BA First - Ever Decreasing Circles?

Old Jun 8, 22, 8:27 am
  #16  
 
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I think the theory that F doesn't pay its way is perhaps out of date. Smaller cabins, evolution rather than major investment, less routes, its probably still worth their while. The days of keeping it for prestige only are long gone (when we’ve seen the other culls and penny pinching). I would be surprised if it went, prestige or not. Curious European less profitable legacies are upgrading their F product, and of course ME F provision remains prominent
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Old Jun 8, 22, 8:35 am
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BA don't try and compete with the Middle Eastern carriers when it comes to F - and if you talk to senior staff they'll tell you as much.

Their F product needs to be on a par with other carriers running the direct westbound routes - and it largely is. IMHO it sits above VS Upper Class and Delta One, and whilst the seat is cool in AA F - the service is generally meh. So BA's F product is the choice for most when going direct from LON to the USA. That's all they're really concerned about.

The fact you can have showers in the sky and caviar and £300 bottles of red on the GCC carriers is not something BA are trying to emulate. And the price typically reflects that too.

So yes, if you're going East I'd suggest paying for whichever airline you feel offers the best price and product on your route. Westbound, there's not a lot of choice I'm afraid.

There's a reason BA has been unable to shake off the quip that their First product is "the best business class in the sky".
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Old Jun 8, 22, 8:53 am
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BA's sole job is to return profit to shareholders, so it will always do the bare minimum it needs to to keep the airline at its optimum profit levels, much to the displeasure of its customers. Yet we keep coming back....and coming online to talk about it
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Old Jun 8, 22, 8:53 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet View Post
With smaller and smaller F cabins and less and less routes offering F ...
Originally Posted by Dave_C View Post
It's interesting though, AF are now expanding their F offering. LH have cut theirs massively, but bringing back their A346s specifically to provide more F capacity out of MUC. LX have maintained their F offering. There is clearly some demand out there for a quality F product., although having sampled LH and LX's F products (and yet to try AF), their are massively different to BA's offering.
One thing that is often missing from these comparisons is the number of F seats in each airline's fleet - not just the size of each F cabin, but also the total number of F seats being flown by the airline, as a proportion of its total seat count.

Take two hypothetical airlines operating in comparable markets (eg western Europe), each flying (say) 50,000,000 long-haul seats a year. One of them flies 2,500,000 F seats pa but the other only flies 250,000 pa.

It would seem likely that the latter airline will be able to generate higher yields per F seat than the former because it can aim the product at the top slice of the most affluent customers, and in turn be able to spend more on its F product.

The former airline may be able to fill its F seats only by relying much more on award redemptions, upgrade instruments for regular customers, and operational upgrades of those who have only paid J fares (which turns the F cabin into a more pleasant but less dense and less profitable extension of the J cabin). You wouldn't expect it to be able to spend as much on the product.

BA seems to be taking action to redress this, starting with reducing the number of F seats. One irony is that the pandemic has helped the physical reduction, but at the cost of upending the normal demand pattern. In time, when market conditions are better, this may allow BA to make improvements to the F product. But we should have no doubt that the logic of this is that there will be less availability, higher cash prices, fewer award and similar opportunities, and fewer operational upgrades. F will get better - and for most of us, more unaffordable.

ISTR that someone has done the seat counting in the past ...
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Old Jun 8, 22, 8:58 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave_C View Post
It's interesting though, AF are now expanding their F offering. LH have cut theirs massively, but bringing back their A346s specifically to provide more F capacity out of MUC. LX have maintained their F offering. There is clearly some demand out there for a quality F product., although having sampled LH and LX's F products (and yet to try AF), their are massively different to BA's offering.
I thought AF were just adding F to some 777s [and some A350s?], but essentially just compensating for the retirement of the A380s which I think had an 8 seat cabin - the net effect is really only an expansion when compared with the depths of the pandemic isn't it?
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Old Jun 8, 22, 9:14 am
  #21  
 
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I watched an interesting YouTube video a while ago (can't find it anymore) where the creator made a comment about targeting the right audience for First: There are more than enough millionaires out there who can afford a proper F fare (apologies avios junkies), but most airlines don't give them a reason to do so. Looking at BA there is some truth to this:The First Wing usually has a queue, sometimes a massive queue. The schlepp from CCR to C gates is hardly premium. Then there is the food choice not available, Heathrow meltdown,...

The whole product shouts £3k A fare, not £15k F fare.

So BA doesn't give the millionaires the reason to spend £15k, which causes £3k fares to fill the cabin, which keeps the product at a level that doesn't give the millionaires a reason to spend...
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Old Jun 8, 22, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
I watched an interesting YouTube video a while ago (can't find it anymore) where the creator made a comment about targeting the right audience for First: There are more than enough millionaires out there who can afford a proper F fare (apologies avios junkies) ...
If it was said in a YouTube video, then it must be true. Natch.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by Dave_C View Post
It's interesting though, AF are now expanding their F offering. LH have cut theirs massively, but bringing back their A346s specifically to provide more F capacity out of MUC. LX have maintained their F offering. There is clearly some demand out there for a quality F product., although having sampled LH and LX's F products (and yet to try AF), their are massively different to BA's offering.
I have not said their is no demand for an F offering
What I have suggested is that the product is not profitable enough for BA to provide in the manner they have been doing
So they either need to wind it down till its gone, or reduce cost/increase the price so that they are making the required margins. I believe they want to get rid of it, but with much smaller cabins perhaps they can charge a higher price which may help with the profitability
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Old Jun 8, 22, 10:23 am
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BA prices in First for travel a month or two out are way over the pre pandemic level. Good luck to those who are prepared to pay the price,

Thankfully I made gold for life just before the pandemic hit.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 10:50 am
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Originally Posted by Rubecula View Post
BA prices in First for travel a month or two out are way over the pre pandemic level. Good luck to those who are prepared to pay the price,

Thankfully I made gold for life just before the pandemic hit.
How does GFL relate to F?
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Old Jun 8, 22, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by PGberkshire View Post
How does GFL relate to F?
Indirectly.

Some of the benefits of travelling in First can be enjoyed when not travelling in First.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by PGberkshire View Post
How does GFL relate to F?
I thinks it more relates to flying BA generally, where the only real positives are the lounge access and Avios benefits once you get Gold and above status..

I have just made it back to GGL after a few years, like most people, of reduced travel. Now I have GGL with its associated CCR access, it will be Emirates to DXB on my regular Dubai trips, and Qatar to Australia until the start of my next tier points year. In other words, on any journeys where there are better options in First or Business, then I won't be flying BA.

The sad thing is, if the BA first and club world product was anywhere near competing airlines, then I would always choose BA. Unfortunately it has declined so much over the past few years, right from boarding to the food to the service, that it no longer compares favourably at all - and BA are showing no signs of having any interest in getting back to their previous premium cabin standards.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 11:48 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
I think the only consensus this forum generates is on Manchester airport and its shabbiness.
And that one should not eat breakfast whilst attempting to print.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Rubecula View Post
Indirectly.

Some of the benefits of travelling in First can be enjoyed when not travelling in First.
Ok, so Gold Wing and Group 1. understood.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 12:33 pm
  #30  
 
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If airlines were the High Street I think BA is in a position that puts it in terrible peril. In clothing we've got Harvey Nichols and Primark. Neither are ever seemingly in trouble, because one caters to people for whom money really isn't an issue and the other caters to people for whom every penny counts. Both do their job exceptionally well. Look at all the High Street brands that have vanished - its the mid-market ones that weren't premium enough nor cheap enough. Who wants to pay for Miss Selfridge or Top Man when it has no real kudos and you're paying for a half-baked attempt at a brand.

So what does BA want to be? A premium airline? or a cheap one? If it wants to be both (frightfully hard!), then it has to treat the premium section like gold dust and leave the cheap one to expect nothing more than being treated like the fare they paid. It's trying to be something in the middle, and it just won't work.

This could just as easily be posted on the boarding group thread.
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