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The Achilles' Heel of the New CW: Beverages

The Achilles' Heel of the New CW: Beverages

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Old Feb 25, 19, 4:53 pm
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The Achilles' Heel of the New CW: Beverages

I've really tried to give this new CW a chance, and I assumed that during the teething stage there would be some tweaks. It's been a year now, and there's one thing that hasn't changed in the new CW but it must. I consume 75% of my meal with empty glasses on my tray. Wine and water preferences are indicated when the food order is placed, which are dutifully served all together on a tray that is placed in front of me by an attendant who will never, ever return until it's time to clear it all away. I've had a dozen flights in CW in the past year, and have never one time had my water topped up, much less a second glass of wine.

I just flew RT to Johannesburg with SkyTeam in biz, KLM down and Air France back. After a year in the new CW, I couldn't help but admire the bountiful carts filled with wonderful things that were rolled up and down the aisles by calm FAs who weren't scurrying in and out of the galley with individual dishes for individual customers. Most importantly: my glasses were refilled repeatedly.

In the old CW, I used to enjoy a brandy after dessert. On my CW flight to Beijing last week, I sat staring at my finished tray for a full hour and a quarter before they switched out the lights. I finally carried my own tray to the galley to abandon it there. It makes those SkyTeam carts seem very attractive.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 5:14 pm
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This neatly illustrates my main issue with the current CW service. Itís all very well aspiring to the QR standards of hand run food and drink, but that only works where you have sufficient crew to prepare food and serve it all while making sure the other passengers are reasonably content.

With BA CW crewing levels I think we can see this is an impossible ask.

In the ďoldĒ days with the trolley running up and down there was rarely a delay in getting that initial post takeoff drink, little issue with the speed of the meal service and frequent refills of both water and wine because it was right there on the trolley. Now itís a case of ďluckĒ and/or frequent call bell usage...
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Old Feb 25, 19, 5:19 pm
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I have found that a polite "please may I have a top up of X" usually works.

Originally Posted by Buzzz View Post
Wine and water preferences are indicated when the food order is placed, which are dutifully served all together on a tray that is placed in front of me by an attendant who will never, ever return until it's time to clear it all away.
I'm confused as to why the CC don't return unless you are only having one course? In which case there are usually CC walking around serving other passengers whom you could request a top up from or ask them to remove your tray.

Failing that there is the dreaded call button of course..
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Old Feb 25, 19, 5:38 pm
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I am shocked that nobody responded to the signal from OP's call button. Both as to a refill and as to having his tray cleared.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 5:42 pm
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I think there will always be a divide on FT in the interpretation of what should be considered fundamental, basic, or minimum in a business class cabin. My opinion may not be shared by all, but I am of the thought that it shouldn't be necessary to have to flag down a passing FA to have my glass refilled in business class. They should check back with me. Nor should I have to ring the bell to have my tray cleared away after I am finished dining. We had this with the old CW; it is gone now.

Would we accept this sort of service in a nice restaurant? Nobody ever returns to your table after serving your food?

Last edited by Buzzz; Feb 25, 19 at 5:50 pm
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Old Feb 25, 19, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Buzzz View Post
I think there will always be a divide on FT in the interpretation of what should be considered fundamental, basic, or minimum in a business class cabin. My opinion may not be shared by all, but I am of the thought that it shouldn't be necessary to have to flag down a passing FA to have my glass refilled in business class. They should check back with me. Nor should I have to ring the bell to have my tray cleared away after I am finished dining. We had this with the old CW; it is gone now.

Would we accept this sort of service in a nice restaurant? Nobody ever returns to your table after serving your food?
I agree that you shouldnít have to use the call bell but why on earth would you sit for so long with an empty glass and tray? There comes a point when we have to take ownership of the service we want, if it is not being proactively offered.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Buzzz View Post
I think there will always be a divide on FT in the interpretation of what should be considered fundamental, basic, or minimum in a business class cabin. My opinion may not be shared by all, but I am of the thought that it shouldn't be necessary to have to flag down a passing FA to have my glass refilled in business class. They should check back with me. Nor should I have to ring the bell to have my tray cleared away after I am finished dining. We had this with the old CW; it is gone now.

Would we accept this sort of service in a nice restaurant? Nobody ever returns to your table after serving your food?
Agreed you shouldn't have to ring the bell to have your tray cleared away after that amount of time - that is not acceptable. I've found times for this to be slightly worse when sitting in window seats (which I usually do), so hopefully this will change once the new seats are introduced.

In terms of drinks/refills, perhaps I've been lucky or you have been unlucky, but I do find that the crew ask if I would "like anything else" when serving the next course or clearing away.

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the restaurant analogy fits here, as the purpose of going to restaurant is to be served food, whereas BA gets us from A to B. As far as I'm concerned, the crew's primary job is to get us from A to B in a safe manner. I would say the issue here is more akin to having (say) a junior suite at a nice hotel and the minibar not being properly restocked, thus requiring a call down to the reception. Not exactly ideal, but also not a deal breaker.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by abc193 View Post
Agreed you shouldn't have to ring the bell to have your tray cleared away after that amount of time - that is not acceptable. I've found times for this to be slightly worse when sitting in window seats (which I usually do), so hopefully this will change once the new seats are introduced.

In terms of drinks/refills, perhaps I've been lucky or you have been unlucky, but I do find that the crew ask if I would "like anything else" when serving the next course or clearing away.

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the restaurant analogy fits here, as the purpose of going to restaurant is to be served food, whereas BA gets us from A to B. As far as I'm concerned, the crew's primary job is to get us from A to B in a safe manner. I would say the issue here is more akin to having (say) a junior suite at a nice hotel and the minibar not being properly restocked, thus requiring a call down to the reception. Not exactly ideal, but also not a deal breaker.
Donít agree. If the primary purpose is to get from A-B then why have different cabins of service with different pricing points? The food / drink service is a key part of what a customer is paying for in business class, as is the flat bed. Just as a 5* hotel isnít just about providing a bed!

If you buy a BMW is that just about getting from A-B so if the a/c or navigation systems donít work, itís ancillary?
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Old Feb 25, 19, 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by IAMORGAN View Post
Donít agree. If the primary purpose is to get from A-B then why have different cabins of service with different pricing points? The food / drink service is a key part of what a customer is paying for in business class, as is the flat bed. Just as a 5* hotel isnít just about providing a bed!

If you buy a BMW is that just about getting from A-B so if the a/c or navigation systems donít work, itís ancillary?
I didn't say it was the only purpose, just the primary one. The F&B that is offered in each cabin is also reflected in each of the price points. Everyone's preferences & expectations are different and I don't have an issue with being proactive when travelling in any cabin.

Personally, I find it far more irritating that on occasion there is an F&B choice that isn't available on board (especially if it is LPGS) - this makes me question the price tag of a premium cabin far more.

But that is not the issue that the OP has raised. The F&B was available but required them to be proactive in obtaining a refill.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 8:40 pm
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And since a walk is good for health, heading to the galley with an empty glass always end up with me returning with a full one. Now if only I didn't have to climb over someone's legs....
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Old Feb 25, 19, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by abc193 View Post
I didn't say it was the only purpose, just the primary one. The F&B that is offered in each cabin is also reflected in each of the price points. Everyone's preferences & expectations are different and I don't have an issue with being proactive when travelling in any cabin.

Personally, I find it far more irritating that on occasion there is an F&B choice that isn't available on board (especially if it is LPGS) - this makes me question the price tag of a premium cabin far more.

But that is not the issue that the OP has raised. The F&B was available but required them to be proactive in obtaining a refill.
I strongly disagree on the point A to point B thing. Stating the CC primary job is getting us safely A to B is a modern dramatization and take on the cabin crew tasks, which tries to enhance their role in the eyes of the travellers but overlooks their actual routine activities. They donít drive the plane. Call me arrogant, but i think they are there primarily for the pax comfort and assistance. They are Stewards, hostesses, and many CC who are my friends agree with me. In the reality of things, 95% of their paid time is not spent fuflfilling safety duties, BUT service duties (which they fulfill either brilliantly or lazily, or so so, just like anyone on a job). We all have good and bad days at work, but commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism should be always expected. To say that CCís job is not also to serve you impeccably, either in a premium or economy, is just surrendering to sloppiness, and frankly makes this entire forum irrelevant. Letís just go A to B, good night and good luck!
on a different note, i agree with you that the unavailable F&B choice in First is far more irritating than a deficient crew.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by IkarosBOS View Post

To say that CCís job is not also to serve you impeccably, either in a premium or economy, is just surrendering to sloppiness, and frankly makes this entire forum irrelevant.
I could not agree more with this.

Clearly the CC have a safety role, but I often think that the emphasis placed on that has the effect of making a small but significant minority of crew think that anything above and beyond a safe flight is a ďnice to haveĒ but really not too important. In a sweeping generalisation, itís probably also fair to say that this problem affects the big western legacy carriers much more than any others.

I would rather have the flight crew focussed primarily on my safety and the cabin crew focussed primarily on my comfort, thanks very much.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by JimEddie View Post
This neatly illustrates my main issue with the current CW service. Itís all very well aspiring to the QR standards of hand run food and drink, but that only works where you have sufficient crew to prepare food and serve it all while making sure the other passengers are reasonably content.

With BA CW crewing levels I think we can see this is an impossible ask.
On a full A350-1000 where most elected to eat immediately, QR themselves struggle badly with it, I have had the exact same problem - no refills of anything until everyone is basically done with the meal. BA's going to struggle to pull it off.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 1:15 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I am shocked that nobody responded to the signal from OP's call button. Both as to a refill and as to having his tray cleared.
You obviously don't fly BA often to be shocked by this. IME, the call bell was generally ignored in both J & F.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by IkarosBOS View Post

I strongly disagree on the point A to point B thing. Stating the CC primary job is getting us safely A to B is a modern dramatization and take on the cabin crew tasks, which tries to enhance their role in the eyes of the travellers but overlooks their actual routine activities. They donít drive the plane. Call me arrogant, but i think they are there primarily for the pax comfort and assistance. They are Stewards, hostesses, and many CC who are my friends agree with me. In the reality of things, 95% of their paid time is not spent fuflfilling safety duties, BUT service duties (which they fulfill either brilliantly or lazily, or so so, just like anyone on a job). We all have good and bad days at work, but commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism should be always expected. To say that CCís job is not also to serve you impeccably, either in a premium or economy, is just surrendering to sloppiness, and frankly makes this entire forum irrelevant. Letís just go A to B, good night and good luck!
on a different note, i agree with you that the unavailable F&B choice in First is far more irritating than a deficient crew.
Fair enough and I do agree with you in principle. The A to B thing was more to point out that the crew have many more responsibilities than just making sure glasses are topped up, particularly in comparison to service at a nice restaurant (which was raised by the OP) since staff at 2/3* establishments often train for many years and their sole job is to ensure that all customers have a great dining experience.

However, I would hesitate to get on any flight, be it QR or BA, and expect impeccable service. The OP clearly places great importance on staying hydrated/appropriately tipsy (whichever applies), so if I were them I simply wouldn't sit and wait for an extended period of time without communicating to the crew that I'd like a top up if that's what I wanted.

As ever YMMV with each crew and I had been enjoying a glass or two of LPGS (courtesy of a wonderful flight in F) when I originally replied to this thread which may have marred the objectiveness of my judgement somewhat..I highly doubt I would have been offered such a lovely de-planing gift had I not also engaged & built rapport with the crew during that flight. I'd call that impeccable service
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