BA brand hanging by a thread?...

Old Sep 18, 17, 2:54 am
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BA brand slowly eroding... (title updated on suggestion!)

Hi all,

First of all apologies for retreading ground which may well already covered in other threads. I just had a recent round trip on a BA marketed ticket from CGK-LHR (via HKG - CGK-HKG on CX), and thought I'd share a few things from my experience of the BA bit of the journey.

BOOKING
While the BA website doesn't appear to like mixed operator bookings this turned out to my advantage in that I ended up with a few contacts before the flight checking availability of an Avios upgrade from WTP+ to CW on the outward leg. The staff were very helpful and I was told a few days before the departure date that they'd flag me for first refusal for an airport upgrade. Rather fortuitously I was given a complimentary upgrade which of course was gratefully received. Great, thoughtful service from the call centre.

CHECKING IN FOR THE RETURN JOURNEY AT T5 FOR RETURN LEG (LHR-HKG)
Yes, I know that BA only priority tags those travelling CW as opposed to Sapphire Status (in contrast to the rest of the OW Alliance), but contrary to the views of the check in staff (discussed elsewhere in the forum), that 'priority tags make no difference', this is definitely not the case in Asia where carriers such as CX prioritise all luggage of premium cabin customers and OW Sapphire and above (including BA). Anyway, with a bit of a plead I was tagged (and my bags were duly in the first few to arrive at the other end). Felt a bit silly though given that I receive a better welcome from other OW carriers than I do from my 'home airline' BA.

THE GALLERIES
So, as to be expected they were pretty busy but what blew me away was the limited catering (no hot food before 6pm). Seriously? With travellers on different body clocks interchanging at BA's flagship airport? I enquired with the staff as to how long it'd been like this and was told "It depends on which company is doing the catering"! When the hot food eventually arrived just 10 minutes before I had to go to the gate it comprised baked potatoes and assorted fillings. Never did I ever think I'd say that United Airline's lounge at T2 blows BA out of the water, but it does (IMHO), and that's putting aside CX's offering in Hong Kong where in comparison BA feels more like a budget airline. Shoddy.

IN FLIGHT
Nice staff as always on the BA bit (HKG-LHR-HKG), but clearly stretched. The WT+ cabin on the return leg was really nice I think, although of course it doesn't come anywhere close to CW as one would expect given the price difference. It seems that BA relies VERY heavily on the good nature of its cabin crew to try and keep customers happy.

CONCLUSION
Personally speaking, the pre-flight experience and fast baggage delivery play a significant role in my airline choice and other airlines are significantly better at delivering this. If it weren't for the few hundred thousand miles in my Avios account I'd ditch BAEC at the drop of the hat so as it stands I'm unlikely to fly BA except for the 4 required marketed flights a year to keep Silver (in addition to the tier points I need and which I can obtain on other OW carriers).

In the long term I sincerely hope that the apparent rush for short term profits is not sustained, as I fear that relying entirely on the service of dedicated staff without the product to back it up will do irreparable damage to BA, if it hasn't done so already, regardless of the investment in amusing safety videos.

Last edited by dinbangkok; Sep 18, 17 at 3:53 am
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Old Sep 18, 17, 3:00 am
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After reading this I still don't understand why the "BA brand is hanging by a thread"?

Sure, they have things they need to work on, but if you have flown many other carriers, you will realise that grass isn't always much greener in the other side. And you will only stay with BA since you have a few hundred k in Avios doesn't say much in terms of your loyalty to BA, so why should you expect so much more from them?

I am by no means a "BA apologist", but am also a firm believer that loyalty is a two-way game, hence my query :-)
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Old Sep 18, 17, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by LondonCanuck View Post
After reading this I still don't understand why the "BA brand is hanging by a thread"?

Sure, they have things they need to work on, but if you have flown many other carriers, you will realise that grass isn't always much greener in the other side. And you will only stay with BA since you have a few hundred k in Avios doesn't say much in terms of your loyalty to BA, so why should you expect so much more from them?

I am by no means a "BA apologist", but am also a firm believer that loyalty is a two-way game, hence my query :-)
Fair point. I guess I felt immensely disappointed by BA after having regularly experienced a vastly better product and service on other OW & *A carriers. Granted there is an Asia bias to my opinion based on where I spend most of my time. I grew up (in London) with BA so feel a degree of nostalgia and dare I say it, patriotism for the brand. I just wish they'd find a way to compete better on product and service with the national airlines of the newer economies of the world (Perhaps this is an unfair comparison given the underlying costs). But, as much of the hotel business recognises, it's the smaller details that tend to make the biggest difference, from how you sustain and evolve the relationship with your loyalty members, to recognising that customers at your hub airport might fancy a hot meal before 6 o'clock in the evening. I'd be the first to use BA more than other OW carriers if I felt they were taking care of these small details :-)
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Old Sep 18, 17, 3:35 am
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Bit of an exaggeration to say that BA's reputation is hanging by a thread? I mean it's not like they lost two 777s in quick succession.

In reality the perception of BA is changing and that is eroding the brand value which will in time cut into margins.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 3:47 am
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Other than the rumour of a trial in the B concourse lounge earlier this year, Galleries Club has not served hot food in the afternoon at LHR for several years
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Old Sep 18, 17, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
Bit of an exaggeration to say that BA's reputation is hanging by a thread? I mean it's not like they lost two 777s in quick succession.

In reality the perception of BA is changing and that is eroding the brand value which will in time cut into margins.
Point taken and I have updated the thread title accordingly!

On the point of hot food not being served it goes to show how little I've flown BA 'outside hours' in the last few years as I had no idea. I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere at BA does something soon to join the dots and think of how they might improve the complete customer experience from booking to baggage. T5 in particular could work a lot harder for them.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 4:00 am
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Originally Posted by LondonCanuck View Post
After reading this I still don't understand why the "BA brand is hanging by a thread"?
Probably because they keep outsourcing its running to foreigners [Slasher Walsh and Chopper Cruz]? Who seem intent on running it into the ground?

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Old Sep 18, 17, 4:17 am
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Maybe, maybe not. Given the losses Easy are now racking up, the Ryanair model is breaking down and Norwegians earnings falling off a cliff, they could be the winner that takes all.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 5:17 am
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Last edited by ahmetdouas; Nov 11, 17 at 10:36 am
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Old Sep 18, 17, 5:23 am
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Weird OP: As I understand it, you purchased a WT+ ticket, but your complaints relate to the perks you expect in Club or through status.

And as others pointed out the lack of hot food in a lounge is hardly the end of the brand. And certainly not the world.

You say, "The WT+ cabin on the return leg was really nice I think," - which is, what, 90% of the whole experience? And you had a complementary upgrade to Club. But yet that lack of hot food warrants the kicking. Tough crowd!
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Old Sep 18, 17, 5:46 am
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Originally Posted by dinbangkok View Post
On the point of hot food not being served it goes to show how little I've flown BA 'outside hours' in the last few years as I had no idea. I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere at BA does something soon to join the dots and think of how they might improve the complete customer experience from booking to baggage. T5 in particular could work a lot harder for them.
I'm not sure this is actually that unusual for most airlines. If you leave aside the all-day menu option in lounges that have dedicated restaurants which are very much the exception, most will work off the basis of local meal times. There's a degree of practicality here - airlines don't have capacity to offer everything at all times, there's an increased risk of waste if they did, so they try to cater for the timezone the majority of passengers are likely to be on at that time - much the same as catering on the plane.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by dinbangkok View Post
Yes, I know that BA only priority tags those travelling CW as opposed to Sapphire Status (in contrast to the rest of the OW Alliance)
I flew BA recently DUB - LHR - RUH return in WT+ as a OWS and got Club World baggage tags. Is this not a policy?
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Old Sep 18, 17, 7:17 am
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The ''BA Brand'' means different things to different people although I suspect safety would easily come out top of the list if you asked Joe Public.
The guarantee of getting a priority tag or there always being an afternoon hotpot available in the Galleries Club would be nearer the bottom of the list.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 7:19 am
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At a number of airports including LHR the prioritisation of bags ad which container they go in is all based on the tags . The "priority" orange or yellow tags are for decoration.

And Sometimes I get the tag and sometimes I don't. Watch the bags arriving at heathrow. many of the first bags out do not have a tag. It does not mean it was not a priority bag
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Old Sep 18, 17, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Probably because they keep outsourcing its running to foreigners [Slasher Walsh and Chopper Cruz]? Who seem intent on running it into the ground?

It's wonderfully British for an Irishman in the Netherlands to be complaining about foreigners.
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