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Buy on board: Experiences and reactions from BA's shorthaul economy service

Buy on board: Experiences and reactions from BA's shorthaul economy service

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Old Aug 6, 19, 11:50 pm   -   Wikipost
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This thread focuses on experiences and reactions for the implementation of buy on board for shorthaul, mainly led by impressions taken from flying on board British Airways' shorthaul services.

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

If you have an opinion about the concept of Buy on Board, the right thread is:
Buy on board: Implemented on BA short haul - opinions on the concept

Photos of current BoB menu (September 2018) post #125 in information thread
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Old Aug 8, 19, 10:46 pm
  #2356  
 
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Originally Posted by Jed View Post


Just ask for whatever you want from the drinks menu (including champagne) with a pre-check that is is indeed free for OWE- in my experience, it has been provided free every time.
I recently flew AY with Mrs SLBV (no status) and ordered a soft drink for me and a small bottle of wine each. I had every expectation of paying for the lot but to my pleasant surprise it was all on the house.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 2:22 am
  #2357  
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
I'm still surprised that after more than two and a half years some remain indignant that they have to pay for a drink in Euro Traveller, especially those who have filled up on the delights of the lounge before boarding!
I’m surprised people are still surprised, but continuous indignation simply means that those who thought ‘oh well, that’s the way the industry is going, whiners will get used to it’ were wrong and failed to appreciate that for many of us, BoB affects the very identity of an airline and the entire onboard experience and notably interaction with cabin crew who are the ‘face of the airline’.

There are many things I continue disapproving in this world well after I have accepted that they are here to stay, because nothing has changed about their causes, consequences, or what they say about the person or company that enacts them. Whilst BoB is a very minor example, it nonetheless squarely fits into that description and I suspect the same is true of many other frequent ET passengers.

Just like BoB, the indignation is here to stay.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 2:33 am
  #2358  
 
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It really is time that the public moved on and stopped expecting free food and drink on short-haul economy class flights. They wouldn't expect it on a 2-hour bus or train journey, so why on a plane? It's decades since flying was glamorous or special.

Passengers might be won over if BA made more of an effort to load enough food and drink so that everyone who wanted to buy something was able to do so rather than running out at row 11.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 2:56 am
  #2359  
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
Happened to be pricing up some positioning flights for next April. LBA-LHR-INV at £59 in ET for basic fare - that's £17 base fare for two flights. I would like free stuff in ET too, but if this is the kind of fare I can pay instead then I can manage without on the flights, and can still pay for something if I need to.
And I priced mine: £650 for a one way LHR-NCE in Y, and nearly £2900 for a return in WT+ to Singapore with a Saturday night stay which also would also sit me in ET on the short haul (not that I flew ba at that ridiculous price in the end).

That’s the problem with the price argument be it to justify BoB in ET or the lousy connection service in F. Much of the FT ethos is very rightly about bargain hunting, but we shouldn’t forget that those ultra cheap promo prices are there because many passengers sat next to us pay very expensive tickets in all classes of service. In fact, whilst the lead prices in the industry have gone down a lot in the past 40 years, top prices haven’t at all, and some have even increased because airlines know they will then offer big discounts on corporate tickets.

having seen confidential fare distribution figures for another airline on a sample of routes a few years ago, despite popular belief, it is not just a handful of people who pay the outrageous fares on a seat near you.

It is admittedly very difficult for any airline to define service standards that match the profile of both the £59 and the £2900 ticket guys but arguably, losing one £2900 customer is consequential.

Service is also far from the only reason you lose customers but it is one ingredient which can combine with others. As a result most European legacy carriers (LH, AF, LX, KL, AZ, AY, SK, etc) have gone for various hybrid models offering anything from free water, tea and coffee to free light meals to all customers. Some like SK and AY have also added extra provisions for frequent flyers, as have most airlines on the question of checked baggage.

By contrast, IAG airlines including BA have chosen to implement fundamentalist versions of BoB and HBO.

They are fairly isolated in that choice, and personally, I suspect that the more nuanced models of others will prove more intelligent. BA has had little opportunity to test the limits of their choices given the strong and dynamic U.K. economy in the past 20 years, but with the prospects of drastic economic consequences of a potential no deal Brexit looming, that test might come sooner than ba might have wished
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Old Aug 9, 19, 3:13 am
  #2360  
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
It really is time that the public moved on and stopped expecting free food and drink on short-haul economy class flights. They wouldn't expect it on a 2-hour bus or train journey, so why on a plane?
Because most European legacy airlines offer it. Why would you stop expecting something you usually get?

It's like saying that you should stop expecting vegetables with your mains in restaurants because when you go to a supermarket, Tesco and Waitrose don't (usually) throw in free sprouts or cauliflower when you buy a steak. Sure, Italian restaurants have gone that way and give you a fish or meat without any side which you can buy separately if you want, but most other countries still have restaurants which automatically include sides and there is not particular reason people should stop expecting that as a result.

[Was anyone missing those restaurant metaphors yet?! }
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Old Aug 9, 19, 3:32 am
  #2361  
 
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The vast majority of the UK travelling public have no idea that forums such as this exist and get their information(right or wrong dependant on where they get it)from the press or news.
Take Mr and Mrs Average with two children,for the last ten years, once a year they have taken package holidays where all they have had to do is roll up at a travel agent,pick where they want to go,pay money and everything else is taken care of,no research is needed.
They now decide to have a bit of "luxury" away from a package holiday and fly independently,they have read all the sensations about Ryanair and the like but generally think that they will pay extra and travel with a "proper" airline.
They are not used to "researching" their holidays,they have only heard good things about the "proper" airlines.So they book their flights,this is when the shock kicks in,no free food and booze,paying for seat selection.This is not what they paid for(They think).
Please FT posters,have a bit of sympathy for Mr and Mrs Average,they dont have the knowledge or experience you have,yes it is one heck of a shock to find an airline you have only heard good of in the past,and now paid extra to travel with,has become not much better than the cheap package holiday flights they are used to.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 3:40 am
  #2362  
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
And I priced mine: £650 for a one way LHR-NCE in Y
What is the price on other airlines for travel on the same day from NCE to the UK?
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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:03 am
  #2363  
 
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Originally Posted by CeeGee View Post

......................................

.............................
They now decide to have a bit of "luxury" away from a package holiday and fly independently,they have read all the sensations about Ryanair and the like but generally think that they will pay extra and travel with a "proper" airline.
They are not used to "researching" their holidays,they have only heard good things about the "proper" airlines.So they book their flights,this is when the shock kicks in,no free food and booze,paying for seat selection.This is not what they paid for(They think).
Please FT posters,have a bit of sympathy for Mr and Mrs Average,they dont have the knowledge or experience you have,yes it is one heck of a shock to find an airline you have only heard good of in the past,and now paid extra to travel with,has become not much better than the cheap package holiday flights they are used to.
(bold added)

I’m not sure this is a matter of ‘sympathy’ but I do believe your fundamental point is well-made.

To my way of thinking, it’s more about awareness.

It was only a very short while ago - when measured against the long history of the airline - that BA ceased to be a full service (or ‘premium’) airline option for short-haul economy passengers.

Ryanair, in contrast, began life as a low cost carrier and so their passengers’ expectations were aligned accordingly from day one. I just feel that it might need a good few years yet - especially for those who are perhaps only ‘annual holiday flyers’ - to get fully accustomed to the reality that the onboard experience in BA s/haul is now no different from that provided by Ryanair.

Nostalgia can be a powerful emotion.


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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:09 am
  #2364  
 
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
It really is time that the public moved on and stopped expecting free food and drink on short-haul economy class flights.
Fundamental problem is a disagreement over this. I'm not OK with airlines taking away everything we used to get for free, removing padding and pitch from the seats to make them unbearable, charging for every little thing, frequently stranding us and expecting us to be "OK" with it because they want us to. If people were less "OK" with this race to the bottom perhaps it would stop. I guess the majority of the market really only want bare bones cheap tickets. Still, it seems in an effort to placate FF, they would carve out some sort of limited exception to provide a tiny bit of service to FF. Especially, since as noted seemingly all the other "full service" legacy carriers do this. If BA wants to be more like EZ than SQ I suppose that's their business, but I don't think it's a strong strategy. They won't be able to beat the LCC at their own game and will just turn off FF and biz travelers.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:12 am
  #2365  
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Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet View Post
..... and will just turn off FF and biz travelers.
This is certainly a point made by a few folks when BoB was introduced. We are now 2 years on from the introduction of BoB and introduction of basic fares so we are already significantly down the "unbundling" path, is there any evidence of that happening yet?
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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:21 am
  #2366  
 
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
This is certainly a point made by a few folks when BoB was introduced. We are now 2 years on from the introduction of BoB and introduction of basic fares so we are already significantly down the "unbundling" path, is there any evidence of that happening yet?
No clue! I don't follow the ups and downs of BAs revenue. As established in this thread, I fly BA probably 3-10 times/year max. I live between NY and Paris, so travel on BA is rarely my preferred or most convenient option.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 4:27 am
  #2367  
 
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
This is certainly a point made by a few folks when BoB was introduced. We are now 2 years on from the introduction of BoB and introduction of basic fares so we are already significantly down the "unbundling" path, is there any evidence of that happening yet?
No because BA give free lounge access to elites, which the US carriers do not. Also the avreage flight length is much shorter than the US, so BA just about get away with it.

If I have to lose one item, I would rather lose free drinks and keep lounge access. Of course, it would be better if I had both.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 5:19 am
  #2368  
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
What is the price on other airlines for travel on the same day from NCE to the UK?
This was not same day at all. It was booked about 10 days before flying, sadly not a one off between London and Nice (not relevant but it was that direction rather than the other, though) in July-August.

Sadly, no other airline flies LHR-NCE nonstop nowadays (BD is sorely missed) though admittedly, I could have got AF or LX for a lot cheaper. Instead I went for U2 LGW-NCE for about £200 which was a better compromise as this was for a very short stay.

That said, I think my point would remain the exact same whether there was 0 or 10 competitors, cheaper, similarly, or a lot more expensively priced: you were rightly suggesting that when one gets a £59 ticket on a two segment flight, one accepts that this might not come with huge amount of freebies. I was just pointing out that whilst entry point prices have reduced significantly, a lot of people still fly on far more expensive tickets and, at that rate, might be far less tolerant of trimmed concepts (especially as many may not have the same lounge and airport services you and I enjoy). I was also pointing out that on all BA European flights, a lot of passengers are connecting on longer potentially far more expensive tickets yet in high fare Y or WT+ and that they too are far more likely to be affected by BoB (in their case, not HBO) than someone just jumping on a 2 hours point to point flight.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 5:24 am
  #2369  
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
This is certainly a point made by a few folks when BoB was introduced. We are now 2 years on from the introduction of BoB and introduction of basic fares so we are already significantly down the "unbundling" path, is there any evidence of that happening yet?
There is ample evidence that frequent flyer and business travellers' perception of BA has deteriorated significantly (see threads on NPS).

In terms of impact on actual travel, there is undoubtedly evidence somewhere that changes either have or have not happened but those would never be shared openly by any airline. If you feel very brave, you could probably derive some guesses from compared yield changes but I wouldn't dare to do so myself.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 6:34 am
  #2370  
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
There is ample evidence that frequent flyer and business travellers' perception of BA has deteriorated significantly (see threads on NPS).
There is indeed circumstantial evidence that NPS took a tumble after BoB was introduced, there is also some even more circumstantial evidence that they have recovered at least some of that in the last year, but we are never going to get the full evidence either way on this - I think there are far too many moving parts to the BA story. What we do know if that if this had been a disaster (a) it would have been reversed and (b) the bottom line would have been affected, and we have no evidence of that. As it happens BA's flights generally run pretty full then and now, with CE now often stretching a long way down the aisle.

On the other hand if it had been a rip-roaring success then they would have added the third cabin crew member to BACF services, and introduced it there. This simply hasn't happened.
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