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Old Mar 13, 09, 10:53 pm   #1
 
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What service standards to expect in WT+?

Flew this week in WT+. Have done so plenty of times before, but only on the mid-J 747, and the 3-class 767. This was my first time on a High-J 747.

Several aspects of the service surprised me - nothing bad enough to warrant a complaint, but disappointing all the same:

a. We were 'encouraged' to order wine for the main meal (lunch) during the first bar run after take-off. In the event, more wine was offered when serving the meals, but of course we didn't know that in advance (and it meant our chilled wine was at cabin temp by the time we came to drink it).

b. FA was unable to serve me a second cup of coffee while collecting trays, as turbulence was forecast, and the seatbelt sign had just been switched on. Fair enough, and the FA did suggest I keep my cup, press the call button as soon as the seat belt sign was turned off again, and she would be happy to bring me a coffee then. Fine also, except that I subsequently pressed the call button 4 times over a period of about 15 mins, and nobody came. What made this all the more frustrating was that cabin crew were continually dashing up and down the WT+ aisle as they transitted between the CW and WT cabins, but so fast it was impossible to get their attention (even thought my call light was lit throughout this time). Eventually, I did manage to stop one of them by calling out and he agreed to bring me a coffee. I then inquired (politely) if it was possible there was a fault with my call button - his reply was 'We're very back there [in WT], changing over trolleys.' No apology - and it sounded like I was being a nuisance for troubling him. But he did bring my coffee within a couple of minutes.

c. Between the main meal and pre-landing snack, there was only one cold drink run through the WT+ cabin. Rather than a tray with glasses of water and orange juice, this run was made with just a large bottle of water and a handful of cups (should anyone want water).

Maybe I was just unlucky - or maybe service levels on the Hi-J 747 (or perhaps the JFK route?) are different from what I've typically enjoyed elsewhere? Welcome comments/comparisons.

Last edited by larryflyer; Mar 13, 09 at 10:58 pm.. Reason: Typos
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Old Mar 13, 09, 11:00 pm   #2
 
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If wine was offered with the main meal, would it have been better to exchange your warm bottle of wine for a fresh and presumably colder one?
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Old Mar 13, 09, 11:10 pm   #3
 
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I can't say anything about WT+ as I have never been in that cabin. I'm either WT or CW

But I do think OP experienced a "bad crew". Some flights are just wonderful when you get the "right" crew. Service is good, smiles, jokes and a relaxed atmosphere.

Other flights, well the crew maybe is over worked, stressed, tired or bored. They do the minimum service and then hide in the galley.

The crew situation on a specific flight will be a gamble. Just as life
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Old Mar 14, 09, 5:11 am   #4
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Having flown WT+ between LHR and JFK on countless occasions I'd say you ended up with a below average crew, but nothing terrible.

As for another cup of coffe I tend to make the short trip from 28B/J to the galley if the crew are not too stressed. I always get a smile and they seem to enjoy the chat.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 5:21 am   #5
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Fine also, except that I subsequently pressed the call button 4 times over a period of about 15 mins, and nobody came.
I gave up using call buttons years ago choosing the direct route of going to the galley instead. Last flight in CW during a dodgy IFE phase I thought I would give it another go.......I waited half an hour and nobody came. Do they actually work these things or are they like the redundant ashtrays you get on some aircraft I wonder?
Funnily enough on a couple of Air France flights I mistakenly pressed the call button on the handset by mistake thinking it was the light button and lo and behold they were answered....the cabin crew were none too happy when I told them it was a false alarm.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 6:55 am   #6
 
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As a Purser what you have described really annoys me and is typical of a lazy crew member cutting corners. With High-J the W/T+ crew member works on their own and really doesn't have a Purser supervising them, or certainly not one their who is able to keep an eye on how the service is being done.

a) Giving you wine for dinner with the first bar round is not on and is simply a way of him/her making their life that bit easier when they do the meal service. You should always have a drink first and then be offered a bottle of wine with your meal.

b) When you pushed the call bell someone should have answered. It is quite possible that your crew member was busy swapping trolleys, but where were the Club crew at that time, the call bell would be obvious to them as well... I also don't really see swapping trolleys as an excuse, what if you had been feeling unwell and needed assistance.

c) No juice rounds, or not enough juice rounds, is also a sign of a lazy crew. The walking through the cabin with a rack of glasses and a bottle of water is my pet hate, looks naff and is not BA standard, far from it.

I would complain because what you experienced fell far short of the service standards for economy, and let's be honest the price of a W/T+ seat is not exactly cheap. I would like the crew member to be accountable to his/her manager and explain to them his/her reasoning for their actions.

Apologies for what you experienced, it is certainly not the level of service we should be delivering. W/T passengers get little enough as it is, but when the corners get cut it becomes no better than a low-cost airlines experience....
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Old Mar 14, 09, 7:14 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by sammyh25 View Post

a) Giving you wine for dinner with the first bar round is not on and is simply a way of him/her making their life that bit easier when they do the meal service. You should always have a drink first and then be offered a bottle of wine with your meal.
Thanks for the reply sammyh25.

I haven't flown long haul Y for a few years - but the "take your wine for your meal" line became so common that I (and other friends who experienced it) - thought tha this had become the actual service standard and was what the staff were told to do.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 7:30 am   #8
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Great reply sammh25...

Although I am not WW, I have enough knowledge through friends who are, about the service on WW, and through my own travel experiences.

That whole bottle of water and stack of glasses is one of the most awful looking things I have ever seen. And was quite frankly horrified when I saw it.
Even on Short Haul, we do not do that! (Not suggesting that we would ever consider doing on Short Haul!)

My WT+ experience was fantastic, with a great crew member who looked after us very very well. I would give my right arm to be able to work on WW, and it always disappoints me when I see crew who obviously do not want to be there.

Anyways, I do not think it would be wrong to pass on some feedback to BA and see what they say. As sammyh25 says, it was not the service standards expected in WT+ and should really be commented on.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 8:14 am   #9
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Originally Posted by sammyh25 View Post
a) Giving you wine for dinner with the first bar round is not on and is simply a way of him/her making their life that bit easier when they do the meal service. You should always have a drink first and then be offered a bottle of wine with your meal.
If this is the service standard then it needs to be drummed into crews quick sharp. On more than one recent flight in Y (leaving LHR at around 10am) a PA has even been made telling passengers to take their wine choice when the trolley comes round for the drinks service because there is no further drinks service with the meal round. The height of naff-ness IMHO.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 8:35 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by BahrainLad View Post
If this is the service standard then it needs to be drummed into crews quick sharp. On more than one recent flight in Y (leaving LHR at around 10am) a PA has even been made telling passengers to take their wine choice when the trolley comes round for the drinks service because there is no further drinks service with the meal round. The height of naff-ness IMHO.
Shocking...

If this happens complain to the CSD and follow it up with the company later.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 10:39 am   #11
 
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The call bell always works... from a technical point of view anyway! You can hear it go off back in the galley. I mean has it ever been left unanswered for any of you in F? Not in my experience.

Whether crew pay attention to it in other cabins is, frankly, very variable. To the point that in WT and WT+ I just woudn't bother using it and I would make my own way to the galley where you get a variety of welcomes depending on the quality of the crew!

I stopped traveling in WT a few years ago and now hardly ever leave CW or F, but I recently flew six WT+ sectors due to unavailability of MFU seats. One on QF but the rest with BA.

The BA crew were all good, (and in one case quite superb) but yes, the BA way in all cases was to dish out wine right from the start. Meals were unfortunately small portions of usual Y-class food. Drinks runs were very much crew-dependent, and I found the absence of snacks between meals on flights such as BKK or MEX-LHR totally unacceptable given the fare paid.

Much more classy service standards on QF in the same cabin, including linen tablecloths etc. Felt like an ancient version of J class.

I did, as suggested, file helpful suggestions (not a complaint) through the BAEC login page in order to try and raise standards, but just received a standard email response which belonged nowhere other than the trash can. As a comparison, when in CW or F, the response received to my occasional observations / complaints has often been a generous bunch of BA Miles and / or a personal phone call from customer services or proper letter in the post.

... kind of like the call bell really..., the response just depends what class you are sitting in!

Sorry to go further OT, but a GCH sitting in WT is still a GCH, and BA should pay close attention to the loyal passenger as an individual, not the class he / she is flying that day.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 10:58 am   #12
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Sorry to go further OT, but a GCH sitting in WT is still a GCH, and BA should pay close attention to the loyal passenger as an individual, not the class he / she is flying that day.
This is indeed something that many Pursers or CSD's comment on in Short Haul briefings, that many Gold and Silver are flying in Euro Traveller now due to changes is company travel policies and although we are limited to what we can do with such a limited product, a smile and a friendly hello, as well as good service go a long way to make someone feel welcome in whichever cabin they fly in.

It is strange from a crew point of view now... When we get the PIL (Passenger Information List) before the door closes. Previously, the vast majority of Gold and Silver card holders were in Club and the number of commented passengers in Club used to half the print out... Now, it is the other way round... all the commented passengers are in Traveller... Such a shame... and you do not even have the A+B seats behind the curtain to get now seeing as it is all the same config...
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Old Mar 14, 09, 11:30 am   #13
 
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This is indeed something that many Pursers or CSD's comment on in Short Haul briefings, that many Gold and Silver are flying in Euro Traveller now due to changes is company travel policies and although we are limited to what we can do with such a limited product, a smile and a friendly hello, as well as good service go a long way to make someone feel welcome in whichever cabin they fly in.
Absolutely... does makes a real difference

Interesting also to hear direct experience that SCH and GCHs are traveling in lower cabins - clearly a sign of the times. One hopes that this will not mean that too many people go on to lose the cards they had earned when times were good... and we appreciate BA's recent help with that in their decision to award TPs on discount fares.

In my own case, you won't be seeing much of me on paid F tickets this year, all so far are in CW and quite possibly WT+ (with a prayer to the God of MFU availability!). No way we can justify F in my industry at the moment . 07-08, I was in F a couple of times a month at least by comparison. And yes, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to justify CE over ET.. especially now that BA appear to be significantly increasing the fares on my most frequent route due to it changing to LHR from LGW.

I have little fear of losing gold status personally, but I have doubts about remaining at GGL level for much longer.

On a general note, one hopes that those who used to travel in private aircraft will be populating the F cabins, given the evidence that the private jet industry is suffering a huge downturn! This, and the 50% off miles sale , might be enough to keep up the standards / availability of F cabins for the next couple of years during the downturn so we never see the dreaded post on FT in 2011 announcing that BA are finally binning their F product
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Old Mar 14, 09, 11:45 am   #14
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On a general note, one hopes that those who used to travel in private aircraft will be populating the F cabins, given the evidence that the private jet industry is suffering a huge downturn!
I have had 2 positioning crews recently form Netjets Europe, one from KBP and the other from CPH. Took a few minutes to chat with each, and you are indeed very correct. They have noticed a massive downturn in demand, and are indeed worried about the future of their organization, especially within Europe. Especially the larger jets, Flacon 2000/EX etc...
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Old Mar 14, 09, 11:51 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
I have had 2 positioning crews recently form Netjets Europe, one from KBP and the other from CPH. Took a few minutes to chat with each, and you are indeed very correct. They have noticed a massive downturn in demand, and are indeed worried about the future of their organization, especially within Europe. Especially the larger jets, Flacon 2000/EX etc...
So my hope of getting a NetJets card from my darling wife for my next birthday may not be lost after all, especially if she can negotiate a hefty discount

Can't see them going out of business as they have the might (and financial backing) of Berkshire Hathaway behind them.
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