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Changes to service standards etc after resumption of flights

Changes to service standards etc after resumption of flights

Old May 9, 20, 4:03 pm
  #1  
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Changes to service standards etc after resumption of flights

This may seem like a stupid question because I think I probably know the answer but speculatively, do people think that once BA start bringing their schedule back online with more flights whenever that begins (probably around Christmas?) that we will see a change/lowering of the standards and services that they brought in, like the bedding packs in CW, Do&Co catering, WT+ amenity kits and blankets etc? I understand they will probably be in cost-saving mode but it'll be such a shame to see them cut back so much of what they've introduced to improve their service standard. Or will things like the bedding stay because they are kind of a sunk cost (they must have them lying around in a warehouse somewhere)?
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Old May 9, 20, 4:18 pm
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The answer is simple: when things get normal which no one knows at this moment.
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Old May 9, 20, 5:59 pm
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On board service won't get near to back to normal until airlines and governments decide that airlines can operate in a vaguely normal fashion. Talk of 2m spacing between people at all times are balderdash; no airline can operate aircraft like that. Passengers need food on long flights, need to use lavatories, etc. So until that is sorted out in some way (and the evolving consensus is facemasks on board and temperature checks before boarding, possibly combined with profiling previous travel to infectious areas) the service will not improve from "mealtime at a young offender's institution".

When it does improve, my guess is that the hard product elements (seat, bedding, etc) will remain, as will the catering suppliers - because all those are external contracts that can be screwed down on price. On board service may be simplified, to what a smaller, less skilled, and thoroughly demoralised crew can deliver - because they've been screwed down on price too.

Once travel resumes, the economic basis of the countries BA flies to will only be more polarised than before: a smaller number of richer people (and companies) with a larger number of companies and people with little money to spend. The competition for high-value customers will be strong, with a smaller number of them knowing they can command better and better for their (still significant) spending power. Less J/F, but better hard product in that remaining J/F to get the remaining customers.
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Old May 9, 20, 7:12 pm
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It is not simply a question of cost, but rather safety. Once the threat abates, there will likely be both government and customer requirements for much more stringent procedures. This may well include requirements that food, once prepared under proper supervision in a catering facility, be sealed and delivered sealed to the passenger. There is no reason why that cannot be high quality food, but there may be technological limits on how it is all presented.

Much of the requirements will come from large corporate accounts which drive BA's business and which will be much more focused on health & safety than on whether the salad plates are round or square.

But, I don't see any of this being addressed until the basic services are restored and that is likely 18-24 months away, at very optimistic best.
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Old May 9, 20, 7:28 pm
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My last transatlantic flight was end of March on an Air Transat A310, where cold food comes in a doggy bag on your seat and thereís NO cabin service. Bottled water in the seat pocket.
Crew are there for your safety only.

No one looking at a cost/benefit perspective is going to pay to fly until normality returns, cos itís a massive ball ache without the cabin service. When your parting with large amounts of your own money, youíll be wanting more than whatís on offer. Time to explore the homeland in 2020, maybe even 2021.
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Old May 10, 20, 12:20 am
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I wonder if there will be some technological solutions

Norwegian touch pad IFE type ordering of food and drink or complete pre order for long haul flights

Sadly though I think the air transat model may be the norm

Could be some relatively easy solutions:,

A pre ordered cold box with quality food and all drink for your trip?

Amenity pack with hand sanitizer for sure!

Pre booking of lounge seats and catering
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Old May 10, 20, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It is not simply a question of cost, but rather safety. Once the threat abates, there will likely be both government and customer requirements for much more stringent procedures. This may well include requirements that food, once prepared under proper supervision in a catering facility, be sealed and delivered sealed to the passenger. There is no reason why that cannot be high quality food, but there may be technological limits on how it is all presented.

Much of the requirements will come from large corporate accounts which drive BA's business and which will be much more focused on health & safety than on whether the salad plates are round or square.

But, I don't see any of this being addressed until the basic services are restored and that is likely 18-24 months away, at very optimistic best.
I appreciate you were just making a prediction. However I'm curious why would food on a plane need to be sealed from the kitchen to the customer? Restaurants and Bars on the ground are reopening in a lot of countries, and I'm pretty sure they won't be serving food sealed from the factory. I could imagine there would be some restrictions on how service is conducted. For example if a member of cabin crew collects used items from a customer ( tray/glasses/plates etc ) then they should need to change their gloves before serving items to the next customer. As that could risk transfer from one customer to glove to the next customer. With strict separation of where dirty items go and where clean items go.

Basically it would likely be around how service is conducted rather than what service can be conducted. Maybe there would need to be a designated "dirty" galley?
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Old May 10, 20, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by allturnleft View Post
I wonder if there will be some technological solutions

Norwegian touch pad IFE type ordering of food and drink or complete pre order for long haul flights

Sadly though I think the air transat model may be the norm

Could be some relatively easy solutions:,

A pre ordered cold box with quality food and all drink for your trip?

Amenity pack with hand sanitizer for sure!

Pre booking of lounge seats and catering
Just for the data mark, WizzAir currently offers its full BoB menu, however, the printed catalog is not present in the seat pocket; instead, they send the menu to passengers via e-mail the day before the flight.

Also for the lounges, the best idea would be to hand food vouchers to eligible passengers. If the airlines still insist on their lounges to be closed, they could simply hand out meal vouchers valid at the airport food vendors itself.

However, as you mentioned, the Air Transat model ( cold sandwich, snack, a bottle of water in a bag ) would be the norm. This is what would Turkish Airlines follow for their long-haul flights ( not sure about Business Class though ) and no meals on short-haul and domestic Economy class ( only probably water upon request ).
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Old May 10, 20, 2:00 am
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I can see a certain amount of change over time, driven primarily by a wish to reduce / minimise the number of individual ‘episodes’ which necessitate close contact & interaction between CC and pax during the flight. As such, it’s more than likely that the end result would be a general degradation of perceived service levels, and thus of the soft product overall - at least where the premium cabins are concerned.

For short-haul, the changes would perhaps be far less noticeable or worth worrying about. Meal service was tray-based & fairly simple pre-Covid anyway. But for long-haul J & F, where normally there is (in the case of some airlines) a meticulous and time-consuming attention to detail with a special focus on presentation, it would be pragmatic to simplify and perhaps shorten the entire catering timeline. So ..... maybe fewer courses .... more tray-based than restaurant style ....... and a much pared-back range of drink options (with certain alcoholic offerings being the hardest hit as it were).

If there is to be a full return to more conventional standards and personalised service (particularly in F class), I could easily imagine It not happening for another two to three years.
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Old May 10, 20, 3:45 am
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The attraction of travelling in J/F used to be superior service, lounge access, inflight food and drink, and a lie-flat bed.
In the future the selling point for airlines will be the physical distance between fellow passengers.
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Old May 10, 20, 4:06 am
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@mikem004 - Iíd say youíre right.

And thatís where the new CW suite will be even more valued, as & when air travel resumes at something approaching normal frequency.

As a (mostly) solo traveller, the standard CW config will be off-limits for me, (step-over and all !) and I would only take a BA flight where the latest set-up is available.

S/haul is going to remain a major concern .... depending on what protective measures are actually introduced.
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Old May 10, 20, 4:25 am
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Originally Posted by mikem004 View Post
The attraction of travelling in J/F used to be superior service, lounge access, inflight food and drink, and a lie-flat bed.
In the future the selling point for airlines will be the physical distance between fellow passengers.
I live near a BA senior pilot here in Bath and he flies the San Diego route and was saying he doesn't expect the level of service to return for 'some time' and even hinted he thinks his employer (BA) will use the situation as an opportunity to reduce the level of service. No alcohol is likely, for example. Water served in bottles.

You might be right on the physical distance, but no-one is expecting the likes of BA to pack their planes anyhow, so if the service level is poor (ie. packed food, no alcohol), apart from watching a movie, there might not be too many advantages of being in business or first, unless you have so much money (or Avois points) it barely matters.

Also, we're overlooking a lack of business funds. People are expecting to walk in go their company and everything to be 'as it was before' overlooking most companies haven't earned any income since March. Budgets will be down or non-existent. Travel reduced, etc etc.
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Old May 10, 20, 5:02 am
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Originally Posted by mikem004 View Post
The attraction of travelling in J/F used to be superior service, lounge access, inflight food and drink, and a lie-flat bed.
In the future the selling point for airlines will be the physical distance between fellow passengers.
If there's no superior service, I won't be paying for premium cabin. I don't care about distancing. I took packed flights in economy before lockdown and still alive. Somehow Qatar and other airlines can still deliver high level of service. I think BA may use current situation to save money.
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Old May 10, 20, 5:12 am
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Originally Posted by Richmond_Surrey View Post
If there's no superior service, I won't be paying for premium cabin. I don't care about distancing. I took packed flights in economy before lockdown and still alive. Somehow Qatar and other airlines can still deliver high level of service. I think BA may use current situation to save money.
Iím sure things will innovate - the new BA First Facemask will be offered with pyjamas available on request.

Maybe they will re introduce the refreshing towelette in Club Europe as a substitute for the hot towel.

Can see BoB hand gel selling fast with lots of new scents. In CE they could give out miniatures.

Last edited by IAMORGAN; May 10, 20 at 5:21 am
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Old May 10, 20, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by chriswiles View Post
I live near a BA senior pilot here in Bath and he flies the San Diego route and was saying he doesn't expect the level of service to return for 'some time' and even hinted he thinks his employer (BA) will use the situation as an opportunity to reduce the level of service. No alcohol is likely, for example. Water served in bottles.

You might be right on the physical distance, but no-one is expecting the likes of BA to pack their planes anyhow, so if the service level is poor (ie. packed food, no alcohol), apart from watching a movie, there might not be too many advantages of being in business or first, unless you have so much money (or Avois points) it barely matters.

Also, we're overlooking a lack of business funds. People are expecting to walk in go their company and everything to be 'as it was before' overlooking most companies haven't earned any income since March. Budgets will be down or non-existent. Travel reduced, etc etc.
I wonder if short to medium term there might be some small 'inverse' to this though; a lot of companies pushed back into economy or PE travel policies over the last decade, but I wonder how many people might decline to travel at the back whilst there's a fair risk of infection and whether for some bigger companies it'll push them to book more business seats for the (real or imagined) decrease in risk when people need to travel and just cutting the travel out where it's more optional to balance the books.
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