Giving up on British Airways?

Old Aug 7, 17, 5:46 am
  #1  
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Thumbs down Giving up on British Airways?

I'm sure I won't be the first to raise this, but seriously considering giving up on BA.

I used to travel a fair bit and was a silver card holder for a good few years. The last 2 years I was based in Dubai, did quite a lot of flying with Emirates (skywards gold 2 years running).

Now I'm back in London and (at least until now) back to BA. It's been a complete nightmare!

Flights cancelled. Flights delayed: I haven't exactly worked it out, but I think around 50% of the flights I've taken since I've been back have been delayed or cancelled or overbooked (primarily between London and Scotland).

In the 6 weeks I've been back I've already hit over 300 TPs just on domestic flights (mix of CE and Econ). I ought to hit Gold easily this year as there will be at least a few transatlantic J/F flights as well as flights back to the Middle East.

I had a nightmare weekend this weekend (again) - travelling LCY to GLA and back to LGW - flight back was delayed by nearly 5 hours while I was travelling with my 15 month son (luckily he was a bit of a hero, but it could've been a nightmare). Effectively spent most of the day in Glasgow airport.

As a token of goodwill (and since I'm likely to hit it anyway in the coming months) I thought I would see if BA would status match my skywards gold status given how much I've travelled and likely would be travelling with them in the future. Offered to show them my Emirates flight history of J and F flights. They didn't even want to see it - just a blanket refusal.

Fine they have a policy. But it seems to be a one way street with BA. Put up with the frankly abysmal level of service, and all the inconvenience of delayed and cancelled flights, strikes, IT issues, baggage issues. And there is no effort to make amends for any of this whatsoever. We're just supposed to suck it up and keep spending large amounts of money with BA?

I think from now on I'll be using the train to get to Scotland, and other airlines for my long haul travel. FF perks just get enhanced away. It can be difficult to impossible (and costly!) to get redemption flights in any case. I really don't see the point in carrying on with them. Perhaps I was spoiled with Emirates.

If anyone has any suggestions for alternatives to BA, or has themselves given up flying them, I'd be happy to hear your experiences.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:11 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by M Nix View Post
We're just supposed to suck it up and keep spending large amounts of money with BA?
Yes, that pretty much sums up BA now. Until/unless it starts hitting their bottom line (some debate as to whether that is starting to show), you'd better get used to it.

Originally Posted by M Nix View Post
I think from now on I'll be using the train to get to Scotland, and other airlines for my long haul travel. FF perks just get enhanced away. It can be difficult to impossible (and costly!) to get redemption flights in any case
I now almost exclusively use the train from Scotland to London unless I'm connecting long-haul on a redemption. BA are just not worth the hassle any more for a simple domestic flight and the disingenuous marketing after the introduction of BoB annoyed me more than it really should have. Their long haul routes to destinations I want to go is why I keep using them - and therein lies the reason why they can treat their passengers with such apparent contempt.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:22 am
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by M Nix View Post
I'm sure I won't be the first to raise this, but seriously considering giving up on BA.

I used to travel a fair bit and was a silver card holder for a good few years. The last 2 years I was based in Dubai, did quite a lot of flying with Emirates (skywards gold 2 years running).

Now I'm back in London and (at least until now) back to BA. It's been a complete nightmare!

Flights cancelled. Flights delayed: I haven't exactly worked it out, but I think around 50% of the flights I've taken since I've been back have been delayed or cancelled or overbooked (primarily between London and Scotland).

In the 6 weeks I've been back I've already hit over 300 TPs just on domestic flights (mix of CE and Econ). I ought to hit Gold easily this year as there will be at least a few transatlantic J/F flights as well as flights back to the Middle East.

I had a nightmare weekend this weekend (again) - travelling LCY to GLA and back to LGW - flight back was delayed by nearly 5 hours while I was travelling with my 15 month son (luckily he was a bit of a hero, but it could've been a nightmare). Effectively spent most of the day in Glasgow airport.

As a token of goodwill (and since I'm likely to hit it anyway in the coming months) I thought I would see if BA would status match my skywards gold status given how much I've travelled and likely would be travelling with them in the future. Offered to show them my Emirates flight history of J and F flights. They didn't even want to see it - just a blanket refusal.

Fine they have a policy. But it seems to be a one way street with BA. Put up with the frankly abysmal level of service, and all the inconvenience of delayed and cancelled flights, strikes, IT issues, baggage issues. And there is no effort to make amends for any of this whatsoever. We're just supposed to suck it up and keep spending large amounts of money with BA?

I think from now on I'll be using the train to get to Scotland, and other airlines for my long haul travel. FF perks just get enhanced away. It can be difficult to impossible (and costly!) to get redemption flights in any case. I really don't see the point in carrying on with them. Perhaps I was spoiled with Emirates.

If anyone has any suggestions for alternatives to BA, or has themselves given up flying them, I'd be happy to hear your experiences.
I used to be a "BA at any price" advocate of the airline. Not any more; I often use Easyjet and (as long as you pay the £10 or so extra for Plus seats so you get priority boarding and the second piece of hand luggage) they are perfectly good for short haul. Although it must be said that many of the delays and cancellations we encounter from or to London are a function of the fact that London airspace and airports are operating pretty much to capacity, so there is no possibility of catching up if there are delays at any point.

I used to live in France where greater investment in transport infrastructure seemed to bear fruit, but in reality the same problem arises: on the RER A express metro across Paris, and in recent years on the high speed rail line from Paris towards Lyon, delays have increased markedly for exactly the same reason.

In contrast, the Eurostar is tremendous, because it runs on dedicated track for most of the journey that is not running at capacity. They have a policy of refunding part or all of the cost of the journey if the train arrives more than an hour late. I took 300 Eurostars over a period of 4 years, and was only able to claim twice for a delay. I don't think there are many airlines or air routes with that level of reliability.

Where do you go to in Scotland? Have you tried the night trains?
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:23 am
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Couldn't agree more. Had the Exec Club yesterday morning; they ruined my day as they are so incompetent I had never experienced anything of that sort. I can't understand how fast a 360 downgrade can surround a brand in every aspect: on-board, ground service, call center, dated marketing and branding... And they act as if everything was on track. That's bold.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by mrpacifist View Post
And they act as if everything was on track. That's bold.
So true. Some of the staff are still excellent - I was chatting to some of the cabin crew on the delayed flight and they were lamenting the general decline.

I tend to find the 'front office' staff are still usually not too bad - but it's the invisible customer services / call centre staff who are just completely intransigent, unhelpful, and sometimes downright rude. Plus the increasing level of incompetence surrounding getting flights away on time. Just frustrating.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:52 am
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The cruel to be kind approach - the only way to get the current management sacked / direction changed is for people to move their high value business away from BA en-masse. In the long term it's the best thing for the airline.

Right now what management is doing is economically rational, since they are reducing costs whilst people continue to fly them, delivering rising profits. We need to change that paradigm.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 6:57 am
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I've written to them telling them that I intend to do just that. I'm sure in their arrogance they will just ignore it, but I suppose if enough people do it, then it will start to hit home. Just stopping flying won't necessarily be attributed to dissatisfaction with the service (except in aggregate), so I felt I had to actually tell them that I was doing this too.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by M Nix View Post
I'm sure I won't be the first to raise this, but seriously considering giving up on BA.

I used to travel a fair bit and was a silver card holder for a good few years. The last 2 years I was based in Dubai, did quite a lot of flying with Emirates (skywards gold 2 years running).

Now I'm back in London and (at least until now) back to BA. It's been a complete nightmare!

Flights cancelled. Flights delayed: I haven't exactly worked it out, but I think around 50% of the flights I've taken since I've been back have been delayed or cancelled or overbooked (primarily between London and Scotland).

In the 6 weeks I've been back I've already hit over 300 TPs just on domestic flights (mix of CE and Econ). I ought to hit Gold easily this year as there will be at least a few transatlantic J/F flights as well as flights back to the Middle East.

I had a nightmare weekend this weekend (again) - travelling LCY to GLA and back to LGW - flight back was delayed by nearly 5 hours while I was travelling with my 15 month son (luckily he was a bit of a hero, but it could've been a nightmare). Effectively spent most of the day in Glasgow airport.

As a token of goodwill (and since I'm likely to hit it anyway in the coming months) I thought I would see if BA would status match my skywards gold status given how much I've travelled and likely would be travelling with them in the future. Offered to show them my Emirates flight history of J and F flights. They didn't even want to see it - just a blanket refusal.

Fine they have a policy. But it seems to be a one way street with BA. Put up with the frankly abysmal level of service, and all the inconvenience of delayed and cancelled flights, strikes, IT issues, baggage issues. And there is no effort to make amends for any of this whatsoever. We're just supposed to suck it up and keep spending large amounts of money with BA?

I think from now on I'll be using the train to get to Scotland, and other airlines for my long haul travel. FF perks just get enhanced away. It can be difficult to impossible (and costly!) to get redemption flights in any case. I really don't see the point in carrying on with them. Perhaps I was spoiled with Emirates.

If anyone has any suggestions for alternatives to BA, or has themselves given up flying them, I'd be happy to hear your experiences.
If I were you, I'd just keep Gold by flying other one world airlines!


LOL status matching. What is BA, a third world airline?
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
LOL status matching. What is BA, a third world airline?
Haha - I know they used to do it. And allegedly still do in circumstances where it can lead to additional revenue... supposedly. Clearly the barrier for this is quite a bit higher than I anticipated though.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
LOL status matching. What is BA, a third world airline?
Not yet. But they are trying hard.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:28 am
  #11  
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Status matching, apart from very occasional route deals and some corporate arrangements, isn't going to happen. Nothing new there, I can't remember a time when it was any different, and given the relative ease of getting Gold - and with it the large population of GCH who need no such assistance, I can't see that changing any time soon.

As for whether to give up on BA, there is of course FlyBe on LHR services. In making these decisions, I would say it's easy to get the wrong set of perspective after a couple of bad 'uns, then you can end up on the never-ending train from Hell and reach a similar jaundiced view. Perhaps this was weather related? In which case little is exempt from its impacts. What can you do? Stay pragmatic, don't spite self a la Paralytic, check the fares and mix it up once in a while. Going to Scotland at least there are plenty of options.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by M Nix View Post
I think from now on I'll be using the train to get to Scotland
With the frequency by which the London-Scotland train services are also subject to severe delays and cancellations, particularly on the East Coast where the wires keep coming down, you may be well just stepping out of the frying pan into the fire.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Oxon Flyer View Post
With the frequency by which the London-Scotland train services are also subject to severe delays and cancellations, particularly on the East Coast where the wires keep coming down, you may be well just stepping out of the frying pan into the fire.
I'm willing to believe that to be honest...
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Old Aug 7, 17, 8:21 am
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I'm also going through similar thought process to OP. Been very loyal to BA over the past 10 years (and in fairness have enjoyed being GCH), but recent poor experience in LH WT+, and patronizing/unhelpful response from CustSvcs, left me asking "why bother?". Fares on my standard route between IAH & UK have steadily risen over the years. Also was very sad to hear the ultra-friendly station staff at IAH will be enhanced away.

Found I could get a GCH status match with United through my employer. Many of the ticketing tricks I've learnt on here (thanks fellow FT-er's!), allow me to find very competitive fares even when there's not a fare sale on, and their upgrade policy can be a refreshing throwback to earlier times. Don't know how long this honeymoon period with United will last, but it's ok for now.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 8:25 am
  #15  
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If United are looking like a more attractive option, then I can't help but think that BA are getting something quite spectacularly wrong.
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