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Buy on board: Implemented on BA short haul - opinions on the concept

Buy on board: Implemented on BA short haul - opinions on the concept

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Old Jan 30, 17, 2:37 pm   -   Wikipost
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This thread is for opinions on the concept of Buy on Board, concerned with the rights or wrongs of the decision to introduce it.

An information thread exists for your questions, particularly if they are on factual matters, here:
Buy on board: Information guide for BA shorthaul economy services

There is a separate thread for experiences, anecdotes, reactions and related comments, which is to be found here:
Buy on board: Experiences and reactions from BA's shorthaul economy services

Useful sub-links
chongcao posted a comparison of other oneworld airlines' BOB prices

Not happy about these changes?
If you have an existing booking, you may be able to complain and get 1000 Avios or cancel for free until 28 days before departure. BA's complaint form.

However, in November 2016, phone calls to BA indicated that "no refunds would be given as food & drinks were complimentary and not part of the T&C."
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:15 am
  #1036  
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Originally Posted by simons1 View Post
Their business model is based around scale.
Not necessarily. FR only serves a handful of destinations from LGW or from BRI, for instance.
There is no way they would enter LHR with a few random slots at bad times.
That is true but FR have also said that the core reason that they are not interested in flying from LHR is the high costs of doing so.
U2 might be a different kettle of fish, though, as they might have a somewhat higher tolerance to high cost airports but they equally would not be interested in quasi unusable slots.
Junk slots available at LHR are not really destined to be used by anyone but they are used as a mechanism to buy valuable slots while keeping within the letter of the legislation (i.e. "exchanging" junk slots for valuable slots)
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:21 am
  #1037  
 
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Ah, you are still doing the "guarantee" thing I see!

Incidentally, that is actually a rather moot point: if the goal was to fill plane, everyone could do that: some airlines and services have gone bankrupt with loads near 100%. The difficulty relates to yields rather than loads.

If, as I presume you suggest, you can guarantee that BA will be able to continue filling planes with similar or higher yields as now and reduce costs, then it's great for them. They have nothing to worry about, can safely ignore the passengers who claim to be disgruntled, and in fact press ahead with faster and more radical continued product deterioration in all classes of service. The only mystery questions become why they have not done it earlier (frankly, if BA never had anything to gain from offering free drinks and food in the first place, I really do wonder why on earth they did for so long) and why other European legacy carriers have not done it either. They must have all had pretty wasteful managers.
I cannot personally guarantee anything my good man. I just feel with what has been decided this will be the end of BA but somehow they will keep going. People on here have been moaning for years on the decline of the airline but despite all that is said they still manage to keep people flying with them. We will see Orbitmic what happens over the next couple of years we will remember this thread that's for sure 😊
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:23 am
  #1038  
 
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Originally Posted by allturnleft View Post
I like flybe too
They had very bad press a few years ago with rip off fees and hidden extras; they have backtracked now and now appear reasonable.
I just did a dummy booking for LHR-BHD with BA (98) and LCY-BHD with FlyBe (90)

I live in SE London and it takes me 1 hour 30 mins to get to LHR and 20 to LCY and I have been puzzling why I would always go BA and not BE to Belfast when both give Avios...

I think it was the desire to (1) get the tier points and keep Silver, (2) lounge time, (3) better flight experience with BA.

The better BA flight experience has now gone and the 2x2 seating on BE actually removes the fear of getting the middle seat. I will lose the lounge access but the attraction of the shorter check-in time at LCY and it's nearness to home compensates for that. If I feel lounge withdrawal there is the perfectly acceptable Aspire in BHD for 20.

And 5 TPs per flight isn't going to do much to keep Silver especially as I no longer do travel for business.

So for UK domestic flights it's looking like BE is now the airline of choice for me. I have enough for Silver next year but am resigned to Bronze after that. And I won't miss the pressure of TP runs to get to 600.

It's taken me a long time to realise that the free glass of asked-for champagne in the Galleries Lounge is actually very expensive and buying one for 11 in Caviar House outside the lounge is going to be overall cheaper, quicker and certainly less crowded...
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:28 am
  #1039  
 
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You could look at things from BA's perspective.

Other airlines already do BoB with no real issues.
Short 35 minute to 2 hour flights are easily survivable without food and drink.

It's the lesser of two evils. They could really impact their higher spending and/or status passengers by impacting say lounge access but maybe they've chosen (at least for now) something they feel won't overly alienate regulars but will provide a similar setup to what Joe Public is used to.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:30 am
  #1040  
 
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Originally Posted by xenole View Post
You could look at things from BA's perspective.

Other airlines already do BoB with no real issues.
Short 35 minute to 2 hour flights are easily survivable without food and drink.

It's the lesser of two evils. They could really impact their higher spending and/or status passengers by impacting say lounge access but maybe they've chosen (at least for now) something they feel won't overly alienate regulars but will provide a similar setup to what Joe Public is used to.
You are right. To be honest let's take a short haul flight of 2 hours if you don't eat and drink your not going to die are you?
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:34 am
  #1041  
 
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Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
A former EVP at BA is now overseeing Surf Air which may skim some premium travelers away from CE, and BA is certainly helping.
Surf Air?
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:36 am
  #1042  
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Originally Posted by BA or bust View Post
Surf Air?
Private jet via monthly subscription, started in California and now available in Europe. Since they can't handle more than about 100 BA passengers a month I doubt anyone in Waterside is too worried.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 3:37 am
  #1043  
 
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Regardless of their motives, there's no way they can please everyone.
A lot of people these days have been brought up with the BoB format on their Spanish and Turkish holiday flights so don't know any better.

The changes to me are fairly cosmetic. Sure there have been some more major earning changes, but a flower being removed, an amuse bouche etc. are "fringe benefits" to me.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 4:57 am
  #1044  
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Originally Posted by Padmeister View Post
I cannot personally guarantee anything my good man. I just feel with what has been decided this will be the end of BA but somehow they will keep going. People on here have been moaning for years on the decline of the airline but despite all that is said they still manage to keep people flying with them. We will see Orbitmic what happens over the next couple of years we will remember this thread that's for sure ��
Sorry, I'm just teasing you because you used "guarantee" again (after our previous discussion in the other thread) and that seems to me way too certain.

My position has been quite a cautious one from the side. I think that this is symbolically an important change, and also that cumulatively, it participates in BA's proposition having changed quite significantly in recent months. However, I have also consistently said that in my view, I, we, and even BA themselves do not effectively have the means to double guess what the impact of it will or will not be, nor will it be clear for another couple of years or so as effects will not kick in immediately. To make matters even more unclear, this will be combined with extraordinary uncertainty that will stem from Brexit in terms both of BA's future status and its future competitive context.

I've read many comments that the change will not matter, other airlines do the same and are doing fine and people won't change their habits because of BoB. I've read many other comments that people will desert BA en masse and people will never set foot on a BA plane ever again. Deep inside, I am equally unconvinced by either argument. I think some people will not care or care but not do anything about it, for others it will be a deal breaker on a variety of individual itineraries or general custom, and for others, like me, this will create a partial reaction with a slow erosion of BA loyalty which actual scope will be hard to determine for a while and will also depend on whether competitors continue to improve or not. Meanwhile, as you rightly point out, some other people will come to BA from others for whatever reason.

I think that it is impossible to know how big each of those groups are, nor where they will come from, and what their specific characteristics will be, and that will determine whether the current management's choices end up being a success, a disaster, or something in between.

I have said that my intuition is on the whole negative, but I do not sell it for any more than that: a hesitant intuition. There are only four things that I am pretty sure about:

1) you can't compete with everyone on everything. My first post on the first M&S thread said the following which I would stand by word for word:

"One thing is certain: you cannot be everything at once: my sense is that the move is logical if BA wants to focus on its non-stop operations between London and European markets. It is conversely illogical for a global airline aiming to take a significant share of long haul traffic between European and the rest of the world and vv. Time will tell which side BA's bread is/was really buttered on and my intuitive guess is that they chose the wrong one.";

2) This change will be more noticeable and more symbolically relevant than any recent change implemented by BA in terms of brand perception and reputation. I think that the people who claim that passengers won't notice the move from full service to BoB are plainly wrong. You can make the hypothesis that people will accept or even embrace it and/or that it won't affect many people's behaviour, but the suggestion that it will remain unnoticed or will not affect the perception of the brand is not credible in my view;

3) All airlines which implement changes (positive or negative) do that with expectations regarding how the competition will also change their offer (be it in similar, opposite, or unrelated directions). They never can know but they always try to guess and to an extent always guess wrong. "How" wrong is often a key determinant on whether a proposed chance turns into the modelled expectations or an unforeseen fiasco;

4) I'm absolutely convinced that loyalty matters even in this day and age of "shopping around", and as I said elsewhere, it is an emotional concept as well as a rational one. BA has historically been very good at building loyalty, and my personal sense is that the principal reason why they went through the big crisis of the 2000s in better shape than LH and AF was specifically because they had managed loyalty well ensuring crucial competitive custom at a time when the air market - and notably the crucial competitive sub-part of the premium market (a large part of the premium market is in fact non-competitive but the competitive part is enough to make the difference between losses and profit) was shrinking. In other words, loyalty is what keeps you crucially afloat in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Those four things, I am totally sure about. What it will ultimately mean in terms of the effect of this and other strategic service deterioration, I cannot know for sure and won't pretend to.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 5:36 am
  #1045  
 
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Originally Posted by Padmeister View Post
You are right. To be honest let's take a short haul flight of 2 hours if you don't eat and drink your not going to die are you?
Well, on a 2 hours flight you have to add at least 1 hour pre flight and 30 mins after flight. So, at the very least you end up 3h30' without a drop of water. You are probably not going to die, but this is definitely not healthy. Please also remember that, water (more than 100ml) cannot be brought through security.

So the new policy means that you have to pay horrendous airport or plane prices for basic human right, the access to drinkable water!

Meanwhile, I have no issue with BoB for food and alcoholic beverages.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:20 am
  #1046  
 
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Ah, you are still doing the "guarantee" thing I see!

Incidentally, that is actually a rather moot point: if the goal was to fill plane, everyone could do that: some airlines and services have gone bankrupt with loads near 100%. The difficulty relates to yields rather than loads.

If, as I presume you suggest, you can guarantee that BA will be able to continue filling planes with similar or higher yields as now and reduce costs, then it's great for them. They have nothing to worry about, can safely ignore the passengers who claim to be disgruntled, and in fact press ahead with faster and more radical continued product deterioration in all classes of service. The only mystery questions become why they have not done it earlier (frankly, if BA never had anything to gain from offering free drinks and food in the first place, I really do wonder why on earth they did for so long) and why other European legacy carriers have not done it either. They must have all had pretty wasteful managers.
My take on this might be that Alex Cruz has to come in and justify his role as a CEO, who historically may have or has delivered cost saving techniques in his management style for other businesses, therefore he can clearly demonstrate the impact he has as a CEO and justify his pay packet etc.

If he came in and did very little then he probably wouldn't last long or if he came in and spent money on improving the product, as we all wish, Walsh would not take to well to this in a harsh airline economic climate and again Cruz would be gone.

Especially when Emirates who've been profitable for 20+ years now (according to their CEO in a Skift interview) introduce seat charges. It's clear the industry has struggled with all the financial, political and social unrest throughout the world including terrorism in the last few years. God only knows what will happen in the US airline market if Trump trumps and he starts building immigration walls!! The best walls, he says, of course!!
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:20 am
  #1047  
 
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@Swiss_Global:
At least I found water fountains at LHR, LGW. This is already an advantage. Take an empty water bottle with you.
In other airports often a walk to the toilet helps for checking out the tap water.
Always take a small bottle with a wide mouth. Not ideal, but it works.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:33 am
  #1048  
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Originally Posted by rockflyertalk View Post
My take on this might be that Alex Cruz has to come in and justify his role as a CEO, who historically may have or has delivered cost saving techniques in his management style for other businesses, therefore he can clearly demonstrate the impact he has as a CEO and justify his pay packet etc.

If he came in and did very little then he probably wouldn't last long or if he came in and spent money on improving the product, as we all wish, Walsh would not take to well to this in a harsh airline economic climate and again Cruz would be gone.
Yes, I think you are probably right on that.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:38 am
  #1049  
 
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Sorry, I'm just teasing you because you used "guarantee" again (after our previous discussion in the other thread) and that seems to me way too certain.

My position has been quite a cautious one from the side. I think that this is symbolically an important change, and also that cumulatively, it participates in BA's proposition having changed quite significantly in recent months. However, I have also consistently said that in my view, I, we, and even BA themselves do not effectively have the means to double guess what the impact of it will or will not be, nor will it be clear for another couple of years or so as effects will not kick in immediately. To make matters even more unclear, this will be combined with extraordinary uncertainty that will stem from Brexit in terms both of BA's future status and its future competitive context.

I've read many comments that the change will not matter, other airlines do the same and are doing fine and people won't change their habits because of BoB. I've read many other comments that people will desert BA en masse and people will never set foot on a BA plane ever again. Deep inside, I am equally unconvinced by either argument. I think some people will not care or care but not do anything about it, for others it will be a deal breaker on a variety of individual itineraries or general custom, and for others, like me, this will create a partial reaction with a slow erosion of BA loyalty which actual scope will be hard to determine for a while and will also depend on whether competitors continue to improve or not. Meanwhile, as you rightly point out, some other people will come to BA from others for whatever reason.

I think that it is impossible to know how big each of those groups are, nor where they will come from, and what their specific characteristics will be, and that will determine whether the current management's choices end up being a success, a disaster, or something in between.

I have said that my intuition is on the whole negative, but I do not sell it for any more than that: a hesitant intuition. There are only four things that I am pretty sure about:

1) you can't compete with everyone on everything. My first post on the first M&S thread said the following which I would stand by word for word:

"One thing is certain: you cannot be everything at once: my sense is that the move is logical if BA wants to focus on its non-stop operations between London and European markets. It is conversely illogical for a global airline aiming to take a significant share of long haul traffic between European and the rest of the world and vv. Time will tell which side BA's bread is/was really buttered on and my intuitive guess is that they chose the wrong one.";

2) This change will be more noticeable and more symbolically relevant than any recent change implemented by BA in terms of brand perception and reputation. I think that the people who claim that passengers won't notice the move from full service to BoB are plainly wrong. You can make the hypothesis that people will accept or even embrace it and/or that it won't affect many people's behaviour, but the suggestion that it will remain unnoticed or will not affect the perception of the brand is not credible in my view;

3) All airlines which implement changes (positive or negative) do that with expectations regarding how the competition will also change their offer (be it in similar, opposite, or unrelated directions). They never can know but they always try to guess and to an extent always guess wrong. "How" wrong is often a key determinant on whether a proposed chance turns into the modelled expectations or an unforeseen fiasco;

4) I'm absolutely convinced that loyalty matters even in this day and age of "shopping around", and as I said elsewhere, it is an emotional concept as well as a rational one. BA has historically been very good at building loyalty, and my personal sense is that the principal reason why they went through the big crisis of the 2000s in better shape than LH and AF was specifically because they had managed loyalty well ensuring crucial competitive custom at a time when the air market - and notably the crucial competitive sub-part of the premium market (a large part of the premium market is in fact non-competitive but the competitive part is enough to make the difference between losses and profit) was shrinking. In other words, loyalty is what keeps you crucially afloat in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Those four things, I am totally sure about. What it will ultimately mean in terms of the effect of this and other strategic service deterioration, I cannot know for sure and won't pretend to.
Blimey Orbitmic you could talk a glass eye to sleep you would get on with my Mrs really well 😅😉 just at the zoo entertaining a 2 year old at the minute I will reply to your lengthy post later 😊
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:40 am
  #1050  
 
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Originally Posted by swiss_global View Post
Well, on a 2 hours flight you have to add at least 1 hour pre flight and 30 mins after flight. So, at the very least you end up 3h30' without a drop of water. You are probably not going to die, but this is definitely not healthy. Please also remember that, water (more than 100ml) cannot be brought through security.

So the new policy means that you have to pay horrendous airport or plane prices for basic human right, the access to drinkable water!

Meanwhile, I have no issue with BoB for food and alcoholic beverages.
Before and after flight somewhere we all get an opportunity to drink if we want and need too! In every day life people go for hours without food or drink I know at work I myself have done that when your head is buried in work and do not have chance.
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