boston they upgrade someone else cos, oh Charlie got upgraded last month so let's give it to someone else. Cos Y to J on CE is not the same as Y to J on CW!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
rta
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:20 pm

First, I'm going to start off by saying that I've always loved BA and Terminal 5. I was, however, extremely disappointed to the changes they made to the Executive Club. But I understand a lot of other airlines have done this already, and its no surprise that BA had to as well. But still, their program is still better than most (at least for my purposes)

Also, I hate to say it, but I'm getting a little tired of flying on some of their planes. The 747s are showing their age, and the IFE is a bit on the weaker end too.

But still, I would keep flying BA. I just love the service they provide on their flights. And honestly, the food isn't that bad IMO, for economy  
Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 1):
This is recognised by BA, and there is a concerted effort to change the rules, so that some pax can bypass security. Why do all pax need to go through transit security? There are many airports where this is not the case, and BA is trying to get this changed at LHR.

I've almost missed connecting flights a few times because of this. Really annoying.

[Edited 2015-02-19 09:21:29]

[Edited 2015-02-19 09:22:36]
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:30 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
Anyway how do you perceive BA in the world marketplace of airlines? I am especially curious to hear from people who don't fly them much, or have never flown them. Is this an airline you think of as "good"? Would you go out of your way to fly them? Would you go out of your way to avoid them?

I was Silver and now Bronze, I feel that where BA shoot themselves in the foot is the Club Europe product.
Awful and not worth the money.There may be space between the seats but not in front and back of it,recline is very poor.
If you are doing one of the "long haul" Club flight to the Med for 4hrs you may as well go in Y.
Meal service quality just average.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 8):
Not only is it not worth paying for, I'm not even sure it's worth being upgraded to

Yes, agrred.  
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
shankly
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:44 pm

When its good, its very, very good.

Flew Club CPT-LHR last month. Upper deck seat and with pretty much the whole cabin asleep, I enjoyed some of the best dinner service that I've ever had in a premium cabin, from two superb crew. Service that was attentive, professional and with a nice sense of fun. Made me feel good about myself, my journey and BA

Roll back to December on the outbound flight....yes it was all very efficient, but I never really got the sense that BA cared much that I'd lashed out several grand for me and my family to be sat in row 64.

As for Club Europe (plus any other intra-Euro airline premium product) I'm always amused why anyone, with any sense, would pay that much for a curtain behind them rather than in front. Its clear the brains are in the back of the cabin

Cedarjet, one other thing you can add to that "heritage" list in your post...since and including John King, BA has enjoyed a remarkably good run of CEO's

Finally, one thing is for sure. When that last 744 gets shunted off to VCV, those of us that have enjoyed the upper deck experience, will look back with some sadness, that the "club within a club" is no longer around
L1011 - P F M
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:49 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
No sign of going 10 abreast on the 777

Actually, BA was among the very first to do so.

IIRC, they were they were the first non-Asian carrier to ever op 10 abreast in a T7... but only on ships G-VIIO, -VIIP, -VIIR; only out of Gatwick, and in association with AML/Flying Colours.

Later, they converted the aircraft to 3x3x3. Apparently, it wasn't worth it to them.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
slinky09
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:52 pm

In the last few years I've had the (often) pleasure of flying long haul in J on BA, CX, SQ (and in F), EK (and in F), VS, AA (and in F), 9W, and LH.

So, trying to compare an equivalent product across several airlines, IMO the best in businesst is VS. That's just my opinion. I find SQ sterile. I don't understand why people laud CX since it's nothing that special although at least now they've dunked that awful business class seat they tried out, 9W has a fantastic seat and space but all sorts of things aren't right, AA has its pluses (decent steak) but to many minuses (worst lounges in the world and serving champagne in plastic glasses in F is really dingy), EK can be great through dire (it's problem is consistency although the upper deck on an A380 is fantastic), LH seems cheap all the time to me. All short and glib opinions of course but the longer version would be ... long. BA is near the bottom of this heap but if you're BAEC Au at least you don't get the miserable galleries lounges at LHR so that mitigates at least one problem. I too wouldn't pay for CE anymore on BA, the extra cost is now something of a rip off.

VS isn't perfect, it's network is limited, but on the ground at LHR it's the best of any airline anywhere, and in the air when they do it right it is very good indeed. So, to answer the OP's question about perception of BA in the world marketplace, there's my view, subjective as it is.
 
flyinghippo
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:56 pm

After achieving Silver in BA in a year, I've decided to never fly on BA metal, or take my business to DL.

Their TATL J class product is years behind AA's 77W J seats - with old, narrow seats that has no place to put your belongings. Food is bland, and the amenity kit is average at best.

Their lounge is good at T3 and T5, but I can still use them if I fly on AA flights. The only downside is I won't be able to use BA lounge at JFK and have to deal with AA's TSA security line - which is atrocious for J passengers (Not a real dedicated line).

I'm flying to LHR later this month, and I'm going to give DL a shot to earn my business.

[Edited 2015-02-19 10:57:39]

[Edited 2015-02-19 10:58:07]
 
TimRees
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:30 pm

I fly BA at least once a month which is quite a lot I suppose for someone not travelling on business. The main route I fly is LHR-NCE-LHR which is a frequent service and very well timed for commuting.
Firstly, I'm very supportive of BA and proud that our national airline has been so innovative and respected around the world for many years. Having said that, my experiences with BA are very variable and I really cannot plan an evening out in Nice (I usually get a late afternoon/early evening flight) as sadly it is rare the flights take off on time. Although I love LHR T5, BA's biggest problem must be the capacity issues at its base. Once there is any slight delay on their network the knock-on effects are pretty substantial. Of the 50 odd flights I've made to/from NCE in the last two years I'd say at least 75% leave late - that is usually more than 30 mins.
As regards the product, I tend to agree that the CE offering is probably not worth it. I was extremely disappointed when I took at 1645 flight which departed over an hour late to be offered the £5 Tesco afternoon tea as an earlier poster wrote. It was so disappointing. On the previous occasion I had been upgraded and the hot meal was very pleasant. I usually travel Y and the new rather door-stop cut sandwiches are tasty and better than the wraps (I hate wraps!) but again, there must be something better BA catering could conjure up.
The A319s mainly used on this route are starting to look tired and when they occasionally use one of their new A320s with the slimline seats it's so much better. Looking forward to the whole fleet being upgraded.
Other flights I've recently made have been Y to GLA on a 763 - I'd forgotten how old fashioned these aircraft are and the overhead lockers were a joke on a busy Friday evening flight! I also chose to fly the A380 to HKG last July and paid extra to book a seat upstairs in CW. Having flown on A380s of QF and EK I was rather disappointed with BAs offering on this splendid aircraft. I was in a window rear facing seat and it was quite difficult to access it from the aisle - just as well my waist line wasn't much bigger!
I agree that getting Avios flights is tricky unless you book quite sometime in advance or you're prepared to fly at silly hours or from LGW. However, the fact you can use them to get some money off is a very welcome addition. I have only attained Bronze membership despite frequent flying and will gain Silver this year for a first time. However, for non-business yet frequent users of the airline, maintaining these tiers is so difficult.
Another problem which is now starting to delay flights is BA's seemingly lax approach to carry-on hand luggage. I can't believe that people even contemplate taking some of the things onto an aircraft they do and on these busy flights to NCE many bags need to be off loaded which is causing unnecessary delays. I wish there were stricter rules around this.
Having flown J class with QR, EK, EY, QF, VS, IB and LA long-haul in recent years, the ME3 really are a hard act to follow. The experience from free seat allocations at time of booking, courtesy cars to collect you from home, superb lounges (especially QR at T4) and on board service, food and wines of very high standard just make me wonder why anyone would chose to fly BA if they don't mind a change of plane in the Gulf.
I have no intention of switching my allegiance as LHR is so convenient for my travel needs, but I do hope BA will take some time to re-examine their product and tweek it to maintain their customers.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:31 pm

Quoting shankly (Reply 11):
As for Club Europe (plus any other intra-Euro airline premium product) I'm always amused why anyone, with any sense, would pay that much for a curtain behind them rather than in front. Its clear the brains are in the back of the cabin

A significant percentage of BA's European business class passengers (and other major European network carriers) are only in that cabin because they're connecting to/from a longhaul J class flight and it's included in the through fare. If it wasn't for that, some European carriers would probably drop business class on shorthaul flights.
 
musang
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:36 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 4):
The seat etc is exactly the same.

No significant change in the pitch, but its wider.

In the CE config the block (of three) is telescoped so as to create two wider seats and a "non-seat" in the B and E positions. In effect the centre armrests squeeze closer together in the D, E, F block while the whole block contracts toward the sidewall, and in the A, B, C block the whole set expands toward the aisle. Aisle width stays nearly the same. Only the aisle and window seats are sold so guaranteed no-one sitting next to you.

When their CityFlyer franchise operated Avro RJ100s for them, the seat blocks telescoped electrically (the 737 seat is manually adjusted), and the seat pitch was about an inch more in the front half of the cabin.

Regards - musang
 
Viscount724
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:44 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 17):
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 4):
The seat etc is exactly the same.

No significant change in the pitch, but its wider.

In the CE config the block (of three) is telescoped so as to create two wider seats and a "non-seat" in the B and E positions. In effect the centre armrests squeeze closer together in the D, E, F block while the whole block contracts toward the sidewall, and in the A, B, C block the whole set expands toward the aisle. Aisle width stays nearly the same. Only the aisle and window seats are sold so guaranteed no-one sitting next to you.

I thought BA was replacing those old "telescoping" seats with standard (and much lighter) Y seats with the only difference being the middle seat left empty, much like almost all their major competitors.
 
ytz
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:12 pm

I actually think BA is probably the best of the US3 and the EU3 for service. And they have an incredible network that touches every corner of the world.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:18 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
Sometimes on my way to immigration the line of transit pax waiting to clear security before their onward flight looks woeful. Those lovely 747s are getting old.

I'm surprised that a UK member of A net of 15 years and a veteran of over 8000 posts isn't aware that immigration is not the responsibility of BA and that the oldest 744's are presently being replaced
 
seansasLCY
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:39 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 17):
No significant change in the pitch, but its wider.

In the CE config the block (of three) is telescoped so as to create two wider seats and a "non-seat" in the B and E positions. In effect the centre armrests squeeze closer together in the D, E, F block while the whole block contracts toward the sidewall, and in the A, B, C block the whole set expands toward the aisle. Aisle width stays nearly the same. Only the aisle and window seats are sold so guaranteed no-one sitting next to you.

Not any more! BA are replacing them. The seat is exactly the same now.
 
Andy33
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:53 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 17):
No significant change in the pitch, but its wider.

In the CE config the block (of three) is telescoped so as to create two wider seats and a "non-seat" in the B and E positions. In effect the centre armrests squeeze closer together in the D, E, F block while the whole block contracts toward the sidewall, and in the A, B, C block the whole set expands toward the aisle. Aisle width stays nearly the same. Only the aisle and window seats are sold so guaranteed no-one sitting next to you.

When their CityFlyer franchise operated Avro RJ100s for them, the seat blocks telescoped electrically (the 737 seat is manually adjusted), and the seat pitch was about an inch more in the front half of the cabin.

Regards - musang

All the A320s and short-haul A321s have had these seats replaced with standard-width seats over the past 7 months. The middle seat is blocked by a table if the row is sold as CE. About half of the A319s have already received the same refit and the remainder should be done by the end of April.
This leaves the 5 remaining 734s all due to leave the fleet by July, and the 7 short-haul 767s which will retain the convertible seats.
 
LHRFlyer
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:00 pm

If you take a step back to where BA was 15 years ago, it has overcome a lot of challenges, many of which threatened the long-term future of the airline:

a) It has addressed its pension deficit which had threatened the renewal of its long-haul fleet
b) It has substantially reformed legacy working practices
c) It has found an avenue for growth at its hub at LHR through IAG buying bmi
d) Its response to competition is no longer to cut and run. BA is growing again at LGW and it's overtaken CityJet at LCY
e) It is also returning to a lot of markets it has previously withdrawn from (Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Belfast, Dublin..). It is also, against expectations, holding its own on LHR-SYD
f) It's no longer behind the game in European consolidation and it has good quality alliance partners

On the flip-side, the tight cost control is showing and BA is no longer a leader anymore. Flat beds are now pretty much standard in business class. I find it inexplicable that the airline hasn't introduced WiFi when it's now seen as a basic need.

It's entirely sensible for IAG to impose financial discipline and but the airline needs a vision for people to get behind and whilst it's somewhat protected by its dominance at Heathrow, consumer sentiment can change quickly.
 
RobertPhoenix
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:24 pm

This week I flew from PHX to BUD via Heathrow.

There is no longer any First Class out of Phoenix because they don't consider that the quality of accommodation matches their current standards (Old 747 used). Fair enough I thought, improving standards is not a bad thing.

Then I got on the plane from LHR to BUD and experienced their new Club Europe seating. What an intense disappointment. The plane was really all cramped economy style, with center seats blocked off for Club Europe. Maybe just as well. At least I could put my newspaper there because I certainly could not open it in front of me. I think the seat pitch is worse than Southwest !

The flight attendant appeared to be sympathetic when I asked if this was a substitute aircraft or if this was the new standard. She said that BA had followed AF and LH by introducing this style of seating - so the plane could be quickly converted back to all economy.

This doesn't make sense. Eliminating First Class because it doesn't meet standards, and then at the same time converting Club Europe to an economy seat with somewhat better food.
 
kdhurst380
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:53 pm

The problem with BA is inconsistency, in my experience, when they get it right, they get it absolutely spot on and it's fantastic. When they get it wrong, they get it monumentally wrong and completely ruin the experience.

They can make all the cuts (which they have done) to the hard product they like, but if you have a good soft product, good crew that want to be there and want to be making the passenger experience as good as it can possibly be, then they cannot go wrong.

The problem is, they do screw up the soft product far too often, it only takes a miserable, unwilling crew totally ruin ones perception of an airline.

On the flip side, what would otherwise be quite average flights have been made great by a smiling, proactive crew who are happy to be there who have made me think 'if every BA flight was like this, I'd be going out of my way to fly with them'. I don't though, and therein lies the problem.

[Edited 2015-02-19 15:56:38]
 
Armodeen
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:02 am

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
it is not surprising that it is hard to get a free ticket from London to San Francisco in school holidays

It's impossible, as I am certain you are aware reward tickets on BA are anything but free!  
 
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zckls04
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:20 am

What's the F product like? I am flying SEA to LHR in July and wondering whether BA's F product is still what it's cracked up to be. I've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence it's getting a bit tired, so am I better off on AA?
Four Granavox Turbines!
 
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seemyseems
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:01 am

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
Anyway how do you perceive BA in the world marketplace of airlines?

I always find them to be more expensive compared to other airlines, especially on European routes. When I travel I tend to book with LCC's or KLM, and as I don't live in the London area its often cheaper to connect via AMS.

My dad's company often use BA to LAD, they don't get much praise there either I think they have some issues with flights times from respective airports into LHR, luckily he's returning home on KLM.
seemyseems in ATL
 
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usdcaguy
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:36 am

If your destination isn't LHR, it can be very hard to find competitive prices on BA in economy to destinations outside the UK, particularly the Middle East. I remember flying them a lot in the 90's and thinking they were quite good at the time, and their seats and product seemed a lot nicer than the competition. I would fly them again if I had the chance, but fares and total elapsed flying times are sometimes uncompetitive.
 
AZA330
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:06 am

Quoting rta (Reply 9):

First, I'm going to start off by saying that I've always loved BA and Terminal 5. I was, however, extremely disappointed to the changes they made to the Executive Club. But I understand a lot of other airlines have done this already, and its no surprise that BA had to as well. But still, their program is still better than most (at least for my purposes)

I have been Executive Club Silver for several years between the early 2000s and a couple of years ago. Until the recent changes it was a wonderful frequent flier program and I believe Silver gave you a lot for the level it was. That was one of the reasons I flew BA all the time, having travelled in basically every cabin and most of their planes. Throughout the years I have seen the service "deteriorate" a little bit at the time in the Traveler cabins while long-haul Club and First remained almost the same or improved slightly (except for the amenity kit... that has definitely shrank over the years). Service was always good on the flights I was on. Terminal 5 used to be a lot nicer before it became too crowded, especially at security... maybe the new Executive Club aimed at reducing the passengers being able to access lounges?
A couple of years ago I moved from Europe to the US, and with tickets US-EU being a lot more expensive than those EU-US (unless you travel during special promotion periods), I really do not think BA is worth it anymore. The service in regular cabins is not much better than that of airlines in the US, and right now several of their planes are showing their age.

I think it is sad that because "mediocrity" is the new standard everyone tends to adapt to it more or less quickly. At least for now they hold on to the 9 abreast on the 777... but how long will that last?
 
AZA330
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 6:20 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:11 am

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 27):

What's the F product like? I am flying SEA to LHR in July and wondering whether BA's F product is still what it's cracked up to be. I've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence it's getting a bit tired, so am I better off on AA?

It should be a 777 with the new cabin... it is worth it!
 
DAL763ER
Posts: 512
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:15 am

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):

Remember that the good 'ole US of A has "special" rules that require a complete rescreening of transiting passengers. It doesn't matter for example that you board in GVA (as we did) and then transfer at LHR, you go through the questioning and screening process all over again and only then can you go into the transit lounge after again going through the tsa style process.

Given the volume of passengers BA moves to America from LHR, this is something they cannot control.

No, not really. It has nothing to do with the US AFAIK. All transit passengers at LHR from country A to country C will have to go through screening. That said, security at Heathrow is much nicer and more comfortable than anything the US deems ok. The only way to not have to clear security when transferring at LHR is to have arrived on a domestic UK flight.

Also, security doesn't ask you any security questions. They also don't really know where you're going as all you do is scan your boarding pass at the machine and the door automagically opens (well, they do know where you're going, but they couldn't care less about stupid security questions). Security questions would be done on check in or maybe on boarding.
 
RIXrat
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:22 am

I'm not a F or a J passenger and usually stick to the cheaper Y, because I don't fly on business trips anymore since my retirement. I spent 16 years in Europe trying to figure out why my company was paying an arm and a leg to put me in SK business class which had movable curtains containing the same Y seats, except the middle seat was blocked off and we had a piece of salmon on our sandwich.

Regarding BA, after moving back to the U.S., and living in the Tucson area, I missed them and when we made our yearly journey to visit our son and family in Stockholm, we always booked BA from PHX-LHR-ARN. Late last year we went for a reunion at PMI and mistakenly booked TUS-DFW-LHR-PMI. The Dallas to London was BA metal but after that everything kind of fell apart between AA and IB. On the trip back the AA B-763 was clapped out and their MD80+ was packed to the hilt to TUS. Plus AA provided no entertainment through the seat back. I think I'm going to stick with BA on long-haul
 
SKAirbus
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:20 am

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 1):
This is recognised by BA, and there is a concerted effort to change the rules, so that some pax can bypass security. Why do all pax need to go through transit security? There are many airports where this is not the case, and BA is trying to get this changed at LHR.

Well domestic passengers should definitely not have to be re-screened, nor should passengers arriving from Schengen countries as they have security standards that equal the UK. Hopefully this will be changed...

The BA First product is not worth it imho. The seat isn't much better than club as BA manage to pack in an insane number of F seats into the nose of their 747s/777s compared to other airlines. There is no trolley service but that isn't worth the extra money... As long as there is a flat bed, champagne and ok food, i'd rather stick to Club and spend my money elsewhere.

I agree with the sentiment that Club Europe is a complete waste of time and effort. BA should probably offer what SAS does; a premium economy product and standard economy product on European flights. I.e. flexible ticket holders get lounge access and a meal.
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Lofty
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:59 am

Just for clarity without a major redesign of T5 all transfer passengers with the exception of Domestic will have to be screened. This is due to all arriving international passengers mixing.
 
steve6666
Posts: 491
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:18 pm

I've had my Gold card for almost a decade, and, extremely reluctantly, have come round to the conclusion with the rest of the Business Traveller forum that BA frankly doesn't give a flying one about me. This is going to read like a whinge, and I know I should go and concentrate on some other first world problems, but here goes. I'm glad the OP experiences the best BA has to offer, because over the last twelve months they really have shown me the diametric opposite.

I have lost count of the number of absurd delays - always down to mx - on short haul flights, that have resulted in me still being in my point of origin when I should have been already at my destination. My favourites were the three and half hour delay to BCN last July (mx reason unknown), and the four and half hour delay coming home from Oslo due an inoperative lavatory that they didn't end up fixing before dispatching the aircraft anyway.

I guess it must have been the large number of "Priority" tags on my bag and the extremely short 3h50m connection time that made them not bother to transfer my bag from my flight arriving from DUS to my flight departing for ARN - which itself was delayed. And resulted in me wearing a pair of adidas shorts and a Superdry hoody to the office the following day.

The J-class seat is now sadly obsolete. Yet the story I gather is it is only going to be replaced when the A350 comes out in another 2/3 years time. I used to defend the yin-yang arrangement, but as another poster has said, the AA 77W seat is light years ahead of BA's J-class seat.

I also think they are stuck in a bizarre race to the bottom, even in premium classes. The last analyst presentation proudly trumpets renegotiating some T5 service contract at much lower rates. It shows. Several times - after the summer rush - I was in the First lounge when it resembled more of a bomb site than a premium cabin airline lounge. I exaggerate, but you get the point. Serious downgrades in the quality and quantity of food available - burgers and ice cream now being standard fare and most heinously, no more cheese or salt and vinegar flavour Kettle Chips. I was in the Concorde Room last November, went for the sit down meal - and promptly needed another meal due to the miniscule portions offered from the limited menu.

I don't feel I get much recognition for my Gold card, when half the plane qualifies for pre-boarding anyway (hence why on short haul people start queuing half an hour before the gate opens) and the laughably titled priority queue at security almost invariably takes longer than the non-priority queue. I miss the old T1 arrangement where you could pass through security and walk ten yards to the lounge, rather than the resented T5 arrangement where I have to walk 100 yards left, down, 120 yards right and then up to end up 20 yards from where I started, through the crowds of people gazing in awe at a shop. I know that's BAA/Heathrow Airport Ltd's doing, but the fact BA didn't think this through at the design stage speaks volumes.

So to revert to the original question, I don't think they really know. Arguably the answer is having their cake and eating it. Because I know I'm not alone (from what I read on Business Traveller) in feeling the way I do, and loyalty schemes only go so far in keeping people loyal when service standards have fallen and everything is just lower rent than it was in 2005. On a TATL where the choice in an AA 77W (soon to be 77anything) and BA, I would take AA every time. I've even contemplated using VS for the first time in over a decade. And bearing in mind I'm 70% to lifetime Gold, I think that's a bit sad really.
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rta
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:19 pm

Quoting Lofty (Reply 35):
This is due to all arriving international passengers mixing.

Why is this necessarily an issue?
 
Someone83
Posts: 4263
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:27 pm

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
Remember that the good 'ole US of A has "special" rules that require a complete rescreening of transiting passengers. It doesn't matter for example that you board in GVA (as we did) and then transfer at LHR, you go through the questioning and screening process all over again and only then can you go into the transit lounge after again going through the tsa style process.

Given the volume of passengers BA moves to America from LHR, this is something they cannot control.

This is a UK thing. If the GVA passanger had flown through FRA, CPH or many other European airports instead, that rescreening does not happen
 
ManchesterMAN
Posts: 1055
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:57 pm

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:20 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
I personally have a very favourable impression of them because I have top tier status with them so enjoy the first class lounge, have a res number to call which picks up after a few rings, get greeted personally at my seat by the purser, and when I fly economy they'll sneak me business class amenity kits or a glass of bubbly. Additionally I have never experienced a cancellation or even a substantial delay so I don't know what the dark side even looks like.

Until last month I was a BA Gold card holder and I honestly don’t recognise anything you are saying here. Only once on goodness knows how many flights over the three years I maintained the status was I ever even acknowledged as having status with them when I received the rather uncomfortable “thank you for being a Gold card holder” spiel from the CC. I’ve certainly never been offered any goodies from further forward the aircraft when flying Y. Last time I called the BA gold line to make an Avios redemption I was on hold for 25 minutes! The lounge is nice, although the catering isn’t what it used to be and now. The only thing I can say is that like you I’ve never had a bad delay or flight cancelation to deal with but I put that down to good fortune as much as anything else.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not beating up on BA, the experience has been fine, but they have definitely lost their edge and that has been very noticeable recently as I’ve started flying other carriers more, including VS thanks to their kind status match  
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ba319-131
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:36 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
I personally have a very favourable impression of them because I have top tier status with them so enjoy the first class lounge, have a res number to call which picks up after a few rings, get greeted personally at my seat by the purser, and when I fly economy they'll sneak me business class amenity kits or a glass of bubbly. Additionally I have never experienced a cancellation or even a substantial delay so I don't know what the dark side even looks like.

- I think you have been quite lucky.

I myself have been Silver for 13 years and Gold for the last two, much of the status being achieved through my own personal travel rather than work paying for it.

Personally I find BA fine, you know what you are getting and they generally deliver, they are no CX or QR and never will be, CX is still the best carrier IMHO.

The LHR lounges are nice, but packed, though they will start to empty out in Mid 2016 onwards as fewer members of the EC manage to retain status.

I have been greeted by a purser once or twice and thanked for flying BA, upgraded for a portion of a flight to CW as my reading lamp was defective in WTP, but was told I had to return to my WTP seat for landing, CW was less than half full, so if was a half hearted attempt by the CSD.

Overall they get the job done, but with the changes coming in April, I won't be retaining Gold and will be spending my money elsewhere where there is a bit more loyalty, as the 'enhancements' to the EC are actually detractions from it.
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vhtje
Posts: 971
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RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:36 pm

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 36):
I've had my Gold card for almost a decade, and, extremely reluctantly, have come round to the conclusion with the rest of the Business Traveller forum that BA frankly doesn't give a flying one about me. This is going to read like a whinge...

I wonder how much your judgement is clouded by that Gold Card in your wallet? Does it cause you to expect too much?

What I mean is - I'm in a similar boat to your good self. I too have a GC, and I also bemoan the declining standards in Euro J with its excruciatingly tight seating, and the sometimes woeful food even in Long Haul. I personally have not had a bad experience with delayed flights, but then most of my flying is TATL long haul ex- and to-LHR, so a delayed flight is of less consequence to me and really only means more time in the lounge. (BTW I find the BA App is terrific at updates)

On the other hand, my partner and I recently took a couple of friends with us who don't fly very often - perhaps a couple of sun and spade trips a year on U2 or FR - on a BA flight to NCE. They thought it was absolutely the bees knees - the completely hassle and queue-free check-in and security at T5 (we used the FIRST check-in), the fact they didn't need to pay an arm and a leg to check in a bag, the lounge experience (they loved the calm atmosphere and couldn't believe the wine and food was completely free), the personal attention I received on board (as a GC holder, but they didn't know that), the fact they got fed and watered for free onboard, even though we were in Y, the professional standard of the flight crew, with not a ghastly puffy orange vest or rubbish bag in sight - it quite overwhelmed them, and had them swearing off LCCs for life. In short, the experience blew their expectations of BA away - clearly they are too used to flying with LCCs.

Maybe we sometimes forget how good we have it with BA?
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
factsonly
Posts: 2693
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:08 pm

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:44 pm

Where Do BA Really Stand?

Let's have a look at new route performance in 2015:

- LHR-Chengdu in January 2353 pax. versus 3071 pax. (2014) = -23% (3x/week)
- LHR-Austin in January 8722 pax - versus 0 (2014) nearly 4x the number of pax to Chengdu. (daily)

- LCY-JFK in January 1342 pax. versus 1795 (2014) -25%
 
Andy33
Posts: 2424
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:26 pm

Quoting factsonly (Reply 42):
LCY-JFK in January 1342 pax. versus 1795 (2014) -25%

While this is entirely correct one of the two planes was out of service for part of the month which will inevitably reduced the loadings somewhat.
 
global2
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:50 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:48 pm

Is it really so difficult for the European Airlines to figure out how many planes they might need for a high-density Y layout, and then put a real First Class section in the rest of their fleets? You'd certainly think it would be the US carriers that would come up with this idea and implement it (God Forbid). The first time I experienced the European idea of First, with it's coach seats with the middle blocked out I thought it was some sort of April Fool's joke. Can they really not set aside 8 First Class seats without losing all sorts of money?

In response to the OP's original question, I was upgraded once to First on BA from LHR to BOM about three years ago. I was simply amazed at how delicious my roast chicken dinner was--moist, flavorful, and hot. Drinks service wast top notch. The FA was very friendly, efficient, and the turn-down service for the bed was all handled very professionally. I hope that this level of service has not been downgraded since then.
 
Andy33
Posts: 2424
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:15 pm

Quoting global2 (Reply 44):
Is it really so difficult for the European Airlines to figure out how many planes they might need for a high-density Y layout, and then put a real First Class section in the rest of their fleets? You'd certainly think it would be the US carriers that would come up with this idea and implement it (God Forbid). The first time I experienced the European idea of First, with it's coach seats with the middle blocked out I thought it was some sort of April Fool's joke. Can they really not set aside 8 First Class seats without losing all sorts of money?

Well they think it is difficult. In the case of BA, UK domestic flights are all-Y, other short-haul is 2-class. I've been on short haul flights where the Business Class loading in one direction was 52 passengers, but the same plane returning 2 hours later had just 6 Business Class (Club Europe) passengers. A later flight got most of the 52 people coming back again having concluded business meetings etc. On a Saturday morning in February on another route, I was one of three Club Europe passengers, but the same flight on a weekday has very high Club loadings. It's the unbalanced loading that causes the problem.
European carriers believe strongly, as to most airlines outside the US, that complimentary upgrades undermine the value of their premium product, so the flexible seating arrangement means they can sell seats as Y without having to upgrade someone first.
The other features of Business Class in Europe are lounge access, higher baggage allowances both hold and cabin, separate check-in lines, often fast track security, priority boarding and a better food and drink offering on board. In the US Domestic First has some of these (and some unique features) but by no means all. The seat is seen as crucial in the US, the overall package is rated more highly in Europe.

[Edited 2015-02-21 13:25:14]
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:38 pm

Quoting global2 (Reply 44):
Can they really not set aside 8 First Class seats without losing all sorts of money?

No, there are too many routes and flights (varies widely by day of week and time of year) where there is virtually no demand for the premium seats and they would be empty. You can probably fit 3 rows of Y seats in the space of 2 rows of proper F class 2-2 seats, meaning up to 18 additional Y seats to sell on those flights (Y class demand is normally strong when premium demand is at its lowest).

I personally like the European J class product, knowing that the middle seat will always be empty, plus other benefits like lounge access (you don't get that in the U.S. with minor exceptions even when paying the full F class domestic fare).
 
global2
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:50 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:10 am

Quoting andy33 (Reply 45):
European carriers believe strongly, as to most airlines outside the US, that complimentary upgrades undermine the value of their premium product

Thank you for your insight. However, it's the occasional upgrades that have made me extremely loyal to one particular FF program here in the US.

Quoting andy33 (Reply 45):
The seat is seen as crucial in the US

Yes, I would expect a first class seat to be one that is actually comfortable to sit in, and reclines more than an inch &a half.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 46):
No, there are too many routes and flights (varies widely by day of week and time of year) where there is virtually no demand for the premium seats and they would be empty

Is this really so different from the US?
 
I39OO
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:22 pm

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:29 pm

BA is going along the route of profit maximisation, at the expense of everything else. And, as bad is sounds, it seems a good choice for them for their planes are getting fuller and fuller (read IAG's monthly releases).

Whose fault is this? Well, on one hand it's the City. IAG is a publicly listed company and, up until a couple of years ago, the only airline in the FTSE 100. For funds wishing to have an airline in their portfolio, there was only one choice, IAG. Now, though, Easyjet has arrived and it's more profitable and has a better performing share price than IAG. Therefore, IAG needed to reduce costs as much as possible, which is precisely what they've done and are currently doing. Outsourcing, "enhancements", EC cutdowns... They have posted a non-fuel cost reduction after the other because this is what pleases the City and this is what they're doing.

One the other side, it's also our fault, as travellers. This is where the short haul changes come into the equation: in Europe it's now the norm to pay peanuts for flying, this is what we're expecting and what we want. I remember paying almost half a million Liras for a Turin-London return flight in 1995 on Alitalia, the equivalent of 250€ give or take, and excluding inflation. And it was in Y. Now that's normal money for a return flight in Club: it's pretty much clear that something's got to give, especially as everything - wages, fuel, cost of planes, operating costs - has risen in the past years rather than diminishing.

Now, having said that, I think BA is going too far with its cutback policy and, more importantly, by being overly prudent in investment. The 777s have been refreshed only halfway through; the 744s will be refreshed, but only half of them and from late 2015; there are no plans for WiFi connectivity besides that lone 744 that has been flying for over a year now; the problems in T5 are known since 2008; new Club will appear only on the A350, in 2018?
Also known as That Unprepared Guy on Wordpress
 
B747-4U3
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:08 am

RE: Where Do BA Really Stand?

Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:02 pm

Quoting I39OO (Reply 48):

I think that is what a lot of people forget.

I have often paid a similar price for a Club Europe flight as I have for an economy flight of similar length around the Far East with a full service airline, with the added bonus of extra luggage, space onboard, better food and lounge access.

Sometimes Club Europe is very expensive, but then again, it is often not that hard to find seats for £200-£300 return. Factor in Avios Part Pay and those seats become even cheaper.

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