Mini TR & trying to persuade wife to like BA!

Old Aug 17, 11, 8:59 am
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Mini TR & trying to persuade wife to like BA!

Have just returned from a self-drive trip up the California coastline from San Diego to San Francisco and of course we flew BA! This was my wife's first time on BA. She thinks I am mad with my point collecting and FT Forum reading and she likes Virgin Atlantic so I was hoping for great flights!

Seat selection - my wife was not happy that you have to pay for seat selection more than 24 hours in advance!

I had checked the seat map at T48 and it wasn't too bad. I checked it at T26 and it was awful! I tried to then pay for a couple of seats but was denied as they close paid seat selection then. Luckily we still got the seats when check-in opened, but if we had not been sat together, my wife would be extremely unhappy.

Once on the flight, I realised why the seats had filled up so quickly a few hours before. Many many Europeans on the flight doing the reverse of the ex-EU and taking connections via London rather than flying direct on their own countries airlines. Of course with their connection a few hours earlier, they can choose the seat on the LHR flight a few hours before those of us departing from London for free and this is where the problems mount up.

I paid 1k each for our tickets, I know there is not an easy way for BA to solve this problem for non-status passengers, but paying that much of my own money for two seats, I do feel like there should be better options for seat selection.

Outbound - LHR to LAX (Y)

Wife hadn't been to T5. We had flown Thai from T3 in Feb and as we rode the escalator up, I pointed out the benefits of T5 compared to the cramped T3 and how good the check in area was. Check in and security was fine. The usual no queue for security. A nice touch from BAA was that they had a dedicated family security line for families with small children. Speedier for everyone involved I'm sure.

My wife loved T5 and the array of upmarket shops, although seeing as both of us love Mcdonalds breakfasts as a guilty pleasure, she was disappointed that there wasn't one available!

We departed from Satellite B and our plane was delayed about 30 minutes. I think this was handled reasonably well from BA. The counter staff first informed us the delay was due to a catering issue. A little later on, the captain himself addressed us over the PA and said it was due to some of the catering trollies from the previous flight were stuck in position in the galley and there were 6 BA engineers with crowbars trying to remove them!! A slightly bizarre reason for a delay, but it was no bother.

The flight itself was Ok apart from IFE. It was intermittent on my wife's seat, and then the whole plane it had to be rebooted. Eventually it worked fine, but I think this is the weakest area of BA's offfering.

Inbound - SFO to LHR (Y)

A great flight apart from the heavy, unexpected turbulence just as meal service finished which lasted for 40 minutes. Now my wife understands why I always insist that she wear her seatbelt at all times when seated! (Tip from on here).

We had a great crew member serving our section. Here a few of the comments I just sent off to ba.com/welldone :-

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1. Upon boarding there were a family with young children split across the aisle in front of us. He had located some spare seats in a bulkhead row due to no-shows and then assisted the mother and a couple of the children to these new seats. He also helped them move their belongings etc. Very helpful.

2. Drinks and meal service was done with genuine interest, politeness and warmth. On a previous flight to SFO in April / May, the crew member serving our section was perfunctory - performed the duties required but no interaction, no warmth etc. The difference with Paul was noticeable.

3. The flight experienced some heavy, unexpected turbluence for 40 mins - 1 hour just as the tea / coffee was about to be served. Crew also had to take their seats for a short while. When they were allowed to move about the cabin again, he came along the rows and informed us that the seat belts would still be required for a while, but if we wanted any tea or coffee, then we should just press the call button and let him know what we wanted.

I don't know if this is standard BA policy, was CSD / Purser directed decision or just Paul's own initiative but it was very much welcome and he served lots of drinks to lots of people.

4. When serving breakfast, the passenger next to my wife was asleep when we were served. As Paul came by to clear away breakfast service, this passenger had woken and Paul asked if she would like breakfast, offered her a drink etc. I expect many crew would not have bothered!

This was the first trip my wife had flown on BA (I was trying to convert her from one of your competitors!). Although other aspects of the service she was not so keen on (seat, IFE etc), she did comment that the service from Paul was excellent.

Paul is a credit to BA and CC. Please pass on my thanks for a pleasant and enjoyable flight and I hope that he is well rewarded by BA for his excellent hard work onboard.
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So overall, two great flights and here are comments from my wife as a first time flyer on BA and fan of Virgin.

1. IFE - thought it looked dated compared to Vport, the fact it didn't work didn't help and she thought the selection was lacking

2. Amenities - She didn't like the fact that BA do not provide socks / eyeshade. She boarded with flip-flops and was expecting socks to keep her feet warm!

3. Seat - she didn't like the movable bits on the headrest. She had a neck pillow and felt that the two didn't work together. VS have bendy sides to their headrest, which allows it to be completely flat if you want, rather than jut out.

4. Crew - loved the crew on the flight from SFO to LHR. Preferred to VS as older and more experienced / more professional.

5. Seat selection - her biggest annoyance. We weren't going to be online at T-24 for our return flight, so had to pay for seats.

6 WTP - When I pointed out WTP and CW seats as we walked through their cabins, she said 'I would never pay for that over economy!

She still prefers Virgin, but I pointed out that BA has short haul, more routes and a better FF program.

I have now triggered my AMEX 241 and am building my miles. Planning a trip for us to NY in Dec 2012, either in CW or maybe F and hopefully she will enjoy the experience a lot more!
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:09 am
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And the main point for liking BA is that their headquarters are in England verses thinking of moving them to another country in order to avoid paying taxes.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:12 am
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As a follow up - something I forgot. Nice touch from the captain to come and explain the reason for delay - I assume he didn't have to but it was appreciated.

Also, as we exited at LHR on the return, there were 4 engineers in NF. I overheard the crew discussing it - someone had lost their iPad *in* the seat and couldn't get it back. How that happened I don't know, but be careful if you have one!
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by Yahillwe
And the main point for liking BA is that their headquarters are in England verses thinking of moving them to another country in order to avoid paying taxes.
I'm not sure about the tax position, but isn't IAG headquartered in Madrid?
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by Yahillwe View Post
And the main point for liking BA is that their headquarters are in England verses thinking of moving them to another country in order to avoid paying taxes.
With BA's recent losses, I doubt they'll be too worried about moving to tax havens anytime soon.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:27 am
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I think in economy, there's not that much to choose between the products of most airlines - it really comes down to price, flight timings etc. As you point out, BA does have a much better FF scheme, especially with the AMEX 241, which makes it much more achievable to travel in CW and F.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by WouldLoveToFlyFirst View Post
2. Amenities - She didn't like the fact that BA do not provide socks / eyeshade. She boarded with flip-flops and was expecting socks to keep her feet warm!
They normally do, I've always received these in WT, they haven't been "enhanced" away have they?
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:48 am
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My wife is very easy to please.
Half the time she doesn't know which airline she's on,which cabin she's sitting in or where she's going to be landing.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 9:55 am
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2. Amenities - She didn't like the fact that BA do not provide socks / eyeshade. She boarded with flip-flops and was expecting socks to keep her feet warm!
Would i be correct in saying that these items are only part of the standard offering in CW & F, however they are loaded and available upon request in Y ?

cs
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by Disco Volante View Post
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I'm not sure about the tax position, but isn't IAG headquartered in Madrid?
But what has IAG's HQ got to do with BA? IAG is a holding company and the operational HQs for BA and IB are unchanged.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
My wife is very easy to please.
Half the time she doesn't know which airline she's on,which cabin she's sitting in or where she's going to be landing.
How lucky are you. Or is she drunk
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:23 am
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Only the toothbrush and toothpaste are now loaded with the headset in W/T, but it does say quite clearly in the pack that eyeshades and socks are available on request.
I personally think this works well as the products are still available yet there is less waste.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
Only the toothbrush and toothpaste are now loaded with the headset in W/T, but it does say quite clearly in the pack that eyeshades and socks are available on request.
I personally think this works well as the products are still available yet there is less waste.
Originally Posted by cornishsimon View Post
Would i be correct in saying that these items are only part of the standard offering in CW & F, however they are loaded and available upon request in Y ?

cs


God im good !!!
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by origin View Post
How lucky are you. Or is she drunk
No...she's just normal.
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Old Aug 17, 11, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
No...she's just normal.
Yes you are lucky.

My dad dosent mind what cabin he is in. However my mum is a real life Hyacinth Bucket (Keeping up Appearances) although she only sings in the shower and not to the vicar.
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