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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 Jan 13, 17, 8:51 am
  #256  
 
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet View Post
the ticket also says the flight will be X hours XX minutes, sometimes it isn't. Doesn't mean I am due compensation.

In the vast majority of cases food and drink was available to purchase on board. Any teething issues will get resolved and that few cases where it wasn't will get resolved.

Compensation if you don't get your champagne, compensation if you can't buy food.....
(my bold)

I'm no advocate of the compensation culture . But when you say "food and drink was available to purchase on board" - would it be more accurate to say "some food & drink was loaded for purchase on board ......."

I raise the distinction because many, many reports (whether from flyers or the media) are stating that food & drink was in fact not available to many, many rows - either because supplies had run out, and/or the service otherwise terminated, after a very limited number of rows.
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Old Jan 13, 17, 8:52 am
  #257  
 
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Originally Posted by vibguy View Post
In the US TSA staff verifying your documents ask you to scan yourself the boarding pass on your phone. They never take your phone in their hands as they are indeed afraid of liability issues if they would drop or damage your phone. I cannot imagine BA allowing their staff to proceed as was described by cws.
The same is true at some BA outstations; at FRA the gate staff generally insist that you scan your own boarding pass if you're using one on your phone.
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Old Jan 13, 17, 9:54 am
  #258  
 
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Here is a summary of the whole BA BoB concept and how it has been implemented by Forbes BA has been raosted in this article that mentions FlyerTalk (CloudGazer you are a Star now)!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/douggoll.../#27451a0640de
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Old Jan 13, 17, 10:35 am
  #259  
 
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Having been crew in a previous life for a LCC and a legacy carrier, I remember BOB fondly at the LCC but I cant imagine it working too well at a legacy carrier.
It is here to stay however and from what I hear the actual food is quite nice and the refreshments as expected.
I am more curious about the expected Club Europe enhancements........
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Old Jan 13, 17, 11:08 am
  #260  
 
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Originally Posted by Safc0615 View Post
I am more curious about the expected Club Europe enhancements........
oh Gaad, what now????
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Old Jan 13, 17, 11:11 am
  #261  
 
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Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
oh Gaad, what now????


I have heard improved catering, personally I don't think Club Europe catering is that bad ??


The wines will be big bottles as such like Club World, again this is just rumours much of which I have picked off here but I am sure I remember when BOB was announced that they were investing in Club Europe heavily, would imagine it would launch in line with the new Domestic Club product ?


Of course I could be horribly wrong and read things wrong completely !
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Old Jan 13, 17, 12:11 pm
  #262  
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I'm not sure whether the FT-lariat wants more of this, but here's another flight today, which I have to say was something of a dog's breakfast. Well, any dogs would have not been fed, breakfast or otherwise.

BA1334 - LHR to NCL
13 January 2017 - all times GMT
Scheduled departure 15:05 / 16:25 arrival
BA.com status departure: 15:15 / 16.30 arrival

A319 - four crew, 2 trolleys, fairly full I think, 80% at least, I was in 1C so I mainly saw the front trolley in operation, though that is probably the wrong word. The key thing here is that for both crew members it was their first BoB flight, despite it being Friday. Many of the passengers were weekly commuters so would have gone down to London under the former régime earlier in the week.

15.15 - Push back from A22. Slightly late due the need to offload a missing passenger's bag. She turned up at the gate just as bag was found, but she was offloaded anyway.
15.43 - Take off from 27R - bit of a queue.
15.46 - Crew bell
15.48 - Seat belts off

15.52 - Service started, lady to my left in 1B wants a gin and tonic. Proffers card, asks a few questions, doesn't seem too bothered. The cabin crew with the iPad really struggles to get the transaction through. I think the core problem was the battery powered printer hadn't synchronised over Bluetooth with the payment iPad. The crew member keeps re-entering everything from fresh, and amazingly gets the same adverse outcome each time.



15:54 - I am in 1C and I order a tea and shortbread, provided fairly swiftly.

16.07 - Transaction from 1B completed, probably, but we are all sceptical. No receipt.
16:09 - My transaction didn't take as long but again she entered my Avios quantity rather than BAEC number. I realised this when she started mouthing numbers which don't feature in my BAEC membership number, or my name for that matter. I end up pointing this out and giving her my number and name directly it to her, which then works fine. On the App my Avios total is, er, quite big and in large characters, whereas the BAEC number is less prominent, but the commas should be the give away I would have thought. I stressed I didn't want a receipt! Note to the BA App people: provide a colour highlight around the BAEC number or something similar. Crew somewhat stressed but I try to get them to laugh at it all. I wave at KARFA, we're over Yorkshire, I highlight that I am the second person to be served.

16.11 - Row 4 finally get offered drinks
16 15 - "10 minutes to landing", crew immediately finish row 6 and dash the trolley back to the front, to have enough time to collect the rubbish. The rear trolley seems to have made only a similar amount of progress, so I would guess rows 7 to 22 would have had no service at all.
16.18 - Purser uses the PA to apologise profusely for the fact that only a few customers were served, blaming the technical difficulties.

16.28 - Land NCL on runway 25
16.30 - Arrive at gate 3
16.31 - Doors open, of course. Oh, if only every airport was as slick as NCL.
======

Now the printer problem didn't help, the constant retrying of the same activity - with the same outcome - wasn't good, but probably the lack of training, which was done many weeks ago, and the lack of staff experience really did stop this flight's service from working properly. Plus the amazingly short flight (45 minutes, it is normally nearer 50 or 55 minutes). It's a shame, in that there were plenty of potential punters, I would guess the crew had collected under £100. If there was the speed, time and resources, I'm sure that £200 or more could have been extracted from a community that enjoys a drink or two and aren't tightwads.

So three flights, the LIN-LHR was done swiftly by a crew with several flights under their belts, they could have got a bit more money if they did a second pass I'm sure, and they had the time to do it too. LHR-LIN wasn't too bad but it was still a bit too slow. LHR-NCL pretty dreadful. The single issue that separates the crew is the amount of exposure to this on the job. Now there was every effort made to adapt to this new way of working, there was no "I really can't be bothered" that I detected.

I am going to predict that by mid February this will have bedded in much better than we have seen or heard about this week. I would speculate that Waterside knew this and felt, perhaps with some justification, that it's best to slam it in quick, get the pain over with, and wait for the crews to get the hang of it all.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Jan 13, 17 at 12:17 pm
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Old Jan 13, 17, 12:12 pm
  #263  
 
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I flew LHR-EDI yesterday (12th Jan) and it was rather interesting watching the crew deal with the BOB service.

When I boarded the senior cabin crew (lady in the blue/silver cravat) asked if I had travelled since 'yesterday', I assume asking whether I knew it would be buy or go without on my flight. I indicated that I was fully aware and she smiled and said 'oh good'.

When the service began it was somewhat comical in a rather embarrassing sort of way. We had hand written receipts as they couldn't get the printer to print, puzzlement over the credit card machine and general confusion as to what was available on the menu and what the pricing was - everything had to be looked up on the machine.

I was sat in row 3 (last minute Avios redemption) and they didn't get past row 5. To be fair it was bumpy with the seat belt sign on for maybe 10 minutes during the middle of the flight, but even so the service seemed slow to me (Full disclosure - perhaps I was looking for negatives though as I am not a fan of this change).

Spent a while chatting to one of the crew whilst they were by my seat and they were clearly unhappy with the new approach, as was the senior member of cabin crew. Both of the crew were discreet, but their comments signalled that they were very clearly unhappy with the new offering. I felt sorry for them.

Not sure whether their displeasure was out of embarrassment or due to their slow service speed due to lack of familiarity with the new offering. Am sure it will bed in and service speed will improve, but at the service rate I saw they were certainly not as slick as FR who manages two food runs, a duty free run and a scratch card run on even their shortest routes (I exaggerate as not all of their short routes include a duty free run as many are UK domestic).
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Old Jan 13, 17, 12:26 pm
  #264  
 
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All absolute GROLLOCKS!
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Old Jan 13, 17, 12:35 pm
  #265  
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Only the second person served from the front trolley by the time you passed over Yorkshire? Well both the MAN and LBA routes are similar distances and typically have flight times of roughly 35 minutes (they are the two shortest routes from LHR) so it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow morning when I have my first BoB flight.

It seems a very great improvement in efficiency will be required to ever get to the stage where a MAN or LBA flight could be completely served (to the extent that folks want to buy something).
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Old Jan 13, 17, 12:37 pm
  #266  
 
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Originally Posted by mrow View Post
I flew LHR-EDI yesterday (12th Jan) and it was rather interesting watching the crew deal with the BOB service.

When I boarded the senior cabin crew (lady in the blue/silver cravat) asked if I had travelled since 'yesterday', I assume asking whether I knew it would be buy or go without on my flight. I indicated that I was fully aware and she smiled and said 'oh good'.

When the service began it was somewhat comical in a rather embarrassing sort of way. We had hand written receipts as they couldn't get the printer to print, puzzlement over the credit card machine and general confusion as to what was available on the menu and what the pricing was - everything had to be looked up on the machine.

I was sat in row 3 (last minute Avios redemption) and they didn't get past row 5. To be fair it was bumpy with the seat belt sign on for maybe 10 minutes during the middle of the flight, but even so the service seemed slow to me (Full disclosure - perhaps I was looking for negatives though as I am not a fan of this change).

Spent a while chatting to one of the crew whilst they were by my seat and they were clearly unhappy with the new approach, as was the senior member of cabin crew. Both of the crew were discreet, but their comments signalled that they were very clearly unhappy with the new offering. I felt sorry for them.

Not sure whether their displeasure was out of embarrassment or due to their slow service speed due to lack of familiarity with the new offering. Am sure it will bed in and service speed will improve, but at the service rate I saw they were certainly not as slick as FR who manages two food runs, a duty free run and a scratch card run on even their shortest routes (I exaggerate as not all of their short routes include a duty free run as many are UK domestic).

I absolutely think this comes down to practise sadly, from what I read on Twitter BA are making no secret of the fact they have had some equipment issues I mean the crew are quite rightly pointing it out to both passengers and the company !


I do think the service will become more seamless as such over the coming weeks, I think improvements in ratios of food actually on board will also improve !


I think however the biggest issue is that people simply will not pay the price to travel BA if they can get essentially the same product on EZY.
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Old Jan 13, 17, 1:27 pm
  #267  
 
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ABZ - LHR, BA1313, 4.50pm departure

The new announcement of how passengers can buy the lovely M&S food came. Some rattling in the front galley with the trolleys....

The more junior crew member pops out first and I expected him to go to Row 4 (as would usually happen). Oh no. He starts at Row 1. 1A, B, C have nothing. I decided I would have a few G&Ts and pay by Avios to be a bit of a nuisance. Ordered. "I only have one tonic here Sir, just one minute". So he asks the CSM (or whatever they're called nowadays) if she can get a tonic. Fine. "Sir, do you realise that it's not free now?"....."Yes, I'm paying by Avios"..... He taps away vigorously on his wee key pad. "OK sir, just put your credit card here"....... "No, I said I'm paying by Avios"...... "Oh....."......Cue a lot of hum'ing and hah'ing over his wee machine (all this time the CSM lady is just standing watching him.....)..... "OK Sir, I just need to scan your card"...... So I pass the phone over..... "I just need to write your name in Sir.....Oh it's locked.....can you open it again.....?'........ I open the phone again..... "Just need to get your number.....Oh it's locked again...."......

I mean it was like something out of a carry on film. The lady in 2F was having a massive rant - I couldn't quite hear what but the CSM said "How do you think I feel Madam? I have a machine that doesn't work and I want to throw it out the door..... I have wanted to do that on each of the three flights I have been on today"......

Oh dear....

They got to Row 6 as we started descending.

Come on BA - you need to do better than this.

Oh, and you now serve a G&T with a wooden stirring stick?! GET A GRIP!
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Old Jan 13, 17, 1:30 pm
  #268  
 
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Just come off a delayed MAN-LHR flight (15-20 minutes due to Heathrow, then a medical issue, then we missed two slots etc).
BoB got as far as row 2. Man ordered a G&T and naturally the card reader failed and would not play ball. Woman in 1C was going to pay by Avios but never got that far so she got nothing after we had been sitting around on the plane for early 2 hours.
Think they did a paper receipt for the G&T man.

From what I saw through the few people getting blocked from getting to the toilets, the rear cart didn't do much better.

Quite a few people missed connections to and were given hotels, booked next day, protected bookings etc.

Quite amusing knowing the card reader wasn't going to play ball and to cap it all, they mentioned people connecting to the Athens flight and I was laughing thinking "poor sods probably won't get anything loaded".

Also, someone could have possibly swiped the M&S menus from row 1 thus preventing me from doing that very thing....Although they are bigger than I thought.
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Old Jan 13, 17, 1:39 pm
  #269  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I am going to predict that by mid February this will have bedded in much better than we have seen or heard about this week. I would speculate that Waterside knew this and felt, perhaps with some justification, that it's best to slam it in quick, get the pain over with, and wait for the crews to get the hang of it all.
I don't think there can be any justification for slamming something in and expecting the crews to manage the fall out or the passengers to put up with rubbish service on an airline which claims to be customer focussed.

I think the contactless will help, but someone has mentioned April as the date for that. That's a long time for crews to handle slow card payments, even once they know where the stock is and where the buttons are and 'get the hang of it'
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Old Jan 13, 17, 1:48 pm
  #270  
 
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Originally Posted by A P Yu View Post
I don't think there can be any justification for slamming something in and expecting the crews to manage the fall out or the passengers to put up with rubbish service on an airline which claims to be customer focussed.
It fits in entirely with AC's 'just do it' attitude as expressed in the interview though.
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